Discover the History of Confederate Printing Press No. 3

August Dietz with the historic No. 3 hand-press used by Hoyer & Ludwig to produce the South’s first postage stamps. Dietz was a printer’s apprentice in the early 1880s and learned the art from older men who had worked at the firm during the Civil War.

August Dietz with the historic No. 3 hand-press used by Hoyer & Ludwig to produce the South’s first postage stamps. Dietz was a printer’s apprentice in the early 1880s and learned the art from older men who had worked at the firm during the Civil War.

Mystic President Don Sundman with No. 3.

Mystic President Don Sundman with No. 3.

Did you know Mystic now owns the only surviving printing press used to produce the first Confederate postage stamps? It’s true – and we love having this direct connection to the Civil War displayed in our headquarters. Let me tell you the story of the press’ 150-year journey from the heart of Dixie to rural upstate New York… Continue reading

Posted in Beginner's Section, General Stamp Collecting, Neat Stamp Stories | 10 Comments

This Day in History… August 4, 1916

#DWI55

U.S. Acquires Danish West Indies 

Nearly 50 years after the first negotiations took place, the United States purchased the Danish West Indies from Denmark, later renaming them the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The first attempt by the U.S. to purchase the islands came in 1867. Secretary of State William Seward successfully negotiated the treaty with the Danish parliament. But the Senate rejected the treaty because Seward had previously supported President Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial. Continue reading

Posted in August 2015, This Day in History | 11 Comments

This Day in History… August 3, 1492

Christopher Columbus Sets Sail

U.S. #2624-29 – Printed using 100-year-old dies, the 1992 Columbians recreated the popular issues on souvenir sheets with historical drawings in the selvage.

U.S. #2624-29 –
Printed using 100-year-old dies, the 1992 Columbians recreated the popular issues on souvenir sheets with historical drawings in the selvage.

On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus left Spain to find a water route to the fabled gold and spice islands of China. Though he didn’t find what he was looking for, his trip made him famous.

With his three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, Columbus sailed for two months before he saw land he believed to be China. It was actually the Bahamas, which he claimed for Spain. He continued his journey, reaching Hispaniola (which he first believed to be Japan) that December and established a small colony there. He brought gold, spices, and local captives back to Spain the following spring and was honored by the Spanish court. Continue reading

Posted in August 2015, This Day in History | 12 Comments

This Day in History… August 2, 1923

President Harding Dies Suddenly 

U.S. #610

Though he had been in poor health for some time, President Warren G. Harding’s death on August 2, 1923, was a shock to the nation, and spurred numerous unfounded rumors.

Many of the men Harding had appointed to various posts used their positions for personal gain. Though he wasn’t involved, these scandals, most famously the Teapot Dome scandal, became news in 1923.

Harding decided to take a tour to the West and Alaska to reconnect with the people and promote his agenda. Accompanied by his wife and trusted advisors, Harding’s train left Washington on June 20. After giving speeches throughout the Midwest, he and his party traveled to Alaska. Harding was the first President to visit there. He advocated opening the region to the oil industry and encouraged unemployed workers to settle in Alaska.  On the way back to the lower 48 states, Harding toured British Columbia, the first sitting President to visit Canada. Continue reading

Posted in August 2015, This Day in History | 16 Comments

This Day in History… August 1, 1779

Birth of Francis Scott Key, Author of National Anthem 

U.S. #962

Born on August 1, 1779, in western Maryland, Francis Scott Key witnessed the devastating attack of Fort McHenry which inspired him to pen one of our nation’s most patriotic tunes – “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Key initially opposed the War of 1812 due to his religious beliefs. However, feeling a deep love for his country, he briefly served in the Georgetown Light Field Artillery in 1813. But it was a rescue mission the following year that made Key a household name. Continue reading

Posted in August 2015, This Day in History | 26 Comments

This Day in History… July 31, 1971

Astronauts Take Lunar Rover for First Drive on the Moon 

U.S. 1435

On July 31, 1971, U.S. Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin became the first humans to drive on the Moon.

Though we’d traveled to the Moon in 1969, the astronauts couldn’t move around very fast, so were limited in how many samples they could collect. To make this easier, NASA began work on lunar rovers. They were developed in just 17 months and cost $38 million (for four rovers). The result was like something out of the future. Made out of a variety of lightweight alloys, the 463-pound rovers could carry up 1,080 pounds. They were folded so they could fit in the cargo bay and locked into place as they were removed and opened up. The rovers could reach of top speed of eight miles per hour. Continue reading

Posted in July 2015, This Day in History | Leave a comment