How fitting – our first ever This Day in History post honors the event that started our great hobby!
Some of the earliest U.S. stamps were postmaster provisionals. But in 1847 the U.S. Post Office Department decided to try issuing its own stamps.
Postal rates were determined by the weight and distance letters were mailed. Letters traveling 300 miles or less were 5¢ per half ounce, while those mailed over 300 miles were 10¢ per half ounce. Postage could be paid by the sender or addressee. Continue reading →
Have a stamp or cover in your collection you’ve always wondered about? Let the experts at Mystic take a look!
Our new Stamp ID service offers fast identification of your stamps and covers for only $3 per item. It’s easy – just fill out a simple online form and submit a digital photograph or scan of your stamp. We’ll contact you in about two business days with our findings.
The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is the Holy Grail of stamp collecting – the stamp sought by kings and queens, millionaires and blue collar collectors alike. Rarely displayed in public, the British Guiana recently sold for nearly $10 million.
In an unprecedented move, its new owner has allowed it to be displayed at the National Postal Museum for 2 ½ years. This will be the longest and most accessible exhibit of the legendary stamp in its colorful history – and it’s free!
Brief History of the British Guiana
British Guiana was a British colony located on the northern coast of South America (present-day Guyana). In 1856, the postmaster of the capital city of Georgetown issued a small quantity of stamps for provisional use while he awaited a shipment of postage from England.
The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta has been sought-after for more than a century. In 1922, American industrialist Arthur Hinds outbid England’s King George V to acquire the stamp. Today, the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is the only stamp needed to complete Queen Elizabeth’s collection of British Colonial stamps.
Those who have been collecting stamps for a number of years will remember the name H.E. Harris. He was a giant in the stamp-collecting world, and his innovative idea of selling stamps on approval led to significant growth in the hobby. H.E. Harris Stamp Company, the business he began as a 14 year old, grew to be “The World’s Largest Stamp Firm.” In addition to being a very successful businessman, Harris was also a mentor to young entrepreneurs with their own small stamp companies. One of the men he invested his time and talent in was Mystic Stamp Company founder, Lawrence Shaver. Continue reading →
In the early months of 1945, the world had been at war for over three years. Germany appeared to be nearing defeat, but American casualties were mounting as its resources dwindled. An idea was hatched – a brilliant plan to bring down the Nazi government. The weapon chosen to defeat Hitler – postage stamps!
The Office of Strategic Services – an intelligence agency and forerunner of today’s CIA – was formed during World War II. Throughout the war, one of its most effective tools was propaganda aimed at demoralizing the German people, which OSS officials hoped would spark a revolt against the Nazis.
However, getting the propaganda into the hands of every day Germans was challenging. The OSS had dropped leaflets from the air, but wind, rain and other factors often destroyed the materials before they reached the intended audience. Continue reading →