July 10, 2011

Treasures from NTSS 2011

As I mentioned previously, I was planning to attend the National Topical Stamp Show in Milwaukee. I went for two days to see the show and found a number of items to add to my March 4 collection. Although I brought my camera with me, I was too busy looking through dealer stocks to get it out. So we'll take a look at what I brought home with me instead...

I attended the show on Friday and Saturday this year. On Friday, I was looking for items to add to my railroad topical collection. Since trains on stamps is one of the most popular topics and has a very large number of issues, finding new material for that topic was pretty easy. But that's a story for another site.

When I mentioned my collecting interest of March 4 to the dealers at the show, most of them pointed to the large boxes of covers for me to dig through. A couple of them recognized that March 4 used to be the date of the U.S. presidential inauguration, but my budget for the show wouldn't accommodate $50 per cover. So it was off to the lower cost bins for me. It took a while to look through all the dealer stocks that I examined. While most of the time there weren't any obvious connections, I did find eight covers that had a March 4 cancellation on them.

The most recent was this cover commemorating the 5-year anniversary of the Einstein stamp issue from the U.S.
 In the sleeve with this cover, there was also a card discussing the stamp and the cover artwork.

The next cover, in descending order of postmark date, was a much more ordinary cover.
What I don't know about this cover is whether the addressee was a participant in the Iditarod race of 1978 or if he was just another philatelist who wanted the special cancellation.

One year further back and I have a show cover from 1977.
I did a quick look around the interwebs today to see if I could find out anything more on the artwork for this cover.  I found a few auctions for other covers and souvenir cards with this cancellation, and others dated March 5 or 6, but I didn't find anything on this artwork specifically.

The remaining covers that I found for March 4 were much more like what I was hoping to find. Especially, the rest of the covers were postmarked outside the U.S. The first of these, from 1975, was a first day cover from Israel.
I still need to verify that this cover was dated March 4 and not April 3; however, based on the use of French language markings on the cachet, I'm assuming that this is March 4. Obviously, after verifying the issue date for this stamp, the next step that I'll need to take on updating this blog is to add this stamp to The List and mark in my own notes that I have an FDC of this stamp.

Moving back in postmark dates again, the next cover I found was another first day of issue, this time from Niger in 1967.
It seems likely to me that this was an official first day cover from either Niger's postal authority or the Lions International organization. According to the inscription, my cover is number 1,804 of 4,000 that were produced. It would be interesting to learn where the other 4,000 covers ended up, but this is not a research project that I'm about to start. However, being issued on March 4, I'll have to add this stamp to The List as well.

The next cover I acquired from the show moves us back three decades to 1937.
The cancellation on the front of the cover is very light, and at first glance doesn't appear to fit into this collecting topic, especially when you look at the date listed in the cachet's artwork and notice that it is a full month before the date I'm interested in. But take a look at the back of the cover...
Partly obscuring the return address, we see a couple of registered mail cancellations from Detroit on March 4, 1937, and another cancellation from another Michigan station on the same day along with two one from March 3 and one from February 3.  The location of the February postmark is a little hard to read; could it be that it took this cover a full month to travel from Manila to Detroit?  Considering the state of the world in the late 1930s, and that even today, I'm waiting several weeks for letters to arrive from India, I'd say that a month isn't completely out of the question.

The last two covers that I found at the show go together. Again, the markings on the front of the cover are a day off, but both show appropriate back stamps. The first cover commemorates the first airmail flight from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to North Battleford, Saskatchewan,... front...
... and back...
The other cover in this pair commemorates the first flight in the opposite direction from North Battleford to Winnipeg... front...
... and back...
Since both of these covers were addressed to the same recipient, my guess is that they were prepared by another philatelist. I'm left to wonder how many covers Mr. Johnson prepared and had sent in each direction.

So those were the covers that I got from NTSS this year to add to my March 4 collection. As I build an album to hold and display these items, I'll be doing a little more research into each of the covers. I'd like to learn more about the stamps that were used and the cancellations that each cover obtained in its travels. When I have more information, I'll post it, but if you, dear reader, have more information on any of these covers, please let me know in the comments.

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