January 10, 2012

Looking through more of the collection

So yesterday I got out my March 4 collection storage box and looked at a few more items in it.  The best part is that I scanned them so you could see them too.  Today’s show is mostly U.S. issues, but there are a couple from elsewhere as well.  This update includes a few additions to The List, and as an extra bonus, the alliterative first flight cover I found this week arrived as I was putting this post together, so that’s shown below too.  Here’s what I looked at, from oldest to newest…


So, the oldest item that I looked at today was this 1934 anniversary cover commemorating the inauguration one year earlier of U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt.  He was the only president to be elected for more than two terms, serving in office from March 4, 1933, until his death on April 12, 1945.  According to the Wikipedia article about him, Roosevelt pushed through legislation and executive orders within his first 100 days in office that set up the New Deal, a set of programs and incentives that helped pull the U.S. out of the Great Depression.  Part of the plan was also to move the U.S. off the gold standard for currency.  On January 30, 1934, the Gold Reserve Act was passed, and the following day, President Roosevelt revalued the U.S. dollar from $20.67 per troy ounce of gold to $35 per troy ounce.

On a first read, especially with part of the cachet poorly inked, the last line of the cachet text makes it sound like prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. began in 1933.  In fact, the prohibition began on January 16, 1920, when the 18th amendment to the Constitution was ratified and it was repealed with the passage of the 21st amendment on December 5, 1933.  Since alcohol was again legal to produce, own and consume, there was less danger of poisonous materials in Americans’ glasses, and thus the “Drove out Poison Booze” line on the cachet.


The cover uses Scott # 684, issued in 1930 depicting Warren G. Harding, and the cover was postmarked in Roosevelt, Minnesota, on March 4, 1934.  While not a particularly valuable stamp, there is one interesting coincidence in this that I’m absolutely certain wasn’t planned for.  You see, Franklin Roosevelt died while in office in 1945, eleven years after this cover was created; Harding also died in office on August 2, 1923.

From an event cover, we go now to a rather ordinary cover


This cover was sent as regular mail on March 4, 1937, from C. A. Roberts Co. of Chicago.  I don’t know much about this company except that they served the railroad industry, as evidenced by advertisements placed in various railroad company magazines – such as The Frisco Employees Magazine in 1927 (which was the magazine of the St. Louis – San Francisco Railroad employees) – and that the company appeared as a defendant in a couple breach of contract lawsuits – in 1956 and 1980.  There are additional covers very similar to this available on both eBay and Bidstart right now, just not with a March 4 date.


The meter on this cover may have been running low on ink as evidenced by the light inking on the top of the meter, almost making “U.S. Postage” illegible.  The “P.B.” at the bottom of the meter stands for Pittney Bowes, but since I have yet to research meters in depth, that’s about all I know of it.

Now another event cover, but this time not an anniversary.


The next item in this sample by date order is this cover postmarked on March 4, 1940.  The cachet commemorates the first day of postal service aboard the U.S. Navy ship U.S.S. Bagaduce.  According to the Wikipedia page about this ship, it was a fleet tug that was originally launched on April 5, 1919, and commissioned on September 18, 1919.  It was the first vessel built in its class and was intended to serve during World War I as a minesweeper and to perform heavy towing work within shipyards.  The 1938 date on this cover was actually the ship’s second recommissioning, having been recommissioned before in 1924.  The ship served through World War II for about six years after this cover was created, and was finally decommissioned for the last time on June 22, 1946, and scrapped in 1947.


The cover uses Scott # 836, issued on June 27, 1938, which commemorates the arrival in 1638 of Swedish and Finnish immigrants to what is now Wilmington, Delaware.  “Mare Island” in the cancellation refers to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard north of San Francisco, California.

The next item is actually a series of items – plate blocks, to be specific.


These five plate blocks are all of Scott # 903, issued March 4, 1941, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Vermont’s statehood.  When I first decided to start collecting based on March 4, I took a look through the list of U.S. stamps to see if any were issued on that date.  This stamp was the first that I found, and a quick look at the offerings in the APS StampStore showed me these five blocks.  Two plate numbers are represented here, 22706 and 22707, with the plate number showing in different positions.  Right now, there are additional copies of three of these plate blocks and some first day covers of this stamp available on StampStore.

And taking a look back at my scans, do you see the white dot that is showing in the denomination of the lower right stamp in the bottommost scan above?  That’s not a flaw in the stamp, but a perforation punch that has come off of one of the other blocks and stuck to my scanner bed (yeah, I fixed that for future scans).


So now we see the very alliterative cover that I wrote about this week.  It’s a first flight from Leesburg, Florida, postmarked on March 4, 1948.  There is a picture of three fish included in the cachet design, and the cover was mailed with Scott # 933, issued as part of a set commemorating the death of Franklin Roosevelt.  There is quite a lot that can be researched from this cover, including the postmaster’s name (well, I can’t read that signature), the Florida airmail routes shown in the cachet and why are fish shown in the cachet anyways?  I could guess that airmail enabled the shipment of fresh fish from the shore to inland restaurants at a more accommodating speed, but I’d rather learn the reason from a reputable source than speculate.

As far as I can tell, the “75N12” marking in the upper left corner was applied by a dealer as an identification, probably of the first flight in a catalogue that I don’t yet have access to.  The only reason I come up with this possible explanation is that the protective sleeve in which the cover was shipped to me had the same “75N12” marking right next to the asking price.


Eleven years after the first flight cover, this souvenir anniversary cover was made and postmarked on March 4, 1959.  The sesquicentennial being celebrated is 150 years since Lincoln’s birth, but his birthdate was on February 12, 1809, and not March 4.  Here the March 4 date was chosen because it was the anniversary of the date he was sworn in as president 1861, an event that is noted in the cachet’s text.  Before he was president, Lincoln served as a U.S. representative from Illinois for two years beginning on March 4, 1847.

The cover uses two of the four stamps that were issued in the Lincoln Sesquicentennial set.  These are still very common stamps, and I don’t think I paid more than a dollar or two for this cover.


With this cover, we see a completely different collecting topic with a cachet commemorating a missile launch.  The cover includes the notation “OGO 5” above the cachet design.  OGO is an acronym for Orbiting Geophysical Observatory, and the fifth satellite launched as part of this program, known as OGO 5, launched on March 4, 1968, the cancellation date on this cover.  The satellite’s useful life was unfortunately rather short.  It was intended to be a solar observatory, but the August 1971 failure of its attitude controls, as NASA puts it, meant it couldn’t stay pointed in the right direction.  The satellite was put in standby mode in October 1971, and after a couple more experiments in June and early July 1972, it was finally deactivated on July 14, 1972.

The stamp on this cover is Scott # 1331, part of a pair of stamps issued on September 29, 1967, commemorating U.S. achievements in spaceflight.  I’ve seen covers that have been marked to say that they were carried aboard spacecraft (and there is now even a branch of the Chinese post office that is situated in earth orbit), and I have a cover in my collection that was carried on a manned mission, but as far as I know, the OGO missions did not carry anything but the satellites that were put in orbit.


One of two first day covers that we’ll see today is this one from 1979.  This is another stamp that I learned about when I first started to put March 4 items aside for a topical collection.  This stamp was issued ten days before what would have been Einstein’s 100th birthday.  He was born on March 14, 1879, in what is now Germany and died on April 18, 1955, in Princeton, New Jersey, the location for this first day cover cancellation.  Copies of this stamp are readily available in several formats, such as these two blocks that I found on APS StampStore some time ago.


Now from famous men, we get another first day cover, but this time showing some famous women.


This is also the first of the two items we’ll look at today that were from outside the U.S.  This set of four stamps was issued by Canada on March 4, 1981.  The Scott Catalogue describes these women as “clubwomen,” a term that I hadn’t heard before.  Dictionary.com defines it as “a woman who engages in club activities, especially one prominent in social or civic organizations.”  So how does that apply to the four women depicted on these stamps?  The image in the cachet is more indicative of what these four women were known for, which is hinted at in at least one of the four stamps.


Emily Stowe (1831-1903), depicted in the upper left stamp, is noted on her Wikipedia page as the first female doctor to practice in Canada.  She was also a pioneer for women’s suffrage in Canada.  There hasn’t been a Wikipedia article written about Idola Saint-Jean yet, but there are notes in a few pages that describe her as a women’s rights activist.  Louise McKinney (1868-1931) was the first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and Henrietta Edwards (1849-1931) cofounded the National Council of Women to further promote women’s rights in Canada.

The last items we’ll look at today take us back to themes of space exploration.


These two stamps, issued on March 4, 1991, by Liechtenstein, were that country’s participation in the Europa stamp issue for 1991.  Forty countries participated in the Europa issue for 1991, which followed the theme of European aerospace.  Liechtenstein’s first participation in Europa stamp releases occurred in 1960.  The 50rp value stamp shown here for 1991 depicts the telecommunications satellite Olympus I, while the 90rp stamp shows the weather satellite Meteosat.  The maximum cards on which the stamps appear also depict the same satellites, both being prepared for service at ground-based facilities. 

Olympus I was launched in 1989 as a test platform for European Data Relay Satellite equipment.  The Aerospace Corporation website mentions that the Olympus I mission was effectively ended with the Perseid meteor shower of 1991.  One reference says that during the 1991 shower, more than 400 meteors were visible from earth every hour.  But then another document, also by the Aerospace Corporation, says that it was a magnetic pulse from a Perseid meteoroid in 1993 caused the satellite to forget where the sun was and it then used up its fuel trying to find it again.

Meteosat is actually a series of geostationary satellites designed to relay meteorological information back to observation posts on Earth.  The first series of Meteosat satellites, of which the vehicle shown on the maximum card and stamp is one, was operational until 1995.  A second series was then launched, dubbed Meteosat Second Generation, beginning operations in 2004.  The second series was intended to be used for about a year, but is actually still available until Meteosat Third Generation is launched and operational.

The back of both of these maximum cards shows the same information, describing the stamp issue.


So that’s all the materials that we’ll look at today, but there was also mention of updates to The List.  The new additions are as follows:

Country Issue date Scott # Subject Denom.
Canada March 4 1981 879 Clubwomen - Emily Stowe and Toronto General Hospital 17c
Canada March 4 1981 880 Clubwomen - Louise McKinney and Alberta legislative building 17c
Canada March 4 1981 881 Clubwomen - Idola Saint-Jean and Quebec legislative building 17c
Canada March 4 1981 882 Clubwomen - Henrietta Edwards 17c
Canada March 4 1981 882a Clubwomen - block of four, 879-882  
Liechtenstein March 4 1991 955 Europa - Telecommunications satellite Olympus I 50rp
Liechtenstein March 4 1991 956 Europa - Weather satellite Meteosat 90rp
Liechtenstein March 4 1991 957 St. Ignatius of Loyola 80rp
Liechtenstein March 4 1991 958 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 90rp
Liechtenstein March 4 1991 959 United Nations membership, 1990 2.50fr
United States March 4 1941 903 Vermont statehood 150th anniversary
United States March 4 1952 1007 AAA 50th anniversary
United States March 4 1979 1774 Albert Einstein 15¢

Some of these are shown above (it should be obvious which ones are shown…), and looking at my box, I’ve got four more stamps that I need to find and add to my collection.  These shouldn’t be too hard to find.

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