Philosateleia
Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Philosateleian Blog

Mother Teresa stamp sparks controversy

Mother Teresa is still nearly seven months away from appearing on a U.S. postage stamp, but the stamp’s planned issue is already drawing fire from one group.

According to a story on FOXNews.com, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is protesting the plans to release the stamp, urging officials to cancel the commemorative—and urging people to boycott the stamp if the USPS doesn’t back down.

The group claims the USPS is violating its own policies by issuing a stamp honoring a religious figure, but a USPS spokesperson says Mother Teresa is being recognized for her humanitarian work—not for her religious beliefs.

Despite the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s protests, it seems likely to this author that the planned commemorative will go on sale as scheduled this August. Indeed, compared to other recent honorees—no offense, Bart Simpson—a woman who ostensibly dedicated her life to serving others seems worthy of recognition.

What do you think? Should the USPS scrap its plans for the Mother Teresa commemorative? Or is it okay to move forward with a “controversial” subject?

Prexie Era Web site provides useful information

Virtually any collector of U.S. stamps will own at least a few Prexies, the definitive stamps that were issued in 1938 and remained in use until the 1950s. The series of stamps got its moniker because it honors all former United States presidents who had died by the time of the stamps’ issue.

The United States Stamp Society’s Prexie Era Committee explains on its Web site how each value in the series was most commonly used. Some of the stamps had denominations that did not cover a specific postal rate, and solo usages of those can be difficult to find.

The Web site also contains information about other stamps in use at the same time as the Prexies.

The Prexie Era Committee Web site’s layout is very basic and not particularly visually appealing, but the info on how different stamps were used makes it a valuable resource. If you collect U.S. stamps from that era, it’s a Web site worth bookmarking.

Do you know of any other Web sites that provide data on how particular stamps were most commonly used?

A classic first day cover

Modern first day covers (FDCs) are for the most part a dime a dozen, but if you go back a few decades you can find pieces with a bit of value. This first day usage of the 14¢ American Indian stamp is a fine example.

14-cent American Indian stamp on first day cover
14¢ American Indian FDC

Postmarked on the morning of May 1, 1923—the first day the 14¢ American Indian stamp was available to the public—this FDC was mailed at a time when FDC collecting still hadn’t captured the imaginations of most philatelists.

The cover is addressed to Frank Wood of Worcester, Mass. A backstamped return address indicates one Kenneth Salzman of Milwaukee, Wis., was responsible for the cover’s mailing.

This is not a common FDC by any means, but can be found for sale on the Internet or from dealers who specialize in material from the 1920s. Examples postmarked in Muscogee, Okla., on the first day of issue are far scarcer, and correspondingly more difficult to locate.

Do you collect FDCs? Do you have a favorite?

14¢ American Indian used with commemorative stamp

The 14¢ American Indian stamp doesn’t turn up on cover particularly often, but examples are out there if you can wait around for a bit. Finding one used with a commemorative stamp, however, is a trickier proposition.

That’s what excites me about this example of Scott No. 695 (perf. 11×10½) on cover with Scott No. 793 in what appears to be a completely legitimate commercial usage of the stamps.

Cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
1937 Registered Cover

The return address indicates H. Rodda of Whittier, Calif., mailed the envelope to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company agent George E. Lackey, in 1937. The cover was postmarked on the reverse in Whittier on April 23, and in Detroit on April 27.

The first-class postage rate at the time of mailing was 3¢, meaning 15¢ went to pay the registration fee.

The only explanation I have for why a commemorative was used is the 4¢ stamp picturing William Sampson, George Dewey, and Winfield Schley was issued in March 1937, just a month before the cover was mailed. It was at the time a “new” commemorative, one that easily could have been in the Whittier post office’s regular stock.

Have you seen any other examples of the 14¢ American Indian used with commemorative stamps?

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