As we announced last week, more than 100 philatelic items from the Postmaster General’s Collection are now up for auction on eBay. Noteworthy items of historical interest include:
- First Space Achievement and Exploration Hologram Stamp Press Sheet
- 20th Anniversary of Moon Landing Priority Mail stamp proof (stamp issued in 1989). One of only three quality control samples created prior to printing 35 million stamps.
- 1971 Antarctic Treaty 8-cent stamp proof that includes the approval of then Postmaster General Winton Blount. One of only two proofs in the Postmaster General’s collection.
- 22-cent 100th Anniversary of the Statute of Liberty stamp proof (stamp issued in 1986). One of only two proofs selected as duplicates to sell from the Postmaster General’s Collection.
The Postmaster General’s Collection began in the 1860s as a modest set of Post Office Department files filled with records and a small sampling of stamps, and continues to evolve today. Now, thousands of stamps later, the archive has become a one-of-a-kind stamp collecting resource with unusual, rare, and unique holdings.
The 30,000 items consist of two distinct elements: stamps and original stamp artwork and includes many pre-production items, including proofs (quality control samples) and essays (either rejected or not finalized stamp designs), black and white models, and uncut press sheets (typically six to eight sheets of stamps from a single sheet that is not perforated for individual stamp removal).
Early proofs were made from the original steel dies on which stamp designs were engraved. The dies were then pressed onto transfer rolls which were used to create the plates for printing stamps. Later with lithographic printing, designer or production prints were mounted to replicate the earlier die proof standard. Many of these were autographed for approval by the Postmaster General when they were created.
The stamp collection also contains many rare and unique items, including full sheets of early high denomination stamps, experimental paper issues, die proofs (quality control samples) of the inverted Jenny airmail stamp, and mail postmarked on the moon. Very few of these items have been seen by the public.
The stamp art collection originated in 1942 and includes the original art commissioned by the Post Office Department and U.S. Postal Service for more than 3,000 U.S. postage stamps. The collection includes original artwork by Norman Rockwell and hundreds of other artists who have volunteered to create the art that would be used in miniature form on U.S. stamps. In addition to the approved artwork, the collection includes thousands of concept designs as well as many preliminary sketches. For the Elvis Presley stamp, for example, more than 50 original designs were submitted by various artists to the Postal Service for consideration.
This special auction of items from the Postmaster General’s Collection will end at 3 p.m. on Monday, September 23. Don’t let this unique opportunity to own a piece of history pass you by. Head over to eBay and add something unique to your collection today.