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Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1987: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1987: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Capex 87.

For the second successive year, an international exhibition dominated North American philately. Called Capex 87, it was held in Toronto in June to honor the centennial of organized philately in Canada. Historic Canadian post offices was the theme of a four-stamp souvenir sheet issued to publicize it; the sheet also featured two undenominated partial designs showing stages in the stamp printing process. The U.S. Postal Service participated in the event with a first-day sale of a sheet of 50 different stamps picturing American wildlife.

Special Issues.

The U.S. Postal Service marked the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution with a five-stamp booklet featuring quotations from the Preamble. Singles were also issued; they featured the signing ceremony as well as statehood anniversaries of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. A pictorial 14-cent postal card noted the convening of the Constitutional Convention.

Other commemorations achieved through pictorial postal cards were the 50th anniversary of Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, Ore., and the sesquicentennial of the self-scouring steel plow. Another postal card featured a 'Take Pride in America' design depicting a scenic Pacific Northwest landscape.

The familiar 22-cent regular stamp, Flag Over Capitol, came out printed on a new type of British prephosphored paper in order to assess the paper's compatibility with automated manufacturing and processing equipment. To identify the test stamps, a small t was added at the bottom of the design.

A Special Occasions booklet was the first U.S. booklet to be issued with three different stamp formats. It was targeted to a specialized group of private retailers and featured the Universal Product Code for machine scanning at point of sale. The designs carried greetings such as 'Thank You' and 'Happy Birthday' that were appropriate for a variety of social events.

Another booklet, with reproductions of historic locomotives of the 1829-1839 period, was issued to celebrate National Stamp Collecting Month in October. A block of four se-tenant sheet stamps honored lacemaking as an American folk art. Centennials of the accounting profession and United Way services were also noted.

A commemorative of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, founder of the first permanent settlement in Chicago, was added to the Black Heritage series. William Faulkner joined Literary Arts; Enrico Caruso, Performing Arts. New faces in the Great Americans series were social reformer Julia Ward Howe, educator Mary Lyon, author Bret Harte, and Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud.

Collector enthusiasm greeted five new designs in the Transportation Series of coil stamps; they joined the 25-cent breadwagon stamp which was issued with little advance notice on November 22, 1986. In addition, a shift to production on new printing presses required either reengraving or slight revisions of series designs previously issued.

CIA Intrigue.

In August, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing revealed that nine CIA employees had sold 85 misprinted stamps — unwittingly bought by the agency — reportedly for thousands of dollars, presumably dividing the proceeds among themselves. The $1 stamps, which featured an upside-down picture of a vintage candleholder and inverted lettering, were among 400 misprints out of the more than 28 million stamps with the candleholder design that were printed in November 1985. The rarity proved valuable — one stamp brought $17,000 in a later sale; another, $21,000.

Tampering Investigation.

Also in August, the Treasury Department began a review of every stamp design produced over the last ten years to determine if unauthorized markings may have been secretly engraved into the master dies from which millions of stamps were printed. The action followed several reports that two recently issued U.S. stamps may have contained secret markings. In one instance, a Star of David, invisible to the naked eye, was found incised into the die of the $1 stamp issued in September 1986 to mark the 100th anniversary of Yeshiva University. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing said there were no plans to recall the issues or to reengrave the master dies. Therefore, it was unlikely that the affected stamps would rise in value.

Joint Stamp Issue.

The only U.S. joint stamp issue occurred with the Kingdom of Morocco to mark the bicentennial of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two countries, which predates any other such pact still in force. The stamps of both countries showed an arabesque from a door in Fez.

International Commemoratives.

The international scene was quiet, highlighted by modest commemorations of the America's Cup competition in Australia and the Europa 87 series featuring modern architecture. Britain noted the sesquicentennial of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne. The United Nations concentrated on social issues such as drug addiction, immunization, and shelter.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1988: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1988: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Postage Increase.

The April 3 increases in U.S. postage rates added to the usual flow of new stamps, leaving eager collectors swamped with nearly 100 new collectibles this year. The first stamp issued for the basic domestic letter rate was the nondenominated 'E' stamp, picturing the Earth; it was the fifth such contingency stamp used since 1978.

Two new versions of the 'Love' specials were issued in 25-cent and 45-cent denominations, the latter for franking heavy greeting cards and invitations. Also created specifically for social correspondence was a holiday stamped envelope in card size with a snowflake design. Enhancing the Express Mail group was a new $8.75 design to pay for lightweight matter. To the official 'penalty mail' group, issued to frank certain types of government mail, were added four stamps, three stamped envelopes, and a postal card, all with the generic eagle design.

Special U.S. Issues.

Thirteen new Transportation series coil stamps appeared, with diverse subjects ranging from an elevator to a tugboat. New faces in the Great Americans series included the artist Mary Cassatt, the neurosurgeon Dr. Harvey Cushing, President Harry Truman, and the American scout and showman William F. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody. The Winter and Summer Olympics, football coach Knute Rockne, and golfer Francis Ouimet were allotted commemoratives, as was writer James Weldon Johnson in the Black Heritage series. Aviation pioneers Samuel Langley and Igor Sikorsky and four antarctic explorers, including Admiral Richard Byrd, were honored with new stamps. In other areas, there were stamps depicting eight breeds of domestic cats and carved antique carousel animals for the Folk Art group. Among seven booklets issued to meet the demand for vending machine and supermarket merchandising was one featuring five different U.S. classic cars.

Noteworthy among commemoratives were the joint issue with Sweden and Finland for the 350th anniversary of the settlement of New Sweden in Delaware and a joint issue with Australia for its bicentenary celebration. Eight more bicentennials of the original 13 states were noted, while the 200th anniversary of the publication of the last Federalist papers was marked with a special postal card. Other multicolored cards featured the historic preservation of Blair House in Washington, D.C., and of the Hearst estate in San Simeon, Calif.

Around the World.

On the international scene, the Soviet Union issued a single to mark the U.S.-Soviet summit conference held in Moscow in the spring and a pair promoting perestroika and glasnost, concepts expressing the new Soviet vision of reform. Czechoslovakia contributed another single, picturing the U.S. Capitol and the Kremlin. The first-ever joint issuance by the United Kingdom and Australia marked the arrival of British settlers on the Australian continent two centuries ago; one of the four designs pictured Shakespeare and John Lennon along with the Sydney Opera House. The chief omnibus issue topic was the Olympics, with South Korea and Canada concluding special series begun in 1985 and 1986, respectively.

The United Nations issued 3 miniature sheets of 12 stamps on the theme 'survival of the forests'—one each for the New York, Vienna, and Geneva offices. Low printing quantities and their distribution method caused controversy with collectors and led to a rapid fivefold price increase over face value. The United Nations also issued a set of six 'Health in Sports' stamps, with LeRoy Neiman paintings reproduced by a new Japanese microscreen lithography process.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1989: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1989: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

UPU Congress, Expo '89.

Dominating philately in 1989 were the first Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress to be held in the United States since 1897 and the accompanying World Stamp Expo '89 (WSE), the first stamp show ever directly sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service. The UPU, founded in 1874 to facilitate international mail service, has been a specialized agency of the United Nations since 1947 and holds a congress every five years. At WSE, cosmonaut Gherman Titov and astronaut Edwin Aldrin were to participate in the release of a Soviet souvenir sheet with visionary glimpses of future joint U.S.-Soviet explorations of Mars. The UPU Congress and WSE were scheduled for late November and early December.

The United States planned to release 11 separate postal commemorations: an aerogram honoring Montgomery Blair, initiator of the concept of the UPU as Lincoln's Postmaster General; seven 'Cityscape' postal cards, four of them produced for the first time in sheet form quartered by perforations; and two imperforate souvenir sheets of four stamps each depicting historical and future mail transport modes, with a third reproducing a classic 90-cent Lincoln stamp of 1869. Picture postcards with preprinted postage and showing the White House and Jefferson Memorial were also scheduled for release late in the year.

Other New U.S. Issues.

The 20th anniversary of the U.S. moon landing merited an oversized $2.40 priority mail stamp. Added to the Constitution series were bicentennial commemorations of the legislative and executive branches of government and the Bill of Rights. The statehood centennials of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington were marked, while a new America series leading up to the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage began with two stamps on pre-Columbian arts and customs. Added to the postal gallery were black labor leader A. Philip Randolph, baseball star Lou Gehrig, author Ernest Hemingway, conductor Arturo Toscanini, philanthropist Johns Hopkins, and Sioux warrior Sitting Bull.

Christmas stamps were made available in booklet format for the first time, while tributes to letter carriers and prehistoric animals rounded out the special issues. The trend toward pictorial and commemorative postal stationery continued with five new postal cards in the America the Beautiful series. Chicago's Hull House and Georgetown University's Healy Hall were added to the Historic Preservation group.

Around the World.

The bicentennial of the French Revolution brought a joint United States-France issue. Similar but not identical designs utilized human representations of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Related French issues honored the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the new Opéra-Bastille, and the Arche de la Défense.

Ironically, China issued on May 4 a stamp to commemorate the 70th anniversary of a student protest in Tiananmen Square against the Versailles Peace Conference. Canada noted the outbreak of World War II with a se-tenant block of four stamps on military themes. The Soviet Union publicized a joint Soviet-American expedition with a stamp showing both nations' flags.

Other News.

Commercial philately was embroiled in controversy over a new system of valuation. The new system moved from a method of pricing market values that had caused widespread discounting to a retail-value basis for stamps in higher-than-previously-used condition.

In October a block of four 1918 U.S. 'Inverted Jenny' stamps, with a plane mistakenly printed upside down, was bought by an anonymous American buyer for $1 million — the highest price ever paid for an American philatelic item.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1990: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1990: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

During 1990, the United States continued its technological experimentation with production methods, expanding on the late 1989 release of a 25-cent eagle-and-shield design, die-cut, imperforate, self-adhesive stamp, which sold at a premium over face value. On May 18, 1990, a 25-cent plastic stamp was released in Seattle for sale through automated teller machines in banks. The stamps, in a stylized flag design, came in sheets of 12 that were the size of a dollar bill. In May the 'autopost' system of mechanical vending machines with computerized operating systems that generated postage labels for various classes of mail was discontinued after limited use in the Washington, D.C., area. But the first stamped envelope with a holograph design continued to be sold.

Other New U.S. Issues.

Judy Garland with movie dog Toto, Clark Gable with Vivien Leigh, Gary Cooper, and John Wayne joined the stamp gallery on a 'Classic Movies' block of four stamps depicting miniature movie posters. Honored on a five-stamp strip featuring Olympians of the past were Jesse Owens, Ray Ewry, Hazel Wightman, Eddie Eagan, and Helene Madison. The United States also released stamps of journalist and activist Ida B. Wells (in the Black Heritage series) and of poet Marianne Moore, thus honoring six women on stamps in 1990.

The statehood centennials of Idaho and Wyoming and the bicentennials of the Supreme Court and Rhode Island were commemorated this year. Innovations in booklet form stamps included the annual Folk Art series showing five Plains Indian headdresses, the ninth special 'Love' issue, and a vacation-oriented design for postcards.

Additions to regular issues were the first elected governor of Puerto Rico, Luiz Muñoz Marín; the American aviator and soldier, General Claire Lee Chennault; a vintage seaplane; a circus wagon; and a bobcat, the first of a projected wildlife series. A joint issue with the Soviet Union aimed to publicize protection of sea mammals. Another joint issue with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands saluted the political-independence-granting compact of Free Association of 1986.

A special postal card depicted the Isaac Royal House of Medford, Mass. Other cards in the Historic Preservation series featuring the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., the Stanford University Quadrangle, and Chicago's Orchestra Hall were issued in the fall. A 50-cent card reproduced the well-known George C. Bingham 19th-century painting Fur Traders Descending the Missouri.

Around the World.

Political changes in Eastern Europe and the move toward uniting the two Germanies failed to produce the predicted flood of stamps. Czechoslovakia did put new President Vaclav Havel on its postage stamps, while East Germany released its first issue denominated in the unified deutsche mark currency. But the reunification of East and West Germany on October 3 saw East Germany's stamps lose their validity, while the previous distinct issues for West Berlin were discontinued.

Philatelic attention was focused on the widespread commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the British Penny Black—the first postage stamp—and the 'Stamp World London 90' international exhibition that celebrated it. Other omnibus issues marked the 90th birthday of Britain's Queen Mother Elizabeth and the quadrennial World Cup soccer competition.

The stamp market remained static; however, in a record sale, the famous Swedish 3-skilling banco yellow color error of 1855 sold for 1.9 million Swiss francs at auction in Zurich. It thus became the most valuable single stamp, eclipsing the British Guiana 1-cent magenta. The error in the Swedish stamp arose when it was printed in yellow rather than the correct blue-green color.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1991: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1991: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Increases in U.S. postal rates went into effect on February 3, 1991, requiring more than the usual number of new stamps. Under the best of circumstances, that would have strained the system. Coinciding as it did with Postal Service efforts to procure more stamps from private printers, rather than from the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the result was a series of embarrassments.

Problems and Controversies.

Among other problems that arose in 1991, the first printing of the 29-cent William Saroyan commemorative, a joint issue with the Soviet Union, had to be destroyed because the stamps could not be properly perforated. On some 29-cent wood duck stamps, ink flaked off when soaked in water. The marginal inscription on sheets of the 52-cent Hubert H. Humphrey stamp gave incorrect dates for his years as U.S. vice president. Meanwhile, the 29-cent Black Heritage stamp honoring Jan E. Matzeliger, inventor of the shoe-lasting machine, offended many blacks by the use of his first name in a marginal inscription, instead of a surname. The Postal Service also came under fire because the 35-cent Dennis Chavez stamp, honoring the U.S. senator from New Mexico who died in 1962, had been contracted to a printer in Canada, the first time U.S. stamps had ever been printed in a foreign country.

Other U.S. Issues.

The year began with nondenominated F flower stamps for the rate increase and a plastic F stamp for automatic teller machines, plus a nondenominated stamp designated to add 4 cents to the 25-cent stamps then in circulation, to meet the new 29-cent letter rate. Flower stamps were issued later in the year with a 29-cent denomination.

The 50th anniversary of World War II was commemorated on a souvenir sheet featuring ten stamps and a world map depicting events of 1940 and 1941. Another stamp honored those who served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, the campaigns to evict Iraq from Kuwait. Also commemorated were the bicentennials of Vermont statehood, the founding of the District of Columbia, and the centennial of basketball. Ten different stamps saluted the Olympic Games. A joint issue with Switzerland observed the 700th anniversary of that country's founding, and the annual America stamp commemorated the arrival of the first Americans, who crossed the Bering Strait land bridge from Asia at least 13,000 years ago.

A stamp in the Performing Arts series honored Broadway musical composer Cole Porter, while Harriet Quimby and William Piper were featured on Pioneers in Aviation airmail stamps. Stamps issued in booklet form included a five-stamp set of famous comedians drawn by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld and a ten-stamp set celebrating U.S. space exploration missions. New postal cards depicted Niagara Falls, a Yankee Clipper ship, and Carnegie Hall (the famous New York City auditorium), and commemorated the bicentennial of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Around the World.

On November 18 and December 24, 1990, Latvia (at the time, still part of the Soviet Union) became the second Baltic state to issue postage stamps in defiance of Soviet authority. Lithuania had issued a set earlier, on October 7. Independent Estonia issued its first stamps in more than 40 years on October 1, 1991. Stamps from Yugoslavia's breakaway republics of Croatia and Slovenia appeared in 1991, but it was unclear whether they had been sanctioned by governing authorities.

Denmark signaled the end of the cold war by revealing that in 1963 it had secretly prepared and distributed emergency stamps, and kept them ready to retain normal postal service in Denmark in the event of war. One million of the stamps were placed on sale to collectors on Stamp Day, March 14, 1991.

Despite a continuing slump in the stamp market, a world record price for a philatelic item was set at a March 23 auction in Lugano, Switzerland. The earliest known use of the British Penny Black — the first postage stamp — postmarked May 2, 1840, on a 'turned' (reused) Mulready stamped envelope, was sold for 3.4 million Swiss francs (approximately $2.4 million) to a Japanese businessman.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1992: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1992: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

In the United States, to the delight of philatelists everywhere, the Postal Service continued in 1992 to use commemorative issues as a means to meet the legal requirement that it balance its budget. Surveys conducted for the Postal Service showed that it made approximately $200 million in the fiscal year ended September 30 on sales of new-issue commemoratives bought by collectors and not used to mail anything.

Elvis and Columbus Commemorated.

The United States was among many countries around the world that issued stamps to commemorate the 1992 Winter and Summer Olympic Games. The United States, Spain, Portugal, and Italy all saluted the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas by issuing miniature sheets of stamps that reproduced the designs of the first U.S. commemoratives — 16 stamps issued at the World Columbian Exposition of 1893 in denominations from 1 cent to $5.

A first-ever public stamp-design balloting, to choose among three designs for a 29-cent Elvis Presley stamp for issue in 1993, capped a four-year marketing campaign by outgoing U.S. Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank. The Presley stamp would be one of eight honoring U.S. musical greats. (Frank's successor, Marvin T. Runyon, canceled several previously announced philatelic promotions.)

For stamp collectors the biggest event of the year was the World Columbian Stamp Expo, held in suburban Chicago on May 22-31. A 29-cent stamp issued in January to promote the show reproduced the central vignette of a U.S. stamp of 1869 that depicted the landing of Columbus. Thousands attended on opening day to obtain miniature sheets of Columbus commemoratives, and again a week later when the United States and Russia released blocks of four stamps commemorating space exploration.

Other U.S. Issues.

The second of five annual souvenir sheets commemorating the 50th anniversary of World War II was released in August, featuring ten stamps and a world map depicting events of 1942. Also commemorated were the New York Stock Exchange bicentennial, Kentucky's bicentennial of statehood, the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway (a joint issue with Canada), explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, and aeronautical engineer Theodore von Karman. The annual Black Heritage stamp featured scholar-activist W. E. B. Du Bois, and a Literary Arts commemorative featured satirist Dorothy Parker.

Colorful topical issues included panes of 50 different statewildflower stamps, blocks of four mineral stamps, booklets of five hummingbird stamps, and booklets of five wild animal stamps. New ordinary stamps included a 29-cent Earl Warren, a 75-cent Wendell Willkie, and three different pressure-sensitive 29-cent eagle and shield stamps.

Postal cards issued in 1992 commemorated the Great Hall at Ellis Island in New York harbor; Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn.; the University of Chicago's Cobb Hall; and the Columbia River Gorge.

Around the World.

December 31, 1991, was the last day of postal validity for stamps issued by the former East Germany and West Berlin. While other countries were commemorating the voyage of Columbus on 1992 stamps, Israel issued a three-stamp souvenir sheet recalling Spain's expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

The Stamp Market.

Two famous collections of rare stamps were dispersed in 1992. The collection of Washington, D.C., publisher Leonard Kapiloff, which included the finest known examples of the first U.S. stamps (from 1847), was sold at auction for around $3 million. Broadcasting executive Jack Rosenthal's equally legendary collection of U.S. commemoratives from the 19th and early 20th centuries was sold privately. Except for sales of great rarities, the worldwide stamp market continued its decade-long decline.



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