Tag Archives: philately

History Through Philately–Happy birthday to the ASPCA!

History Through Philately stamp

With my WordPress problems of these past three months now firmly in the past (see WordPress problems resolved!), I seem to have more time to do the things I like to do, such as blog camping (see May I camp out in your blog?) and blogging.

Long-time readers know that I am a big fan of serial blogging, too, but serial blogging takes a lot more effort than just putting up a pretty picture every day, or a cute quote.

Scott #776, Texas centennialSome of my blog series include

I have always had a love of history, with war history being at the top of my list. I find it amazing that humans can be so cruel to other humans, usually under the guise of religion. Right now I’m reading The Crusades by  Zoé Oldenbourg. Just a sampling of how cruel the crusades were: “The Aemenian nobles of Edessa who were plotting to overthrow their new lord were punished in the Byzantine fashion by mutilation–having their eyes put out and their feet, hands, or noses cut off.” The Crusades were in the Eleventh Century, yet killing in the name of religions continues to the present.Scott #993 Railroad Engineers of America

Philately, or stamp collecting, by its very nature encourages the study of history, so it was only natural that I became a philatelist, or stamp collector. At one time I had a huge stamp collection, include Railroad Postal History (RPO), but it was sold when I evacuated Texas in April 1993 and wound up here in San Diego.

I still collect stamps, virtually (much less financial investment), and subscribe to daily emails from history.com. Coupled with Wikipedia’s On this day section on their front page, I get my fill of history each day.

So without further adoo (that’s Texan for adieux), on this day in 1866….

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City. It is entirely separate from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which was founded in England in 1824 to prevent cruelty to carriage horses. The ASCPA’s mission is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” It’s motto is, “We are their voice.”

One might wonder why anyone would be cruel to a defenseless animal, and perhaps even if their mission might be outdated. All one has to do is pay attention to the news, and it’s easy to see that their mission is not outdated, and that if humans can be cruel to other humans, they certainly can be cruel to defenseless animals. Examples include dogfighting and cockfighting, not feeding an animal enough (often happens to dogs and horses), not giving them clean water, keeping them outside in very hot or very cold weather, hitting an animal (another way to “train” an animal). Some that were recently in the news include setting cats on fire, shooting cats and dogs with arrows, drowning newborn dogs by throwing them into fast-moving rivers, abandoning newborn cats by “throwing them away” in a dumpster.

In celebration of the founding of the ASPCA, here are some United States postage stamps featuring cats, dogs, and horses, the three most commonly abused animals:

Scott #2372, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2372

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Scott #2373, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2373

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Scott #2374, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2374

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Scott #2375, issued February 5, 1988Scott #2375

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Scott #3232, issued August 20, 1998Scott #3232

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Scott #3670, issued September 20, 2002Scott #3670

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Scott #2098, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2098

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Scott #2099, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2099

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Scott #2100, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2100

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Scott #2101, issued September 7, 1984Scott #2101

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Scott #3230, issued August 20, 1998Scott #3230

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Scott #3671, issued September 20, 2002Scott #3671

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Scott #4451-4460, issued April 30, 2010Scott #4451-4460

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Scott #2155, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2155

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Scott #2156, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2156

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Scott #2157, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2157

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Scott #2158, issued September 25, 1985Scott #2158

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Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #1

History Through Philately — Mrs. Silence Dogood

History Through Philately stamp

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The very first adhesive postage stamp in the world was issued by Great Britain on May 1, 1840, for use beginning May 6. It is known as the Penny Black:

British Penny Black

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The Penny Black is not a rare stamp since 286,700 sheets were printed comprising 240 stamps each, for a total of 68,808,000 stamps. An estimated 1.5 million Penny Blacks still exist. A used Penny Black in FINE condition can be had for about $125, and an unused one in FINE condition can be had for about $3,500.

Of course, a postal system existed in many countries prior to 1840 but without postage stamps. When the carriage fee was paid, the postal clerk made a mark in the upper right corner indicating fee paid and took the envelope for delivery. Eventually postmarks came into use. Created by Henry Bishop of London, they were called a Bishop mark and were first used in 1661 at the London General Post Office.

Here in the United States, the first postal system was established in 1692 under a grant provided by King William and Queen Mary to Thomas Neale. The United States Post Office was established by the Second Continental Congress on July 26, 1775, and is one of only a few government agencies expressly authorized by the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7; known as the postal clause).

The Congress also named Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. Franklin had been a postmaster in the Colonies for decades so he was a natural choice.

Many States and Cities started issuing their own postage stamps after Britain got everything started. It was not until the Stamp Act of 1847 (March 3) that Congress authorized the printing of stamps by the United States Post Office, and the first stamp the Office issued on July 1, 1847, bore an engraved picture of Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster General:

Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #1

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Five cents paid the rate for a letter weighing less than one ounce and traveling less than three hundred miles. About 3,700,000 stamps were printed and many survive today. Used and unused stamps in very fine condition sell for, respectively, about $600 and $1,600. However, stamps in poor condition can be purchased for as little as 10% of those prices.

Contrary to today’s FOREVER postage stamps, the first United States postage stamp was declared invalid for postal use after July 1, 1851.

Following are other early United States postage stamps featuring Benjamin Franklin, each one above a trivia tidbit about Franklin. I have included their Scott Catalog number so you can easily find them to purchase for your own stamp collection.

Scott #38, 1860Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #38Invented the lightning rod and bifocals.

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Scott #63, 1861Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #63Invented the Franklin stove, named after him.

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Scott #133, 1869Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #133Served as the first United States Ambassador to France.

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Scott #134, 1870Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #134Became wealthy by publishing
Poor Richard’s Almanack [sic] and The Pennsylvania Gazette.

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Scott #212, 1887Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #212Helped found the University of Pennsylvania in 1740.

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Scott #247, 1894Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #247Elected first president of the American Philosophical Society.

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Scott #300, 1903Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #300Governor of Pennsylvania from 1785 to 1788.

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Scott #331, 1908Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #331Born in Boston on January 17, 1706.

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Scott #423, 1912Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #423Used the pseudonym “Mrs. Silence Dogood” to write letters to the editor of
the New England Courant, which happened to be his older brother, James.

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Scott #3473 — Washington Monument

History Through Philately — On this day in….

History Through Philately

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On this day in….

….1215 — King John of England signed the Magna Carta by applying his royal seal. Although the document was basically a peace treaty between King John and his barons, it provided guarantees for protecting feudal rights and privileges, upholding church freedom, and maintaining laws throughout England. The Magna Carta, or Great Charter, is now seen as a cornerstone in the development of democracy in England, which then led to democracy throughout Europe, the rest of the Old World, and the New World, which is why the United States issued a postage stamp on June 15, 1965, recognizing its role in United States history and government.

Scott #1215 — Magna Carta

Scott #1215 — Magna Carta

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The Magna Carta implied there were laws that even the king was required to observe, thereby precluding future claims to absolutism by English monarchs. Arguably the most important statement was made by Clause 39 which provided that “no free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised [dispossessed] or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised … except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” Now recognized as an early guarantee of trial by jury and of habeas corpus, it inspired England’s Petition of Right of 1628 and the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679.

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….1849 — James K. Polk, eleventh President of the United States, died in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 53 and just three months after leaving office. His birthplace is unknown but believed to have been in a log cabin in what is now Pineville, North Carolina. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and was both a lawyer and a planter.

Before becoming President of the United States, he served as Governor of Tennessee, Congressman from Tennessee and 17th Speaker of the House. His public service career stretched from 1825 to 1849.

During Polk’s presidency, he oversaw the opening of the United States Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first United States postage stamps States.

Scott #816 — James K. Polk

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Scott #2217b—  James K. Polk

Scott #2217b— James K. Polk

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Scott #2587 — James K. Polk

Scott #2587 — James K. Polk

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Scott #3001 — United States Naval Academy

Scott #3001 — United States Naval Academy

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Scott #1838 — Smithsonian Institution

Scott #1838 — Smithsonian Institution

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Scott #3059 — Smithsonian Institution

Scott #3059 — Smithsonian Institution

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Scott #1, Benjamin Franklin, issued in 1847

Scott #1, first U. S. postage stamp, issued in 1847

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Scott #2512, Grand Canyon National Park

Missed National Parks Week last week?

Halls of History

 

I was so busy last week that I forgot that it was National Parks Week. All National Parks were offering free admission. I have found in the past that free admission also applies to National Monuments and National Forests, and I usually take advantage of the opportunity here to visit Cabrillo National Monument and to do more in Cleveland National Forest than just drive through on the freeway.

Since I missed it, I thought I’d visit some National Parks right here in my blog!

The first national park in the world was founded right here in the United States, in California even. Yellowstone National Park was established by Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone is located mostly in Wyoming but extends into Montana and Idaho. Those three states did not exist in 1872; they were territories, which is why the Federal Government took control of Yellowstone as a National Park.

Some people in Arkansas might argue that the first National Park was established there since the Hot Springs Reservation was set asied on April 20, 1832, when President Andrew Jackson signed legislation protecting it. No legal authority was established and federal control of the area was not definitively established until 1877.

The world’s second National Park was established in Australia in 1879 as the Royal National Park. Other significant National Parks throughout the world:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park was created in 1885 as Canada’s first national park in 1885.
  • New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park came along in 1887.
  • Europe’s first National Parks were nine parks  created in Sweden in 1909.
  • Africa’s first National Park was established in 1925 as Albert National Park, now named Virunga National Park).
  • France’s first National Park was Vanoise National Park in the Alps, created in 1963.
  • The largest National Park in the world is Northeast Greenland National Park with 240,000,000 acres, making it larger than 219 countries.
  • The largest National Park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska at 13,175,790 acres.
  • The smallest National Park in the United States is Hot Springs National Park at 5,550 acres. It also is the only National Park located in an urban area.
  • The newest National Park is Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, created in 2004.
  • The National Park Service was created in 1916 to administer the growing number of National Parks in the United States, now numbering 58.

The United States started recognizing National Parks on its postage stamps in 1934 with the release of a set of ten stamps, shown below. The Scott number shown with each stamp is an internationally recognized system for identifying stamps of the world.

Scott #740, Yosemite National ParkYosemite National Park
California — Created October 1, 1890
Scott #740, issued July 16, 1934

 

Scott #741, Grand CanyonGrand Canyon National Park
Arizona — Created February 26, 1919
Scott #741, issued July 24, 1934

 

Scott #742, Mt. RainierMount Rainier National Park
Washington — Created March 2, 1899
Scott #742, issued August 3, 1934

 

Scott #743, Mesa Verde National ParkMesa Verde National Park
Colorado — Created June 29, 1906
Scott #743, issued September 25, 1934

 

Scott #744, Yellowstone National ParkYellowstone National Park
Montana, Wyoming & Idaho — Created March 1, 1872
Scott #744, issued July 30, 1934

 

Scott #745, Crater Lake National ParkCrater Lake National Park
Oregon — Created May 22, 1902
Scott #745, issued September 5, 1934

 

Scott #746, Acadia National ParkAcadia National Park
Maine — Created February 26, 1919
Scott #746, issued October 2, 1934

 

Scott #747, Zion National ParkZion National Park
Utah — Created November 19, 1919
Scott #747, issued September 18, 1934

 

Scott #748, Glacier National ParkGlacier National Park
Montana — Created May 11, 1910
Scott #748, issued August 27, 1934

 

Scott #749, Great Smoky Mountains National ParkGreat Smoky Mountains National Park
North Carolina & Tennessee — Created June 15, 1934
Scott #749, issued October 8, 1934

 

Since those ten stamps were issued in 1934, another ten stamps have been issued recognizing National Parks, most recently in 1990 when the Grand Canyon appeared on Scott #2512. The Grand Canyong is so well-known that the name of the National Park wasn’t even on the stamp.

Scott #2512, Grand Canyon National Park

 

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Scott #1, Benjamin Franklin, issued in 1847

Halls of History — #1: Benjamin Franklin (Scott #1)

Halls of History

 

What is currently known as the United States Postal Service was established by the Second Continental Congress on July 26, 1775, while meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That means that it is older than the United States itself! It also is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution:

Article I, Section 8, Clause 7, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, provides that “The Congress shall have power … To establish Post Offices and post Roads.”

The first United States postage stamp, Scott #1, featured Benjamin Franklin:

Scott #1, Benjamin Franklin, issued in 1847

 

Benjamin Franklin has been on more United States postage stamps than all but one person. Five cents paid the rate for a ½-ounce letter sent under three hundred miles.

Franklin had been Postmaster General for the City of Philadelphia since 1737. In 1753, the British Government appointed Franklin the Joint Deputy Postmaster for the Colonies. Under his direction he extended mail delivery outside the Colonies, initiated night travel for postal riders to speed mail delivery, and created a dead letter office for undeliverable mail. By 1757 Franklin had surveyed the post roads and reorganized postal operations to provide smoother communication among the Colonies, a task that was crucial to the American Revolution.

At the same meeting of the Second Continental Congress in 1775, Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first United States Postmaster General. He served in that capacity until November 7, 1776, when he left to serve as United States Ambassador to France.

The Post Office continued to evolve. On February 20, 1792, President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act which established the Post Office Department. Eighty years later, the Post Office Act of 1872 elevated the Post Office Department to a Government Cabinet. Almost one hundred years after that, on August 12, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Postal Reorganization Act that replaced the Post Office Department with an independent United States Postal Service, effective July 1, 1971.

Scott #1 was authorized by Congress and approved on March 3, 1847. Stamps were issued on July 1 in New York City, July 2 in Boston, July 7 in Philadelphia, and July 11 in Washington, DC. The earliest known use of Scott #1 is on an envelope dated July 7, 1847, and mailed from New York City to Liverpool, England.

Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, a banknote engraving firm, prepared the design for Scott #1. Originally President Andrew Jackson, recently deceased, was supposed to be on the stamp. Franklin’s portrait, based on artwork by James B. Longacre, was deemed more acceptable as a unifying icon for a nation divided over slavery because of his role in securing independence for the country seventy years earlier.

Ultimately 3,564,000 stamps were issued but few survive today.

Generally postage stamps are valid for postage in perpetuity, but this stamp was declared invalid for postage effective July 1, 1851. However, there are known uses of Scott #1 for postage as late as 1860.

The same design is used on Scott #1a, 1b, and 1c, all color variations, and
Scott #3, issued in 1875.

 

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Scott #3188h - Ford Mustang

Welcome to the Halls of History!

Halls of History

 

Welcome to my newest series! Not new to me, just new to my WordPress friends. This series combines two of my lifelong interests, philately and history.

Scott #2384 - 1932 Packard

Scott #2384 - 1932 Packard

My interest in philately (collecting stamps) began as a Cub Scout in Brigham City, Utah. I was eight or nine, whatever the earliest age is to be a Cub Scout. Every time I joined a Cub Scout Den, though, the Den would promptly collapse and fold. It took six or seven times, but eventually I learned. Never completed Scouting. I did stay with philately, so I do thank the Scouts for that!

My interest in history also began at an early age. My high school senior English teacher, Mrs. Edith Head (but not that Edith Head!) nurtured it along while we were studying Gilgamesh, Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, e.e. cummings, etc.

Scott #3188h - Ford Mustang

Scott #3188h - Ford Mustang

Philately makes a great family event because it encompasses so many things of interest to so many people. You can collect all postage stamps of a country, or you can specialize, collecting just stamps that show animals, or birds, or dogs, or architecture, or music, or film and television, or people. You can even specialize to the extent that you collect just one person, say Benjamin Franklin. He’s on postage stamps of many countries throughout the world and was the first Postmaster General of the United States Post Office, established on July 26, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress. In other words, the United States Post Office is older than the United States itself!

Postage stamps of the world are catalogued and referenced using the Scott catalog, and I’ll include those catalog numbers with the stamps. That way, if you or someone in your family (like a young Cub Scout!) want to get a start in philately, all your Scout (boy or girl) needs to do is reference the Scott catalog number.

In my Halls of History series, we’ll look at the postage stamps of the United States and use them to study history in its many forms — its events, people, projects, buildings, creations, art, music, and more. I hope you enjoy it.

Coming up next, I’ll look at the first postage stamp of the United States, issued in 1847.

Gather round, enjoy yourself and philately, and perhaps learn something new. I do every day.

 

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