Art and Transportation: 1 Cent and Up

The nice man at my Post Office puts up with me like the polite civil servant he is. He knows that, unless I have a package under my arm, I’m going to ask him to pull out his folder and browse through it as if I were choosing a lipstick, not a postage stamp. For the life of me I don’t understand why folks buy those boring rolls of flags, when there’s an ever- refreshed assortment of art — or craft — available for exactly the same price!

I’m no philatelist;my interest in stamps is entirely practical. Bills must be mailed, birthday cards and Valentines dispatched, and even in these electronic times I fire off the occasional letter. (Another dorky post to come about my passion for fountain pens.) Here’s my current inventory:

Despite the snowboard I think the graphic is kinda retro.  I’m a Winter Games geek — Go Canada!

Gary Cooper was such a Dreamboat, especially in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.

The Postal Gentlemen told me that these lovely States stamps didn’t move. Except for me of course.

These pricey lovelies feature a view of 13 Mile Woods in New Hampshire. Postage to Canada is now 75 cents so (oh goody!) I’ll have to use two stamps.

A mixed batch. Top to bottom: Tiffany Lamp (1 cent) Harriet Beecher Stowe (75 cents) and King and Queen of Hearts. I scorn the Love stamps, and the Christmas stamps mostly, but I liked the playing card motif and used them on my Christmas cards.

A genuwine Chippendale chair for 4 cents!

As you know by now, little things make me cheerful. I like to choose stamps with the recipient in mind — that Mary Cassat mother and child from a few years back for congratulatory notes to new parents, something that reflects a friend’s interests or history. Sometimes I just get silly or subversive. I fight the saccharine Xmas Nutcrackers and Madonnas (not that I have anything against either) by sticking Blaxploitation stars or The Incredible Hulk on my holiday mail. I had fun with Muhammed Ali on wedding RSVPs for awhile. What can I say — immaturity keeps me young!

And the USPS is my enabler.



Filed under Art, Collections, Less than 50 cents, Paper

6 responses to “Art and Transportation: 1 Cent and Up

  1. I guess I missed the Blaxploitation heroes collection – really????

    The playing card motif is great. Wish I had some. I had the forest ones, too, and thought they were great!

    What would be your dream stamp theme? I’m a tennis fan – waiting for my Marat Safin stamp! Roger Federer has a stamp of himself – in Austria! Which is funny since he’s from Switzerland. So why shouldn’t the USPS honor a Russian racket smasher?

  2. Dear Alice Marble,

    Well. I hardly know where to begin. (Oh, I can tell FreakyFrites that a person has to be daid to be on a US stamp. Or fictional.)

    Ya, those Chippendales are a recent fave. (You may assume a high level of stamp obsessiveness.) Do you remember the Charles and Ray Eames pane? Have one in its value-added glassene envelope tucked in the book from the Eames LACMA exhibit of a decade or so ago. And a still-shrinkwrapped Elvis pane in its heart-quickening SPECIAL glassene envelope that looks like an lp innersleeve hiding in plain sight among my Wall o’ Records. We’ll not see its like again, neither Elvis nor that special glassene envelope.

    Scorn not the LOVE stamps! Some are all-time faves: That heart with wings one, and the (early self-adhesive technology) die-cut (die-cut stamps have their own special specialness and are rare enough to boot) lacey Valentine? The heart-shaped globe is another fave of mine, as the the heart going into an envelope. Heart shape is my favorite shape. But I also LOVE the Gary Indiana LOVE logo stamp, the very first LOVE stamp.

    Many many in my file are LOVEs, perhaps the exception that proves the rule of our overlapping tastes.

    That said, I must add that for my wedding invitations I used the 4-image American Architects commemorative for my wedding invitations in 1983. And I have never met a holiday stamp I liked.

    Because of keeping old stamps around the combination needed to mail a single first-class letter can border on the Byzantine… I feel certain you know what I mean. Unibomber letters, you know.

    And Alice, I’m sure you were listening 15 years ago or so to a Vertamae Grosvenor All Things Considered commentary, where she went on a bit (about stamps! imagine!) and then remarked that she refuses to put J. Edgar Hoover and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the same envelope, not EVEN for a bill.

  3. I’m not sure that it’s necessary to be daid to be on a stamp if the USPS still has that design-your-own stamp program, invented in Canada. As Someone approaches graduation, his phiz could legally appear if you and Ivan ran up some custom stamps for the party invitations. I’ll try to find a link.

    Frites: that might be a solution for your Marat stamp! I love the idea of tennis stamps, especially one of Alice Marble! Maybe the USPS could do a series (with really cool grafix, of course) showing the backhand, the forehand, the lob, the volley … you get the idea. (Yes, Blaxpoitation stars.)

    Priscilla, I will banish my churlish attitude about LOVE stamps because I trust your judgment in these things. And rats, I missed that Vertamae piece.

  4. Somewhere in my stuff (unless I lost custody of it in the divorce) there is an envelope with an Elvis stamp. The person who bought it for me sent the envelope out without an address–it was returned to her stamped “Return to Sender, Address Unknown”.

    I always ask for pretty stamps, but my post office runs out of pretty ones quickly.

  5. absurdoldbird

    I love those Gary Cooper ones in your post.

    My father left a lot of stamps to me and I had assumed they were all used ones from a stamp collection of his, but then I discovered there were sheets and sheets of unused which are all still useable (since our Queen hasn’t yet died or abdicated and no currency is on the horizon, apart from the Euro that has been wanting to come in for a while). They are all picture stamps and so pretty. Flowers, animals, historical and special events, architecture, all sorts of things. I’ve still not used any, but they are there if I need them.

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