Book Review – The 5c Beacon Air Mail Stamp of 1928 - Henry M. Goodkind

Discussion in 'United States Stamps' started by Molokai, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    The 5c Beacon Airmail Stamp of 1928 by Henry M. Goodkind, Collectors Club 1965, Paperback 61 pages.

    I remember seeing this book probably hot off the presses at a ROMPEX show in the 1960s! The price was $2.00. Amazing, many photos and high-quality paper. I wanted to add it to my stamp book collection (very glad I did!) but the prices I found were off-putting - $300.00(!) on Amazon. I saw it on Phil Bransner’s website – – for $12.00 and jumped on it. BTW, I’ve had very good dealings with Mr. Bransner and recommend him highly – although one should always shop prices on the usual sources – eBay, Amazon, ABEbooks.

    This short book is packed with great information! Goodkind begins the Introduction, “This writer remembers when he was a young, budding philatelist seeing in exhibitions in and around New York a number of one stamp or one stamp issue collections, many of them concentrating on inexpensive issues. In recent years, collections of this kind seem to have disappeared.”

    He considers two criteria required for such a specialization: “First of all, the production and printing should not be monotonous, as with so many recent U.S. commemoratives. Second, Cancellations and covers of a particular should be available in good supply.”

    A reading of this book clearly demonstrates the Beacon stamp (Scott C11) possesses both traits – in spades.

    Goodkind begins with a history of the lead-up and printing of the stamp. Three photos are included showing that the vignette on the stamp is actually composite of all of them. Goodkind continues with plate block collecting and printing varieties. There are many! Just collecting blocks with the initials of the sidographers and (sometimes in combination) the platemakers is a worthy project. There were three printings, the first supposedly distinguishable from the others because of the sharpness of the image. An Appendix lists all the plates (Frame/Vignette) used for all three printings. A few are quite rare.

    Plate and stamp varieties abound on both the plates and stamps of the Beacon airmail. Perhaps the best known of the former is the ‘Double Top’ illustrated here.

    On the stamp there are 'blue moons,' 'open doors,' 'plane dropping bomb,' 'grounded airplane and others. The Beacon was printed with two plates, similar to the Pan Am stamps; frame (red) and vignette (black). The beacon itself can be found shifted high, low, left and right. Centering on the Beacon stamp is notoriously poor for such a late date.

    It was all too much for the Bureau and they reverted to a single color replacement after two years. But as Goodkind’s work shows, there is plenty of postal history, covers, and uses of the Beacon stamp.

    There is an old chess saying, “Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe.” I think this applies to philately, also. There are so many paths to explore, and inexpensive routes for specialization. You don't have to own an inverted Jenny or set of Zeppelin plate blocks. I’ve had tons-of-fun searching plate varieties on the 1c Franklin, Scott #300. I purchased almost 1500 of them for about a nickel each, average. The Beacon is not quite so affordable – used copies go for around $1.00 and plate blocks from $25.00 on up. But Goodkind’s point is well-taken even today, 50 years later. There are still plenty of relatively inexpensive stamps – U.S. and Foreign - worthy of specialization!

    The Beacon stamp is also well-known StampExchange member Gunny's moniker!:happy:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  2. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    That's a beautiful stamp, I'm glad I bought a plate number block back in the day.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
    Molokai likes this.
  3. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Smart! I am shopping for a nice PB of 10. Close to $100.00 for a MNH-VF!
    Hochstrasse likes this.
  4. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    That's actually a pretty good price. Most of the plate blocks being sold are like the one you showed. Scott lists both 6 and 8 stamp plate blocks. A 10 stamp plate number block would be the top of the entire sheet and definitely much scarcer.
  5. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    One of the fascinations of this issue are the shifted vignettes. You'd think by 1928 the Bureau would have it down cold. The prices for some of the extreme shifts on eBay are very high and - IMHO - crazy. Montage of some shifts and a block I bought recently.

    Attached Files:

    Hochstrasse and DonSellos like this.
  6. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    Very nice block!! I think all of the two-color stamps of the 20s and 30s "move" around a little when printing the second color. Makes for some interesting variations.

    Molokai likes this.
  7. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Nice vignette shifts Molokai. That reminds me of the vignette shifts of the C3 airmail stamp in the various approaches of a "landing".
    DonSellos likes this.
  8. Gunny

    Gunny Retired Jarhead Moderator

    Great report, and as you report, one of my favorite air mail stamps.
  9. Gunny

    Gunny Retired Jarhead Moderator

    Here is mine. Nice & crisp. Mainly like it because of vibrant colors and the size. Small stamps do a number on my eyesight.

    DonSellos and Molokai like this.
  10. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Wow! That is a beauty, Gunny. The stamp is very often poorly centered. Yours is about perfect. :)
    Gunny likes this.
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