Some stamps from my U.S. collection

Discussion in 'United States Stamps' started by DonSellos, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    <DONSELLOS> Have you started your book on the Prominent Americans series? Please share some sample chapters with us! You'll be philatelically phamous:

    The Prominent Americans
    United States Stamp Series 1965-1978

    Señor Don Sellos

    Linn’s says – “A great work by a great philatelist!”
    Stamps (London) – “A real page turner! Jolly good.”
    Lester Brookman writing for the Heavenly Philatelist pronounces The Prominent Americans as ‘…spirited writing.’
  2. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    I am surprised to learn that you have not received that cover yet! It must have gotten lost in the mail. I suspect one day you will receive it with an auxiliary marking reading "Found in supposedly empty equipment." Be patient, happens all the time.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  3. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator


    Thank you, but I am not an author, or even a philatelist, just a humble collector of inexpensive used stamps and covers who tries to get along with fellow collectors:shy:

  4. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    The following pages illustrate another reason I quit collecting U.S. new issues, especially booklet panes, by the 1990s. In the 1980s, the U.S. Postal Service began issuing more and more booklet panes, several of which were "special issue" stamps, not quite commemorative, but often of a similar size.

    From a marketing perspective, it was probably a good idea. I think the general public preferred the new booklets over sheet formats. As a collector, however, I found them difficult to keep up with, and more difficult to mount. Actually, it was not the mounting, but the preparation for mounting. At some time, probably in the 1970s, the Postal Service switched from stapling the the top tab of selvage of booklet panes to the booklet covers to gluing them to the covers. At first the glue could be separated without too much effort, but then it became impossible to separate the selvage tab from the booklet cover without thinning the selvage. Some collectors started collecting booklet pane separated from their selvage, others kept the thinned selvage intact. I did some of both, but preferred leaving the selvage intact. Neither was a great solution. Collecting these panes became a pain and I stopped buying them.


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  5. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Those are actually very attractive issues. But, I think you got out at just about the right time <DON>.

    I've read more than a few letters and columns in the 1950s periodicals lamenting the Post Office taking advantage of collectors by producing so many 'new issues.' Ha!
    DonSellos likes this.
  6. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Don, I have to concur with your summation of the adhesive on those booklets being impossible to separate. For a while I while I saved the booklets intact, but reflecting on the future of mounting those booklet pages I also quit collecting them. Do you remember the postal blue booklets that were constructed from other formats? That was for me the straw that broke the camel's back.
    DonSellos likes this.
  7. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    Hi Molokai:

    Yes, I agree, many of the designs were attractive and collectable for that reason alone. I like the fish, cars, steam boats, locomotives, fishing flies, etc, too. The Postal Service did make a major concession to collectors on the tabs, it started to make the booklet panes available from the Philatelic Fulfillment Center without being affixed to the covers. That was a big help if one continued to collect them. I have some of those "never folded panes" as they were called, and, indeed, I believe some of those I posted above fall into that category.

    The availability of the never-folded-pane was also somewhat self-serving, though. I forgot to mention above that the same time these special issue booklets became available, plate numbers began appearing on the tabs. That gave the PO a reason to preserve the tabs intact in order to build a corps of plate number collectors for the panes. You have to hand it to the Postal Service marketing staff -- they were always coming up with ideas to sell more stamps to collectors, even as it was becoming more and more difficult to find new issues in the post offices.

    I never mounted most of my never-folded-panes and they have languished in my stock book for several years now. Three examples are posted below , never folded, complete with plate numbers.

    If you ever read the American Philatelic Society Journal of the 1950s and 1960s you undoubtedly remember its Black Blot designation. The editors applied a Black Blot to stamp issues they believed were superfluous for the postal system that issued them or were designed and issued specifically for topical collectors. There was some self-righteousness involved with the designation and I don't remember ever seeing a blot applied to a U.S. issue. However, by the time we arrived at the 1980s and 1990s the APS had given up trying to shame the world's postal authorities into stopping the issuance of stamps aimed at collectors. Had the Black Blot continued surely the U.S. would have become a major offender.



    Werner Salentin likes this.
  8. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    Hi Hochstrasse:

    I can't say I remember the blue booklets, but I do recall a booklet of self-adhesive stamps where the backing material was also the booklet cover. That may have been the forerunner of our contemporary booklets of self-adhesive stamps.

    Then there was the vending machine that dispensed a pane of extra thin plastic stamps in a extra thin backing that served as a cover. If my memory serves me, I believe this thin plastic pane was dispensed by an ATM machine at banks? Does that sound familiar to you? I'll check my U.S. albums, I believe I have one each of these types.

    Hochstrasse likes this.
  9. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Hi Don,
    I looked up the blue booklets I spoke about and apparently they are called MDI booklets. Here is an example:
    Here's a link with some description of the booklets:

    "Minnesota Diversity Industries (MDI) of St. Paul, Minnesota, is a non-profit organization. Their web site is In the late 1990’s they produced stamp booklets for the USPS to be used in vending machines. The philatelic community calls them “MDI Booklets.” Scott calls them “Makeshift Vending Machine Booklets.” Furman calls those booklets produced by MDI, “Vending Machine Booklets (VMBs) and those produced by the USPS for vending machines “VM Booklets.”'

    Collectors of booklets came to the conclusion that achieving completeness was "impossible" as construction of these booklets from sheetlets from different manufacturers and plate numbers with different amounts of stamps in the constructed booklets became too voluminous and expensive.
    I have an ATM booklet and a couple of test ATM sheets that are thin and with a somewhat "plastic" look and feel possibly the same as yours.
    DonSellos likes this.
  10. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator


    Thanks for the links. Both very informative. I don't remember the MDI booklets at all. I may have given up on collecting booklet panes when they came out. The link from Philatelic Data Base presents a collecting challenge for booklet panes far, far beyond what I have ever envisioned.

    I did find my two early self-adhesive booklet panes that I collected. They include the ultra thin plastic pane dispensed by ATMs. I don't remember where or when I acquired these two examples, but I have no other self-adhesive panes afterwards.

    I remember the Eagle and Shield stamps as being widely seen on incoming mail and I still get one once in a while from stamp dealers using them as rate make-up postage.

    The reverse of the plastic flag pane had a thin backing printed in blue admonishing users not get it wet or to lick the stamps!


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    Hochstrasse likes this.
  11. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Yes Don, that's the pane I have also, I'm waiting for the discoloration to affect it like the '74 Christmas pane in which the gum bleed through is almost complete. The gum formulation changed for the 29c stamps and it supposedly won't do that, but also makes the stamps very hard to get off paper.
    DonSellos likes this.
  12. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    I have two of the plastic sheetlets, the one mounted and one in a stock book. Neither show any signs of degradation yet. The plastic may be less susceptible to that process than the paper used for the 1974 Christmas stamp. At least, I hope it is.

    So far my Sc. 1552 "Peace on Earth" 1974 Christmas self-adhesive has fared fairly well, but I have seen some that are badly mottled. This stamp was such a bummer for collectors. Besides the mottling problem, Scott notes that the design is die cut to promote disintegration and prevent reuse if soaked off a cover. To be collected used it has to remain on piece. It was, indeed, a harbinger of challenges to come for U.S. collectors.

    My stamp is mounted with the backing still attached. I wonder if the mottling could be short circuited by removing the stamp from the backing and then using a solvent such as lighter fluid to dissolve the adhesive? Does anyone know of collectors doing that?


    My 1974 Christmas stamp.
    Hochstrasse likes this.
  13. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Don, I haven't heard of anybody trying to remove the stamps to remove the glue, but if I had to guess it would be that somebody must have tried to. My sheetlet is absolutely horribly stained, which Scott describes as "normal", so I'm assuming a sheetlet not stained would command a premium.
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