New book tells stories behind modern US errors

US Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

When we think of postage stamps, most of us think of the pristine and perfectly produced stamps we see at the post office and on our daily mail. There is another story to United States stamps, and my new book, Philatelic Royalty of the 20th Century: Stories behind modern-era US treasures, tells it: Errors and varieties are unavoidable waste products of any printing operation, and the United States has had its share. The book’s cover is illustrated here.

Some think there are too many errors and varieties. But keep in mind that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which produced US stamps from 1894 to 2003, printed as many as 40 billion stamps in a single year. The amount of waste that has gotten out to collectors has been surprisingly small: a tiny percentage of that production.

The stories of how this waste came to exist and its significance in US philately will be of interest to US stamp collectors, and, in some cases, will give them hints as to what undiscovered sleepers they might find for their collections if they know what to look for.

The well-illustrated, full-color book is a collection of 22 of my columns that appeared from 2015 to 2020 in Kelleher’s Stamp Collector’s Quarterlypublished by Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions of Danbury, Conn.

A bonus article details my involvement with the development of the 1992 Consular Service Bicentennial postal stationery envelopes (Scott UO86-UO87), reprinted from Postal Stationery No. 426 (May-June, 2019), the journal of the United Postal Stationery Society.

The book lists for $29.99, but as a special for Linn’s readers, it can be ordered from me for $26 plus $3.50 postcard for up to two copies, autographed upon request. Orders should be sent to me, John Hotchner, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.

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