By Wes Shellen



In last April’s issue of the SOS Signal, I showed some examples of various unofficial souvenir sheets from the 1940 Centennial of the Penny Black. I also wrote that somebody should compile a checklist of these cinderella sheets. Several days after the article was published I received a thick envelope from veteran SOSCC member, Boris Politziner. (Boris was VP of this club when I joined as a beginner over 25 years ago!) In the envelope was an old four-page thermofax checklist of over 80 different souvenir sheets issued in the U.S. for the Penny Black centenary. The list, according to Boris, was prepared many years ago by a collector named S. A. Garnett.1 Since we now know that such a list already exists, I would like to use this article to show some interesting examples of the U.S. cinderellas from Garnett’s inventory [view the list in the end of the page.] In a future issue of the SOS Signal I will conclude this series by showing some examples of foreign souvenirs honoring the centenary of the Penny Black.

Figure 1

My first example is a 1940 souvenir label distributed by Harrisburg, PA stamp dealer Elmer Long with four cartoon drawings by John Coulthard (Figure 1). Certainly the artist’s caricature of Queen Victoria here was considerably less flattering than the lovely Wyon Medallion portrait after which the Penny Black stamp was modeled.



Figure 2

Figure 3


Most of the American cinderella issues were mementos from various U.S. stamp exhibitions held in 1940 and each took a different approach to the centennial theme. The earliest of these was a small souvenir sheet issued for the Bison Philatelic Society’s show in Buffalo, NY in early January 1940. The sheet pictures the Penny Black stamp, a bright red bison club symbol, and the wording "The ‘Penny Black’s’ 100th Anniversary"(Figure 2). The Midwest Philatelic Society of Kansas City, Missouri, published a similar motif, combining the society’s triangular emblem with the Penny Black in a small souvenir sheet on yellow paper (Figure 3).

The Deseret Stamp Club of Salt Lake City, Utah issued souvenir sheets in two colors, black and blue (Figure 4). The design shows the Penny Black and two-penny blue stamps on a background of the Mulready envelope, the world’s first postal stationery. This is a nice example, I think, of a design that incorporates all three of the philatelic "firsts" appropriate to the 100th anniversary of the postage stamp.

Figure 4

Figure 5

The Madison, Wisconsin stamp club took a very different approach to the design of the cinderella sheets issued for their exhibition. They employed an Art Deco motif with one-penny stamps from 1840 and 1940 shown next to a Figure reminiscent of the two-faced Janus head from Roman mythology (Figure 5). These sheets exist in three different colors, magenta, brown, and purple.

Figure 6

Figure 7

Someone employed creativity in a hybrid "stamp" put out by the Michigan Stamp Club. The stamp uses the frame of the Penny Black but incorporates a vignette of Queen Victoria reminiscent of the famous full-face Chalon portrait found on the early stamps of New Zealand and several other British Colonies (Figure 6).

The next example of a U.S. cinderella sheet was issued for the Passaic, NJ stamp club that held its exhibition the first week in May, coinciding with the actual May 6 centennial date. The sheet (Figure 7) shows a bumper crop of sixteen Penny Blacks forming a border around another large red and blue "stamp" with a vignette of Uncle Sam. Altogether this sheet strikes me as a colorful but incongruous combination of national symbols.

The Crescent City Stamp Club in New Orleans put out a souvenir sheet with a large perforated "stamp" picturing the bust of Queen Victoria (Figure 8). My copy is in three colors, red, black and beige on white paper. According to Garnett’s list, this cinderella also exists on four other colors of paper, both perforated and imperforate, making a total of ten different types of this sheet for the specialist to collect.

Figure 8

My final example came from the Washington D.C. Philatelic Society. I have saved it for last because I think it is the most important. This odd little design on yellow paper (Figure 9) illustrates an enlarged version of the commemorative meter slogan used in Washington D.C. on the 100th Anniversary of the Penny Black (Figure 10). This meter slogan was the closest thing to official postal recognition of the world’s first postage stamp that happened in the United States in 1940. All of the other American philatelic reminders of the centennial were cinderellas.





Figure 9

Figure 10







Compiled by SAPERE AUDE*

*Note: We are grateful to Boris Politziner for providing a copy of this early list. According to Boris, Sapere Aude is a pseudonym for collector, S.A. Garnett.

This is a complete listing, as known to me, of souvenir sheets, vignettes and labels, issued in the United States of America to commemorate the Centenary of the first postage stamp. The name of the Philatelic Society or Company, which issued the souvenirs, is given first, then the name of the town, and the subject of the label, followed by the colours in which they are printed. To save space, I have designated the portraying of a Penny Black as PB, a twopenny blue as TB, and a portrait of Sir Rowland Hill as RH. Unless stated the paper is always white.

1.     A.B.C. Stamp Co. Los Angeles. PB. Block of 4.

2.     All Boro’s Collectors Club. New York. Copy of 1934 Australian airmail stamp, with the addition of the dates 1840-1940. Brown on thin gummed paper.

2a. As above, blue on thin gummed paper.

2b. As above, printed in brown on thick paper, ungummed.

3.     Balisea Inc., 9th Annual Exhibition. PB on Mulready envelope. Black and blue. Advance seals, advertising the exhibition also exist.

4.     Bay City Philatelic Society, & Saginaw Stamp Society, Michigan. PB block of 9.

5.     Bath City Stamp & Coin Club, PB.

6.     Bay Ridge Stamp Society, Brooklyn, NY. PB and facsimile of "mock" stamp, printed in black on white paper.

6a. As no. 6, but printed in black on salmon coloured paper.

6b. As no. 6, but printed in black on light green paper.

7.     Bay Ridge Stamp Society, as no 6, but smaller printed in black on pink paper. Also stated to exist on green and white paper.

8.     Bison Philatelic Society, Buffalo. PB. Black.

9.     Buffalo, N.Y., shows a view of Buffalo Post Office in 1840. Red-brown.

9a. As no. 9, printed in green.

10. Charles S. Brisley. Private collector. PB. Green.

10a. As no. 10 in violet.

10b. As no. 10 in black.

11. Burgard Vocation High School Stamp Club. Buffalo, N.Y. PB canceled.

12. Capital City Philatelic Society, Harrisburg, Postman of 1840 and 1940. Red.

12a. As no 12, but showing Mail ship and Mail plane. Blue

12b. As no 12, but showing Queen Victoria.

12c. As no 12, but showing collector of 19th and 20th centuries.

13. Centennial Stamp Exhibition. Buffalo, N.Y. May 4-6th 1940. This sheet of large size was issued by three local stamp dealers. It shows Penny Black in black, on engine turned background in brown.

14. Linns Weekly Stamp News. Thick paper ungummed.

15. Central Federation of Stamp Clubs. Chicago. Nov 10-16th. Thick card. Blue.

16. Chicago Pre-cancel Club. Nov 10-11th. International Philatelic Week label overprinted in red.

17. Chicago Pre-cancel Club. Fall stamped 16-17th Nov. International Philatelic Week label overprinted in red, and fastened "Gunesch" advertising card.

18. Contribution to the Philatelic Committee of the British War Relief Society Incorporated. Large size, on high quality paper.

19. Columbus Philatelic Club, Ohio. Head of Queen Victoria. Blue & black.

20. As above on thick board, same colours, but no wording.

21. Cover Collectors of America. Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mulready envelope. Black & red.

22. Crescent City Stamp Club. New Orleans. Queen Victoria. Red, black & beige. Thin gummed white paper, perforated.

22a. As above, imperforate.

23. As no. 22, but on pink paper, perforated.

23a. As no 22, but on blue paper, perforated.

23b. As no 22, but on yellow paper, perforated.

23c. As no. 22, but on lt blue paper, perforated.

24. As no. 23, imperforate.

24a. As no. 23a, imperforate

24b. As no 23b, imperforate.

24c. As no 23c, imperforate.

25. Deseret Stamp Club. Salt Lake City, Souvenir sheet showing PB & TB on Mulready envelope. Black.

25a. As above, same design on Menu Card at Centenary Banquet.

26 As no. 25, but colour blue.

27. Frederick H. Dietz. New York stamp dealer. PB. Black & Gold.

28. Easton Philatelic Society, Easton, Penn. PB. Souvenir sheet composed of 6 similar labels, imperf. Cream paper, printed in black.

28a. As no. 28 but on green paper.

28b. As no 28 but on blue paper. [one stamp]

29. Glen Ellyn Philatelic Club. Glen Ellyn, Ill. PB and mail train, printed in black and yellow, perforated.

29a. As no. 29 but imperforate.

30. As no 29 printed on silver paper. Imperforate.

30a. As no. 30 printed on gold paper.

31. Hapex. Kansas City. PB, also triangular stamp, printed in black and yellow.

32. Hollypex. California. Set of 4 perfoated.

32a. As no. 32 but imperforate.

33. International Stamp Club. Brooklyn, N.Y. PB, printed in black.

34. As no. 33 printed in blue.

35. As no. 33 printed in silver.

36. As no. 33, overprinted in red "International Stamp Centennial Exhibition, British Pavilion N.Y."

37. International Stamp Centennial Exhibition, British Pavilion, N.Y., World Fair, 1840-1940. PB, also Pylon and globe (fair motif).

38. International Philatelic Week, small size seal printed in blue. PB & Liner.

39. Kenmore Stamp Col, N.Y. Stamp Dealers. PB on heavy card.

40. As above, proof showing PB only.

41. Kenmore Stamp Co. PB pair, printed in black on thin gummed paper.

41a. As no. 41 with additional overprint "World Wide Philatelic Convention", Detroit.

42. Elmer R. Long. Harrisburg. Stamp Dealer. Single sheet containing one each of no. 12, a, b, & c, printed in blue with Dealer’s name.

43. Madison Stamp Club. Madison, Wisc. Sheet which incorporates PB and Geo. VI 1d. Stamps in the design, stamps printed in black, balance in blue.

43a. As no 43, printed in brown.

43b. As no 43, printed in carmine.

44. Michigan Stamp Club. Detroit, Mich. Facsimile stamp showing Queen Victoria, printed in violet.

44a. As no 44, printed in black.

44b. As no 44, colour not known.

44c. As no 44, colour not known.

45. Michigan Stamp Club, Detroit, Mich. RH. Printed in black on yellow paper.

45a. As no. 45, printed in black on green paper.

45b. As no 45, printed in black on pink paper.

46. Medford Stamp Club. Medford, Oregon. PB, pair & TB pair, blue and black.

47. McKinley Stamp Club. Canton, Ohio. Showing McKinley Monument in blue.

47a. As no. 47, in brown.

47b. As no. 47, in red.

48. House of Farnham. Cleveland, Ohio. PB. No name on small size sheet, identifiable by the initials H and F, in the lower corners of the Penny Black. Black.

49. Medford Stamp Club. Medford, Oregon. May 6th, 1940 (this item is doubtful).

50. Mound City Stamp Club. St. Louis. Knight in Armour superimposed on Fleur-de-lis.. Printed in Green.

50a. As no. 50, printed in black.

50b. As no 50, printed in carmine.

50c. As no. 50, printed in orange.

51. New Jersey Philatelic Federation. Sheet showing 16 PB & Uncle Sam. Red & black.

52. As no. 51, showing many errors.

53. Stamp Club of Indiana & Kentucky. PB. Black & Blue.

54. Niagra Frontier Stamp Centennial. Buffalo, N.Y. RH.

55. Oklahoma Philatelic Society. PB. Black on white.

55a. As no. 55, black on yellow.

55b. As no. 55, black on blue.

55c. As no. 55, black on red.

56. Philatelic Society of Dresden. Philadelphia.

57. Philatelic Society of Pittsburgh. Souvenir labels of 1939 Exhibition overprinted "Centenary of Postage Stamp, 1840 - May 6 - 1940." Magenta paper. (600).

57a. As no 57 on orange paper (200).

58. Philaterians. Chicago, Ill. PB.

59. As no. 58, on folded banquet menu.

60. Pulaski Philatelic Club, participating in World Wide Convention. Detroit, Mich [date, 1940] Sheet showing stamp featuring King ???. [Boris P. notes "not centenary"]

61. Rockaway Philatelic Society, Long Island, N.Y. PB on gummed paper.

62. As no 61, on stout card.

62a. As no. 62 die proof.

63. Roosevelt Philatelic Society. Chicago. Poster Stamp. [Issued 100 covers signed by president of club].

64. Rutland County Stamp Club. Rutland, Vermont. PB. Black on silver.

65. St. Teresa Stamp Club. Brooklyn, N.Y. PB.

66. Elmer Stuart, Stamp Dealer. PB.

67. Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing, Private seal showing 4 facsimile stamps one of which is PB, printed in blue and red. Perforated.

68. Stapex. Chicago. PB & USA. Frankly [?] cts. Printed in black.

69. Texas Philatelic Association. Forth ??th. Sheet of 4 stamps. PB, map of Texas (green), cowboy (red), Hotel (blue). Perforated.

69a. As no. 69, imperforate.

70. Willamette Valley Stamp Exhibition. Salem, Oregon. Sheet of 4 different stamps, printed in green, imperforate. [Overprinted for U.S. centenary 1947.]

71. The Twin City Philatelic Society, Minneapolis. PB on high grade paper. Black.

72. As no. 71, on "Whatmans" English high grade paper. PB. Embossed.

73. Tiffin Stamp Club. Tiffin, Ohio. Seal issued at Exh. Of 2.5.1940.

74. Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs, Racine, Wis. Perforated label showing Lighthouse, blue on cream.

75. Washington Philatelic Society, D.C. Enlarged version of the meter-mark slug showing Queen Victoria, used on metered mail.

76. Trans-Mississippi Philatelic Society. Wichita. PB.

77. Tatham Stamp Store. Springfield, Mass. Stamp Dealer.

78. Washington State Philatelic Society. Seattle, Wash. PB.

79. World-Wide Philatelic Convention. Detroit, Mich. Small seal advertising this event held to commemorate the first stamp. Red & Blue.

79a. As no. 79, blue and black. (Both labels state "Plan to attend"). [Boris P. notes that 79 and 79a are not Penny Black Centenary items.]

80. South Jersey Stamp Clubs Association. Vineland, N.J. PB.

81. World Wide Philatelic Convention. Detroit, Mich. International Philatelic Week. Small sheet, overprinted in red "Fall Stampede, Chicago Precancel Club, Hotel Sheridan, Nov. 16-17, 1940." This sheet is attached to the Gunesch Precancel House card, as no. 17.

As the PB celebrations were tied up with the "World Wide Phil. Conv." which was held in the USA in 1940, many of the seals, vignettes and souvenir sheets of this event, of which there are a good number, can at the discretion of the individual collector be included in the collection, although the majority make no mention of the "Centenary" celebrations. At least 20 different types of these seals exist.

82. Rubber City Stamp Club. Akron, Ohio. Sheet showing Airship surrounded by Motor tyre. Black & green on white.

82a. As no. 82, black & lilac on white.

82b. As no. 82, black & red on white.

                   82c. As no 82, brown & black on white.