Quantities of two Bicentennial commemorative stamps issued in strip form have been announced by the United States Postal Service. There have been 218,955,000 of the Spirit of '76 stamps distributed, and 204,035,000 of the Declaration of Independence adhesives in panes of 50.
These totals, on the surface, do not indicate anything unusual, but the number of strips has a decided impact on potential value. As an example, there can only be 40,807,000 unsevered strips of four of the Declaration of Independence item on the market - unused and used.
In the same vein, only 65,686,500 setenant strips of three of the Spirit of '76 stamp can exist. The center stamp picturing the "Old Drummer" was used only as a part of the triptych, and therefore has a smaller potential quantity than the other two elements.
The "Drummer Boy" portion of Willard's painting was used down the inner vertical row of each left pane to make up panes of 50 subjects and the "Fifer" segment was used for the left vertical row of the right panes.
A breakdown of Postal Service's totals indicates there are no more than 29,320,000 unsevered units of four of the Military Uniforms commemoratives of 1975; 33,731,0000 blocks of four of the U.S. Post Office 200th anniversary issue, and 39,255,000 of the Boston Tea Party unit of four.
Also: There can be no more than 37,686,000 of the Continental Congress blocks of four; 40,378,000 of the Colonial Craftsman unit of four, and 40,807,000 of the Declaration of Independence strips - as noted.
Some of the United States Bicentenial issues were single-subject entities, specifically the initial American Revolution Bicentennial Administration logo motif of 1971; the four "Rise of the Spirit" items; another quartet based on "Contributors to the Cause," and the more recent Lexington-Concord and Bunker Hill battles commemorations.
The "Drummer" element of the "Rise of the Spirit" grouping of single-suject stamps had the lowest distribution (147,295,000), while the Peter Francisco 18-center was low for the "Contributors to the Cause" set (57,385,000).
The philatelic Sales Division, operated by Postal Service in Washington, D.C., had $11,502,000 in revenue during Fiscal 1976, which is a far cry from reported sales of $20,906 in fiscal 1922 - when a Philatelic Agency was created by the Post Office Department.
Major stamp exhibitions will return to normal schedules this year after a period of juggling to yield to Phildelphia's international stamp exhibition May 29 to June 6 last year.
Colorado's third Cherpex show (Jan. 28-29) will be among the early displays, and will be staged at Engewood's Cinderella City Shopping Center.
The American Stamp Dealers Association, maintaining its rather heavy schedule, will open the new year wtih its fifth International Philatelic Fair (Feb. 4-6) at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel in Chicago, and will follow with the 19th Interpex super-attraction (March 11-13) at the American Hotel in Manhattan.
Northern New Jersey's Association of Bergen County Philatelists will hold its 43rd annual competition (Feb. 25-27) at the Elmwood Park-(East Paterson) Legion Hall.
Florida's Sarapex show will also be held that weekend, at the Sarasota Exhibition Hall; Atlantic City's popular Sojex exhibit will take place April 15-17 at the Marlborough-Blenhein Hotel, and the American Philatelic Society is to hold its spring meeting at New Orleans April 1-3.
The Society of Philatelic Americans' spring meeting has been scheduled for May 6-8 in conjunction with the biennal Napex show at the Marriott Twin Bridges Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Denver's annual Rompex show, hosting the Germany Philatelic Society, will be presented May 20-22 at the Regency Inn; Chicago's tremendous Compex exhibit returns to the Memorial Day weekend (May 27-29) - again at the Palmer House, and the American Topical Association's all-topical exhibition and convention (Topex) is scheduled for June 17-19 at the Marriott Motor Hotel, Stemmons Freeway, Dallas.
Since 1977 is the Year of the Snake, Nationalist China and Japan have adapted that motif for their special New Year stamps. The mailing of privately produced New Year postcards is very heavy in Japan, especially , with Tokyo reporting that 2.6 million of these cards wer handled in the 1975 fiscal year.
Japan's 20-yen adhesive shows a bamboo snake - a toy that has been popular since the Edo period (1603-1867 A.D.). Taiwan's $1 and $5 New Year stamps feature the "Brazen Serpent," which is linked with the clublike staff with coiled serpent attributed to Aesculapius, and to the Brazen Serpent made by Moses to save the Israelites.
Nationalist China also has announced its stamp program for the first half of this year, starting quickly (this month) with a trio of art stamps reproducing ancient Chinese paintings.
Taiwan birds will be pictured on another trio next month, and in March four adhesives will reproduce Madame Chiang Kai-shek's landscape paintings. Completing the six-month program are two items promoting blood donations; four music stamps, and a single adhesive showing a nuclear powe plant COINS
Seven years ago, a Coinage Law (the Bank Holding Company Act) was signed by President Richard M. Nixon.
Among the several amendments relating to coinage was one providing for a resumption of coins of the dollar denomination - the first officially since 1935.
The new $1 coin was to bear the likeness of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (on the observe) and a design symbolic of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon (for the reverse).
All silver, it was provided, was to be removed from the new $1 coin, but the lawmakers so phrased the Act that the Secretary of the Treasury was permitted to mint and issue not more than 150 million dollar-pieces composed of 40 per-cent silver.
Of these, 130 million were to be manufactured and sold in uncirculated condition, and 20 million were to be processed as Proof coins. Normal minting for circulation was to be in a cupro-nickel clad metal.
The Ike dollar was never a popular coin, and circulation seems to have been mainly in Nevada, for the gambling casinos. Yet there is talk of continuing a dollar coin in a smaller size (and possibly eliminating the half-dollar) if changes are made in United States coinage at some future date.
In any event, the Eisenhower dollar - in its short life - has appeared in 23, 24 or 25 forms, depending on interpretations.
Clad (copper and nickel) dollars appeared in 1971 and 1972 without a mint mark (Philadelphia) and with a "D" (Denver). Then, in 1973 no circulating dollars were produced, with the plain and "D" items being struck for annual mint sets only. The 1973-S (San Francisco) clad minting was for proof sets.
Use of the Frank Gasparro Eisenhower - Apollo 11 combination obverse-reverse ended with the 1974 clad coinage - plain, and with the "D" mint mark for "circulating" purposes, and with an "S" for proof sets. There has been talk for 1977 if it is determined there is a need for the coin. There were no dollars dated 1975.
Part-silver Eisenhower dollars were minted at San Francisco (S) only in 1971, 1973 and 1974 in uncirculated condition, and as proofs.There were also no 40 per-cent silver Ike dollars produced in 1975, at least carrying that year.
A Bicentennial version of the dollar, with a Dennis R. Williams reverse, show the Liberty Bell superimposed on the moon, and has "1776-1976" as the date on the obverse.
Essentially, there are three cupronickel dollar types. The Philadelphia (plain) and Denver (D) strikings were for general circulation, and the San Francisco product (S) was for proof sets. Finally, there are the 40-per cent silver strikings for uncirculated sets and for proof sets at San Francisco's Assay Office.
There are two varieties of the clad Bicentennial 1776-1976 Eisenhower dollar. Variety-One dollars have thick, block-style lettering with nearly closed E's, and straight tails on the R's. Variety-Two coins have thinner, more contoured lettering, with more open E's and curved tails on the R's. More Variety-One dollars were struck in Denver than in Philadelphia - the ratio is reported to be six to one.
The U.S. Bicentennial coinage story is detailed in the 1977 Coin World Almanac ($10), an enlarged and revised second edition of a compedium of numismatic information.
The publishers of Coin World (the Amos Press, Sidney, Ohio), and the staff of the weekly numismatic tabloid, have accomplished a monumental undertaking. A stupendous amount of valuable reference intelligence has been gathered in the Almanac's 1,002 pages.
According to publisher J. Oliver Amos, the 1977 edition contains more than 50 per cent totally new information, and 30 per cent of the first edition's contents were updated by Coin World editors and staff members.
Especially interesting chapters relate to coins as investments, errors and rarities, taxes and coins, and the procedures to be followed when ordering coins. Also, 66 pages are required to covers numismatics and the law.
Margo Russell served as editor of the Coin World Almanac, and her husband (Marion), and their daughter (Susan), were editorial coordinattors. Kudos must go to the Russell clan, and all its associates.