Taking a break from office work, I found myself looking at my stock books full of stamps – again. As I moved the big magnifying glass from one stamp to another, my mind went into ‘what if’ mode.
For a few minutes I was in charge of the stamp designing department of the United States Post Office. I imagined that the post master general instructed me to design new, innovative stamps. Sales were down and collectors were clamoring for a fresh approach to issues that were looking tired and unimaginative. She told me not to consider the cost of producing them or the practicality in using them. “The post office needs to sell more stamps, period!” she exclaimed.
I also imagined she hired me in at 250K a year.
Agreeing, I quickly worked on devising a plan to save the postal service! Innovation was key, novelty a necessity, and enthralling the philatelic aficionado was the order of the day. I had to boldly go where no stamp designer had gone before.
I fancied myself to be the Gerald McGrew of the philatelic world (He is the little boy in the Dr. Seuss book McGrew Zoo. Gerald visits his local zoo and is underwhelmed with the selection of animals. He imagines he owns the place and then proceeds to fill it with his notions of exotic animals.)
Before I could finish my PB & J on white bread, I had racked up more groundbreaking designs than any print plate scribe in philatelic history.
Here are some of the stamps I designed as I sat in my palatial office at 1050 Connecticut Avenue, North Western Washington, DC.
A multi-colored issue commemorating errors. The run would be broken up into four separate, smaller runs. Each smaller run would have one particular error: color shift, inperf, perforation shift, and a missing color. The finishing touch would be just one sheet of four panes that has a major design error.
A stamp that can be folded along the perforations into a three dimensional object. When folded it shows a complete image. The first on would be of Manhattan. Each side of the box would have a view from each point on the compass. The top of the ‘box’ would show a view from above.
Then issue a Christmas commemorative that folded up into a three dimensional ornament for the Christmas tree. The hooks would be perforated into the margin of the pane.
A round sheet of stamps. The stamps would be perforated in concentric rings, getting smaller in diameter until a disk shaped stamp was left in the center. Each ring would consist of several arch shaped stamps that would fit on a letter size envelope.
I would issue a second to commemorate Earth Day. The slightly flattened view of the Earth would be looking down from above the North Pole. Each country would be a stamp. The pane would be twice the size of a normal pane of perforated stamps.
An M.C. Escher tessellation commemorative issue. Each stamp in the pane is one shape in the tessellation. It would be neat, and fairly expensive, for the four panes in the full press sheet to create a complete scene. The wood cut Day and Night would work well for this.
A stamp drawn for you while you wait at the post office. You can call ahead and pick it up. The only pre-printed feature would be an ornate frame around the area to draw the image in. This would give it a traditional look that would help sell it too and older age group, fifty five years old and up, that uses stamps more often then the younger generations.
Well, there you have it, my five minute day dream about being the head stamp designer.
Happy Collecting !