Jump to content
1964.NYWF.STAMPS

First Day Covers for the 1964-65 NYWF

Recommended Posts

I am a long time collector of the stamps, first day  covers, and postal history of both the commemorative stamp and stamped envelope which were issued to publicize the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.  I posted here quite some time ago with the intent to show a few of the more interesting items from my collection/exhibit.  A change in career and location put that on hold but I would like to begin and I have added a couple of covers to this post.  As time allows I will also add what I know of the stamp and how it was designed and issued.  Much of the information will come from my philatelic exhibit which is online in several places such as the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors web site which actually includes several examples of both exhibits as they have changed over the years.

Incidentally I am always interested in hearing from other collectors of the stamps and postal history of the Fair.

From left to right are hand drawn/hand colored covers by Frank J. Ulrich, Herman Maul, and Ralph Dyer.  Unlike the mass produced first day covers more often seen, these were typically created by the artist in numbers fewer than 20 total.

Frank_J_Ulrich_Stamped_Envelope_FDC_-_Co Herman_R_Maul_FDC_-_Copy.thumb.jpg.bcfeb Ralph_Dyer_Stamped_Envelope_FDC_-_Copy.t

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot enlarge these images.  What is the red stamp?  I have five different first day covers of the NWF stamp but all were commercially printed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly right Randy, the red stamp is the stamped envelope issued to commemorate the Fair.  Robert Moses was insistent that commemorative stamps be sold to publicize the Fair.  He also insisted that they be available for sale over the Post Office counter for BOTH years that the Fair was scheduled to be open.  This was a problem for the Post Office Department because commemorative stamps were typically only available for a short time, until they were replaced by the next commemorative stamp to be issued.

The Post Office Department solved this "problem" by issuing one stamp and the commemorative stamped envelope which did remain on sale for the entire two year run of the Fair. 

Here are three interesting items of the stamped envelope.  From left is simply a blow up of the "stamp" which is printed on the envelope.  Next is a blow up of an "albino" impression of the "stamp."  And last is an illegal use of the "stamp."  The stamped envelope was never issued in a large number 10 sized envelope.  Here someone cut the "stamp" from the small envelope and pasted it onto this larger envelope and sent it through the mail.  This was actually forbidden by the Post Office and should not have been allowed.

U546.thumb.jpg.b3989bcf3adc67cd1765df105 U546_Scan.thumb.jpg.29d34db6af70d9ae381f Illegal_Use_Stamped_Envelope.thumb.jpg.8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two more first day covers created by Ralph Dyer.  These of course were created specifically for the commemorative stamp.  The example with the rainbow color background highlighting the text is one of a kind and is originally form the personal collection of Dyer.  This design was also used by Dyer for his first day cover of the 1939 New York World Fair issue.  The allegorical figure remains the same on both cachets, however here of course Dyer included the Unisphere while on the 1939 cover he used the Trylon & Perisphere.

 

Ralph Dyer Pair FDC.jpg

Edited by 1964.NYWF.STAMPS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never seen the red embossed stamp prior to this thread.  I have collected stamps for years and, oddly, it doesn't even appear in my book.  It's very interesting and you are likely correct in that very few were issued.  I do know that, in the old days, when stamps came in perforated sheets that one could put virtually any image on an SASE and mail it to the post office where the commemorative was to be issued,  That SASE would be returned as a first day of issue.  I don't even know if that is possible today.  In addition, the blocks of four we see above really no longer exist due to the manner in which stamps are now issued as self-adhesive.

 

I'd never heard that Mr. Moses tried to strong arm the Postal Service into issuing a two year commemorative.  As far as I know they have never issued a true commemorative that represents more than the year of issue.  The embossed envelopes are not considered to be commemoratives by stamp collectors and such envelopes tend to be issued for as long as that stamp denomination remains unchanged.

Edited by Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Jim and thanks for looking

The red stamped envelope can be found in the Scott catalogue where it is catalogue number U546.  There were 145,700,000 of the commemorative stamp issued and 50,000,000 of the commemorative stamped envelope issued.  (For comparison the Kennedy Memorial commemorative stamp issued about a month later had a quantity issued of 511,750,000.)  

It is still possible to obtain first day covers not only from the issuing location but also from the Philatelic Fulfillment office location in Kansas City.  (Though most typically obtain their first day covers from dealers as it is much easier of course.)

Both stamps and stamped envelopes are issued as definitive or commemoratives.  As the name implies a commemorative is intended to publicize or honor an event or person.  The first United States commemorative stamps were issued in 1893 for the Columbian Exposition and coincidentally there were also commemorative stamped envelopes issued for that Expo as well.

As part of my research into the 1964 World's Fair issue I have obtained not only copies of the post office files relating to the issue, but also I studied the relevant files from the 1964 World's Fair corporation records at the New York Public Library.  That's where I was able to piece together what I think is the interesting story about how and why the 1964 stamp and envelope were issued.

A second interesting point is that Moses insisted that the main structural element of the Fair (either the Unisphere or the Rocket Thrower statue appear on the issues.  The Post Office department was willing to accommodate Moses' requests because they wanted to ensure that they were able to include their Pavilion at the Fair.  They wanted to use their Pavilion at the Fair to publicize their new delivery innovation which was the Zip Code.

Below are a series of four photos of essays which were completed by the Post Office Department for the stamp.  These are scarce and are the only set of four known in private hands and I believe they originally belonged to Robert J. Jones who is credited with the design of the stamp.  Ultimately these designs were rejected and the stamp is actually based on artwork completed in 1962 by artist John Wenrich.

Photo_Essays.thumb.jpg.1de9956b6129e8178

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What an informative thread.   The images of the four other design proposals are remarkable.  Nevertheless, the design that was used was an excellent choice.  Bill's point is interesting--the idea of full color.  I am guessing he means multi-colors. Most commemoratives, printed by the Bureau of Engraving, included just two or three colors (or single colors with shading) in 1964 and in earlier years, however.  Today's commemoratives have the benefit of much advanced color production and are actually printed by private contractors (since about 2005).  We've grown used to vivid colors and remarkably creative and dramatic stamp images and designs.  But such features did not really begin to appear until the late 1960s or early 1970s at best.  Regardless, the above information is remarkable.  Many thanks to 1964.NYWF.Stamps!

 

PS:  A question on the proposed stamp in the lower left corner.  What is the image of the Queen Anne style house in the background right behind the Rocket Thrower?  I mean, why is that there? 

Edited by Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Today's commemoratives have the benefit of much advanced color production and are actually printed by private contractors (since about 2005).  We've grown used to vivid colors and remarkably creative and dramatic stamp images and designs.  But such features did not really begin to appear until the late 1960s or early 1970s at best.  Regardless, the above information is remarkable.  Many thanks to 1964.NYWF.Stamps!...

 

 

What process is used today? Offset, or??  And can it produce an "albino" or is there no impression of the image into the paper? Inquiring minds want to know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am no expert on what process is now used, Wayne.  I do know that the Bureau of Printing and Engraving printed its last stamp sometime in 2005 and all stamp production was contracted to private printers.  I would bet there is no impression.  One look at a 2015 commemorative and a commemorative from 1965 would indicate a significant change in printing format.  A look at the centennial Civil War commemoratives and the sesquicentennial Civil War commemoratives would highlight the vast changes in color production capabilities.

Speaking of inquiring minds--what is that house doing on that proposed commemorative stamp in the lower left corner?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill,

Really?!  That building actually existed?  It looks like something from the Addams Family.  I agree.  It would have been a poor choice for a stamp.

Thanks,

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Bureau of Engraving artists were provide with quite a few images of the Fair and structures being built.  They included what they thought would be appropriate for a stamp in the essays shown.  Of course as mentioned earlier Robert Moses had his own ideas, and ultimately it was really his choice which ended up on the stamp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, I'll make a guess here.  That steak house, the one that looks like it was moved there from Utica to avoid demolition, was not the most popular spot at the Fair. Was it actually open both seasons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The whole Texas Pavilions area closed for 1965 and was re-opened as Carnival. There was a restaurant there that year as well. A lot of dinnerware turns up from the Texas restaurant on eBay. I don't think I ever ate there myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×