Sunday, September 02, 2007

Black Hardings

According to the National Postal Museum's website, "On August 2, 1923, during the return leg of a voyage to Alaska and the American west, Warren Gamaliel Harding suffered a heart attack and became the sixth U.S. president to die in office."

"Harding had been popular despite the charges of corruption and cronyism that tarnished his brief administration, and The Post Office Department (POD) rushed a 2¢ black mourning stamp into production."

"The first printing of 300,000,000 stamps was released on Saturday, September 1 at Marion, Ohio (Harding’s home town) and Washington, D.C. A dizzying array of varieties soon became available to collectors: the original, perf. 11 flat-plate stamps issued on September 1 (Scott #610); the perf. 10 rotary press printing released September 12 (Scott #612); and the flat-plate imperforate variety issued on November 15 (Scott #611)."

The National Postal Museum owns a specialized collection of this stamp that was assembled and exhibited in the 1940s by Howard A. Lederer of New York City. Lederer’s collection documents the stamp’s hurried production and chronicles the two philatelic crazes it spawned: first day covers and precancels.

Shown above is a Harding first day cover on White House mourning stationery.

For more on the Black Hardings, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM