Learn About Stamps

US Stamps

Grilled Issues of the United States

In the late 1800s, officials were worried that people were “recycling” stamps by washing the cancels away and using them again.

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History of U.S. Stamps

The first U.S. postage stamp began a revolution in communication!  And the postal service has been closely tied to our nation’s history ever since – through wars, technological advances and much more.

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Different Kinds of First Day Covers

Fleetwood began producing First Day Covers in 1941 with the Vermont Statehood issue.  Mystic acquired Fleetwood in 2007 and is proud to continue its tradition of excellence today.

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The Difference Between Definitive and Commemorative Stamps

Definitive stamps are sometimes called the “workhorse” of the postal system. They’re also known as regular-issue stamps.

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America’s First Inverts

Nearly 150 years ago, officials unveiled a revolutionary stamp series produced by the National Bank Note Company.

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US Stamp Series and Sets

Grilled Issues of the United States

In the late 1800s, officials were worried that people were “recycling” stamps by washing the cancels away and using them again.

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America’s First Inverts

Nearly 150 years ago, officials unveiled a revolutionary stamp series produced by the National Bank Note Company.

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How to Identify the Stamps in the Flag Over City Series

Although stamps like the Flag Over City series may look alike at first glance, there are minor differences which make each stamp unique.  Once you know what these differences are, identifying the stamps is a snap.

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Graf Zeppelins

Graf Zeppelins are some of the most sought-after U.S. stamps. These airmail stamps are scarce because of their very small issue quantities and the fact they were on sale for five weeks and two days – and that was over 80 years ago!

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What are Farley’s Follies?

Farley’s Follies is one of stamp collecting’s most interesting stories.  And since most of the stamps are readily available and inexpensive, it’s easy enough to put a specialized collection together.

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Mystery of the Grinnell Missionaries

The story of the Grinnell Hawaiian Missionaries reads like a mystery, but it’s a true story, full of real-life drama.  For nearly 100 years, their genuineness has been debated.  Are they really scarce Hawaiian Missionary stamps… or some of the greatest forgeries ever created? The saga of the Grinnell Missionary stamps is a long and … Read more

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The Jenny Invert Plate-Number Block

Discover America’s Greatest Stamp Rarity With Mystic’s Exclusive Booklet The Jenny Invert Plate-Number Block is America’s greatest stamp rarity.  It has always been the most sought-after and valuable of the six inverted Jenny blocks.  It’s the only Plate-Number Block from the legendary 1918 24¢ Airmail stamp error sheet, which makes it unique. The Jenny Invert Plate-Number … Read more

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CIA Inverts

In 1985, news of a newly discovered U.S. invert stamp rocked the philatelic world. It was the first major inverted stamp in 66 years and said to be rarer than the coveted Jenny inverts

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Special Event Covers

Chances are you’re familiar with First Day Covers, which feature a newly-issued stamp, an official cancellation marking the issue date and often artwork that complements the stamp design. But Special Event Covers are also fun to collect. Often overlooked, these are important souvenirs of special moments in history that complement your stamp collection nicely. Special … Read more

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The Z Grill – U.S. #85A

Did you know the 1868 1¢ Z Grill (Scott 85A) is America’s rarest stamp?  One of the legends of philately, this Z Grill was purchased by Mystic in October 1998 for $935,000 – setting a record price for a U.S. stamp.

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100 Greatest American Stamps

Enjoy listening as Don and Janet Klug introduce the stamps selected as the “100 Greatest American Stamps.”

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Secret Marks on Classic U.S. Stamps

As stamp collectors, we love to have the “inside” story.  It’s fun to know things about stamps others would certainly overlook.

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U.S. Philately eBooks

There are many older stamp books and periodicals available for you to download for free.  We’ve put together a list of resources we’ve found.  It’s fun to read about stamps and related aspects of collecting from people who witnessed the early days of the hobby.  Here are some periodicals that were published in America in … Read more

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Hindenburg Disaster

Graf Zeppelin stamps are among the most sought-after of all U.S. stamps.  Sadly, the golden days of dirigibles ended with the Hindenburg disaster.  This short film clip captures that tragic event. Dirigibles like the Hindenburg are pictured on the legendary Graf Zeppelin stamps.  You’ll find more about them here.

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First U.S. Airmail Flight

On May 15, 1918, a crowd of several hundred gathered at Washington’s Polo Grounds to witness history being made. After carefully reviewing the route to Philadelphia on Fleet’s map – a photo opportunity that would become more ironic as the day progressed – Lt. George Boyle climbed inside the Jenny. His bags contained 5,500 letters … Read more

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Scenes from the 1893 Columbian Expo

Issued to commemorate the 1893 Columbian Exposition, the Columbian stamps are among the most desirable of all U.S. stamps. This video captures some of the awe of that huge World’s Fair. Now that you’ve traveled back in time and “visited” the Columbian Expo, take a few minutes to enjoy that 1893 stamp series that commemorated … Read more

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"Visit" the Trans-Mississippi Expo

The Trans-Mississippi stamps of 1898 were produced in conjunction with the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. The fair’s purpose was to further the progress and development of natural resources west of the Mississippi River. This video shows scenes from the fair, which was held well over 100 years old.  Click here to view the Trans-Mississippi stamps.

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Panama-Pacific Exposition Video

The 1913 Panama-Pacific commemoratives were issued to publicize the upcoming 1915 exposition in San Francisco. The fair celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and honored the discovery of the Pacific Ocean 400 years earlier. Ever wonder what it was like to attend one of these grand international fairs? This video will give you an … Read more

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Admiral Byrd and the “Little America” stamp design

U.S. #733 commemorates Admiral Byrd’s historic expedition to the South Pole. President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped design the stamp, which depicts the route Byrd’s explorers traveled.

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The Stickney Press: a Revolution in Stamp Production

Benjamin Rollin Stickney isn’t a household name.  In fact, he’s not known at all today outside of collectors and a handful of government workers.  But Stickney caused a revolution in stamp production that saved the government time and money.  Lots of money. Stickney was born in Port Henry, a tiny town located on the shores of … Read more

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Come Fly with Early Airmail Pilots

This series of videos was produced in 1935 by the U.S. Postal Service to promote airmail service and showcase the DeHavilland DH-4 plane.  Part 1 features a daylight flight, while Part 2 shows how lighted beacons guided the way at night. We love the retro feel – and how it feels like you’re flying along … Read more

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ZIP Code Hootenanny

In 1963, the US introduced a “Zone Improvement Plan” designed to move mail more efficiently.  Used in postal addresses, the five-digit code helped “ZIP” mail along more quickly.  Zip codes were optional until 1967, when they became mandatory. Some members of the public were resistant to change, prompting the US Postal Service to make this … Read more

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Holiday Snowflakes Identifier

Snowflakes are the subject of this holiday stamp set, which includes four designs in four different varieties.  This key will help you identify your stamps.  Click here to get the complete set of 16 stamps.  And click on the images for more production information and neat stories about snowflakes!

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Stamp Identification Guidelines

At Mystic, we understand getting started in stamp collecting can be a little confusing, but it’s a lot of fun and we’re here to help.

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Have you noticed? Music Icons sheets resemble 45rpm record sleeves!

We’re all familiar with the popular Music Icons Series.  But have you noticed the stamp sheets are designed to look like 45rpm record sleeves?

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Martín Ramírez First Day of Issue Ceremony

On March 26, 2015, New York City’s Ricco/Maresca Gallery hosted the First Day of Issue dedication ceremony for five stamps.

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Amazing Flying Boats Carried First Trans-Pacific Airmail

Aviation in the 1920s developed at an incredible pace.  Instead of the fragile wood and fabric of early biplanes, aircraft were soon being constructed of sturdy, streamlined metal propelled by increasingly light and powerful motors.

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History of International Stamp Exhibitions in the U.S.

The first international stamp exhibition to be held in the U.S. took place in New York City in 1913.

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1924 Huguenot-Walloon Issue

This series of stamps commemorates the role of Protestant immigrants in settling America in honor of the 300th anniversary of the first successful colony. The Huguenots were French Protestants who, in the 16th century, established the first Presbyterian Church in France. After having their rights stripped by French King Louis XIV and Cardinal Richilieu, the Huguenots fled … Read more

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1869 Pictorial Issues

The 1869 Pictorials were historic.  They were the first U.S. stamps to feature something other than the bust or head of a famous American leader.  They were also the first bi-color stamps. As precursors of today’s commemorative stamps, the Pictorials were revolutionary for their time.  Never before had stamps featured paintings, horses and locomotives.  Never … Read more

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1893 Columbian Series

The Columbian Series was issued in conjunction with the spectacular Columbian Exposition of 1893, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World.  Today, the Columbians are among the most treasured of all U.S. stamps.

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1923 Harding Memorial Set

U.S. #610 was a special stamp that was to be issued for a limited time of about 60 to 90 days in memory of Warren Harding, the 29th President of the United States. Harding had collapsed and died while in office.  Of the 200,000 copies sent to Marion, Ohio (Harding’s hometown), 180,000 were sold the … Read more

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1925 Lexington-Concord Issue

The Lexington-Concord Issue of 1925 was the first set of U.S. postage stamps to honor the War of Independence. These stamps honor the patriots who gave their lives – and the ideals of freedom and independence they died for.

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1925 Norse-American Issue

The Norse-American issue honors two important events in the history of Norwegian Americans – the arrival of Leif Ericson and the first Norwegian immigrants in America. The Norse-American Stamps These were among the handful of stamps produced since the 1901 Pan-Americans to feature bi-color printing, a costly and time-consuming process. Because the stamps took so long … Read more

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1929 Edison Commemoratives

These stamps were issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first incandescent electric light, invented by Thomas Edison.  Because of the Post Office policy never to portray a living person on a United States stamp, Edison’s picture could not be shown on the stamps that honored him. U.S. #656 was the third stamp issued with this … Read more

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1932 Washington Bicentennial

In 1932, a set of twelve stamps were issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. Each classically engraved stamp is based on a different historic portrait of George Washington by renowned artists.

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1934 National Parks Issue

As a stamp collector, President Franklin D. Roosevelt personally oversaw the selection of stamp subjects and designs during his administration.

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1936-37 Army-Navy War Heroes

The Army-Navy War Heroes series honors the brave men who led our armed forces and made the U.S. a world superpower.

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1938 Presidential Series

Known affectionately as the “Prexies,” the 1938 Presidential series is a favorite among stamp collectors.  The series was issued in response to public clamoring for a new Regular Issue series. The series that was current at the time had been in use for more than a decade. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed, and a contest was staged. The … Read more

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America on the Move Series

Introduced in 2005, the America on the Move series commemorates “Classic cars of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s — fins, chrome, curves and all.”

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American Architecture Series

The first in the series, this block of four illustrates examples of early American architecture. Each of the buildings was selected for its enduring beauty, strength, and usefulness. Pictured are the Philadelphia Exchange, the Boston State House, the Baltimore Cathedral, and the Rotunda of the University of Virginia, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson.

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American Arts

Over the course of its two year existence – 1973 to 1975 – seven stamps were added to the American Arts series. George Gershwin rose to fame on Broadway during the 1920s with musical comedies including Lady, Be Good; Tip-Toes; Oh, Kay!; Funny Face; and Girl Crazy. In Strike Up the Band, Of Thee I Sing, … Read more

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American Bicentennial Series

The U.S. Postal Service issued 113 commemorative stamps over a six-year period in honor of the U.S. bicentennial, beginning with the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission Emblem stamp (U.S. #1432). As a group, the Bicentennial Series chronicles one of our nation’s most important chapters, and remembers the events and patriots who made the U.S. a world model … Read more

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American Culture Series

This 15¢ Automobile Tail Fin coil stamp, which features the fin of a 1959 Cadillac, met the need for the first-class, presort postcard rate. This stamp, along with the 25¢ Juke Box coil stamp, was the first edition of the new “American Culture” series. Bulk mailers were able to use the non-denominated stamp at various … Read more

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American Design Series

The USPS introduced the American Design series in 2002.  In it, “form meets function in works of decorative art: Chippendale chairs, toleware coffeepots, and banjo clocks. The first in the American Design Series, the American Toleware coil stamp shows traditional Pennsylvania folk art hand painted on a tin coffeepot. Toleware was also seen on the 1979 … Read more

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American Folk Art

The American Folk Art series ran from 1977 to 1995.  Folk Art is loosely defined as the art of the everyday, rooted in traditions that come from community and culture and expressing cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics. This set of four stamps commemorates the pottery skills of the Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New … Read more

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American Folklore

According to Wikipedia, folklore “consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs included in the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group.”  With the American Folklore stamp series, the USPS captured the things that make our nation unique. John Chapman, popularly known as Johnny Appleseed, is … Read more

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American Poets Series

Among the lesser known of all U.S. stamp series, the American Poets issues commemorate these masters. Masters was born in Garnett, Kansas. He wrote novels, poetry, plays, biography, and history. Masters is chiefly remembered for his “Spoon River Anthology,” a collection of 200 poems in free verse.  Spoon River is an imaginary Midwestern village, and each poem … Read more

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American Revolution Sesquicentennial

In 1925, the U.S. celebrated the 150th anniversary of its independence with a stamp series known as the American Revolution Sesquicentennial. U.S. #617 pictures General George Washington leading colonial forces at Cambridge Common on July 2, 1775. This was two-and-a-half months after the battles at Lexington and Concord. A driving factor for this scene’s inclusion in the set … Read more

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American Scenes

According to the USPS, the American Scenes series is a “colorful renderings of mountains, buttes, wetlands, and seascapes, set apart for nonprofit mail use.” This five-cent stamp was issued for use on bulk rate (third class) non-profit mail. It depicts a colorful butte scene and is the first entry in the new “American Scenes” series. … Read more

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American Scientists

According to the USPS, the American Scientists Series commemorates “great researchers whose explorations into tiny molecules and grand galaxies shifted the paradigms of science.” After World War II, von Neumann worked to develop large scale, high-speed electronic computers with stored programs. His design of the IAS computer – the von Neumann Architecture – became the model … Read more

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American Sports Personalities Series

Since its introduction in 1981, the American Sports Personalities series has honored “world-champion athletes and Hall of Famers who changed the game and won over hearts. Honors the great female athlete who set new Olympic and world records in the javelin throw and won more than 50 major golf tournaments. Zaharias made one of the … Read more

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American Treasures Series

Introduced in 2001, the American Treasures stamp series honors “fine works by skilled hands, from Amish quilts to idyllic paintings by American masters.”

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Art of Disney Series

In 2004, a new U.S. stamp series debuted that featured the art of Walt Disney Studios.  It was a marriage of childhood memories and much sought-after artwork – all rolled into very affordable collectibles.  While some critics dismissed the stamps as crass commercialism, it’s clear the designs capture the magic of Disney.

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Artists Series

Entitled simply “Artists,” this series honors “painters and sculptors whose distinctive brush strokes and compositions made an indelible impression.” One of America’s leading artists, Georgia O’Keeffe is known for her sensitive, semi-abstract paintings derived from nature. Linked with the first generation of American modernists, her impressive career spanned the entire history of modern art. While much of … Read more

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Black Heritage Series

In 1978, the U.S.P.S. introduced the Black Heritage Series.  Today, it’s one of the longest-running and most popular U.S. stamp series. Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Bucktown, Maryland. Tubman escaped to Philadelphia in 1849 via the Underground Railroad, a network of Quakers and abolitionists. In a series of daring trips, Tubman helped lead members of … Read more

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Celebrate the Century

On February 3rd, 1998, the Postal Service released the first sheets of Celebrate the Century stamps. Prompted by the upcoming Millennium celebration, this  series recognizes those people, places, and events that shaped the twentieth century.  Each sheet contains 15 stamps – click on the enlarged stamps to discover more about each subject.

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Celebrating Lunar New Year

Since its inception in 2008, the Celebrating Lunar New Year stamps have featured “bright, festive designs that mark each year of the Chinese lunar calendar — Year of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, and others.” The 2008 Chinese New Year begins February 7 as the Year of the Rat. The Chinese New Year starts with the second … Read more

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Civil War Centennial

This series features five stamps – one for each year of the Civil War – to commemorate its 100th anniversary. When South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, plans were made quickly to seize the U.S. forts in the Harbor at Charleston, S.C. – Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter. The forts were under the command … Read more

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Classic Collections

In 1994, the USPS introduced the Classic Collections series.  Each sheet in the series features 20 face-different designs.  Broadly-defined Americana themes, exceptional artwork, a banner printed on the selvage of the sheet, and descriptive text on the back of each stamp made them a favorite with collectors. The series received a lot of publicity with the … Read more

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Contemporary Christmas

Since their 1962 introduction, Christmas stamps have become a perennial favorite with the public.  More recently, the USPS has issued traditional (religious-themed) designs as well as contemporary Christmas stamps.

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Crop of the Americas Identifier

In 2006, the bountiful harvests Americans produce each year were pictured on five stamp designs.  The stamps were produced in coils as well as convertible and vending booklets.  Telling the look-alike stamps apart is as easy as checking the perforations.  Here’s how:

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Distinguished Americans

Introduced in 2000, this stamp series honors U.S. citizens who have “left their mark on the American conscience.” Honored on the first Distinguished Americans series stamp is General Joseph W. Stilwell (1883-1946). A 1904 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Stilwell was sent to Burma in 1942 to assist Chinese and British troops who were defending … Read more

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Distinguished Servicemen

The Distinguished Servicemen series honors our nation’s military heroes.

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Famous Americans Series

In 1938, the Post Office Department announced plans for a series of stamps recognizing 10 famous Americans and invited the public to submit recommendations. The response was so great that it was decided to increase the number from 10 to 35. This required an unexpected level of organization by the Post Office Department for this series. Seven … Read more

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Flora and Fauna Series

The popular Flora and Fauna stamp series is fun to own – the stamps picture animals, flowers, birds, fruit and more from across our great nation.  Plus the stamps come in an array of varieties, so it’s interesting to identify each one and add it to your album.  

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Garden Flowers Series

Issued from 1993-96, the Garden Flowers stamp series brings a burst of color to your stamp album. These colorful flowers blossomed into a booklet of stamps in mid-June. Featuring one continuous se-tenant design, the stamps pictured five favorite garden flowers, including the lilac, daffodil, tulip, iris, and hyacinth.

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Great Americans Series

The popular Great Americans Series honors special Americans from all walks of life and honors them for their contributions to society and their fellow man. Sixty-four different stamps make up the complete set to pay tribute to important individuals who were leaders in education, the military, literature, the arts, and human and civil rights.  

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H Rate Change Stamps – and a Modern Rarity!

Due to pending postal rate increases in 1998, the U.S. Postal Service issued a set of non-denominational stamps that feature “Uncle Sam’s hat.” The new postal rate was set at 33¢.  Seven different varieties were produced… and one surprise that surfaced later!

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Hanukkah Series

Hanukkah is a celebration of a miracle that occurred at the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C., when the Maccabees revolted against Syrian King Antiochus IV.  The temple was reclaimed, but only enough purified oil was on hand to keep its light burning for one night.  Yet the lamp burned for eight days, allowing the … Read more

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Kwanzaa Series

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that begins on December 26 and lasts for seven days. It is based on the traditional African harvest festival; the name Kwanzaa is taken from a phrase meaning “first fruits” in Swahili, an East African language.

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Legends of American Music

The Legends of American Music stamp series debuted on January 8, 1993. More than 70 artists are included from all styles of music.  “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” was featured. The public was allowed to vote for a “young” or “old” Elvis image. America voted overwhelmingly for the younger version.  It became the best-selling stamp in U.S. … Read more

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Legends of Hollywood

In 1995, the USPS introduced a new stamp series honoring “famous Golden-Age film stars whose performances electrified the big screen and enamored the public.” Monroe starred in such box office hits as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Some Like It Hot, and The Seven Year Itch. Not content to be seen as merely a typical blonde however, she … Read more

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Liberty Series

The Liberty Series was issued from 1954-61.  It included definitive stamps with denominations ranging from 1/2¢ to $5.  (It would be the last 1/2¢ definitive stamp issued by the U.S.)  The Liberty Series was generally replaced by the Prominent Americans series beginning in 1965.  However, the 2¢ Jefferson and 25¢ Revere coil stamps were reprinted … Read more

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Lighthouses Stamp Series

Since ancient times light has been used as a navigational aid for ships. The Egyptian King Ptolemy I ordered the creation of what was probably the world’s first lighthouse, which was completed in 285 B.C. This structure was about four hundred feet tall, and had an open fire as its light source. It was located on the Island … Read more

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Literary Arts Series

According to the USPS, “These skillful wordsmiths spun our favorite tales — and American history along with them.”  The series began in 1979 and continues today. Steinbeck (1902-68) was born in Salinas, California, and based a great deal of his work in and around this area. His most famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath, won the … Read more

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Loony Tunes

Introduced in 1997, the Loony Tunes series showcases some of the most loved cartoon characters of all time.

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Love Series

The USPS introduced the Love series in 1973.  The Love stamps are usually issued in time for Valentine mailing and feature designs filled with “hearts, roses, swans, and more, celebrating every splendor of that many-splendored thing.” Designed by American artist Robert Indiana, this stamp was issued for special occasion uses such as weddings or valentines. … Read more

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Lunar New Year Series

For the first time ever, the Postal Service issued a special stamp for the New Year in 1992. Printed in a new and experimental format; panes of 20 that are four-stamps-wide and five-stamps-deep, the stamp depicts a stylized rooster, referring to the Chinese year which began on January 23, 1993. Based on Chinese paper cut-outs, the … Read more

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National Parks Centennial

In 1972, a stamp series was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s National Parks program. This issue was unique in that it combined four stamps in a block that contained one overall design (U.S. #1448-51). Cape Hatteras National Seashore is pictured. That area contains some of the earliest sites of English colonial settlement. … Read more

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Nature of America

This series – which ended in 2010 – captures the unique beauty of America.  Each sheet is an artistic masterpiece revealing nature’s majesty in a different geographic region of the U.S.   Every semi-jumbo stamp has at least one identifiable plant or animal that is native to the environment being showcased.  The stamps are laid out in … Read more

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Olympic Games

A new stamp series was unveiled in 1932, designed as a “spotlight on the sports, athletes, and host cities that carry the torch for global unity.”  Olympic Games stamps quickly became collector favorites. The 1932 2¢ Winter Olympic Games stamp is the first U.S. stamp issued to commemorate the international competition. Voters chose U.S. #716 as … Read more

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Performing Arts Series

The Performing Arts Series began in 1978 with the issuance of two commemorative stamps. The Jimmy Rodgers stamp was released on May 24 and the George Cohen stamp on July 3.  Although they were issued only a few weeks apart, a rate increase on May 29, 1978, resulted in a 13-cent Jimmy Rodgers stamps and a 15-cent George … Read more

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Pioneers of Aviation

This stamp was issued to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s historic first powered flight in 1903. This issue is the first in a series of international airmail stamps that honors American aviation pioneers and significant aviation developments.

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Pixar

In 2011, digital animation pioneer Pixar celebrated its 25th anniversary.  During those first 25 years, Pixar won 26 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, three Grammy awards, and countless other awards, honors, and recognitions.

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Priority and Express Mail

Priority Mail offers fast domestic package delivery – usually 1-3 days.  Express Mail is the fastest service, with guaranteed next day delivery to most destinations. Originally, this stamp was issued for the USPS Express Mail Next Day service for packages up to two pounds. It became the costliest postage stamp in U.S. history, however, when … Read more

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Prominent Americans Series

The Prominent Americans Series of definitive stamps replaced the Liberty Series.  Rather than focus primarily on political figures as its predecessor had, the Prominent Americans Series reflects the growing diversity of its era. Two women and an African American were commemorated in a U.S. stamp series for the first time.  But the series is also known for the … Read more

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Scenic American Landscapes

Introduced in 1993, the Scenic American Landscapes picture the “mountains, canyons, and swamps that comprise our country’s diverse and majestic terrain,” according to the USPS.  Each stamp was issued to satisfy the International Rate applicable at the time of its release. This stamp was issued in 1999 to pay the international postage rate. It is the first stamp … Read more

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Series of 1902-03

This series is an extreme example of officials deliberately using postage stamps as learning tools. Included within the ornate frames of each stamp are symbols relating to the honored American’s legacy, along with biographical information about him or her. These design details were added to help new immigrants learn American history easily – an important lesson carried … Read more

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Traditional Christmas Series

The fifth U.S. Christmas stamp (and first traditional design) illustrates the “Madonna and Child With Angels” by painter Hans Memling, which hangs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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Transportation Series

A ground-breaking stamp was quietly issued on May 18, 1981. For the first time in U.S. history, a coil stamp featured its own unique design rather than simply copying that of the current definitive stamp. Fifty more coil stamps would be issued over the course of the next 15 years, each picturing a different mode of transportation. … Read more

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Weddings

Issued for the convenience of brides-to-be, these stamps are intended for use on wedding invitations and reply cards, serving as “harbingers of celebrations to come, decked out with pretty pastels, festive florals, and commemorative cakes.”

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Wildlife Conservation Series

Over a period of 22 years, the USPS issued stamps devoted to educating the public about the need to preserve our natural resources. U.S. #1077 was issued to emphasize the importance of wildlife conservation in America. It was the first of three stamps with a similar theme; each one showing a different species. This stamp showcases wild … Read more

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World War II 50th Anniversary

World War II was one of the most significant events of the 20th century.  The U.S. Postal Service began planning for the war’s 50th anniversary in 1985.  It wanted to honor the key events of the war effort as well as the various aspects of national endeavor that contributed to Allied victory.  But how to … Read more

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World War II 50th Anniversary

World War II was the most significant event of the 20th century.  The U.S. Postal Service began planning for the war’s 50th anniversary in 1985.  It wanted to honor the key events of the war effort as well as the various aspects of national endeavor that contributed to Allied victory.  But how to do that … Read more

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Worldwide Stamps

Foreign Pronunciation and Geographic Location Guide

Now you can enjoy your worldwide stamp collection even more by learning how to pronounce the name of almost any foreign country.

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North Korea Stamp News

Mystic and its stamp collectors are unfairly caught up in international politics. The problem stems from an embargo on North Korea stamps that began over 60 years ago.

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What’s the World’s Rarest Airmail Stamp?

Like it’s more famous American cousin, the Black Honduras represents the earliest days of airmail flight. And like the Jenny Inverts, the stamps were shrouded in mystery and surrounded by intrigue.

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French Spy Stamps

Most collectors know stamps have played their part in shaping history. They’ve started wars and celebrated peace; they’ve turned hostilities into bloodbaths, ridiculed political leaders and been used as propaganda.

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Stamps and the Norwegian Spy

Collectors sometimes “lift” stamps on covers to see what kind of paper the stamp was printed on. “Lifting stamps once helped save the free world from Adolf Hitler’s evil empire.

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Fun Facts

In the Central American countries of Bolivia and Paraguay, stamps actually provoked a war!  The conflict began when Bolivia issued a stamp claiming an undefined and long-disputed area of wilderness.

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Great Britain Philately eBooks

Here are some editions of The London Philatelist that were published in England in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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How Postage Stamps Helped Destroy Hitler

In the early months of 1945, the world had been at war for over three years. Germany appeared to be nearing defeat, but American casualties were mounting as its resources dwindled.

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Stamp Glossary

What are Scott Numbers?

One of the first thinks new collectors discover is Scott numbers – the most universally accepted way to describe and identify stamps from around the world.  But what exactly are they?  Let’s find out…

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Basic Stamp Terms for Beginners

Knowing the meaning of a few stamp collecting terms makes it more fun to collect – and easier to talk to other collectors about the hobby. Here’s a few basic terms to get you started!

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Grilled Issues of the United States

In the late 1800s, officials were worried that people were “recycling” stamps by washing the cancels away and using them again.

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Different Kinds of First Day Covers

Fleetwood began producing First Day Covers in 1941 with the Vermont Statehood issue.  Mystic acquired Fleetwood in 2007 and is proud to continue its tradition of excellence today.

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The Difference Between Definitive and Commemorative Stamps

Definitive stamps are sometimes called the “workhorse” of the postal system. They’re also known as regular-issue stamps.

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Watermarks on Stamps

Sometimes the only difference between stamps that look alike is their watermark.  Watermarks are letters or patterns impressed into the paper used to produce certain stamps.

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Philatelic Glossary

A glossary of terms to help you understand the Stamp Collecting world.

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What is microprinting?

Microprinting is tiny type added to a stamp’s design. The type is so small, it can’t be read without a magnifying glass or microscope.

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Conditions/Grading Guide

Stamp Identification Guidelines

At Mystic, we understand getting started in stamp collecting can be a little confusing, but it’s a lot of fun and we’re here to help.

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Mystic’s Premium Grading Guidelines

Collectibles like baseball cards, coins, and stamps, are graded and priced according to their condition, scarcity, and overall appeal.

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