Special Exhibits and Rarities

Don't miss seeing these special displays.

Federal Duck Stamp Art Exhibit

Representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be displaying the Federal Duck Stamp Art Exhibit. The exhibit features the top pieces from the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, and the first place piece from each state from the National Junior Duck Stamp Art contest.

What is a Duck Stamp?
In 1934, President Franklin D Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (or Duck Stamp Act), and an increasingly concerned nation took firm action to stop the destruction of wetlands vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl. Under the act, all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and over must annually buy and carry a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – better known today as a Federal Duck Stamp.

The artwork for the stamp is chosen through the Federal Duck Stamp Art contest. While waterfowl hunters are required to purchase them, stamp collectors, birders, nature photographers and other outdoor and art enthusiasts buy Duck Stamps as collector’s items and to help protect wildlife habitat.

Spellman Museum Display

The Spellman Museum will be display exhibits of postal carrier's uniforms and equipment, as well as smaller items relating to the history of the postal service and the hobby of philately. These items come from the museum's vast collection, which was established in the early 1960s and has been growing ever since. Spellman volunteers will be staffing the space and are available to discuss the museum's services including evaluations, exhibits, presentations, and the membership program.

24-cent Inverted Jenny

The Most Famous U.S. Stamp. On May 14, 1918, William T. Robey went to a post office in Washington, D.C. to buy a pane of the first U.S. airmail stamps, which had been issued the previous day. Robey found the panes of 100 stamps slightly off center and the clerk suggested he come back later the same day when new supplies would be available. When Robey returned he was astonished to find a pane with all 100 stamps showing the Curtiss Jenny biplane upside down.

Word of Robey’s find traveled quickly and the sale of 24¢ airmail stamps was halted temporarily so stocks could be checked. No additional errors were found. A postal inspector tried to convince Robey that he should sell the pane back to the post office, but he refused. Instead, he sold the entire pane to Eugene Klein in Philadelphia for $15,000. A few weeks later Klein resold the pane to Colonel Edward H. R. Green for $20,000. Position 65, the top left stamp of the famous “McCoy block”, currently owned by the American Philatelic Research Library, will be on display.

The Hammarskjold Inverts

The 1962 Dag Hammarskjold 4¢ invert was the first such error to elude postal inspectors since the Jenny Invert in 1918. The appearance of the error prompted Postmaster General J. Edward Day to order 40 million more errors (the yellow background is inverted and shifted to the right) to be printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Leonard
Sherman, the New Jersey jeweler whose dreams of wealth were shattered by Day’s action, donated his discovery sheet to the APS in 1987.

George Washington Free Frank

U.S. Presidents are provided free franking for their postal mailings. This privilege was first offered to George Washington when he became president in April 1789. In May 1789, just weeks after his inauguration, he used this folded letter sheet for correspondence to the Honorable James Warren (1726–1808), a member of the Sons of Liberty who was Postmaster General of the Continental Army. Washington signed it “President/U.S.”


“False Hopes and Lasting Thanks – The Battle of Arnhem”

Exhibit by Timothy Gale's - Frame #8. This exhibit examines the impact of the Battle of Arnhem (September 17 – 25, 1944) on the Dutch civilian population. While the Battle of Arnhem has been studied extensively by military historians, less attention has been paid to the experience of the local population both during and after the battle. This exhibit uses philatelic material and other contemporary artifacts to tell the personal stories of individuals and families whose lives were caught up in the one of the most celebrated battles of the Second World War. The Battle of Arnhem started with great hope, both among the Allied military and the Dutch civilian population, who believed that liberation from the Nazis was at hand (“False Hope”). However, despite the subsequent failure at Arnhem, the local Dutch population has continued to honor the British airborne troops, welcoming back veterans and holding annual memorials (“Lasting Thanks”).



British paratroops inside a C-47 transport plane on their way to Arnhem, 17 September 1944. IWM K7570

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