Message Board Home Bookstore

Download this report as an MP3 sound file.

It's good to be the king ― sometimes.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

While Franklin Roosevelt's Postmaster General in the early 1930s, James Farley would get 
the first sheets of each stamp right off the presses.

"But the stamps were not gummed, the way you would buy them in the post office ― they
 had no sticky on the back ―  and no perforations to separate them." :07

says National Postal Museum assistant curator Daniel Piazza. Farley gave extra copies of 
these special sheets to his friends... to frame and hang on their walls as decorations.

"The gum on the back and the perforations got in the way of that and they didn't look so 
nice in the frame. So he thought he was just doing little political favors so they could 
have a conversation piece in their office." :10

Collectors couldn't buy stamps in this format....and when these special versions started 
showing up in the marketplace, the collectors were angry.

"When they found out it came straight from the Roosevelt administration, some of the 
highest-level cabinet officials in the administration, it precipitated a scandal." :08

Piazza says the Postmaster General didn't understand what was wrong.

"He wasn't a stamp collector, and so he didn't really, when the scandal broke, quite grasp it 
or respond to it, I think, in the way that stamp collectors wanted or expected him to. But 
FDR got it."  :10

Roosevelt WAS a stamp collector. The solution was to print some of these special sheets of 
stamps, and sell them to the public.

Today, these special printings, for 20 issues, are known as "Farley's Follies" and the 
National Postal Museum has 15 of the 20 sheets that started the furor.

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamps collecting, 
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

Go to Previous Report
Go to Next Report 

Go to Report Index
Return to Virtual Stamp Club Home Page