USPS Puts First Rare Items On eBay
No actual stamps are being offered at this time, and all of the items up for auction are duplicates from the collection. The proofs will be of particular interest to exhibitors of their respective issues.
The online auction closes Monday, September 23rd, and some of the 100 items will be displayed the day before at the grand opening of the William H. Gross Gallery of the National Postal Museum in Washington.
The U.S. Postal Service press release is below. Note that the USPS eBay store has been open for several weeks.
WASHINGTON — In a move to expand its reach to domestic and international customers, the Postal Service today announced that it has opened a Postal Store on eBay at ebay.com/stamps. In making the announcement, the Postal Service’s Chief Marketing Officer also revealed that the Postal Service is auctioning rare stamp-related collectible philatelic products and items from the Postmaster General’s Collection beginning today at 3 p.m. EDT at this link on eBay.
“This powerful alliance with eBay allows the Postal Service to showcase our unique collection of stamp artwork on one of the world’s largest online marketplaces,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Marketing and Sales Officer and Executive Vice President Nagisa Manabe. “As the premier collectible marketplace, eBay is a natural fit to launch one of the world’s largest online Postal Stores. International stamp collectors will now have a new convenient way to purchase U.S. stamps and philatelic products.”
The current auction, launching today [September 13th], has more than 100 philatelic items, and expires at 3 p.m. EDT, Mon., Sept. 23. No stamps from the collection are being auctioned. More philatelic items from the Postmaster General’s collection will be available at a later date.
“The Postmaster General’s collection is a stamp collector’s dream that includes rare postal artifacts found nowhere else in the world,” added Manabe. “By limiting our auctions to duplicate philatelic items, we continue to preserve the integrity of the Postmaster General’s Collection. Whether a serious or recreational stamp collector, this online experience will be exciting and will open the doors of the wonderful world of stamp collecting to a whole new generation of eBay customers who shop everyday online.”
Some noteworthy philatelic items of historical interest to be auctioned beginning today [are illustrated in this article].
The Postmaster General’s Collection began in the 1860s as a modest set of Post Office Department files filled with records and a small sampling of stamps, and continues to evolve today. Now, thousands of stamps later, the archive has become a one-of-a-kind stamp collecting resource with unusual, rare and unique holdings. To preserve the integrity of the collection, only duplicate items will be auctioned.
The 30,000 items consist of two distinct elements: stamps and original stamp artwork and includes many pre-production items, including proofs (quality control samples) and essays (either rejected or not finalized stamp designs), black and white models and uncut press sheets (typically six to eight sheets of stamps from a single sheet that is not perforated for individual stamp removal).
Early proofs were made from the original steel dies on which stamp designs were engraved. The dies were then pressed onto transfer rolls which were used to create the plates for printing stamps. Later with lithographic printing, designer or production prints were mounted to replicate the earlier die proof standard. Many of these were autographed for approval by the Postmaster General when they were created.
The stamp collection also contains many rare and unique items, including full sheets of early high denomination stamps, experimental paper issues, die proofs (quality control samples) of the inverted Jenny airmail stamp and mail postmarked on the moon. Very few of these items have been seen by the public.
The stamp art collection originated in 1942 and includes the original art commissioned by the Post Office Department and U.S. Postal Service for more than 3,000 U.S. postage stamps. The collection includes original artwork by Norman Rockwell and hundreds of other artists who have volunteered to create the art that would be used in miniature form on U.S. stamps. In addition to the approved artwork, the collection includes thousands of concept designs as well as many preliminary sketches. For the Elvis Presley stamp, for example, more than 50 original designs were submitted by various artists to the Postal Service for consideration.
The eBay/Postal Service Alliance
Headquartered in San Jose, CA, eBay is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, connecting people with the things they need and love virtually anytime, anywhere. With more than 120 million active users globally, eBay is one of the U.S. Postal Service’s largest package mailers.
The Postal Service and eBay relationship is based on providing value and convenience to the eBay marketplace. Unlike most traditional brick and mortar retailers, eBay doesn’t physically handle the products that consumers purchase. Instead, eBay’s marketplace serves as an online platform, connecting sellers directly with buyers worldwide. In this model, sellers rely on the Postal Service to provide superior delivery performance combined with shipping products that are easy-to-use, price-effective and convenient.
For a wide selection of stamps and related collectible products, please visit the official Postal Service Store on eBay at ebay.com/stamps.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.