The first U.S. postage stamps were issued March 3, 1847 by an act of Congress. That was the theme of the winter stamp show of the Columbia Philatelic Society. Held February 19– 20 at Spring Valley High School. The show brought more than 150 philatelists from the tri-state area to Columbia.
Thirteen vendors from Virginia to Florida brought their wares to entice the avid collector and a few teens who were just beginning the hobby.
A special envelope with a cachet showing the two stamps was cancelled at the show and offered for sale.
Members had the opportunity to exhibit some of their collections during the two-day show.
A special highlight of the event was a talk given by Martin Miller of Greer, S.C., the new editor of the American Philatelic Society monthly journal and an authority on many stamp topics. He spoke of the creation of the two stamps, a five cent Benjamin Franklin and a 10 cent George Washington, and the people behind the designs.
As soon as Congress passed the act authorizing issuance of the stamps the Postmaster-General immediately let a contract to the New York City engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson. The first stamp issue was offered for sale on July 1, 1847, in New York City, with Boston receiving stamps the following day. Other cities followed.
The earliest known use of the Franklin five cent stamp is July 7, 1847, while the earliest use of the 10 cent Washington is July 2, 1847. They remained in use for only a few years and were declared invalid for postage July 1, 1851. The five cent stamp prepaid for a letter weighing less than a half ounce traveling up to 300 miles. The 10 cent stamp sent letters more than 300 miles.
President James K. Polk gave quick approval to Postmaster-General Cave Johnson and helped get the legislation passed.
The Columbia Philatelic Society is the oldest continuously operating stamp club in the Carolinas, serving Midlands collectors for more than 80 years.
Club meetings are held on the third Sunday of each month at the American Legion Post No. 130, located at 402 Naples Avenue, Cayce.
For more information contact President John Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org.