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Volume 6483

THE STORY BEHIND THE STAMP
By John Martin
Click for full-page images

The U.S. Postal Service always takes good care of those attending its first-day ceremonies.

At the ceremony honoring the first day of the Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp at the
Tarzana, Calif., Cultural Center, Aug. 17, 2012, a two-sided information card was given to attendees,
enclosed in an envelope which had an ERB stamp already canceled with the first-day of issue postmark.
Also pictured is a larger-size informational flyer featuring a block of four ERB stamps.
These were available for sale and still show up on ebay.


This is an American Commemorative Panel. 
These were sold by the U.S. Postal Service and 
featured information about ERB as well as a block of four stamps. 
These show up from time to time on ebay.

The Postal Service always gives out free souvenirs at First-Day ceremonies. 
This is the envelope, with stamp canceled on the first day of issue, 
for the Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp.

This is one side of the enclosure in the Postal Service 
handout for the Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp.
It features background information about ERB.
.

This is the flip side of the informational enclosure 
given out by the USPSa at the ERB stamp ceremony. 
Many fans had these items autographed. 
This one was signed for me by Denny Miller.

The U.S. Postal Service always provides
a first-day-of-issue postmark for every new stamp that it issues.
As for the envelope, or "cover," on which the stamp is placed,
that's left to the imagination and resources of individual collectors.
  Those in the philatelic hobby are not limited in the types of covers
they can design or purchase from other designers (usually referred to as cachet makers),
in order to have their official postmark on an appropriate cover.

Besides the "official" part, which is available at the official post office of issue,
which -- in the case of the stamp honoring Edgar Rice Burroughs -- was Tarzana, Calif.,
there are also "first-day-of-sale" postmarks,
regular postmarks which happen to bear the date of the first day of issue,
and special pictorial cancellations.
All of those types of postmarks were available at the ceremony
at the Tarzana Cultural Center that day, and for 30 days thereafter,
and some special postmarks were available elsewhere,
such as in Sacramento, Calif., on the same days at the ceremony in Tarzana.

  The special Sacramento postmark was offered as part of
the American Philatelic Stamp Show which took place Aug. 17, 2012.
Included here are scans of the four-page flyer
that was given out along with a cover with the postmark.
The cover is one I designed and mailed there for the postmark,
since I couldn't be there and in Tarzana at the same time.


This is page one of the flyer handed out at the 
American Philatelic Society stamp show in Sacramento 
on the first day of issue of the Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp.

Page 2 of the Sacramento flyer had biographical
information about ERB and an image of the stamp.
.

Page 3 of the Sacramento flyer listed 
participants in the program there, 
along with an ERB stamp 
canceled with the special postmark 
which was available at that show.

The last page of the Sacramento flyer
had an image of the ERB book plate
designed by Studley O. Burroughs.
.
.

One of the special pictorial cancellations available at the 
First Day Ceremony in Tarzana, Calif., Aug. 17, 2012, 
was one designated the "Tarzana Cultural Center Station," 
site of the first-day ceremony.
This cancellation features the ERB "doodad" at lower right.
.

I made this cover and mailed it to the Sacramento post office
for the special cancellation they had for the ERB stamp.
There is a 30-day grace period for obtaining such cancellations.
The cachet I designed featured images for the first magazine,
and first book, editions of ERB's Martian novel,
which was published under two different titles.

This collage cover has the ERB stamp, a 6-cent African elephant stamp, 
and various images of ERB and a couple of Tarzan books 
glued onto an envelope pre-printed with a scene from the African veldt.
Next to Edgar Rice Burroughs himself, the man who I believe is most deserving of having his picture on a first-day-of-issue cover is Denny Miller.

Denny played Tarzan once, in the 1959 movie, "Tarzan the Ape-Man." The movie was not the top Tarzan movie of all time by a longshot, but that was in no way because of the acting abilities of Denny, who went on to have a productive career in movies and television, including on-going roles in "Wagon Train," "Mona McCluskey," "Dallas" and "Lonesome Dove."

But Denny was a fan favorite, demonstrating his interest over the years by showing up at fan gatherings and becoming personal friends with many of the fans along the way, including the King of Fans, George W. McWhorter, founder and curator of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Collection at the University of Louisville.

One of Denny's greatest services to fandom came in 2006, when he was invited to some festivities surrounding the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library (his cowboy costume, from the movie, "The Party," was on display there as a tie-in with Bill Clinton's childhood love of cowboys).

Denny had been invited to dinner at the home of the chairman of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee and Denny took full advantage of the opportunity to put into the ear of that chairman the idea of having a stamp in 2012 to honor Edgar Rice Burroughs on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of his first stories, "Under the Moons of Mars" and "Tarzan of the Apes."

The chairman liked the idea, and a few months later wrote to Denny saying the stamp had been approved by the full board for the 2012 date. Denny's timing was excellent, since USPS stamps are selected about five years in advance.

Then came the excruciating half-a-decade wait in which Denny must have wanted to share the good news with fans. But at last it was time for the Postal Service to announce its stamp subjects for 2012.

Even then, there was no grand announcement of Denny's role. In fact, I learned of it only from an aside mentioned by Denny's wife, Nancy, in a post to the erbcof-L list serve. Her subject was something else entirely but she happened to mention the stamp in passing.

That was the first I'd heard of possible Denny involvement in the stamp, and I arranged to interview him at the upcoming Dum Dum for the full story. The interview took place and the story has been told. It's featured at ERBzine 4395

http://www.erbzine.com/mag43/4395.html

It was also published in The Burroughs Bulletin No. 87 and in Cover-to-Cover, the monthly publication of a philatelic organization, the Art Cover Exchange.


Denny Miller's photo is an extremely appropriate one for a first-day cover of the ERB stamp, 
since Denny was the one whose suggestion for such a stamp
is what got the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee going on the project.

STAMP FEATURES IN ERBzine
Story Behind the Stamp by John Martin
http://www.erbzine.com/mag43/4395.html
ERBzine Stamp Dedication Ceremony Coverage in Tarzana
http://www.erbzine.com/mag41/4106.html
First impressions of the Stamp
http://www.erbzine.com/mag37/3718.html
Tarzan Stamp Previews
http://www.erbzine.com/mag36/3611.html


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