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Volume 6725c

Envelopes 55-65 plus 2 Specials
by John Martin
My "other hobby," buying, exchanging, making and mailing postal art covers,
ties in with my Edgar Rice Burroughs hobby quite a bit.
I enjoy making covers featuring Tarzan or other ERB characters,
and friends of mine have made and mailed me such covers as well.

I thought it would be fun to start scanning and sharing such covers
on the anniversaries of the dates they were originally postmarked.


A special cancellation was offered by the Louisville, Kentucky, post office on June 20, 1998 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the institution.

As an Edgar Rice Burroughs fan out in the state of Washington, I knew of something very important at the university and made two special covers using the ERB stamps which were available at the time, a sabre-tooth cat stamp from ERB’s Pellucidar series and a Geronimo stamp from the Legends of the West series, along with a 3-cent stamp honoring the Kentucky sesquicentennial of 1792-1942. I sent several of each to the Louisville post office and they canceled them for me and sent them back.

Sabre-tooth cats roamed Pellucidar and ate whatever they liked and Geronimo, aka Go-yat-thlay, was a character in ERB’s Apache novels.

I didn't have a computer when I made these covers. But I did have an electric typewriter which allowed me to change fonts and font sizes, so I set the type with that and used a photocopy machine to put the type and art on sheets of typing paper, which I then folded into envelopes.

The important thing at the U of L is, of course, the Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection, started and overseen many years by ERB Fandom’s own George McWhorter. At an ERB gathering several years ago, I had the opportunity to give George a couple of these covers so they’re there at the Ekstrom Library in the archives somewhere.


On June 24, 1999, I drove to Rainier, Washington, to have a few covers canceled with that day’s date, commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the flight of Kenneth Arnold, of Chehalis, Washington, around Mt. Rainier, where he spotted the nine discs he described as flying saucers. And thus, the world became alerted to the existence of these intruders and alert citizens began scanning the skies and spotting them everywhere. One even crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, not long afterward, in July of 1947, although the government denies it to this day.

Since John Carter eventually learned how to transport solid objects from Barsoom to Earth, it is also speculated that the aircraft spotted by Arnold may have actually been Martian fliers, which Carter – perhaps through the aid of Ras Thavas – had been able to transport to Earth for reconnaissance forays.

For this cover, I made a sketch of what it may have been like for Arnold and franked the cover with a 3-cent Mr. Rainier National Park stamp, along with a 32-cent stamp from the Space Discovery series issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1998.

ERB fan and mail art maven Keith Keith O'Brien did this illustration of Tarzan and mailed it to me on June 28, 2005. Keith has done a few other Tarzans as well.

The Lion King stamp for the Disney Friendship series issued that year proved a good match for this cover.


Tigers prowl on this large-size cover, mailed July 2, 2018, by Darlene, once known by the mail art name of “Tarzana Savannah” when she lived in Tarzana. Darlene is an artist who loves to draw animals and also make “Local post stamps” to put on her covers, along with real stamps, such as this Tiger Cub stamp. This stamp was a “semi-postal,” sold for more than its value in postage, with the extra money donated to funds aimed at saving endangered species.

Originally issued Sept. 20, 2011, this semipostal, depicting an Amur tiger cub, was removed from sale Dec. 31, 2013, and was returned to sale in October 2014. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, had pushed the legislation to continue sales of the semipostal at post offices nationwide through Dec. 31, 2018.

According to statistics from the U.S. Postal Service, more than 49.5 million of the stamps were sold, raising more than $5.5 million for multinational species conservation.

The stamp initially sold for 55¢ from September 2011 through Dec. 31, 2013, and at that time 25 million had been sold. When it was returned to sale in 2014, it sold for 60¢, including an 11¢ surtax above the then-49¢ first-class letter rate.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers the surtax collected from sales of the Save Vanishing Species stamp, reports that 99 projects in 35 countries have been funded to help protect highly threatened species

The DC Comics stamps issued July 20, 2006, provided yet another opportunity to put Tarzan on a cover. Tarzan, of course, also became a DC character for awhile, but was not among the longtime DC-created heroes who were selected to grace the stamp images issued that year. But, no matter, as far as the cover-maker is concerned. Since DC had published some limited series involving Tarzan’s team-up with both Batman and Superman, the covers of some of those comics were a logical choice to use with the Superman and Batman stamps.

Every now and then, just for a change of pace, Tarzan or Korak like to dive down into the ocean to do battle with a shark. Fortunately, these vivid action scenes have been preserved for us on the canvases of a variety of artists and found their way onto covers of comics books or other media.

"Other media" includes postal covers, since I used some of these images on envelopes for the first-day-of-issue cancellation for the shark stamps issued by the USPS July 26, 2017.

The Postal Service issued a set of four Tropical Flowers stamps on May 1, 1999, and Robin LaFleur used one of them for this "Me Jane" cover she drew and sent to me on July 28. She used her art to expand the flowery plant into the area around the stamp and Tarzan is swinging in from the right side of the stamp

A major activity of my postal hobby club, the Art Cover Exchange (ACE) is the Great ACE Day, or GAD, which comes every Aug. 1. On or around that date, members try to mail at least one cover to every other member, but a "Target" is also selected by secret ballot. Members are then encouraged to inundate the Target with as many covers as possible.

In 2004, I was the Target and, since my Edgar Rice Burroughs collecting hobby was well known to members, I received some Tarzan-themed covers. Here are just a few of the ones that arrived in my mailbox, including one from well-known ERB fan Jim Thompson. Jim isn't a member of ACE but does enjoy some aspects of philately. A member of his local stamp club, the late Charles Berry, told Jim I was the Target and Jim got in on the fun by sending me a cover as well, with a sketch of a lion to match the "Lion King" stamp he used on the cover. I'm also showing the back of Jim's cover, which says "GAD Surprise." It was indeed a pleasant surprise to find a cover from Jim in my mailbox.

The other covers are identified in the captions for the individual cover scans. They are from Charlie Delgado, Dennis Gelvin, Dave Curtis, Lisa Doiron and Ralph Calabrese.

Jim Thompson, ERB artist, drew a lion for this cover, mailed Aug. 1, 2004.
The back of Jim Thompson's cover said "GAD surprise."

Charlie Delgado of Elyria, Ohio, drew himself into this cover design, with him holding yet another Tarzan cover. A cover on a cover.

Dennis Gelvin of Olympia sent a GAD cover celebrating the Whiskey Rebellion as well as Tarzan.

Dave Curtis carves rubber blocks and uses them to print images on covers. He designed this one especially for GAD.

The late Lisa Doiron, of Massachusetts, sent me a Jane cover for GAD.

Ralph Calabrese of Berkeley Heighs, N.J., used a scan of "Tarzan Triumphs" for his GAD cover.

This cover was mailed on July 31, 2004,  by The Cover Monster of Elyria, Ohio. He used Neal Adams’s art from the cover of Ballantine’s “Tarzan the Triumphant,” along with a 32-cent “Celebrate the Century” stamp from the sheet of 15 stamps the USPS did to commemorate events of the first decade of 1900. This particular stamp showed the label off a bottle of a pharmaceutical product, probably “a wonder drug that cures all your ills.” The stamp sheet was issued Feb. 3, 1998. Rates had gone up to 33 cents when this cover was mailed so The Cover Monster added a 1-cent weather vane stamp.

Here are three Tarzan-oriented covers sent to me by fellow members of the Art Cover Exchange.

The Cover Monster of Elyria, Ohio, put an image of Elmo Lincoln on a cover and added an Alley Oop stamp from the Classic Comics stamp sheet issued by the USPS in 1995. It is postmarked in Elyria, Ohio, Aug. 7, 2001.

David Lemon, former postmaster of Findlay, Ohio, sent a Jane cartoon on a cover with a stamp depicting a post office window clerk and one of a guy with a cell phone from the USPS Celebrate the Century series. The cover was postmarked Aug. 7, 2007, in Lima, Ohio.

Marge, then of Buffalo, N.Y., sent a cover featuring Buster Crabbe and Jacqueline Wells in an image taken from a picture of a poster of “Tarzan the Fearless.” The cover was mailed Aug. 7, 2012, just 10 days before the Edgar Rice Burroughs stamp was issued in Tarzana, Calif.

Here’s a couple of ERB-related covers from out of the past.

The first cover is one celebrating the Viking-2 orbit of Barsoom. It is postmarked Aug. 7, 1976, at Cape Kennedyi. But it also has a second postmark of July 20, 1978, obtained at the Tarzana post office with the actual stamp honoring the Viking missions.

In Austria, a stamp had been issued in 2006 celebrating some motorcycle brands, including one called the Tarzan KTM. I had obtained some of the stamps off ebay and decided to use some when the U.S. issued its own set of motorcycle stamps on Aug. 7, 2006. I searched internet images with the term: Tarzan motorcycle. It resulted in a photo of a motorcycle standing next to a sign for Tarzan, Texas. I used the photo and a sticker of Disney’s Tarzan astride a log as if it were a motorcycle. The words, “Tarzan lets the good times roll” were a takeoff on the jingle, “Kawasaki lets the good times roll.” The U.S. motorcycle stamp on this cover is the Cleveland of 1918. It was one of four different motorcycle stamps.

Before the ERB stamp was issued in 2012, a cover-making hobbyist who liked ERB covers just had to make do with what was available. On Aug. 7, 2008, the USPS issued four stamps under the “Disney Imagination” heading and one of them was of Mowgli and Baloo, which was about the closest stamp there was to a human living among the animals in a jungle. So I took advantage of it to make several Tarzan covers, some of which are shown here. These were all collage covers. I clipped images from various magazines and other promotional material for Disney’s “Tarzan” and other Tarzan advertisements and glued them on to the covers before sending them off for the first-day-of-issue cancellation.


A Jane by any other name....

  Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel, "Tarzan the Terrible," preceded the first appearance of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, by 20 years. But there was also a mighty "Diana" in that 1921 novel, as every ERB fans knows. "Diana of the Jungle" was the title of Chapter XIX, which told of Jane's success at surviving in the wilds of the lost African land of Pal-ul-Don without Tarzan by her side to help her out.

 A first-day-of-issue cover (shown with this article) for the new Wonder Woman stamp was created by John Martin, using a Mad Magazine image showing Tarzan with the later Diana -- unless that's just Jane with a black wig and a new costume!!

  Meanwhile, many ERB fans are disappointed there were no toy tie-ins with "The Legend of Tarzan," which means there were no Margot Robbie action figures. But since she also starred about the same time as DC's Harley Quinn, fans could always pick up a figure of that character to put with their older Tarzan toys. John clipped a newspaper ad -- showing figures of Harley, Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy -- to glue onto another first-day cover he made for the Wonder Woman stamp.


Read All The John Martin Features in ERBzine


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