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Volume 6725j

Envelope Packets 132 - 145
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.

Clayton, a character warped by Disney from ERB's portrayal in the original novel, gives a wicked grin to Tarzan, who has covered his eyes with two stamps to avoid having to look at the villainous leer. However, the clenched teeth show that, nonetheless, Tarzan is about to go into action. This cover came to me from John Visser of Georgia, mailed on June 8, 2017.
    James Purefoy, who starred as Admiral Kantos Kan in Disney's Tarzan, is rated highly by fans. He also played the Robert E. Howard character Solomon Kane in the movie of that name. I used his photo from the movie as the cachet for this cover with a special June 8, 2018, cancellation from the annual Robert E. Howard gathering in Cross Plains, Texas.
    The main stamp is of a painting by N.C. Wyeth and appeared with 19 other stamps on an American Illustrators sheet issued in 2001 The painting chosen for Wyeth's stamp is of Captain Bill Bones from "Treasure Island."


    Joe Jusko's excellent painting of Tarzan and Jad-bal-ja roaming on the veldt with Kilimanjaro rising in the background found its way onto this June 9, 2010, cachet by The Cover Monster of Elyria, Ohio. The Monster used a stamp of the King of Hearts for the cover of the King of the Apes.

    Tarzan and Robert E. Howard characters never met except in the imaginations of fans but we'll let them meet here with adjacent postal covers. Joshua McGee, California, sent this cover off for a special cancellation from the June 9, 2017, Robert E. Howard Station at the special event held each years in Cross Plains, Texas, Howard's home and where he wrote his tales of Conan the Barbarian and other stalwarts.

    Joshua used a Global Forever Stamp with the moon for postage on this, the round shape of the stamp balancing the oval with Howard's photo in the opposite corner.

    Tarzan did meet Batman in a special Dark Horse four-part comic book series, but not Adam West. The man who played Batman in the campy television series, was honored with "In Memory" covers on the date of his death -- June 9, 2017. Donnie Mangus made the cover that reveals Batman's secret identify of Bruce Wayne while I did the one where Batman stays masked.


Tarzan was astonished to learn that his real father was a Tiffany Lamp and his mother was a dish of Flan, but then he was even more amazed to realize that his parents had been able to save their camera and darkroom supplies from the burning ship before being stranded in Africa.

John Visser of Georgia made yet this cover, clipped from a publication and folded into envelope-shape. John mailed this cover to me on June 10, 2017.

The Robert E. Howard Festival in 2016 was in Cross Plains, Texas, and there was a special cancellation on June 10. I sent a few covers like this one there to get the special postmark, which featured an image of Howard himself. The "20" in the cancellation is the age at which Howard published his first story and the "30" is the age he committed suicide. Darned if I can remember what the "50" is for. Maybe someone else will reveal the mystery and then we'll all know.



A stamp honoring Audrey Hepburn, issued on June 11, 2003, prompted Dennis Gelvin, Olympia, to make this Tarzan cachet to send to me with a first-day cancellation. The closest Audrey Hepburn came to Tarzan was probably playing the part of Rima the jungle girl in the movie version of W.H. Hudson's "Green Mansions." I don't think Audrey ever played Rapunzel but comparisons have been made between her and the fictional fairy tale heroine at times. Here in this Frank and Ernest comic, Tarzan is enjoying a carefree swing on the long hair of Rapunzel. In case it's too small to see, I'm posting a larger version of the cartoon itself. Rima had her own comic book by DC comics in 1974-75.

Tarzan is not Superman but he's a super man. Superman himself is headquartered in Metropolis, so the city by that name in Illinois has adopted him as their own and often has a special postal cancellation for him. Shown are covers I made for the cancellations of June 11, 1999, and 2004.

Both covers feature George Reeves, television's first Superman. The 1999 cover has the Superman stamp from the Celebrate the Century series by the U.S. Postal Service along with a stamp of the predatory, fast-flying bird, the American Kestrel. The other one features two locomotive stamps, and we all know Superman is more powerful than one of those (as well as two) and a stamp promoting adoption. Ma and Pa Kent adopted the baby who was rocketed to Earth from the planet Krypton and he grew up to be Superboy and then Superman.

Superman was inspired, in part, by the character of John Carter, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Carter was a bit of a super man on Mars due to the lesser gravity influence, just as Kal-El was a superman on Earth, having been freed from the heavier gravity of Krypton. Superman and Tarzan met in a four-part Dark Horse comic book series.


A set of Olympics "Hall of Fame" trading cards, issued in 1991 by Impel, included a card for Johnny Weissmuller, Olympic swimming champion as well as famed Tarzan actor.

A year after the cards were first circulated, Charlie Delgado got hold of a couple of the Weissmuller cards and used them on a No. 10 cover he mailed to fellow Ohioan Dave Lemon. Charlie made the cover on June 11, 1992, as shown in the lower left corner, but it received a postmark of June 12 when he put it into the mailstream. Charlie glued one card onto the front of the envelope and snipped the other one into two pieces so he could add the information on the back of the card, part on the front of the cover and part to the backside (also posted). Charlie added his own red, white and blue art to extend the design on the front and back sides of the card. Somehow, years later, I ended up as the possessor of this cover.

Next are covers I made for the special postal cancellations in two different years from the Robert E. Howard gathering in his home town of Cross Plains, Texas.

I used a photo of Howard on my cover for the June 12, 2004, cancellation, which had art of Howard and his most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian. The stamp is one of several issued in 2004 showing sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. The cancellation on June 12, 2015, featured images of both Howard and contemporary author H.P. Lovecraft. I used a Wilt Chamberlain stamp since Wilt co-starred in "Conan the Destroyer" (his only movie role) and paired an image of Conan with one of Lovecraft's Cthulhu and added the word balloon.

Those who wonder who would win a battle between Tarzan and Conan might also want to speculate on the outcome of a fight between the Barbarian and the alien.

Finally, here's a cover postmarked June 12, 1998, for the Superman celebration in Metropolis, Illinois. I can't remember if I made this cover or someone else did.

Phileas Fogg and Sherlock Holmes were among great adventure heroes but Tarzan and John Carter popularized the heroes who combined brains with mighty muscles in the 20th Century, and many others were to follow. These postal cancellations celebrate two of them.

The name of "Conan" dominated a June 13, 1998, cancellation for Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains Texas. My cachet has a photo of Howard alongside his creation, Conan, about to get the attention of a giant lizard. But even while Conan fans were touring Howard's home town, to the north in Metropolis, Illinois, was the Superman Celebration. I didn't attend, but I did send some postal covers to the town's post office to get the special Superman cancellation.

The annual Superman Celebration would be going on this very moment in 2020 if it hadn't been canceled along with every other fun activity in the world. But sponsors promise it will return, stronger than ever, June 10-13 of 2021 (wonder if there will be an ECOF or Dum Dum nearby?). For more info:

Tarzan may decide to get a haircut after reading this commentary by the late Ronald Reagan. The occasion is the first-day of issue of the second Ronald Reagan stamp. The first one was a 37-center, issued to honor the former chief executive after his death. But it was rather close to the time of the postal rate increase so the Postal Service reissued the stamp in the same design June 14, 2006, with a 39-cent rate. The Postal Service also issued a third Reagan stamp a few years later in a totally new design at the Forever stamp rate.

Last year in this group I posted a different Reagan cover, about Reagan's love for the Tarzan books, So this year it's this one's turn.

The previous Reagan-Tarzan cover and other covers are at:



It's a little hard to see, but this #10 cover has photos of two identical covers, both bearing the image of a Funky Winkerbean Sunday comic in which Crazy visits a comic shop and finds the one edition of "Tarzan in Color" he needs to complete his collection. For the original cover, Charlie Delgado clipped out the comic, glued part of it to an envelope, and had it canceled with a special postmark that he himself designed for the Black River Stamp Club show in Elyria, Ohio. The postmark celebrated the comic strip, Funky Winkerbean, and Tom Batiuk, its creator, autographed it for Charlie. The cover was postmarked twice, on two Edgar Rice Burroughs stamps.

That comic strip is almost too tiny to read without a magnifying glass so if you want to see it and some others in readable size, along with book covers for "Tarzan in Color," go here:


If they don't already have artistic skills when they're sent to prison, many inmates literally have time on their hands to develop them and, in my years of working for the U.S. Postal Service, I delivered many an artistic envelope decorated by an inmate, usually to be appreciated by a wife or girlfriend back home.

John Henkel was an inmate at Lima Correctional Institute in Ohio and a fellow member of the Art Cover Exchange, a club where members exchange art covers and letters with one another. I had mentioned in my correspondence to John of my interest in Tarzan, and he sent me a cover, dated June 18, 1999, with this Tarzan swinging across the envelope. John wrote, "I like the old Tarzan movies. I'm staying busy with my artwork, letters and still trying to go home! From behind the walls...." John eventually did get out and I got one more cover from him afterward, but then our communication stopped. I don't know what life was like for him after that, but I wish him well.


Johnny Weissmuller as "Tarzan" and other well-known movies about Africa or Africans were celebrated on June 20, 1991, by the Kingdom of Lesotho. Where's Lesotho, one might ask?
It's a landlocked country within the border of South Africa. Along with the Vatican City and San Marino, it is one of only three independent states completely surrounded by the territory of another country, and the only one outside the Italian peninsula or that is not a microstate. Lesotho is a little more than 11,583 square miles and has a population of around two million.
Lesotho was previously the British Crown Colony of Basutoland, but it declared independence from the United Kingdom on October 4, 1966.
Geographically, the entire country is more than 1,000 meters above sea level and is crisscrossed by a network of rivers and mountain ranges including the 3,482 meter-high peak of Thabana Ntlenyana.

On the Thaba Bosiu plateau, near Lesotho's capital, Maseru, are ruins dating from the 19th-century reign of King Moshoeshoe I. Thaba Bosiu overlooks iconic Mount Qiloane, an enduring symbol of the nationís Basotho people. Sounds like a good place for Tarzan to roam.

Shown here is an individual first-day cover for the stamp commemorating the movie, "Tarzan the Ape Man." The Tarzan stamp and seven others are also grouped into two four-stamp sets on two other first-day covers. A separate sheet with a stamp for the movie "Born Free" is also shown on a cover.
These two cover designs are the only ones I've ever seen for the Lesotho stamps.
The other movies represented are "King Solomon's Mines," "Mogambo," "Coming to America," "Gorillas in the Mist," "The African Queen," "Hatari" and "Out of Africa."



Sandye Fakan of South Dakota put some emphasis on this image with embossing powder and a heat gun, mailing it to me on June 21, 2004, with a Year of the Monkey stamp.


Dan David of New Jersey clipped out a Tarzan photo advertising a  Johnny Weissmuller movie and put it on this #10 envelope and mailed it  to me June 22, 2011. In addition to the U.S. Flag stamp, he added a decorative  Local Post "stamp" with a leopard drawn by Darlene Altschul of  California.
"Local post" is an area of the philatelic hobby which has many  aspects. The stamp on this cover would be a "hobbyist's local post." For  more information:


In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion creeps tonight...and today, for that matter.

Edgar Rice Burroughs came up with fitting names for all the jungle animals he featured in his Tarzan books and, unlike the friendly Disney lions on the stamp, these animals were predatory and wary, depending on whether they were the chaser or the target of the pursuit..

These first-day covers for the Disney Friendship "Lion King" stamps were canceled back on June 23, 2004, so I've forgotten where I found the page of these survival-minded African animals from which I clipped an envelope shape and folded it into a cover. I left the flap open when I scanned it so Bolgani the Gorilla and Ska the Vulture can be seen. That appears to be the head of Histah the python at the top left and I don't think I even want to know what that lizard-like thing is below him.

Down below are Horta, Bara (or is that Wappi?) and Numa and below them, on the backside of the cover, is another Histah, the cobra, about to go after another lizard.

The other cover is a page promoting health care insurance, for those foolish enough to venture into Tarzan's Africa and approach a pride of lions disguised as a fellow feline. Whether that's ERB's Sabor or Disney's Nala, she appears to be ready to welcome this interloper into the family in a way he may not have anticipated.

Covers like these are one of the ways Philately can be kept Phun.


Keith O'Brien of Maine used his artistic talents to do some Tarzan covers for me. This one was postmarked June 26, 2016. Keith hit the big three on this one with his mailing label, the cachet and the stamp all tied into Edgar Rice Burroughs.


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