TigerSoft News Service
The Beautiful TRANS-MISSISSIPPI U.S.
COMMEMORATIVES of 1898:
This series of remarkable stamps was issued in 1898 to celebrate the 1898
Trans-Missippi Exposition held in Omaha, Nebraska. Many stamp collectors
feel that the $1.00 stamp in this series is America's prettiest stamp.
I want also today to look back at 1898
and the Gilded Age, many feel America is now returning to.
For many Americans in 1898 and now, life was
like being one of the "Cattle in a Storm"
America's Most Beautiful Stamp?
Though the 1898 $1 "Western Cattle
in Storm" was meant to represent to the rugged vitality
of the American West, the design actually depicted winter cattle in Scotland.
The original painting was by John MacWhirter and called "The Vanguard".
Only 56, 900 such $1 stamps were printed. Many consider this the most beautiful
stamp the US has ever issied. Collectors quickly discover that most stamps in this
series were poorly centered with the perforations cutting into the design of the stamp.
20% had a straight edge on the left or right side. Fraudulent perforations were
often added to these to dupe naive collectors. Most of the stamps were used
as postage for registered parcels. These bear big blurry cancellations.
Those that found their way into collections, were usually glued or hinged to a
stamp album. As a result, there are probably less than 250 of these $1 denomination
Trans-Mississippi stamps in the world with as perfect centering as those shown above
and only a handful of these are in what is called "MINT" with undisturbed original gum.
Look closely at a sheets of the $2.00 Transmissippi to see this..
Even leaving these stamps in the sunlight for a few hours can make their orginal
colors fade. As investments, they have gradually appreciated in value over the
last 60 years. During the Depression some of the ones that might have survived
were used instead for simple postage. Stamps are not as popular now as they were
when President Franklin Roosevelt collected them. Without young people becoming
collectors, demand will surely dimminish for all but the rarest. These are so scarce,
they will certainly hold up well, if only because the super rich are always looking
for unique and special items. Because of the big difference between the bid and
ask prices when bought from and sold to stamp dealers, it is probably best to buy
rare stamps like these only at stamp auctions. Siegel Stamp Auctions is the premier
auction house for rare American stamps.
Stamps and Patriotism
The US Post Office issued some of its most beautiful stamps ever in 1898.
It was a way to create patriotism, to recognize the growth of the US into the
West and the Rocky Mountains States far beyond the Mississippi. It was a time
of national self-awareness.
John Phillip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" was
first heard by the public just a year before.
The US would soon declare war
on Spain for sinking its battle ship, Maine, in Havana harbor. And this was seen as
a way to take the public's mindoff of the difficulties of life for working people and
the growing gap between the very rich and the poor in this the Gilded Age at the
turn of century.
Breakers", a Gilded Age mansion in Newport,
Cornelius Vanderbilt II as a summer home. It has 70 rooms and about 65,000 sq feet
of living space.
It is said America "redeemed Democracy in the Civil War" and then
"betrayed it in the Gilded Age". Slavery has been abolished, but for
most Blacks in the rural south, it was replaced by share-cropping
and voting disenfranchisement. Wealth corrupted politicans and
turned state and federal authorities brutally against working men
who wanted to unionize or go on strike time and time again. Violence
against workers was the most violent in the world.
Jack Beatty of NPR in New Hampshire passionately exclaimed:
"It was an era when government held the keys to corporate and
private fortunesland and subsidies for railroads, tariff protection for
manufacturers, mountains for mining companies, timber lands for lumber
kings, court orders to prevent strikes, and state militia and federal lawmen
and U.S. Army regulars to break strikes and shoot strikers."
"Fifteen years after emancipation, the party of Lincoln betrayed the
nearly four million former slaves in the South. Following the tied Hayes-Tilden
election of 1876, the Republicans kept the presidency in return for ending
Reconstruction. And the Lincoln-appointed justices of the Supreme Court
effectively gelded the protections for the freed people that Congress had
written into the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead of using the amendment
as Congress intendedto strike down state laws abridging the rights of s
outhern blacksthe court granted those protections to corporations, using
the due-process clause of the amendment to strike down regulatory and labor laws."
( Source. )
In despair, former President Rutherford B. Hayes wrote, government
was not democratic. In the Gilded Age, it was "government of the
corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation." After using
Federal troops to quell strikes by railroad workers in many US cities,
he wrote in his diary:
"The strikes have been put down by force; but now for the real remedy.
Can't something [be] done by education of strikers,
by judicious control of capitalists, by wise general policy to end or diminish
the evil? The railroad strikers, as a rule, are good men, sober, intelligent, and
The Transmississippi Commemorative Set of 1898
Notes for Stamp CollectorsP.S.E. encapsulated (Superb 98, SMQ $2,200.00). According to the P.S.E. Population Report this is one of twelve Mint N.H. 1c Trans-Mississippi's to have been awarded this grade with only one higher Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com
P.S.E. encapsulated (Superb 98 Jumbo, unpriced in SMQ above the grade of 98, SMQ $2,500.00 as 98). This is the highest grade awarded to date in the P.S.E. Population Report and only two others share this grade. Considering how common the basic 2c Trans-Mississippi stamp is, this low population speaks volumes about the difficulty of finding truly superb examples of this issue in Mint N.H. condition Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com
P.S.E. encapsulated (XF-Superb 95, SMQ $2,850.00). Only four have graded higher to date. Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com
With 2008 P.S.E. certificate (Superb 98, SMQ $26,400.00). Only two have graded higher to date in the P.S.E. Population Report and only four others share this grade. Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com
Ex Scarsdale. 2000 and 2002 P.F. certificates no longer accompany. P.S.E. encapsulated (Superb 98, SMQ $16,300.00). This is the highest grade awarded to date in any category and only four others share this grade.Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com
1999 P.F. certificate no longer accompanies. P.S.E. encapsulated (XF-Superb 95, SMQ $18,200.00). Only one has graded higher to date in the P.S.E. Population Report and only three others share this grade.Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com
|P.S.E. encapsulated (XF-Superb 95, SMQ $30,400.00). This is the highest grade awarded to date to a Mint N.H. stamp, and only five others have achieved this grade. Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com|
Ex Scarsdale. 1978 and 2000 P.F. certificates no longer accompany. P.S.E. encapsulated (XF-Superb 95, SMQ $55,400.00) Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com