U.S. #113 and #114 Can Be Yours Now
Two historic stamps for one great price!
U.S. #113 Pony Express Rider
The First-Ever U.S. Stamp to Picture Something Other than a Portrait
At the time it was issued, the Pony Express Rider stamp was severely criticized for its design. The horse appears to be leaping rather than galloping. (Some say the horse’s position is nearly impossible.) However, it captures our nation’s infatuation with the romance of the Pony Express.
U.S. #114 "Locomotive"
Ranked #18 in 100 Greatest American Stamps
Stamps issued from 1840 to 1870 are often referred to as “classic” stamps. Take a look at the U.S. stamps issued during that period and you’ll realize just how innovative the 1869 Pictorials were. Never before had stamps featured such things as paintings, horses and locomotives. Like tiny mirrors, these stamps reflect the times in which they were issued – the Pictorials were issued as America was rebuilding itself after the Civil War. The Pictorials showcase what Americans of the time were proud of regardless of what region of the country they lived in.
In 1869 the Transcontinental railroad was completed, uniting the nation with one common link from the Atlantic to the Pacific. So at the time of issue there was nothing quaint about the locomotive featured on U.S. #114; it was a shining miracle of modern technology. It represented freedom of movement – the opportunity to visit family and friends, or a chance to move on to a new life. All of the 1869 Pictorial designs were meant to capture the pride of the American people.
The 1869 Pictorial Series
The appearance of the 1869 Pictorials marked a significant change in U.S. stamp design. For the first time in American postal history, something other than portraits of national leaders was being pictured on a stamp. These were the first U.S. stamps to be printed using two colors.
Printing with two colors required the stamps to be run through the press twice; once, to print the vignette (center design), and then again, to print the frame. Carelessness in merging the two impressions resulted in the rare inverts. Instead of an inverted center, the stamp actually has an inverted frame, since the center design was printed first. The 30¢ Shield and Eagle with inverted flags is the rarest of the 1869 inverts. The least obvious of the three, it was the last to be discovered.
The pictorials were to be produced over a four-year period by the National Bank Note Company. When issued, however, the stamps were unpopular with the public. Within a year after their release, they were withdrawn from sale.
Today, the pictorial issues are the most popular of the 1840 – 1870 Classic Stamps. Because the stamps were only in circulation for a year, they have become increasingly hard to find in both unused and used condition.