The thing about some
cinderellas is that without one, just one, piece of information, we might
never know the story behind a stamp.
And without the story, we can’t begin to appreciate the stamp.
Take the case of a stamp showing a man in hat and
topcoat feeding geese by hand. The
stamp is captioned “Sam G. Anderson”, “Memorial” and in circles in
the bottom corners, “25 cents”. What
is this all about? The
artwork style reminds us of the 1930s or 40s.
The stamp is in a dark blue violet color similar to stamps from
that time period, but the size is not postage stamp sized, rather it
reminds us of the format of duck stamps, first issued for the 1934-35
With cinderellas, it is wise to have clipping files.
You may not have information about every stamp that comes by, but
now and again, you get lucky. Digging
through a banker box of unorganized clippings we have accumulated over the
years, we found a newspaper clipping, undated and unnamed, telling the
story of “The Auditor’s
Duck Stamp”. The clipping appears to have come from a local newspaper
rather than the philatelic press and seems to be concurrent with the date
of the stamp. It tells us,
incompletely since we don’t have a date or a publication name for this
article, the background for this fund-raising stamp.
In 1935 in Hutchinson, Minnesota, a well-known
wildlife preservationist named Sam G. Anderson died.
He had created a wildlife sanctuary on his property and to preserve
this sanctuary an organization was founded in his name. To fund this memorial to Mr. Anderson, stamps were created
and distributed to the county auditors of Minnesota to be placed on
voluntary sale when hunters purchased their hunting licenses.
Every county auditor agreed to sell the stamps, at 25 cents each,
in order to raise the $25,000 needed to keep the sanctuary in operation.
Other sportsmen’s clubs and individuals also
contributed to the fund and it was apparently successful, because a web
search found the Sam G. Anderson Memorial Association and the Anderson
Hill Wild Life Sanctuary in Hutchinson, Minnesota, although there was no
mention of the memorial stamp. If
somewhere in the past seventy years, that small scrap of paper with the
newspaper article, had been lost or thrown away, we might never know about
a man devoted to the wild life of Minnesota and the hunters and county
auditors who worked to preserve the legacy he left.
There’s always a story, if you’re lucky enough to
have it preserved for you.
This column first appeared in Scott Stamp
Monthly and has been edited for online presentation.
This page was last updated April 02, 2007