Merchant Marine Stamp of 1946, Steamship Stamp of 1944, and First Day Covers

On December 8, 1941, the United States Congress officially declared war on Japan and Germany. Americans were exhorted to enlist, recycle, work hard, buy war bonds, and sacrifice to avenge Pearl Harbor. Patriotism was in! Even ordinary postage stamps reminded Americans about the war effort.

One such stamp was "Win the War" -- a purple 3 cent stamp showing a stylized eagle with its wings in a "V" and "Win the War" across the chest, [Scott #905] first issued on July 4, 1942 in Washington, DC.

1942 "Win the War" stamp on a First Day Cover which reads: Let's Beat 'Em 48 Different Ways
1942 "Win the War" stamp on a First Day Cover which reads:
Let's Beat 'Em 48 Different Ways

During the War years the United States Postal Service issued few new stamps -- only 5 stamps were issued in 1944, while in recent years they issue dozens of new stamps annually. Release of a new stamp is accompanied by ceremonies and a special cancellation in a city associated with the person or event depicted on the stamp.

Stamp collectors may send envelopes in advance to the Postmaster for special cancellation on the "First Day of Issue." In addition, various companies and independent artists create designs to be imprinted on the envelope, known as cachets, to complement the subject of the stamp for such "First Day Covers" (FDC).

Steamship Savannah Stamp of 1944
One of the stamps released in 1944 commemorated the 125th anniversary of the first steam-assisted crossing of the Atlantic by the steamship Savannah [Scott #923]. The first day of issue was at Kings Point, New York, the site of the Merchant Marine Academy, and at Savannah, Georgia. The stamp was released on May 22, the date on which the ship set sail from Savannah for England.

The Savannah stamp has 50 known cachets, whose themes were the Merchant Marine Academy and the SS Savannah herself.

1944 Steamship stamp on a First Day Cover shows an aerial view United States Merchant Marine Academy
1944 Steamship stamp on a First Day Cover created by the Academy which reads:

First Day Cover from United States Merchant Marine Academy, Training Organization, War Shipping Administration, Kings Point, N.Y and shows an aerial view of the Academy. [sideways] Commemorating Sailing of S.S. Savannah

[The name of the designer is given first for the First Day Covers below]

Anderson FDC canceled in Savannah, GA
Anderson FDC canceled in Savannah, GA

Crosby FDC canceled in Savannah
Crosby FDC canceled in Savannah, GA

L. W. Staehle FDC canceled in Savannah
L. W. Staehle FDC canceled in Savannah, GA

Iwo Jima, Army, Navy, Coast Guard Stamps
In 1945 the post office issued a stamp titled "Iwo Jima" commemorating the Marine Corps and depicting the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. The stamp was issued on July 11, 1945 in Washington, DC. [Scott 929]. Mellone's catalog of cachets list 61 known covers for the Iwo Jima stamp.

L. W. Staehle FDC Iwo Jima stamp
L. W. Staehle FDC

On July 26, 1945 a President Roosevelt stamp was issued at Hyde Park, NY [Scott #933]. The catalog shows 73 cachet designs. On September 28, 1945, the Post Office released a stamp honoring the U.S. Army in Washington, DC [Scott #934].

House of Farnam/Phoenix Conn - one of 84 known cachets for Scott #934
House of Farnam/Phoenix Conn - one of 84 known cachets for Scott #934

The Navy stamp released October 1945 in Annapolis, Maryland, has 98 different cachets listed [Scott #935].

L. W. Staehle FDC for Scott #935 Navy stamp
L. W. Staehle FDC for Scott #935

A Coast Guard stamp [Scott # 936] followed in November 1945, which brought out 80 designs for cachets for this New York release.

L. W. Staehle cachet for Coast Guard stamp
L. W. Staehle cachet for Coast Guard stamp

Merchant Marine Stamp
A merchant marine stamp, designed by V.S. Closkey, Jr. was issued on February 26, 1946 in the District of Columbia [Scott # 939]. It shows a Liberty ship loading cargo. Below are about 35 First Day Covers [of about 64 known] for the merchant marine stamp.

merchant marine stamp of 1946

On May 9, 1946 the Post office issued the "Honorable Discharge" stamp [Scott #940]. Designers created cachets for that stamp, and for the combination of 5 or 6 Armed Forces stamps.

Smartcraft FDC combination of Iwo Jima, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and Honorable Discharge stamps
Smartcraft FDC combination of Iwo Jima, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and Honorable Discharge stamps

 




Merchant Marine First Day Covers
The Mellone catalog shows 60 known cachets for the Merchant Marine stamp. There are several common themes for the Merchant Marine cachets: ships of World War II, old sailing ships, bravery of the merchant marine, honoring the Merchant Marine as an Armed Force, emblems of the Merchant Marine, and the U.S. Maritime Service, the official training organization of the Merchant Marine founded in 1938. Some of the cachets were issued in more than one color for the same design.

Aristocrats - Lowry FDC
Aristocrats - Lowry FDC

Cachet Craft FDC
Cachet Craft FDC

House of Farnam FDC
House of Farnam FDC

Unknown designer
Unknown designer: The U.S. Merchant Marine - "They get there with the goods" - That warships, dive bombers and submarines could not stop. They carried food and the tools of war, to the far corners of the earth that without, there would be no victory.

Von Losberg FDC Honoring the Merchant Marine
Von Losberg FDC "Honoring the Merchant Marine"

M. Sanders FDC
M. Sanders FDC

Lane FDC
Lane FDC "their achievements we honor today"

Artcraft FDC Loading the Sinews of War
Artcraft FDC "Loading the Sinews of War"

Harry Ioor FDC Men That Go Down to the Sea in Ships
Harry Ioor FDC "Men That Go Down to the Sea in Ships"

W. M. Grandy FDC "In Honor of the United States Merchant Marine"
W. M. Grandy FDC "In Honor of the United States Merchant Marine"


Fidelity Stamp Co. FDC "Commemorating Their Heroic Deeds in World War II"
Fidelity Stamp Co. FDC "Commemorating Their Heroic Deeds in World War II"

Zoo-Bay FDC
Zoo-Bay FDC

Nu-Art - Staehle FDC
Nu-Art - Staehle FDC

Bi-color Craft FDC "Maritime Service - Typical Hero"
Bi-color Craft FDC "Maritime Service - Typical Hero"

Smartcraft FDC "They Plow the Lanes of the Seven Seas to Keep the United Nations Supplied"
Smartcraft FDC "They Plow the Lanes of the Seven Seas to Keep the United Nations Supplied"

Smartcraft FDC "In Honor of Our Brave Seamen Who Have Kept Our Allies and Forces Supplied during the War"
Smartcraft FDC "In Honor of Our Brave Seamen Who Have Kept Our Allies and Forces Supplied during the War"

Smartcraft Special FDC "In Honor of U.S. Maritime Service"
Smartcraft Special FDC "In Honor of U.S. Maritime Service"

H. Grimsland FDC "Honoring the United States Merchant Marine in World War II"
H. Grimsland FDC "Honoring the United States Merchant Marine in World War II"

Pent Arts FDC "U.S. Merchant Marine - An Early Side-Wheeler"
Pent Arts FDC "U.S. Merchant Marine - An Early Side-Wheeler"

Pent Arts FDC "U.S. Merchant Marine - A Modern Tanker"
Pent Arts FDC "U.S. Merchant Marine - A Modern Tanker"

Pent Arts FDC U.S. Merchant Marine - The Mayflower of Our Pilgrim Fathers
Pent Arts FDC "U.S. Merchant Marine - The Mayflower of Our Pilgrim Fathers"

Pent Arts FDC U.S. Merchant Marine - U.S.S. America
Pent Arts FDC U.S. Merchant Marine - U.S.S. America - Largest Transport Vessel Ever Constructed in America - Weight 30,00 Tons -- 724 Ft. Long and Cost $17,000,000 to Build

C. Stephen Anderson blackC. Stephen Anderson blue
C. Stephen Anderson Text: Partner in every invasion, supply line to every fighting front, the U. S. Merchant Marine has carried munitions of war to our fighting forces, and those of our Allies, all over the world . . . in spite of the menace of enemy submarines in the open ocean and bombing attacks near land, cargo deliveries through the European phase of World War II averaged more than 8,000 tons per hour.

L. W. Staehle FDC "In Honor of the U.S. Merchant Marine"
L. W. Staehle FDC "In Honor of the U.S. Merchant Marine"

L. W. Staehle FDC "In Honor of Our Armed Forces"
L. W. Staehle FDC "In Honor of Our Armed Forces"

 

L. W. Staehle FDC "In War as Well as in Peace L. W. Staehle FDC "In War as Well as in Peace
L. W. Staehle FDC "In War as Well as in Peace - In Honor of the Merchant Marine" L. W. Staehle FDC "In War as Well as in Peace - In Honor of the Merchant Marine - This Stamp is Issued to Honor the U.S. Merchant Marine and the Glorious Victory Over Our Enemies in the Atlantic & Pacific.

W. G. Crosby FDC Liberty ship

W. G. Crosby FDC Liberty ship Text: Honoring Our Armed Forces - United States Maritime Service - Liberty Ships, Victory Ships and Oil Tankers are all manned by Merchant Marine Officers and crew. All these ships carry a Naval Armed Guard crew, consisting of one Naval Officer in charge. Gun crews of twenty eight men are trained to man there guns and fire on enemy Submarines, Surface ships and airplanes. Liberty and Victory ships carry ammunition, food and medical supplies. Oil Tankers fuel ships, tanks and airplanes. * Win the War * *This Way * Liberty ship -- World War II

 

W. G. Crosby FDC "Victory Ship - Liberty Ship - Oil Tanker" W. G. Crosby FDC "Victory Ship - Liberty Ship - Oil Tanker"
W. G. Crosby FDC "Victory Ship - Liberty Ship - Oil Tanker" [Note the inset illustrations differ as well as the colors] W. G. Crosby FDC "Victory Ship - Liberty Ship - Oil Tanker"

 

Fluegel FDC "In Commemoration of U.S. Armed Forces - We Salute the United States Merchant Marine"
Fluegel FDC "In Commemoration of U.S. Armed Forces - We Salute the United States Merchant Marine"

Fleetwood- Dorothy Knapp FDC "In Honor of the United States Merchant Marine - Supply Line of the Armed Forces"
Fleetwood- Dorothy Knapp FDC "In Honor of the United States Merchant Marine - Supply Line of the Armed Forces"

Poppenger FDC "Merchant Marine"
Poppenger FDC "Merchant Marine"

Unknown Designer Merchant Marine
Unknown Designer

Cachet Craft - Ken Boll FDC "Victorious Armed Forces" -
Cachet Craft - Ken Boll FDC "Victorious Armed Forces" - (clockwise) Insignia of Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, Marine Corps

 



Press Release Issued by the United States Maritime Commission February 26, 1946 for the introduction of the U.S. Merchant Marine stamp


Sources:
U. S. Maritime Commission Press Release # 2576
Personal collection and E-bay
Mellone's Specialized Cachet Catalog of First Day covers of the 1940's, Michael Mellone, Stewartsville, NJ: FDC Publishing, 1999

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