Notes from the Past


Cover collecting is one of the most popular fields in philately today, yet an attractive cover still remains one of the few philatelic objects that is almost impossible to describe adequately in writing, or in an auction description.  Every reader will form a different mental picture of the item.  Why?  Because there is a certain undefinable something about the exceptional cover, an appeal or attribute that cannot be conveyed in language.  There may be two covers, almost exactly alike in make up, same stamp, similar postmarks, etc., but one cover will possess that most elusive "zing" that makes it a standout in any company, makes it a more desirable and for which bidders will scramble and shove one another around to acquire, while the other will be, well, just so so, just another cover.  It may be the shade of the stamp, perhaps a richer or more emphasized color, or maybe the way the postmark has caught it, or some other of the innumerable features desirable covers do possess.  It is not always the perfect centering of the stamp that rings the bell, nor the excellent even margins all around, in the case of an imperforate issue, nor the fact that the cancellation happened to be red or some other pleasing color.  The sparkle that made it a striking piece was, more likely just an incident which occurred sometime, somewhere, after the envelope was addressed and between the time it ultimately reached the addressee.  It may be any one of a dozen, or a combination of features, but distinction was definitely bestowed upon it.
- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
September 6, 1941

Posted December 15, 1999  

Index of 507 Notes from the Past

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