Notes from the Past

American Samoa Centennial First Day Report

The following first hand report of the First Day Ceremonies for the American Samoa Centennial stamp issued April 17, 2000, was posted on the eBay Stamps Board by Matt in Samoa.  Thank you, Matt, for a wonderful report!

American Samoa Centennial

Here's the new stamp.

I'm back from the First Day Ceremony.  It was a beautiful day and about the only thing wrong was someone forgot to get a First Day of Issue canceler!!!!!!!   There was a lot of singing and dancing, and the Pago Pago Postmaster wore traditional garb.

A couple of scans:
The Protocol Girls
Pago Pago Harbor
The First Day Ceremony site
The beach behind the site
More beach

OK - this is what happened:
The Postmaster told me that they would have a small size envelope with a cachet they would postmark at the ceremony.  These never arrived.  The machine canceler that reads "First Day of Issue" never arrived.  They had some programs that were printed in Washington, DC that had the machine cancel on the actual stamp.

After the ceremony the Postmaster told me that I had to go to Post Office to get the "first day" postmark, that they had a rubber stamp.  Well, the rubber stamp turned out to be just an ordinary Pago Pago CDS.  So I used my Mailer's Postmark Permit canceler and put over 100 FDCs in the mails!  Expect them at the end of the week or so in the US.  They are an awful lot of lurkers here!

Anyway, I headed back to the ceremony, which had ended, and almost everyone had left.  I guess someone said something to the Postmaster, who then realized he had a rubber stamp "First Day of Issue" in his briefcase!  Then they said it was only used to cancel "decorative souvenirs", not "real mail"!!!  And I had already dropped the FDCs at the Post Office!

So everyone that sent me an address will be getting the first day cover with Pago Pago April 17 2000 Mailers Permit Postmark on the new stamp.

But this is going to be interesting:
All the Washington, DC generated "fake" first day covers will be machine canceled, and all the "real" Pago Pago first day covers will be hand canceled!

Also, only one of the three Navy ships arrived, USS Decatur, DDG 73.  I was able to sneak on board and get some covers postmarked!  The postal officer told me I was the only one to do so!

Today's Postmarks

I will be checking in with the Postmaster on the next day about other FDCs he serviced, but as of Saturday no one had sent him any requests for First Day cancellations.  Several hundred were postmarked at the ceremony, but these will probably stay with the people here. Many were autographed by the Governor and Postmaster.  All the covers had a goofy looking purple rubber stamp instead of a printed cachet.

Matt in Samoa

Posted April 19, 2000

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