Notes from the Past

Philatelic Truck

Between 1939* and 1941, the US Post Office Department sponsored s special truck that traveled around the country carrying a philatelic exhibit.  It carried a three-man crew and offered philatelic souvenirs to the public visiting the display.  The souvenirs included the Philatelic Truck souvenir sheet which was given away free, and an introductory book on stamp collecting for youngsters that cost 10.  About 500,000 of the souvenir sheets were produced, 300,000 of them without gum.  There was also a special cachet applied to covers mailed aboard the truck.

Visitors entered by the rear doors and left by a side door.  There were display cases containing dies and plates used to produce US stamps as well as an exhibition of die proofs.

The truck was in California when the US entered World War II, and the tour was discontinued.  The truck is believed to have ended its days in San Francisco, where Ralph A. Davis, the clerk-in-charge, last saw it rusting away in storage.

During its brief life, the exhibit traveled about 20,000 miles and visited many parts of the country.  It would stop in a town for a day, and if it was parked in a prominent spot, as many as 800 people might visit it.  The most visitors came during a Labor Day weekend in Pittsburgh, PA, when about 5,000 people saw the display, while the truck was parked at the city's fairgrounds. 

* Thaniks to Tony Shaman for catching my typo.

- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Two G-P
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted June 11, 2000

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