Notes from the Past

1912-1913. 1 Panama-Pacific
Used in Film Co. Advertising

It is never a simple matter to have Uncle Sam help in your advertising plans but occasionally a business concern is alert to take cognizance of an incident and turn it to advertising advantage.  It has more than once been done in the case of U. S. stamp issues.

At the time of the Panama-Pacific issue, one of the leading movie outfits in California was the Balboa Film Co.  Of course the film companies have been accustomed to calling upon Uncle Sam frequently for use of his army and navy in the production of a "super-feature" but in this case the assistance of the government was not so spectacular and the cooperation was furnished by the Post Office Department.

The one-cent stamp of the Panama-Pacific issue featured a striking portrait of Balboa.  Immediately the stamp was adopted by the Balboa Film Co., and henceforward all correspondence leaving the Balboa offices was franked with the new one-cent stamps.  They are said to have purchased an enormous supply of the stamps in order that they could continue using them long after the issue was obsolete, but I believe the Balboa Film Co. faded from view long before the Balboa stamps had been exhausted.  

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
Stamps
November 10, 1934

Posted September 21, 1999

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