Saturday, October 3, 2015
Occasionally I accept commissioned work to supplement my passion for old paper. On top of that, I began to create collectibles in 1989, although it was unwittingly at the time. Having begun to put art work on envelopes in the mid Fifties after seeing the art of C. M. Russell, I had no idea that there were people who collected these little gems. I have posted a number of pieces of 'mail art' since I began publishing my blog, and looking for the mail art label HERE will keep you busy for awhile. Properly called first day covers, these regular envelopes carry stamps cancelled in the city where the stamp is first released for public sale, and in this case it was Cooperstown, New York.
In 1939, a person interested in creating a first day cover would have to send self-addressed envelopes and cash to cover the cost of the postage to the postmaster of the city where the stamp was to be released. I have three of these envelopes with the same name on them, and a little research informed me that Mr. Kleinod was a member of the American Philatelic Society as early as 1921.
As for the art work, it is a cigar label for the Beckett & Brown Company of Eastport, Maine, who sponsored and fielded a baseball team called the Brownie Nine. The cigars were a nickel. Before 1920, there were over 25,000 cigar manufacturers in the United States. Cigar sales were strictly regulated and taxed by the government, and the labels produced between 1880 and 1920 were works of art produced using a method of printing called stone lithography.
I urge those who are interested in the label as an art form to visit the Cigar Label Junkie for a virtual library of labels of every description. This is either my fourth or fifth cover that I have created for the same gentleman, and I have not run out of baseball related cigar labels quite yet.