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Essay-Proof Committee

James Patterson
2901 North Central Ave., No. 200
Phoenix, AZ  85012

2004 Annual Board Meeting Committee Report

The committee has four regularly participating members who communicate as needed, mainly by phone.  I have recently had an email from another USSS member who specializes in 20th Century essays and proofs, and I am attempting to "sign him up."

Several articles are pending about previously unreported essays and proofs that have been offered for sale.  Also pending is an update of the Chairman's article about the essays and proofs of the Overrun Countries series (that appeared in the December, 2003, issue of The Specialist), based on several communications received from members and one from a non-member who was given a photocopy of the article by another member!  The Chairman also has agreed to write the "essays and proofs" chapter for the Society's Encyclopedia of United States Stamp Collecting.

Ron Burns wrote an article that appeared in the March issue of our journal, about his analysis of a pair of black die proofs as being the first printed of the so-called "Roosevelt proofs."  The Chairman delivered an article to the editor (published in the June, 2004 issue) about the issuance by The Philatelic Foundation of a certificate that "authenticated" a souvenir card cut-out as a "genuine die essay" of one of the stamps from the Famous Americans Series.  This article also describes in detail the incredible amount of die and transfer roll work that went into the production of the souvenir card in question.

As I reported previously, I am attempting to keep all of my writing within the pages of The Specialist, intending that it be the journal of record for U.S. essay and proof material at least of the 20th century.

The Committee offers heartiest congratulations to Essay-Proof Committee members George Brett and Barbara Mueller, who (along with Tom Alexander) have been named as recipients of the 2004 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards.  The awards were presented at a black-tie dinner on May 22 hosted by the National Postal Museum.  Because of physical infirmity, George was not able to attend, but he prepared a video to be played during the ceremony.  Barbara attended in person.  This is a well-deserved tribute for these two exemplary scholars.

2003 Annual Board Meeting Committee Report

The committee has four regularly participating members who communicate as needed, mainly by phone.

Current research includes efforts to try to report on previously unreported essays and proofs that are mentioned in the literature or are offered for sale, either through dealer lists or auctions.  The Chairman has written to a number of auction houses to try to get advance notice (and computer scans) for upcoming sales so that we can report prospectively rather than historically, but we have had no luck so far.  Also, Barbara Mueller and James Patterson both participated in the editing of the Society's Glossary of Terms for the Collector of United States Stamps.

Recently published articles include a pair of articles by James Patterson in the December, 2002 and January, 2003 Specialist that discussed design sources of (primarily) 20th century stamps, based on an old Smithsonian Institution pricelist that Lou Robbins made available.  In the May, 2003 Specialist, the Chairman wrote about Louis Schwimmer, the previously unreported staff artist for the New York City Post Office who designed the "Four Chaplains" stamp.  For July, August and September, USSS Chairman Roger Brody had a three-part article running under the Committee's masthead about his set of drawings for the Second Bureau Issue attributed to Raymond Ostrander Smith.  In October, 2003, the Chairman wrote a brief report about some Prexie large die proofs that were offered in a Jacques Schiff sale.  Finally, the Chairman presented an article appearing in the December, 2003 Specialist that tries to assemble all available information about previously unreported large die proofs and essays of the American Bank Note Company for the Overrun Countries Series.

The Committee Chairman has available the Smithsonian's "design source" list available as a scanned file.  In the introductory comments in the December, 2002 article that reproduced this listing, USSS members were invited to send an e-mail to the Committee Chairman if they were interested in obtaining a copy.  Only one member so responded.

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