Museum Stamps 2022 Issue
The George Washington Witness Tree of Delaware Museum Commemorative Stamp 2022 (Given to those in attendance at the George Washington Society of Delaware meeting December 18th, 2022, as Christmas Gifts)
By: Joshua Peter Loper
According to my old and long out-of-print edition high school dictionary: a Cinderella Stamp (concerning stamp collecting) is "virtually anything resembling a postage stamp, but not issued for postal purposes by a government postal administration." Most people, naturally, ask themselves, what the purpose is of having a Cinderella stamp? The answer is as varied as the person they were made by or for. Some are for advertisements for companies, stores, goods, or special occasions. Some are organizational, political, informational, or even just because someone wants to make their own personal stamp. Cinderella stamps can be as simple, or as intricate, as you want them to be. They can sometimes actually be very collectable and collecting them is becoming more popular in philately. I have been making them for years for my personal letters and my model railroad.
These were designed by me to spread awareness about the George Washington Witness Tree of Delaware and its museum. During my work to save the tree, it has been very hard to get the word out. I contacted hundreds of newspapers, journals, horticultural groups, gardens, universities, etc... Most did not care. Getting the word out has been the hardest part of the project to save the venerable 300-year-old tree.
Left, you can see the 2 amazing illustrations Sanjali91 illustrated. The first is the George Washington Witness Tree of Delaware. The second is an American Sycamore seed ball attached to a twig with leaves. These definitely are hints to several upcoming posts over the next few months.
I looked at hundreds of illustrators and artists on a really great web service called Fiverr. Fiverr allows an amazing plethora of different types of artists to create virtual store fronts to connect with people from all around the world. After looking for weeks, I chose an amazing botanical illustrator from India, Sanjali91 on Fiverr. Her work is amazing! She was great to work with and really brought the tree to life, even though it is in 2D. The illustration of the George Washington Witness Tree was so beautiful I thought it had to become a stamp. Then I spent an hour on Microsoft Paint tinkering with the layout of the design.
Left are the stamp printings I worked with Janet on. The first is the blank design. I thought I wanted 1.25x1.50, but once again, Janet was right and 1.2x1.506 worked better. The second, shows a stamp plate block after I wrote in the year/number on the block and before I hand wrote in the stamp number. All stamps are individually issued their own number which is handwritten on them.
I then went on Etsy, another great website. Kind of like Ebay, but for artists. It is a great way to find really cool items/artworks. I contacted Janet (AsYouWishStudios), who has printed stamps for me before for several organizations. Fast responses, easy to work with, and she makes sure they are always printed looking amazing, even when I mess up and she has to upload it into Photoshop to fix my sizing mistakes. Thanks, Janet. You are great. The stamps always come out great!
Disclaimer (because it is the 21st century): I do not get any type of reimbursement from these great artists of any kind. I am just a very happy customer, who wanted to spread the word about these amazing artists. I also want this information recorded for posterity, for research about the tree and philatelic reasons.
Each person in attendance that day received 1 individually numbered (30-87) George Washington Witness Tree of Delaware Museum commemorative stamp. These are celebrating the opening of the online museum dedicated to the amazing tree. The stamp plate blocks can be viewed in our Archives Section 3.1. The stamps were issued still on their adhesive backing paper and were hand numbered by me. The envelopes were left blank except for numbers 30-59. For example, number 30 has #30 written in the bottom left corner of the envelope. They were given in little gift cards bearing my name in raised ink letters with notes saying, "Happy Christmas, come visit the museum online," written by my wife. I love her so much, and not just for her legible handwriting. She deserves a medal for putting up with me. These fun little gifts, hopefully, will help spread the word about the museum and confuse at least one stamp collector in the future.
Is it so sad that in this "most accepting" century I must have this with a disclaimer according to the museum: These were given as Christmas gifts by me, and not sold. These are not for sale. However, the disclaimer is not for this but instead for the use of the word Christmas. I have always said Merry/Happy Christmas to everyone. That includes my Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Shinto, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist, Wiccan, Norse Viking (not kidding), my one friend who just hates everyone, etc. They have all said Merry Christmas back to me in their own way. Whether it is Joyeux Noel, Happy Holidays, Shalom, Happy Solstice, Good Yule, Christmas Ki Shubhkamnayein, get stuffed, something of their religion, and so many more different ways... Am I offended by the way they return my Christmas Cheer? No! Are they offended by my offering the joy of the Christmas Season? No! Nor should anyone be. I don't get upset when my students give me Kwanzaa cards wishing me joy. I don't get upset when a friend tells me they wished me good health and happiness in the harvest as they lite a candle at Diwali for me. I thank them and return the sentiment heartily. I have only had 2 complaints my entire life on that score, and it was always from someone who wanted to be offended. I have, sadly, found some people in this world are just so unhappy with themselves they need to be outraged or offended to actually feel happy. It seems this brings validation to those individuals for their own preconceived bias/hatred. How sad. These are the people I recommend reading the "Dear Virginia Letter" located in the Newseum.
Suffice it to say in closing dear reader... When I say to you, and all mankind, Merry Christmas... I mean it in the spirit of old: wishing everyone great happiness, good health, long life, much joy, and the best of luck. So, dear reader, whether it is in the midst of a cold dark December night, a rainy grey March morning, a hot golden August afternoon, or a cool September evening at twilight, Merry Christmas to you!