Collectors of USPS Souvenir Pages combine into one collection the stamps issued by the U.S. Post Office, together with a First Day of Issue Cancellation, and information about the stamp issue. This third factor, the reasoning for the stamp issue, or the historical or social significance of the stamp, is just as important now that stamps feature more than just dead presidents and founding fathers, as important as they are to any stamp collection.
The Postal Service began the USPS Souvenir Page Program with the Family Planning Stamp in March 1972. This Souvenir Page (#72-0) was only available at the ASDA Stamp Show in Madison Square Garden, New York City and at the Main New York City Post office on 8th Avenue across from The Garden.
The next month, the USPS initiated a subscription service, beginning with the National Park Series. The Postal Service had observed collecting interest in Stamp Posters with First Day Cancels produced by enterprising collectors and dealers who began affixing stamps to the Post Office produced announcement posters and having them first day cancelled. The decision was made by the USPS to begin a program of their own and, as they say, the rest is history.
Production began with about 2,000 of the Family Planning Souvenir Page sold and 10,000 of the first four subscription pages (#72-1, 72-2, 72-3, and 72-4). Today the Family Planning Page is ‘rare’ and the first Subscription four are ‘scarce’ Since the initial introduction of USPS Souvenir Pages there are now over 1,000 types, which is enough to provide years of collecting activity.
A challenging element of the segment of the hobby is to include ‘Unofficals’ or ‘Poster Bulletins’, the forerunners of Souvenir Pages
The USPS produced announcement posters for every US postal issue, including stamped envelopes, postal cards and aerogrammes. Intended for display on Post Office bulletin boards from 1959 (49-Star Flag) through 1981 (Rachel Carson), the bulletins were also made available to collectors. They are 8 x 10-1/2 inches, and were printed on lesser quality paper without watermarks. At first the posters were printed in gray but soon the USPS began to print them in a single color similar to the color of the stamp. Posters include an image of the stamp(s) along with information about the stamp and it’s subject.
Since stamp collectors affixed their own stamps to these early posters, many possibilities exist including plate blocks, zip blocks, tab singles, coil line pairs, and combinations with other stamps. Unofficial Souvenir Pages were created for most US postal issues, including stamped envelopes, postal cards and aerogrammes. They were created on both folded and unfolded posters and as with Stamp Posters , unfolded examples command a premium.
There are more than 1,800 souvenir pages listed in the Scott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps & Covers. In the 2001 Scott U.S. Specialized Catalog, the Hemingway souvenir page is listed as Scott SP857 with a value of $1.60, one of the lowest values of all the pages. The 2015 catalog value has increased to $4.75, so clearly there is increasing interest in the items. The 1972 8¢ Family Planning page (SP208), had a 2001 value of $500 and in the 2014 catalog the value has risen to $675.00.
Collectors interested in starting a Souvenir pages collection can enroll in the USPS subscription program through USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, Box 219424, Kansas City, MO 64121-9424. Details also are available by calling toll-free 800-782-6724.
Washington Press, the publishers of the White Ace Album and ArtCraft First Day Cover Cachets, produces an album for collecting Souvenir Pages. The White Ace USPS Souvenir Pages Album is the best custom designed album for collecting these popular post office issues.