Collecting Waterfowl Stamps

Methods of Collecting; On license

Today, waterfowl stamp collecting is a major hobby with thousands of enthusiasts worldwide. There are many options for the prospective new collector. Traditionally, collectors will start out with the federal stamps and then progress onto the state, local and tribal issues. However, one of the enjoyable things about collecting is the high degree of personal choice allowed. Some collectors may wish to collect only federal stamps, or only pictorial federal and state stamps. Some collectors prefer unused stamps and others prefer to collect stamps that have been actually used by hunters and removed from licenses. Many advanced collectors try to acquire stamps that are still affixed to the original license, thereby showing their intended usage (see figures 13 through 16).



Figure 13. Advanced collectors seek stamps affixed to original licenses, showing their usage. The owners of these licenses desired to hunt at Honey Lake. They were required to purchase both a federal waterfowl stamp and a Honey Lake stamp.



Figure 14. This license shows a combination usage with federal, state (Kansas) and Marion County stamps affixed. Licenses with multiple stamps affixed are popular with collectors.



Figure 15. 1964-65 federal waterfowl stamp used on license with Maryland Big Game stamps for archery and firearms.



Figure 16. California license with stamps required to hunt waterfowl from three different government jurisdictions; Vandenberg Air Force base, federal and California.



A popular speciality area within collecting waterfowl stamps on license is collecting early federal stamps on Form 3333. When the first stamp was issued in 1934 (known as RW1 for Revenue Waterfowl #1), regulations stated a stamp could not leave the post office unless affixed to the hunter’s license or the blue stamp holder known more commonly as Form 3333 (see Figure 17). In either case, the piece of paper the stamp was affixed to should bear the hunter’s identifying signature. The reasoning behind this is that the government did not want hunters to share stamps and deprive waterfowl conservation efforts of badly needed funding.



Figure 17. The first federal stamp used on Form 3333. The Form is cancelled “HONOLULU, HAWAII”. Due to its relatively small population and limited waterfowl hunting, very few stamps were sold in Hawaii from 1934 – 1936. Therefore, federal stamps used on Hawaiian Form 3333s are difficult for collectors to acquire.



For the 1935-36 seasons, the regulations were amended. Waterfowl hunters were now required to sign the stamp itself across the face in ink. This made the use of Form 3333 obsolete and widespread use of the form was discontinued. For many subsequent years, however, some post offices continued to use the forms for various reasons (see Figures 18 and 19). Often these were smaller post offices or those in remote locations. As you get farther removed form 1934-35, it becomes more challenging for collectors to acquire federal stamps on the blue card. The latest known usage is for 1955-56 (RW22).



Figure 18. 1935-36 federal stamp used on Form 3333. The form is cancelled “Circle, Alaska”. Alaskan form 3333s are very popular with collectors.



Figure 19. 1939-40 federal stamp used on Form 3333. The General Delivery postmark is rarely encountered on the card.



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