Illinois Daily Usage Stamps
When servicemen returned home from WW2, it led to an unprecedented demand for places to hunt waterfowl in the U.S. Led by California and Illinois, many state governments began to build and operate public hunting grounds where people could enjoy waterfowl hunting without having to belong to expensive private clubs. Starting in 1951, the Illinois daily usage stamps were the first stamps to be used at such areas and they are still in use today. On many different levels, this is considered one of the most important sets in the U.S. waterfowl stamp story.
Marion County, Kansas Fishing Stamps
In the early 1930s, citizens of Marion County, Kansas began to dream of building a multi-use recreational park that would rival any in the country. The centerpiece of this dream was a lake that would be stocked with thousands of fish and offer the ultimate fishing experience. The project was in the works throughout the 1930s and finally came to completion in 1939. The opening day was announced to be May 23, 1940. On this day over 10,000 people crowded the park and 2,000 fishermen lined the banks of the lake waiting for a starting gun to fire and announce the grand opening. For this event, Marion County became the first local government to issue fish and game stamps in the U.S. The story about the Park and Lake and the stamps used there has captured the imaginations of generations of collectors since that time.
Joyce Tennessee Shell Tax Blocks
Starting in 1937, Tennessee began requiring waterfowl hunters to purchase boxes of ammunition that had a special shell tax stamp affixed. The stamps were beautifully designed and featured a scene of a hunter shooting ducks over a marsh and a pointer at his side, eager to plunge in. Owing to their beauty, these stamps were extremely popular with stamp collectors from the day they were issued. However, the state would not sell unused examples to collectors and they were left to try removing them from the empty boxes for their collections. It is believed that virtually all unused examples were obtained from the state by the influential and now famous revenue stamp collector Morton Dean Joyce. After obtaining the stamps, Joyce traded among his friends, leaving one set of blocks intact for the enjoyment of future enthusiasts.
Maryland Archery Big Game Stamps
When Maryland began issuing big game stamps in 1960, the vast majority were produced for hunters using firearms. At this time there was a relatively small but ardent group of sportsmen who also enjoyed hunting with a bow and arrow. Maryland made the decision to produce two separate sets of stamps – one for firearms and one for archery. Not only were far fewer archery stamps issued to hunters, but most pioneer fish and game collectors were unaware of their existence. Today, the stamps are very difficult to acquire, especially in unused condition.
Kansas Quail Stamps
The 1937-38 Kansas quail stamps have the distinction of being the first fish and game stamps issued in the U.S., beating out the Pymatuning waterfowl stamps by a few months. The bi-colored stamps have always been popular with collectors due to their historical importance and the fact that over the years there were many constant varieties produced. Some collectors specialize in collecting only the Kansas quail stamps and there have been several specialized publications detailing the varieties.
1905 - 1919 Oregon Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Starting in 1905, Oregon became one of the earliest states to issue hunting and fishing licenses. Prior to 1912, the responsibility for licensing sportsmen rested with the clerk of each individual county. Therefore, it is possible to find Oregon licenses from the same year in different sizes and with different designs printed on them. Starting in 1912, there was only one license printed by the state and distributed for sale by vendors statewide. There were, however, multiple printings on occasion that are readily distinguishable from each other.
Pymatuning Waterfowl Stamps
Aristocrats of fish and game stamps, the Pymatuning waterfowl stamps were required of Ohio residents intending to hunt waterfowl on Pymatuning Lake. The lake straddles the border of the uppermost parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania paid for virtually all construction costs but made a deal with Ohio to allow sportmen from both sides to enjoy the lake. At the time, Ohio general hunting licenses cost $1.00 less than those in Pennsylvania. In order to be fair, PA asked that Ohio hunters purchase the special stamps for $1.00 and affix them to their license. Very few Pymatuning hunting stamps were issued in any given year, with the most common stamp having three examples recorded. For decades no stamps were known to exist, then one copy of the 1938 stamp was discovered and sold to legendary collector E.L. Vanderford. For over two more decades it was the only Pymatuning stamp recorded and this earned it its nickname as the "British Guiana" of the waterfowl stamp hobby. Although examples of all the other Pymatuning waterfowl stamps have since been recorded, the 1938 stamp remains unique.
Tennessee Trout Stamps
Tennessee started to require trout fishermen to purchase a special stamp in 1956. The first stamp was unusual in that it was issued in decal form. The Tennessee trout stamp series is considered one of the prettiest and is very popular with collectors. Over the years there have been several printing varieties and a couple of major errors to add interest. With the exception of some printers waste, unused Tennessee trout stamps are scarce. The majority were obtained for collectors by Morton Dean Joyce, while he lived in Tennessee and pioneer fish and game collector and exhibitor Les Lebo, who spent his life living near Knoxville.
Michigan Trout Stamps
Michigan issued the first pictorial fishing stamps, starting in 1948. The early stamps were beautifully engraved. In addition, the stamps are fairly common and therefore quite affordable. For these two reasons, they have always been very popular with collectors. The 1948 stamp is famous for inspiring E.L. Vanderford to collect fish and game stamps. Prior to the stamp being issued, Van collected only hunting stamps and a limited way. However, his wife Jane was an avid topical collector of fish on stamps. When Van learned of the 1948 Michigan stamp he purchased one for Jane as a gift. During the process he was so taken with the stamp that he decide to collect fish and game stamps in general. The rest is philatelic history.
Honey Lake Waterfowl Stamps
Following the lead of Illinois, California began to develop public hunting grounds following WW2. Although numerous areas were developed throughout the state, only those in the far northeastern corner had special stamps printed for them. The two areas were Honey Lake and Madeline Plains in 1956. While the Madeline Plains location was doomed by inaccessibility to fail after only one year, the Honey lake Wildlife Area thrived and the waterfowl stamp series lasted for three decades, finally coming to an end following the 1986 season. With everything to offer; engaging social history, interesting varieties and a good mix of rarity and relative ease of acquisition, the Honey Lake waterfowl stamp series has been a collector favorite since the days of the pioneers.