1967 - 1976 VAFB Hunting & Fishing Stamps
Vandenberg Air Force base is located along the coast in southern California, between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. Primarily, the base is used to test various types of missiles and and launch satellites into orbit. Facilities were completed to serve as the west coast launch site for the space shuttle, but were mothballed in the aftermath of the Challenger accident in 1986.
Stamps were first issued on the base in 1967, for military personnel (only) to hunt both large and small game, including waterfowl. This marked the first time the Department of Defense had issued fish and game stamps in the U.S. In 1968, the first fishing stamps were issued, also for military personnel only.
Up to and including the fishing stamp for 1976, the stamps were rather crudely typeset and included a design element. This is considered the classic period for this series. E.L. Vanderford reported in his handbook that starting in 1970, the stamps were issued in horizontal sheets of five. The crude typesetting resulted in stamps from each of the five positions having slightly different hunter and fish shapes. From the 1972-73 issue on, the design elements were identical in all five positions.
1976 - 1999 VAFB Hunting & Fishing Stamps
Starting in 1976, some VAFB stamps were printed on fluorescent paper to help prevent against counterfeiting. The crude design element was omitted and the general hunting stamp was discontinued. It was replaced by separate stamps for deer and small game (including waterfowl). The stamps were still only issued to military personnel.
By 1984, a third type of hunting stamp was issued for wild pigs. By 1991, a fourth stamp was introduced which conveyed the right to hunt for all game that was found on the base. At the end of the 20th century, small game and pig hunting were no longer allowed. Non military personnel were allowed to hunt deer (only) and fish on the base and separate stamps were printed and issued to both classifications of sportsmen.
The fees charged to civilians were much higher than those for servicemen, either active or retired. In the case of deer hunting, the fee was over double that charged to military personnel ($35.00 vs $15.00). Prior to stamps being issued to civilians, it was difficult for collectors to acquire stamps from VAFB. It was necessary to have military connections or use the Freedom of information Act.
1902 - 1930 Indiana Hunting and Fishing Licenses
The first Indiana hunting license for residents was issued in 1902 for waterfowl and (strange combination) squirrels. In 1903, the first general resident Hunter's license was issued and the same form was used through 1907. These licenses are unusual in that they featured a place in the lower left corner for the licensee to paste his photo. It should be noted that this was not always done and in most cases when it was done, the photo became detached from the license.
A new form was introduced and used concurrently with the old one in 1907. In 1908 there were at least two different printings, distinguished by a different serial number font. Through the teens there were several different types of licenses issued for the same year that may be distinguished by either a different color of paper stock or a serial number with an A,B or C prefix (or both). It is not known what these prefixes designated.
Starting in the 1920s, a new form was used and, typical of many states during this decade, the year date was printed across the face of the license in large red numerals. The form itself was fairly large, measuring 6 3/4" wide by 5 1/2" tall. The classic period for Indiana licenses ended in 1931, when a small, rather plain new form was introduced. This form was printed on card stock and was a little larger than a business card in size.
1953 - 1968 Montana Bow and Arrow Hunting Stamps
The first special archery season for antelope, deer and elk was held in Montana in 1953. A total of 532 hunters participated. Fourteen different areas of the state were selected because of an increased danger to humans and livestock from firearms hunting. The special archery season was established on a yearly basis and preceded the firearms season by about a month. A general hunting license was a prerequisite and an additional fee (the stamp) was involved.
All stamps issued through 1968-69 have an image included in the design and this is considered the classic period for this series. Starting with the 1959-60 issue, stamps have been recorded with and without serial numbers. It is believed that the stamps issued to hunters were serial numbered and that unnumbered stamps are remainders that were sold to collectors after the season.
The 1962-63 issue depicts an arrow drawn on a bow superimposed over an outline map of the State of Montana. There is a constant printing variety in one position of the sheet of twenty five stamps (5 x 5), where the printed dot pattern in a spot above the arrow closest to the archer's hand has been worn or otherwise obscured. In addition, there were two printings of the stamp with higher serial numbers being printed in a darker red (almost purple) color of ink. This makes a total of four different varieties for this issue.
Following the 1968-69 season, new style stamps were issued that were either non pictorial or featured a shadowed image of a sage grouse or a pheasant.
Bellinghausen Marion County, Kansas Duck Blocks
Charles J. Bellinghausen was a pioneer revenue collector and a specialist in Kansas fish and game stamps, especially those issued by Marion County. Charles was the author of many related publications, including the Kansas State Revenue Catalog and Compound Roulettes of the Marion County Fish and Duck stamps, both in 1972.
Charles is best known in the fish and game hobby for making a deal with the Marion County Clerk in 1971 that brought a box containing her duck and fishing stamp remainders into the stamp market. Charles subsequently acquired her remainders for the final two years of issue, 1972 and 1973.
The duck blocks shown here represent one each of the issues found in the box without breaking up a full pane (either by Charles, Ken Pruess or myself). As there were very few remainders for many of the stamps, often there was either a block or a pane – but not both. There were no blocks for 1965, no remainders at all for 1966, no blocks or panes for 1967 and no blocks for 1970.
The Bellinghausen collection of duck stamp blocks contain many of the constant printing varieties that are so popular with collectors.
Pennsylvania Non Resident Trout Stamps
In 1926, Pennsylvania made non resident fishing license fees reciprocal. Meaning that non residents wishing to fish in Pennsylvania were charged the same fee that their home state would charge visiting Pennsylvania fishermen. A minimum fee was established at $2.50 and this lasted through the issuance of their first non resident trout stamp in 1956. Starting in 1957, the minimum fee was raised to $3.25.
On December 15, 1959, Pennsylvania Act No. 673 was passed. The act made the fee a flat $7.50 for non resident trout stamps (it was no longer reciprocal). The same act ended the Pennsylvania fishing license button series.
Stamps from 1956 and 1957 were issued in sheets of 30 (6 x 5) using a large printing plate and the ink was often unevenly applied to the plate. Stamps from 1956 and 1957 have a line printed on them for the reciprocal fee to be filled in. All stamps that were regularly issued have the fee filled in. Those without the fee filled in are unused remainders. The series was discontinued following the 1963 season.
Koepp Iowa Trout Panes
For those unaware, Jerry Koepp is one of the largest stamp and coin dealers in the midwest. Over the years, Jerry has had more than his share of better fish and game related material walk through the door of his shop, Stamps "n" Stuff in Des Moines, Iowa.
On one occasion, a doctor walked in with a collection of Iowa fish and game stamps. Having the means to do so, the doctor had purchased full panes of all the Iowa stamps (in addition to singles). Jerry called and sold me most of the collection but held onto the Iowa trout panes for many years, simply because he thought they were "neat".
Eventually, he decided I should have them and they have been a part of my collection for about twenty years now. I exhibited a couple and have shown a couple of others on other places on this website. However, this is the first time the entire group has been made available for everyone to enjoy.
Lebo Tennessee Big Game Essays and Proofs
Included in Les Lebo's advanced collection of fish and game stamps were essays and proofs of many of Tennessee's fish and game stamps. Les was a very serious collector in the 1960s and 1970s (well ahead of his time) and his collection was comprehensive with essays, proofs, errors, multiples and different types of usages in addition to the single stamps.
When the time came for Les to sell, he contacted our mutual friend, Elmore Vanderford. Van was not interested in all the extra "stuff" and gave me a call. Two trips to Knoxville and Les allowed me to buy everything I needed for my collection.
I had heard about the Tennessee essays and proofs from Van and others but was pleasantly surprised by their eye appeal. Those for the fishing stamps can be seen in Gallery Three and here you can view those for big game.
California Hunting License Validating Stamps
NO FEE Overprints
Starting in 1962, California switched to a new stamp and license system wherein sportsmen filled out a generic form that would also serve as a valid hunting license after a license agent affixed a validating stamp to it.
The licenses were differentiated by separate hunting license validating stamps for residents, resident juniors and non residents. Veterans having a 70% or greater service-connected disability were entitled to hunting licenses free of charge. Previous to the new system, regular hunting licenses were overprinted "DISABLED VETERAN / NO FEE" and issued to veterans.
With the switch to self issuing licenses, the new resident validating stamps were overprinted for disabled veterans. Over the years, four different types of overprints were used. For some seasons, more than one type of overprint was used concurrently.
The No Fee overprints for disabled veterans have long intrigued collectors. Available records indicate that fewer than 500 stamps were overprinted and distributed to veterans in any single year, adding a challenge factor to the mix.
1986 - 1997 California Waterfowl
Following the end of WW2, returning servicemen put unprecedented pressure on California's state owned and operated waterfowl management areas. Many new areas needed to be built and the existing ones needed to be enlarged.
Funding came from many different sources, not the least of which was the Pittman-Robertson program (see The Honey Lake Waterfowl Stamps article). However, it still fell short of the required amount.
For this reason, fees were employed at the most popular sites, most notably Honey Lake, to help defray the cost of operation. Starting in 1985, a new program was started, wherein hunter's were allowed to apply for each day of the waterfowl season for each area run by the state. This new program came at an additional cost to operations.
Therefore, starting with the 1986-87 season, a non-refundable $1.00 application fee was imposed. To show the fee had been paid, prospective hunters were required to purchase a waterfowl application stamp and affix one to each application submitted.
It took some time for fish and game collectors to gradually find out about these stamps. For this reason, one can generalize and say the farther back you go – the more difficult the stamps are to acquire.