By Michael Jaffe
Only two exhibits from throughout the world are selected to be included in the rarity vault of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.. each year, and the current exhibit, State, Local and Tribal Waterfowl Stamps, assembled by David R. Torre, has been extended until the middle of January 1999.
Most people are aware of the Federal Duck Stamp program. It was implemented in March 1934 to provide funding for waterfowl conservation through the acquisition of wetland habitat. Federal Duck stamps represent roughly 5% of the total of waterfowl stamps issued. Well over 1,000 state, local and tribal waterfowl stamps have been issued by various government agencies. Most of these stamps are text only, with no illustration.
Unlike the federal duck stamps that are issued in quantities of more than 2 million, state, local and tribal stamps are sometimes issued in quantities of 200 or less. Due to this limited quantity, obtaining examples of many of these stamps has become very difficult.
Torre’s exhibit consists of 45 extremely rare state, local and tribal waterfowl stamps displayed on six panels plus an introduction panel. The exhibit describes each rarity and gives a brief history of each section. Most of the stamps are either the only known copy, or one of two or three known.