Arago: Centenial of Pan-American Exposition Invert Stamps

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Centenial of Pan-American Exposition Invert Stamps

The Postal Service issued The Pan-American Inverts souvenir sheet in New York, New York, on March 29, 2001. Richard Sheaff of Scottsdale, Arizona, designed the sheet.

The Pan-American Exposition (May 1, 1901-November 2, 1901), held in Buffalo, New York, highlighted advancements of the nineteenth century in industry, transportation, manufacturing, and the arts. On opening day, the US Post Office Department issued a series of six bi-colored stamps commemorating the exposition, using the theme of transportation. A limited number of the stamp sheets were printed with inverted centers: the 1-cent stamp depicting the steamship, "City of Alpena"; the 2-cent stamp depicting the train, "Empire State Express"; and the 4-cent stamp depicting an early electric automobile. The rare inverts quickly became collectibles.

This 2001 souvenir sheet includes reproductions of these famous Pan-American inverts in their original colors as well as four reproductions of a "cinderella" that originally commemorated the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. (A cinderella is an item that resembles, but is not, an official government-issued postage stamp.) The design of the red and blue, diamond-shaped cinderella features a charging buffalo in the center encircled by the words "Pan- American Exposition Buffalo." The addition of an 80-cent denomination makes each of the four cinderella reproductions official postage stamps. A detail of the cover illustration from a 1901 souvenir guide also appears on the 2001 souvenir sheet. In the illustration, an allegorical female representing unity among the Americas stands on top of a globe. In her left hand she holds a flag - half Canadian, half American - and her right arm rests on the back of a buffalo. The globe shows the western hemisphere and includes the words "Pan-American Exposition 1901. Buffalo, NY, USA." Niagara Falls appears in the background.

The Banknote Corporation of America, Inc., printed 14 million stamps in the offset/intaglio process.

Reference:

Postal Bulletin (February 22, 2001).


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  • Centenial of Pan-American Exposition Invert Stamps Pane of 7 (1)
  • 1-cent Steamship Invert (1)
  • 2-cent Train Invert (1)
  • 4-cent Electric Car Invert (1)
  • 80-cent Pan-American Seal (1)