Arago: Exhibits

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FARLEY’S FOLLIES

James Farley was a family man, so it seemed natural to him to autograph sheets of stamps and present them to family members. He persuaded the President to autograph the sheets as well. The problem was that the sheets being autographed were not gummed or perforated, having been pulled from the production line before those steps took place. So these sheets, being different from the regularly issued ones, were great rarities. The public was outraged that rarities were intentionally created and then presented to the family of their creator. In response, the Post Office issued large quantities of the imperforate and ungummed sheets, rendering the Farley sheets of value only for the autographs. This incident was referred to as “Farley’s follies”. Among the stamps so issued was the very popular 1934 national parks issue of ten stamps, each picturing a scene from a different park, such as the 5-cent Yellowstone showing Old Faithful. The sheet is inscribed "To Billy, Ann and Jimmy Farley from their Dad".

press sheet