I keep hearing people say that Scott #292 Cattle in the Storm (aka Western Cattle in the Storm aka Cattle in Snowstorm) is the best and most beautifully designed US postage stamp ever issued. Whether recent stories about these being Scottish cattle or not, I don’t think this stamp is the best or the most beautiful US postage stamp.
As such, I’m prepared to tell you about several stamps that I think out-do #292 in beauty and meaning, even if they don’t out-do it in collector’s value.
I ran across this stamp while adding to my late 1930’s collection. At first, it appeared to bear a Roman numeral for 10 or 5 something, but upon closer inspection under my magnifier, the scene took hold. A young boy is at bat in a game of baseball. Several kids stand and cheer, while in the background the church steeple, a school house, and modest dress tell us that we are in small town America. The crossed bats, mitt, and ball accompanied by laurel establish the majesty of baseball in our American history.
If you are not a huge fan of Major League Baseball, as I am not, you may think of baseball in the same terms as this stamp presents them: kids playing baseball in their hometown, parents and other kids cheering, and perhaps even the smell of the hot dog stand up on the hill as I did, recalling Deep Meadow, the baseball park where I played Little League in Pennsylvania in the early to mid 1980’s. Good pure Americana.
Violet isn’t my favorite color on a stamp, but it lights #855 up, and the artwork here is amazing. Each player on the stamp is detailed and we feel at home in the dirt and grass clearing among the trees. #855 doesn’t have the collector’s value of #292, but it certainly is more interesting, and I’d argue more beautiful.