Winston Churchill Memorial Issue First Day Covers
May 13, 1965

 Bob Jones Cachet


This is a strange cover. Its creator, Bob Jones of Sidney, Ohio, was an editor at Linn's Stamp News in the 1960s who wrote a weekly column on U.S. stamps (today written by John Hotchner). Jones did only occasional FDCs, and always in small quantities (fewer than 10).

The cachet is a pasted-on photograph of page 3 of Collier's Weekly magazine of January 23, 1904. The other stamps on the cover have no readily apparent link to Churchill. However, a closer examination of the Collier's page reveals the following:
  • One of the features in the magazine is an installment of a serial story, "The Borderland," by Winston Churchill. That story was not written by the future British prime minister, but rather the American author of the same name. Could Jones have mistaken the two men? At first I thought that was likely the case, until it was pointed out to me that the American Churchill's 1904 novel The Crossing is about George Rogers Clark. That would mean Jones knew of the now-forgotten American Churchill and his works, and included the Clark stamp on this cover for that reason.
  • Another article in the issue of Collier's is "The Automobile in Warfare," and there is an advertisement for the Rambler touring car in the upper left corner. Those references likely explain the Wheels of Freedom and American Automobile Association stamps. In fact, the early automobile on the AAA stamp looks quite similar to the Rambler in the advertisement.
  • General George S. Patton, Jr., pictured in the 1953 stamp placed under the Churchill stamp, has numerous connections to the British Churchill. The obvious one is World War II--Churchill and Patton met at least once during the war. In addition, Churchill was an early proponent of tank development during the First World War, and Patton's greatest victories were won by his tanks. The tank theme also dovetails with "The Automobile in Warfare" article, which perhaps predicted the evolution of the tank. 
  • The Louisiana Purchase stamp could be included because Missouri (where the Churchill stamp was issued) was part of that great land ownership transfer.
  • The Wright Brothers' first flight stamp could be included for a couple of reasons. First, the flight took place December 17, 1903, just over a month before the magazine appeared. Second, Churchill himself was an early pilot, taking flying lessons before the onset of World War I.
My thanks to my friends at The Virtual Stamp Club who helped me analyze this cover; our discussion can be read here.

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