Recently I was asked to explain what Printer's Marks were, and where they could be found on a sheet of Christmas Seals.
Printer's Marks were first used in 1926. Because of the similarity of the seals, they were used by the National Tuberculosis Association to identify the printer. From 1926 through 1935, there were various marks utilized to identify the various printers (this will be covered in a future blog).
From 1936 to 1974 each printer used a letter to identify the sheets of seals which they had printed. This letter was usually placed on seal #56. From 1975 onward, where used, the Printer's Mark was usually located near the center of the sheet. An excellent source to determine the location of the printer's marks is Green's Catalog, Part 1, U.S. National Christmas Seals, and The Christmas Seal Catalog. Both are published by the CS&CSS, and available in our store.
For example, in 1951, Christmas Seals were printed by five different printers. The Printer's Mark (pm) used to identify the printers was located on seal #56. The Printer's Mark was a tiny black letter (E, S, D, U, and F).
The letter "E" identified Christmas Seals printed by Eureka Specialty Printing Co.; the letter "S" identified those seals printed by Strobridge Lithographing Co.; the letter "D" identified seals printed by Edwards and Deutsch Lithography Co.; the letter "U" identified those sheets of seals printed by the United States Printing and Lithograph Co.; and the letter "F" identified sheets of seals printed by the Fleming-Potter Co.
It should be noted that a Printer's Mark only identifies a sheet of seals, not individual seals, unless the mark appears on the seal.
Printer's Marks are one of the ways that Christmas Seals are collected. Many collectors collect full sheets of Christmas Seals, doing so by the Printer's Mark. A much more difficult way to collect by Printer's Marks would be to collect single stamps, or blocks, containing the Printer's Mark.
As you may have noticed, we do identify the sheets of Christmas Seals that we offer, by their Printer's Mark (pm). If you wish to collect single seals, or blocks of seals, with Printer's Marks, contact me.
Further, be sure to check out our supplies, catalogs, or album pages. Enjoy your collection.
William J Kozersky