Although one of the more expensive series of U.S. stamps to collect, Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, or "Duck Stamps" continue to be popular among stamp collectors. (By the way, stamp collectors are also known as Philatelists, pronounced FILL-AT-TILL-LISTS. Just thought you might like to know.)

The first "Duck Stamp" appeared in 1934 and was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a license to duck hunters. In 1939, the issuing authority changed to the Department of the Interior. This authorization to hunt was good for one year and expired on June 30th. These stamps, though unacceptable postage in everyday commerce, were valued mainly by those who were tired of eating chicken and turkey.

The hard times during the American Depression coupled with FDR's need and desire to improve conditions (in his way) prompted the adoption of many government programs, one of which was a Congressional bill called the Migratory Bird Hunting and Preservation Act of 1934. This resulted in a surcharge or tax of $1.00 being levied against what had been free hunting of waterfowl. At the time of this writing, the price of a duck stamp has risen to $15.00. These fees, now largely raised through the sale of stamps to collectors, are mostly being used to purchase and maintain wetlands for ducks and other waterfowl. Habi-tit for tat. Sorry.

Why collect duck stamps? First of all, they are much scarcer than other stamp issues, with an annual printing ranging from 450,000 (in 1935) to 2.4 million (in 1971). (Compare this to regular stamp issues, with printings up to 1.03 billion*!) Once the public had purchased the stamps and the June 30th deadline had elapsed, remaining stamps were often destroyed, being of little use to anyone after that. Also, high-valued stamps for any purpose are naturally scarcer, due to a low demand and supply. Finally, the aesthetic appeal; the beauty of these artistic creations is inspiring. Each stamp is taken from a lifelike artistic rendition of waterfowl. Listen to the rustle of feathered wings beating the air in flight; the noisy quacks breaking the silence of winter; or the liquid rustling of the calm surface of a pond in search of sanctuary. These are my reasons why I enjoy this hobby. Not as an investment, but as a ticket for a journey into my imagination.


Copyright 2001 Dennel · All Rights Relinquished