Scout Covers Provide Easy Start
Sheldon S. Levy

Would it surprise anyone to learn that there is a simple and inexpensive way to start collecting Scout philatelic material?  (especially for collectors in the United States)

No, it's not the stamps (although they come along for the ride), but the cacheted Scout covers and cards.  Since 1914, when the first known Scout cachet cover was produced in the United States as an advertising piece, thousands of these items have appeared in honor of Scout and even non-Scout events, and most are highly, but cheaply, collectable.

Moreover, this figure (1,000s) does not even include U.S. picture post cards related to Scouts and Scouting, which is a separate collecting area unto itself.

Whether these assertions are a revelation to anyone or not, they are true and should encourage a good member of readers to investigate this fertile and most interesting field for a 20th-century topical collection.

Let me elaborate.  The first thing that comes to mind, obviously, is first day covers for the six different issues produced by the U.S. to honor Boy and Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scouts got the jump on Oct. 32, 1948, when a commemorative 3-cent stamp was printed to applaud their founder, Juliette Gordon Low.  There are probably more than 75 different cacheted covers alone (counting varieties) that can be collected for this single stamp.

The Boy Scouts came back strong, however, when on June 30, 1950 a 3-cent commemorative stamp was issued for the group's 40th anniversary on the opening day of its second national jamboree.  At least an equal number of different cacheted first day covers can be garnered for this stamp.

Then, after the passage of a decade, additional 4-cent singles were produced for the 50th anniversaries of the two Scout groups - the boys on Feb. 8, 1960, and the girls on July 24, 1962.  It would easily appear that more than 100 different cachets for the girls and boys were originally available to collectors in varying quantities.


SOSSI Journal, Vol. 36, No. 14, April 1987
Created by Keith Larson