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The poster stamps of John Coulthard

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Category: Cinderella Stamps
Forum Name: Cinderella Stamps
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Printed Date: 29 September 2020 at 10:27
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Topic: The poster stamps of John Coulthard
Posted By: StampHinger
Subject: The poster stamps of John Coulthard
Date Posted: 05 July 2020 at 09:33
This Laernu label
produced by Colin some years back led me to this forum.  I was attracted to the label as a collector of cinderellas and for the cartoon character holding the sign.  The cartoon drawing is by John Coulthard, a commercial artist who drew numerous cachets for first-day cover dealers and cartoon ads for stamp dealer Elmer Long in the 1930s and 1940s.  Coulthard  is my favorite cachet artist and I seek to acquire the different formats of his work for my collection. 

During the 1930s, collecting covers postmarked at towns with unusual place names was popular.  John Coulthard drew several cachets matching unusual place names.  They  appealed to collectors and, in 1939, Western Stamp Collector commissioned him to do a series of 20 poster stamps for towns with odd names. Soon after, this series was followed by an additional 20 similar poster stamps.  These labels were numbered from 1 to 40 with apparently at least two others, numbers 00 and 0 added for a probably total of 42 poster stamps.  The intent of the stamps was to place one or more on cover and have it postmarked at the corresponding post office.

 I have been trying to accumulate a set on cover for several years now and I am within reach of completion.   To date, I lack ten of the series.  Below are scans of those labels I have

Don StampHinger.

Poster stamp # 00, Rural Retreat, Virginia, the lowest number that I seen. 


Poster stamp #1, Shaver Lake, California

Poster stamp # 2, Looking Glass, Oregon

Poster stamp # 3, Hellgate, Washington








Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 05 July 2020 at 22:02
Great items!

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Posted By: Colin
Date Posted: 05 July 2020 at 22:37
Now THAT is a collection!

What a great idea...

My Etsy shop - Far-fetched Philately - is now open again :-)


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 06 July 2020 at 04:24
As one of the Laernu labels prompted this thread I thought I'd sharea few more of those here. Some smaller than others, some imperf, different background colours, some used. Loads of collcting opportunities. Enjoy.

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Posted By: Colin
Date Posted: 06 July 2020 at 04:32
A blast from the past, Steve!

My source material for these labels was a book from the 1930s which was in an auction locally from a defunct stationery printers, and contained many such cartoons by various illustrators, prepared camera ready in various sizes to be quickly cut and pasted into old-fashioned 'lick and stick' artwork by the printers.

From memory, the book pretty much fell apart and sad to say didn't survive.

My Etsy shop - Far-fetched Philately - is now open again :-)


Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 06 July 2020 at 11:39
Thanks, Steve and Colin for your comments on my Coulthard poster stamps.  Thanks, too, Steve, for posting those Laernu labels.  They constitute a collecting field in their own right!  Attractive, all of them.  Colin, do you have a checklist of those labels?

I should mention that John Coulthard signed nearly all of his items.  Look in either the lower left or right hand corners for his initial C with a bar on top of it.  Some think it is an E, but it is a C with the bar.  Another way to identify his work is to look for the small spotted dog.   It is not in all of his cartoon work, but is in nearly all of the cartoon work he did for Elmer Long. 

Since I am missing #5 and limiting my posts to four covers at a time, today's posting will take me through # 8.  My belief is that # 7 is from the second series Coulthard did in late 1939 or early 1940.  The first series featured a # 7 1/2 instead.  While I have a # 7 1/2, I will not post it in this sequence because it contains racial undertones and racial tensions are running way too high at this time.  If someone wants to see # 7 1/2 let me know in a private message and I will try to send it via email.


Poster Stamp # 4, Horse Heaven, Oregon

Poster Stamp # 5.  I originally said I didn't have a # 5 from Bachelor, California, but I do and I found it among some covers awaiting write-up.  I include it here using the edit function.  Today, it must be a ghost town, at least a discontinued post office.  Google Maps can't locate it.

Poster Stamp # 6, Left Hand, West Virginia.  This label includes the spotted dog.  As a general note, none of the postal card covers have messages on the reverse.  The collectors seemed interested only in obtaining the corresponding cancel.

Poster Stamp # 7, Begood, Virginia.  Again, the artist included the dog.

Poster Stamp # 8, Romeo, Colorado.

Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 06 July 2020 at 11:52
Will this do? This is what I have identified so far

FUN. Thanks for Collecting LAERNU Stamps - blue and purple
FUN Everything Else is Just Reality - blue and purple
Cinderellas. Delightful Different with a twist
Variation on above with creamy yellow background (2009)
What Have You Won?
Please take care when licking - greenish background
As above - imperforate
As above -pale orange background, imperforate
As above - purplish background perforaued
You can Relax - pale buff background
As above - greenish background
As above = purplish background
Laernu stamps are fun - beige background
As above with pinkish background (2009)
As above with blue background
As above with greenish background
The Perfect Anniversary present - pink background
As above - beige background
Because you are Worth it - pale blue background
As above - cream background
As above - beige background
As above - pale green background
Go online to Cinderellastampsforum,.com
Keep your marriage exciting - pale blue background
As above - cream background
As above - salmon background
As above - pale blue background
As above - pale blue background and imperforate
May contain Traces of Norfolk
The Perfect Birthday Present - cream background
The Perfect Valentines Day Present - pink background
Ditto with beige background imperf
Packed in an Uncontrolled Environment - beige background
As above imperforate
Make Time to collect Laernu Stamps - pink background
Because you are Worth It - blue background
As above - cream background
As above - beige background
Not suitable for internal consumption - purple background
As above - pink background
As above - beige background
As above - yellow background
As above - purple background
Yay! Here at last
Fun! Free Norfolk air
Your stamps have arrived - beige background
As above - imperforate
Don’t Forget Laernu stamps - beige background
At Last - beige background
Laernu Fantasy Stamps - part imperforate, purple on white
Its Your Lucky Day - orange background
Imperforate sheet of 16 Laernu labels mixed

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Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 07 July 2020 at 12:05
Thanks, Steve, for that check-list.  I have made a copy for my want list.

Yesterday, I said that I didn't have a # 5, Bachelor, California, but I do.  I found it among a group of covers awaiting wirte-up and have added it above.  Today's post continues in numerical sequence with # 9.

Poster Stamp # 9, Young America, Indiana.  Young America is today a small town of less than 200 souls in north-central Indiana.  It was founded in 1858, and, as of 2018, it still had a post office.

Poster Stamp # 10, OK, Kentucky.  Another town that is gone, at least Google can't find it.

Poster Stamp # 11, Mud, West Virginia.  Mud is still on the map, in Lincoln County W.VA, but the post office is closed.  This is the most artistic application of all the labels on cover that I have.  The shadow box enhances the label.

Poster Stamp # 12, Competition, Missouri.  Competition still has an operating post office.  It is located 17 miles southeast of Lebanon, MO.


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 07 July 2020 at 12:17
A lovely collection to treasure.

It is heartening to see taht this sort of stamp does have a collector base. You have your reasons, and I have mine - part of the Laernu sphere. Now I have Venn diagrams in my mind.

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Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 09 July 2020 at 11:26
Continuing chronologically today with John Coulthard's cartoon labels done for Western Stamp Collector in 1939.

Poster Stamp # 13, Pie Town, New Mexico.  Pie Town is still there.  It is in western New Mexico, on highway US 60, population a few over 180 souls in 2010.  I have actually been to Pie Town.

Poster Stamp # 14.  I do not have this label.  It depicts Painted Post, New York.

Poster Stamp # 15.  Social Circle, Georgia.  Social Circle is 45 miles east of Atlanta.  It is one of the larger towns of this series with a population of 4,000 plus residents.

Poster Stamp # 16.  Worry, North Carolina.  Wikipedia reports that Worry's post office was discontinued in 1944.  Don't know what the town's status is today.  It is the only one of these covers that I have addressed to a stamp dealer.  Perhaps, the dealer had several sets made up for resale.

Poster Stamp #17.  Horseshoe, Florida.  Google Maps does not find Horseshoe, Florida.  Its status is unknown to me.

Don StampHinger

Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 13 July 2020 at 12:45
I continue tonight with John Coulthard's poster stamps, # 18 through 21. 

Poster Stamp # 18, Gasoline, Texas.  I cannot locate this town, so it probably no longer exists.  Given Texas' vast oil producing areas, it may have been a boom town where the oil wells dried up or a refinery town where the refineries closed. 

Poster Stamp # 19, Auto, West Virginia.  Auto still has a post office and is in very rural area of southeastern West Virginia. 

Poster stamp # 20, Detour, Maryland, still exists.  I do not have the Detour label on cover, but it is one of the few that I have as a stand alone label.  Detour is also the last label of the first series of 20 poster stamps done by Western Stamp Collector.  I hope to find it on cover soon.

Poster Stamp # 21, Bald Knob, West Virginia.  Bald Knob still exists and had its own post office until 2005.  It takes its name from a nearby mountain peak. 

Don StampHinger

Posted By: Daniel
Date Posted: 13 July 2020 at 13:32
Loving the postmarks! I didn't think they were real places until I looked them up. No comment on the last one LOL

Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 18 July 2020 at 12:22
Thanks, Daniel, for your reply.  I share your "no comment" on # 21. 

Tonight, I am forced to begin with a label that I do not have, followed by skipping # 25 which is another with racial undertones.  Not all hat bad really, but racial tensions are so high these days someone would surely be offended.  As with # 7 1/2, I will be glad to send a scan of it via private email to anyone so requesting one. 

Poster stamp # 22, I do not have and do not even know its post office.

Poster stamp # 23, Wink, Texas.  A small town (940 population in the 2010 census) about 40 miles west of Odessa, Texas.  It is in oil country and it was the discovery of its oil field that led to the town's founding in 1926.  As of 2018, it still had a post office.

Poster stamp # 24, Ball Ground, GA.  Ball Ground is about 50 miles north of Atlanta.  It has a population of around 1,400 souls as of the 2010 census.  It takes its name from a field used by Cherokee Indians to play stick ball, a game similar to lacrosse. 

Poster stamp # 25, Talking Rock, GA.  Not posting due to the racial undertones of this item.

Poster stamp # 26, Hobo Hot Springs, California.  I have only this label, not on cover.  Hobo Hot Springs was a very small town in the Mojave desert.  It no longer has a post office and its name was changed in 1948 to Miracle Hot Springs.

Poster stamp #27, Harmony, Rhode Island.  Harmony had a population of circa 985 people in 2010.  It is within the town of Glocester, Rhode Island, and no longer has its own post office.

Don StampHinger

Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 19 July 2020 at 09:02
Don, are you a member of the Cinderella Stamp Club? I am sure that these would make an interesting article for The Cinderella Philatelist.

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Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 19 July 2020 at 12:27
Thanks, Steve, for your comment.

No, I don't belong to the Cinderella stamp club, but I will look into joining.  As for an article, I'm not much into writing stuff, but might consider it.


Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 23 July 2020 at 12:14
I begin this installment with #28.  Again, there are two labels that I do not have.

Poster Stamp # 28, Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.  Sleepy Eye is one of the larger towns in the series, ca. 3,300 souls, estimated population 2018, and still has its post office.  The town takes its name from a Sioux Indian chief of the 19th century.  Readers may have noticed that Ray Lewis, the addressee of this cover and other covers above, apparently put together a complete set of Coulthard's labels.  Included with this cover was his note to postmasters explaining his motives and asking for a clear cancel.  Since this information is rarely included with such covers, I have also posted an image of the note below.

Poster Stamp # 29, Roads End, California.  Roads End appears to be still on the map, but no post office today.  It is in Sequoia National Forest and looks to be about 50 miles north of Kerrville, CA.  This cover is postmarked (1941) later than any others I have.   

Poster Stamp # 30, I do not have an example of # 30 and do not know its town name.

Poster Stamp # 31, Bigfoot, Texas.  Bigfoot has a population of 410 in the 2010 census.  According to Wikipedia, it increased it population from 350 in 2000.  It is about 25 miles east of I-35 and about the same distance south of Devine, Texas. 

Poster Stamp # 32.  I do not have an example of # 32 and do not know the town name at this time.

Poster Stamp # 33, Dad, Wyoming.  Dad seems to be gone from contemporary maps.  Google Maps could not find it.  Dad's post office was discontinued in 1940.  It was in Carbon County, Wyoming.  Wikipedia says its name came from a local rancher A. T. "Dad" Corlett. 

Continued in a few days.

Don StampHinger

Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 28 July 2020 at 13:30
I continue the Coulthard poster stamps with # 34.

Poster Stamp # 34, Twin Sisters, Texas.  Twin Sisters is still on the map.  It is seven miles south of Blanco, TX, in Blanco County.  It dates from 1856 when the first post office was established.  The town name derives from a pair of nearby hills.  Twin Sisters' post office was discontinued in 1951.

Poster Stamp # 35, Twinfish, Washington.  Neither Google Maps or Wikipedia can locate a Twinfish, Washington.  The town seems to have dropped off the map. I have this item as a label only.  It will be interesting to see if I can find it on cover.

Poster Stamp # 36, Boggy Depot, Oklahoma.  Here is one from my home state.  Boggy Depot today is a ghost town, but was once a growing town in Indian Territory on the Butterfield Stage route.  It was in Atoka County about 12 miles east of Atoka.  The route of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroad bypassed Boggy Depot and went through Atoka instead.  The town then began a steady and thorough decline.  The name is taken from nearby Boggy Creek and the location of a Confederate supply depot there during the Civil War.

Poster Stamp # 37.  I do not have # 37 and do not know, at this time, what town it represents.

Poster Stamp # 38, Hurry, Maryland.  Google Maps doesn't locate Hurry, MD,.  Wikipedia identifies it as a former unincorporated community in St. Mary's County.   Hurry's post office closed in 1959.

I will conclude this series of poster stamps in my next installment.

Don StampHinger

Posted By: StampHinger
Date Posted: 03 August 2020 at 11:42
Below are the last two Coulthard labels done for the Western Stamp Collector.

Poster stamp # 39.  Magazine, Alabama.  I find no trace of Magazine on Google Maps or Wikipedia.  It seems to be one of those small towns that has disappeared from the map.

Poster stamp # 40.  Stamps, Arkansas.  Stamps is still very much with us. It is a town of 1,693 souls in 2010 and is located in far southwestern Arkansas in Lafayette County.  This is the only cover from this series that I have with a machine cancel. 

In summary, There appears to be a total of 41 images from the Western Stamp Collector's two series.  There are twenty each from the two series printed, plus # 00.  I'm not sure when or why 00 was printed, but its existence implies there may be a # 0 as well which would make a total of 42 poster stamps.

I still lack eight of the labels on cover.  My hope is to find them in my remaining collecting lifetime.

For those who like John Coulthard's cartoon drawings, there is a multitude of covers with cartoon cachets drawn by him.  With patience most can be purchased for under $10 U.S.  He also did cachets for the Washington Stamp Exchange and Cachet Craft, plus numerous generic drawings for U.S. Navy ship covers, and ads on the envelopes of stamp dealer Elmer Long.  His work is a collecting field in itself.

Don StampHinger

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