(Above) 1898 jet black $1 stamp. THIS stamp is one of the most beautiful stamps I have ever seen.

(Above) 1869 carmine and black 90¢ stamp. Add to an already beautiful stamp the cancellation mark, and if the gods of chance are working that day—you have something special.

(Above) 1940 ultramarine 5¢ stamp.

(Above) 1914 deep claret 50¢ stamp. These color names... they aren’t mine. These are stamp collector terms for describing color. Deep claret... love it. I may try to use that term today. Oh, what about the design of this one. Wow!

(Above) 1929 orange yellow 10¢ stamp.

(Above) 1919 apple green 13¢ stamp.

(Above) 1890 carmine red 2¢ stamp. Washington behind bars.

(Above) 1887 vermillion 3¢ stamp

(Above) 1873 yellow 2¢ stamp

(Above) 1923 brown violet 12¢ stamp

(Above) 1903 light blue 24¢ stamp. LOVE this!

I THINK ANY DESIGNER WILL APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY of these early U.S. postage stamps. While design is what many many in our field talk about when it comes to stamps, the unique colors are something else to consider. There is a rich beauty to these color palettes that I haven’t seen in a while. Of course, looking at stamps magnified to this scale creates entirely new ways of seeing. After all, stamps are tiny—the size of your thumbprint. I picked these out from hundreds being auctioned—just for the color. Enjoy the scale. Enjoy the color. Enjoy this day.

These stamps were part of the 2009 Heritage Auction Galleries Inaugural Signature Stamp Auction. Heritage Auction Galleries is the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer.

An AM repost from 2/06/09.