I was recently searching a certain online venue for some stamps, as I pretty much do every single day, and I came across an item that, just maybe, was more than it first appeared.
This is an envelope that was sent from the Northwestern Ohio Commercial College, in Ada, Ohio. Sadly, the elaborate and colorful handwriting on the front is rarely seen anymore these days.
Since I collect college and school stamps and related items, it looked like a perfect fit for my collection. But there was something about it that looked a bit familiar.
This college also produced some envelopes with a pre-printed pseudo "postage" stamp, with a "value" of two cents (probably). These types of imitation stamps are typically quite scarce, and they can sell for hundreds of dollars. The one shown here is dated two years later than the eBay
The cover that was being offered was very similar to the one shown just above, but obviously the fonts were different.
But the "N. W. O. C. C." at the top right on both covers didn't seem like just a coincidence.
Here's another type from the same school, after they had changed their name to the Ohio Normal University. This one is also known in a black color.
Anyway, I copied the image from the eBay
lot and enlarged it in a photo editing program. Hmmm, was that perhaps the very tippity-top of maybe a "2," just under the "O?"
(Anyone see where I'm going with this yet?)
There was nothing whatsoever in the lot description to indicate that this was anything more than just a somewhat-battered piece of postal history from 1886.
I guess that I'm a bit of a gambler when it comes to stamps sometimes, so I placed a huge snipe bid on the lot.
I then spent several days loading the image over and over and trying to convince myself that there was - or there wasn't - something
directly underneath the postage stamp.
Only one other buyer placed a bid, and for just over the modest starting price. That was a relief! I paid for it immediately, and then I spent nearly a week hoping that it didn't get delayed (or lost) by the post office, which unfortunately has been the case recently.
I admit that I was trembling a bit in anticipation when I opened the envelope from the seller.
Fortunately, this commercial college envelope had been opened at the top, presumably by Mr. Finney. I gently pried it open a bit, and put a strong flashlight over the postage stamp while I looked inside.
Well, I'll be dam*ed! There was
The next step was to get the postage stamp off of the envelope. In this case, I was more concerned about (further) damaging the envelope, than I was in harming the stamp.
I used a small, new paint brush, and dipped a drop of cool water one at a time onto the postage stamp, while I gently brushed the water all over the stamp. The rest of the envelope was covered by paper towels, just in case.
Within a few minutes, I was able to remove the stamp, and lo and behold…
A new type altogether!
In summary, with a little bit of experience, and perhaps lots of luck, I transformed what looked like a $15 or so postal history artifact, into a multi-hundred dollar college stamp collectible.
The icing on the cake though, is that, as far as I am aware, this is the only known copy of this particular variety!
And yes, I did celebrate my new discovery quite a bit last night, and I might as well continue tonight! LOL.