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United States - William O. Douglas mystery cover  
 

 
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Pillar Of The Community
Canada
6176 Posts
Posted 09/10/2017   10:36 pm  Show Profile Check jamesw's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add jamesw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
Found this little item at a bourse on Saturday in Toronto. This American cover has two postmarks, two 3 Jefferson prexxies, and a picture of William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court Justice. In fact the longest serving Justice, from 1939 to 1975. Mr Justice Douglas lived from 1898 to 1980.



What is interesting is the postmark on the right is from Douglas Ill, while the one on the left is from William - no state. You see what I see, right?
The cancels form his name! The cancel on the right from Douglas Ill, is dated March 28 1950, while William is dated April 2 1950, 5 days later
The William cancel is hand drawn, and appears to be placed to match the four bar cancel on the prexxie next to it. There is a small hole under the number 2 from the compass used to draw the circle. So, this is a ONE OFF.
Note that cancel does NOT tie the stamp to the cover.
So that cancel and stamp, and probably the photo of Mr Justice Douglas, were no doubt added later to a legitimate, and otherwise non descript cover.
But why?
I figured the William date, April 2 1950, was significant to Douglas the man. But I can find nothing in any bio of his I find on the web.
And googling the date itself turns up nothing. I've also googled the recipient, E. L. Sanders of Waterloo Iowa, with no results.

So ladies and gents! here's the mystery. What is the purpose of this cover? Someone went to a lot of trouble and effort to honour the Justice with this cover.

What do you think? Hmmmm?
I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Lets hear from you.
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Pillar Of The Community
1225 Posts
Posted 09/11/2017   06:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My guess: to commemorate his return to the Supreme Court after having been out for injuries suffered when falling off a horse.
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Valued Member
United States
469 Posts
Posted 09/11/2017   07:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DonSellos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Jamesaw:

The addressee, Elwood L. Sanders, has a listing in the 1938 Blue Book of Philately published by H.L.Lindquist. It lists Sanders as an insurance agent and secretary of the Cedar Valley Stamp Club and member the SPA, but doesn't mention his collecting interests, or any other biographical info.

Don
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Pillar Of The Community
1236 Posts
Posted 09/11/2017   10:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with the original poster - this started as a legitimate cover from Douglas, IL with all additional enhancements done outside the USPOD. I have doubts about any significance of the dates. Collectors made a lot of bizarre covers in that era.

Consider these two similar covers for Clara Bow and Loretta Young, which were double canceled to create the first & last name combinations of famous people. The dates are not their birthdays. No doubt sent under cover twice to the two POs.



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Edited by John Becker - 09/11/2017 10:39 am
Pillar Of The Community
Canada
6176 Posts
Posted 09/13/2017   10:44 pm  Show Profile Check jamesw's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jamesw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the responses.

blcjr, I had read about his injury and saw that it was around this time he returned to the bench, but had no indication the exact date. So that may be a good guess.

Don, thanks for the info on the recipient. For the life of me I could find NOTHING about him. It will be part of the album page!

Nice examples John B. Seems this sort of thing was de rigueur back in the day.
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Edited by jamesw - 09/13/2017 10:45 pm
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Posted 09/14/2017   10:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A bit more:

This would explain the first postmark. After reading the caption I was expecting the second postmark to be Monday, April 2, 1950. However, April 2, 1950 was a Sunday...which is odd in itself, a Sunday postmark? In any case, I'm sure this is what the cover is all about.

Basil
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