On April 4 2002, the USPS issued a sheet of 50 34c stamps depicting the tourist attractions of each state. These Greetings From America stamps were designed to look like the linen postcards of the 1930s and 1940s which showed the states' names in block lettering with the words "Greetings from" above them.
Greetings from America sheet of 50 34c stamps
A chat board member came up with the idea of collecting a cover with the stamp from each state postmarked in that state. abt1950 and other board members took up the idea, and worked on getting together a list of addresses of board members and other contacts across the US who would receive covers and then mail them from the designated states.
They had only three months to do this, as the domestic first class rate was to go up to 37c on June 30.
By April 18, remailers had been nominated for all except 9 states. A month later, that had dropped down to 6 states. Compiling the list of remailers was quite complicated and took longer than expected. At the beginning of June, the list was finally sent out. On June 14, a remailer was found for Vermont, the last state to be covered.
Chat board posts of the time record that nine people mailed 11 covers to each state. They included, as far as I can ascertain, billsey, jim_lawler, keleofa, kmichael, pops6 (2 covers), refried_jeans (son), three_rows and tulrose. Some members were late with their mailings and so are not included in this list. A few others sent covers to postmasters to generate a set.
Participants looked forward to their mail in the next few weeks. Sometimes remailers' trips to other states were delayed, leaving members hanging but still hopeful.
Idaho cancel on cover mailed to billsey
Due to the delay in sending out the list, some of the covers ended up being posted around or after the rate increase. This resulted in creative choices of 3 cent stamps by remailers to uprate the covers. A popular choice was to use a stamp relating to the state, such as a centenary. Clever suggested usages were the 3.1c guitar definitive for Tennessee and the 3c ballot box definitive for Florida covers. I do not know if any postage due covers were created.
On July 5, kmichael became the first member to receive all 50 covers postmarked with the cancel of each state. I believe keleofa made it to 50 as well. I do not have concrete data for the other participants. One of jim_lawler's Vermont covers received cancels only on the reverse side.
The project was regarded as a success by those who participated, thanks to the remailers, some of whom went many miles out of their way to mail covers.
Due to the popularity of the Greetings From America stamps, the USPS decided to reissue them with the new 37c value, and they were released on October 25.
I do not believe that board members participated again in obtaining covers with these stamps canceled in the appropriate state, as I cannot find any corroborating chat board posts during the October-November period. Please let me know if this is not the case.
Greetings from America sheet of 50 37c stamps
Want to know more about the story behind these stamps? Read the Inside Story of 34¢ Greetings from America Stamps here.