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Scott #628 x5 [1926 5c gray John Ericsson Memorial (Swedish-American inventor and designer of the USS Monitor, an ironclad ship instrumental on the Union side in the U.S. Civil War)] (F-VF) strip of three and pair on May 29, 1926 FIRST DAY COVER from Washington by the Legation (embassy) of Sweden in Washington to the Swedish Consulate in San Francisco with magenta "Via Air Mail" handstamp, with June 1 receiver on reverse. The first day of the stamp was the dedication day of the memorial pictured on the stamp, which was unveiled by the Crown Prince of Sweden on that day. The stamps have a natural straightedge at top, with a full guideline, all from the top row of the lower two panes in the printers sheet -- only 18 stamps out of 200 have this specific feature. The 25 cent franking represents a 1 cent convenience overpayment of the 24 cent airmail rate (government trans-continental air route: 8 cents per ounce, per zone; coast to coast was all 3 zones; 1 July 1924 thru 31 January 1927). This stamp combination for this rate was only possible for about 8 months. While this is a first day cover, and thus has philatelic overtones, at the same time given the context of being a Swedish stamp subject and mailed in the U.S. between Swedish diplomats, it likely has a much deeper meaning and purpose. The 5:30 PM postmark time -- and the postmark device used -- strongly indicates that this was mailed as "normal mail" (i.e. not with philatelic purpose) to inform the San Francisco Consul of the important Swedish-related activities in Washington on that day. Regardless, even a completely philatelic FDC of this stamp is fairly scarce. The 5 cent stamp was primarily intended as the basic rate for foreign letters; uses within the U.S. are unusual, extremely unusual as multiple frankings, and probably "rare" thus without any other stamp issues cluttering the cover. An important item for any collection or exhibit or Swedish-related stamp issues from other countries.
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