My first cover: I blame this one

My first cover arrived in 1978. I was nine years old and unsure what to think when the cover arrived in the mail. 

It was addressed to me as Master Clay Morgan, and that title was confusing until Mom explained it. Sent by an aunt, long since passed, what got my attention were the three lines with “First Day of Issue” printed above them. I wasn’t sure what that meant, and I remember looking in the World Book Encyclopedia to figure it out!

The first item in my stamp collection.

The cover is generally unremarkable. It has the first day of cover designation, a postmark in Memphis, my address, and the stamp – the 1978 15c Orange Eagle A denomination. It is Scott number 1736 for those who wonder about such things.

The one nearly remarkable thing is that the cover was sent through the mail and arrived, as you can see, in pretty good shape. And it did this without a zip code. 

A few pertinent details:

Issue Date: May 22, 1978

City: Memphis, TN

Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Printing Method: Engraved

Perforations: 11 x 10 ½

Color: Orange

The thing is, I couldn’t take my mind off that cover. I was a Cub Scout at the time and received Boy’s Life magazine monthly. The magazine had a stamp-collecting column, and I started reading it. Not long after, I received approvals from H.E. Harris & Co. and handed my mother my weekly allowance to pay for my selections.

The stamp today isn’t worth anything financially. I notice Mystic Stamp Company sells the stamp for 65 cents. You can probably find it in bulk covers for a buck or less at a stamp show. 

But the thing is, this unremarkable cover did a remarkable thing. It took a boy and turned him into a lifelong stamp and postal history collector. And that is valuable beyond measure.