2007-11-30 / Community

Spotlight On... Art

By Stephen Yaeger

Belle Harbor resident Stephen Yaeger, the current president of the Rockaway Music And Arts Council, is a retired biology teacher of Beach Channel High School, who now writes children's' books and pursues his artistic talents full-time.

When I tell people that I have been producing cachets for First Day Covers for a number of years, the first question I get is, "What is a 'cachet?' The word comes from the French, cacher, meaning a seal or stamp on an official, confidential letter; or a mark by which quality or authenticity can be distinguished. AFirst Day Cover (FDC) is an envelope or card bearing a stamp which is cancelled on the day the stamp is initially placed on sale by the postal service at a location having something to do with the stamp's subject. This procedure was started in 1923. On the next day, the stamp is put up for sale throughout the country. Sometimes local post offices will issue what is known as an "unofficial issue," or UO, after the first day of issue at another location.

As applied on FDCs, there are many types of cachets, such as hand drawn/ hand-painted (original), printed, printed and hand-painted, engraved, and others. The manner in which a cachet is executed depends on the artist's preference and the cachet may be of a serious or humorous nature. In any case, it should enhance the cover by complementing the stamp's subject which is being honored.

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