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Harry S. Truman

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Inscribed, signed photo mailed by the former President to a man he met in a cafe in Independence

Harry S. Truman, 18841972.  33rd President of the United States, 19451953.  8” x 10” black-and-white portrait photograph inscribed and signed To Clel J. Hall  /  kind regards  /  Harry S. Truman  /  5-15-65.  With associated philatelic material.

Former President Truman signed and mail this photograph to the recipient after meeting him in downtown Independence, Missouri.  The man was walking in Independence, where Truman lived, when he saw Truman enter a cafe.  He decided to say hello.  When Truman’s security guard gave him permission to approach, he sat down by Truman, greeting him and saying that his family would be thrilled to learn that he had met him.  Truman asked, “What is your name?  The way this country works, someday I might want to say I met you.”  Shortly thereafter, the man received this photo in the mail.

This photo is one a series of 18 black-and-white portraits of the former President taken in April 1953 by Kansas City photographer Leo Stern.  Truman selected it as one of his favorites.  It was used in 1973 as the basis for the 8¢ Truman memorial stamp, which was issued on what would have been Truman’s 89th birthday on May 8, 1973.  Truman died on December 26, 1972.

The stamp was designed by Bradbury Thompson, of Riverside, Connecticut, a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.  It was produced on the Giori press.

This photo comes with several philatelic pieces.  There are two first-day covers bearing different memorial cachets, one designed by Hallmark Cards and designated as the “Official First Day Cover,” and both stamped with the 8¢ stamp and cancelled with a first day of issue cancellation at Independence, Missouri, on May 8, 1973.  A vertical third piece, measuring 5½” x 8½”, has an engraving of Truman, based on another of the photos in the series, along with an engraved facsimile signature of Truman, a quote from Truman’s 1947 speech to Congress requesting aid for Greece and Turkey, and the 8¢ stamp cancelled with a first day of issue cancellation at Independence.  A vertical fourth piece, 6⅜” x 9¾”, has been removed from the program for the commemorative stamp ceremonies at the Truman Library on May 8, 1973, and previously framed.  It bears a light gray printed image from the cachet of the official first-day cover and the stamp, again cancelled with the a first day of issue cancellation at Independence.  In addition, there are two blocks of three unused 8¢ stamps.  Finally, there are three smaller pieces that were removed from that program for framing, including a round, blind-embossed portrait of Truman created by Ron Raymer, a Hallmark Cards engraver.

Truman has inscribed and signed the photo in black fountain pen.  There is a bit of irregular adherence of the ink to the surface of the photo, but it is not particularly noticeable.  The back of the photo bears the stamp of the Truman Library and the Library’s accession number written in pencil.  Sepia toning in the background of the photo is a result of the printing process, not a flaw in the photo.  The photo has a few surface scratches and mars in dark areas, most noticeably at the upper left.  Overall it is in fine condition.

Unframed.  Please click here for information about custom framing this piece.

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