In a special ceremony today the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum received a significant donation of Federal Duck Stamps from Jeanette C. Rudy of Nashville, Tenn. Rudy’s collection, which took more than 50 years to assemble, is widely considered to be the finest private collection of its type.
Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps,” are pictorial stamps issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. They are not valid for postage. Originally created in 1934 as the federal licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl, revenue generated by Federal Duck Stamps now supports conservation efforts. These beautifully illustrated stamps also are very popular collector’s items.
Rudy’s donation includes a complete set of all Federal Duck Stamps ever issued, highlighted by the very first Federal Duck Stamp ever sold, as well as important rarities, valuable plate blocks of early issues and a number of rare and unusual errors. In addition to the Federal Duck Stamps, Rudy will donate rare local and American Indian reservation hunting permit stamp issues. The National Postal Museum plans to display many of Rudy’s donated items in the future.
“We are proud to receive this wonderful donation, which is an important addition to the National Postal Museum’s collections,” said museum registrar Ted Wilson, who accepted the donation on behalf of the museum during a ceremony at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. “Mrs. Rudy’s generosity has made it possible to introduce new audiences to the artistry of Duck Stamps and also stirred an interest in wildlife conservation issues.”
Rudy is a prominent philanthropist in Nashville, Tenn., where she serves on boards of several non-profit organizations. She served as chairman of the board of Cumberland University, where she founded the school of nursing and was awarded an honorary doctorate. Rudy is a longtime supporter of the National Postal Museum. In 1996, she donated $500,000 for the creation of the exhibition “Artistic License: The Duck Stamp Story” and loaned items from her magnificent collection to the museum for display in the exhibition. Additionally, Rudy served on the museum’s advisory council. An avid sportswoman and champion trapshooter, she currently serves on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission.
The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., in the Old City Post Office Building across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information visit the museum’s Web site at postalmuseum.si.edu.
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