The 1-cent Balboa-Before commemorative (Scott 120) is the low value of the 25th Anniversary Series. The Series is comprised of eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Canal Zone areas and facilities. The 1-cent Balboa-Before depicts a view of the Balboa town site in June 1912, before construction of the Administration Building on an arm of Ancon Hill, the dominating physical feature on the Pacific side. Its location was to be in the very center of the stamp, while in the foreground the Balboa area is still in the process of being filled with material dredged from the nearby Panama Canal. In the background is the edge of Panama City and the ocean. At the far left, the line of the Panama Railroad can be seen. This 1-cent stamp was intended to be used on postcards to the United States and local addresses.
Some 1,020,000 copies were originally printed. When the unsold remainders were withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941, only 518 examples of the 1-cent stamp remained to be burned on April 12th.
The whole 25th Anniversary Series was extremely popular with stamp collectors and first day cover enthusiasts. Of the scores of cachet artists associated with this series, the most important and prolific by far was Walter G. "Bones" Crosby of San Diego. Cachets of the low values like this stamp are the most common. The 1-cent value is frequently seen on postcards and in combination with other stamps to make up any number of rates. These too are very popular and snapped up when they appear.
The Post Office Department issued the 2-cent Balboa — After commemorative (Scott 121) of the Canal Zone Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series on August 15, 1939. The series includes scenes significant to Canal Zone history, eight titled 'Before' and eight titled 'After.'
The 2-cent stamp features a view of the Administration Building taken in 1936, with the town site of Balboa below it. This perspective and that of the 1-cent stamp were taken from atop another local prominence, Sosa Hill. In the immediate foreground sits the Balboa Clubhouse, long a landmark and gathering place for local inhabitants who lived in the large apartment complexes between it and the "Admin Building," as locals sometimes referred to it.
Patrons used the 2-cent stamp on unsealed letters for local delivery, on foreign postcards, and as 'make up' rates on just about anything else. It was not a big seller. Though 525,000 were issued, over half never sold. The remainders were withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941, and burned later that year.
Stamp collectors and first day cover enthusiasts find the entire Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series very appealing. Of the scores of cachet artists associated with them, the best known and prolific was Walter G. 'Bones' Crosby. Cachets with low values are the most common, and a large percentage of these values sold were used on first day covers. The 2-cent value seldom appears on a cover or postcard by itself. It appears grouped with other stamps, and these, of course, are eagerly collected.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 3-cent Gaillard Cut-Before (Scott 122) on August 15, 1939, as part of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. The series includes groups of eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important areas and facilities in the Canal Zone. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington, DC, printed the series.
This stamp depicts a scene looking north towards the Atlantic near the Continental Divide of the Gaillard Cut. The scene dates to June 1913, three months prior to the waters of the Chagres River flowing into the Canal prism. In the background, smoke rises, undoubtedly from an explosion and/or steam shovel. Patrons used the 3-cent stamp for postage on ship letters addressed to the US.
This is the most common of all in this group, with 2,525,000 printed. Of these, only 1,267 remained unsold when sales ceased on February 28, 1941. Officials burned these and other remainders on April 12 of that year.
Stamp and first day cover collectors found the 3-cent and all the stamps of this series very desirable. Of the scores of cachet artists who produced covers for the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series, the best known and most prolific was Walter G. 'Bones' Crosby. Many collectors feel that first day covers of this stamp are the most common of all.
This stamp most often appears on ocean mail covers to the United States, which was considered 'domestic.' Collectors seek examples from all the Canal Zone post offices, some of which are very difficult to obtain, especially on first day covers. Of course, the 3-cent value often appears on covers in combination with other stamps, and these too are quite popular.
The 5-cent Gaillard Cut-After commemorative (Scott 123) is one of the low values of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series, which includes groups of eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Canal Zone areas. The series celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal. The primary intended use of the 5-cents stamp was to pay for ship mail letters to foreign countries.
The 5-cent Gaillard depicts the SS Steel Worker headed south through Gaillard Cut at the Continental Divide on June 15, 1921. To the right appears the famous Gold Hill (no gold, however, was ever found there), and at left appears Contractors Hill. This almost identically replicates the view seen on the 3-cent stamp.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed 525,000 of these stamps, of which nearly 460,000 sold. The unsold remainders were withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941, and destroyed on April 12.
Collectors found this series very appealing at the time, as they do even today. First day cover enthusiasts find literally scores of cachets associated with it and the other stamps of the series. Walter G. 'Bones' Crosby, a retired navy man residing in San Diego, produced the most popular of these.
The 5-cent stamp often appears on letters to overseas addresses, but its most common use is in combination with other Canal Zone stamps in all manner of usages. Often these covers appear with other stamps from the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series, and these are very popular and not so readily found. Devotees create entire collections with just the stamps from this series, producing an extremely colorful assemblage.
The 6-cent Bas Obispo — Before commemorative (Scott 124) of the Canal Zone Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series appeared on August 15, 1939. The series includes scenes significant to Canal Zone history, eight titled 'Before' and eight titled 'After.'
The 6-cent stamp features a view taken in January 1910 of the diggings at the old French town site of Bas Obispo, near the intersection of the Chagres River and Gaillard Cut. The view looks south towards the Pacific and shows some of the trains and steam shovels moving soil from 'The Cut' on their way to disposal sites.
Though it had no specific function, patrons sometimes used the 6-cent stamp on double-weight ship mail letters and with other stamps to pay for postal services such as airmail or registration. Nonetheless, usage was rare since so few of these stamps (198,000) were issued and only about 68,000 sold. Collectors used many on first day covers, of which Walter G. Crosby produced many. Remainders were withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941, and destroyed on April 12.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 7-cent Bas Obispo-After commemorative (Scott 125) on August 15, 1939, as part of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series. The series includes two groups of eight 'before' and eight 'after' views of the Canal Zone.
This stamp shows the cruiser USS Houston in Gaillard Cut heading north towards the Pacific, the image taken on July 11, 1934. The stream at right is the old Rio Mandingo near Bas Obispo that flowed past the former U.S. Marine Corps site of 1904-1914 known as Camp Elliott.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a stamp collector himself, suggested the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series when he visited the Isthmus of Panama aboard the Houston. (The Japanese Navy sank the USS Houston during WW II.)
Since no seven-cent postal rate existed at the time, patrons combined the Bas Obispo-After with other stamps to make up a specific rate.
Like the 6-cent stamp, the 7-cent Bas Obispo-After did not sell well except on the first day of issue. Of the 210,000 printed, only a little over 71,000 sold, primarily to collectors, who used them on commemorative covers or saved them in unused condition. Sales ceased on February 28, 1941, and the remainders burned on April 12.
This stamp frequently appears on first day covers, most often serviced by the retired US Navy Chief Walter G. 'Bones' Crosby. Non-philatelic usages rarely appear and are avidly collected.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 8-cent Gatun Locks-Before commemorative (Scott 126) on August 15, 1939, as part of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series. The series includes two groups of eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Canal Zone areas and facilities such as the largest set of locks at Gatun.
The scene selected for this stamp, a view captured on April 15, 1911, was shot from about sea level looking up towards the huge locks, then under construction. In the photo appear the culverts through which the water flows as well as the giant towers used to handle the cement and other materials. At upper left, overlooking the scene below, sits the building that housed many of the construction offices.
Patrons found few uses for the 8-cent stamp, which they usually coupled with other stamps on envelopes or parcels. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 210,000 of this stamp, and fewer than 20 percent sold. Sales ceased on February 28, 1941, and officials burned the remaining stock on April 12.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 10-cent Gatun Locks-After commemorative (Scott 127) of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series on August 15, 1939. The series includes eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Panama Canal areas and facilities. In the June 1924 bird's eye shot used for the 10-cent stamp, the scene is almost identical to that used on the 8-cent 'Before' stamp.
All three levels of the locks are clearly seen, as does the lake also named "Gatun." The lake formed when the giant earthen dam, barely seen at right, blocked the waters of the Chagres River. The Gatun powerhouse, the large building at left, stands near the site of the wooden construction- era building that appeared on the 8-cent stamp. The new town of Gatun appears at the far left, and ships can be seen approaching the locks from the lake and also in one of the chambers.
As planned, the 10-cent stamp covered airmail to some of the nearby Central American and Caribbean lands. Otherwise, patrons combined it with other stamps to satisfy postage on letters and packages.
Sales of the 10-cent stamp were double those of the 'Before' stamp with the same scene, leaving only about 126,000 to be withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941, and burned on April 12 of that same year.
Collectors found the entire Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series extremely appealing when issued. In unused condition, the stamps are all readily available. However, other than on the literally dozens of different cacheted first day covers, the 10-cent on cover rarely appears. A fair number of covers bearing the 10-cent and other, higher value stamps of this series are found on letters containing stamp orders from the Canal Zone Philatelic Agency because the agency was apparently attempting to use the stamps when possible.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 11-cent Canal Channel-Before commemorative (Scott 128) of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series on August 15, 1939. The series includes eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Panama Canal areas and facilities.
During the 1904-1914 construction era, two Bucyrus steam shovels met at the bottom of Gaillard Cut. That day - May 20, 1913 — was significant at the site. From that date onward, all work was 'down hill.' Four months later, water from the Chagres River flowed into the Cut, and the Panama Canal was that much closer to reality.
The 11-cent stamp depicts that historic meeting of shovels #222 and #230. The steam from many others rises at the base of Gold Hill (left) and Contractors Hill (right), in the very center of the Continental Divide.
The 11-cent stamp had no apparent single usage, although for a triple-weight foreign letter, it would suffice at the rate of five cents for the first ounce and three cents for each additional ounce. In reality, though, patrons most often used it together with other stamps in a make-up rate role.
Fewer 11-cent Canal Channel-Before stamps sold than any other, with only 34,010 sold of 160,990 printed. This left over 80 percent unsold when withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941, and destroyed on April 12. A significant percentage of those ever sold were used on first day covers or preserved in collections in unused condition.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 12-cent Canal Channel-After commemorative (Scott 129) of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series on August 15, 1939. The series includes eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Panama Canal areas and facilities.
The 12-cent stamp depicts the passenger/freight vessel SS Santa Clara on August 16, 1930, heading towards the Caribbean. The infamous Gold Hill (the origin of so many dangerous earth slides both during the construction era and after, the last significant one having occurred in 1986) in the background. The Santa Clara sails over the spot in the Canal channel where the pair of steam shovels featured on the 11-cent stamp met.
Like many of the stamps in this series, the 12-cent stamp had no specific use. Patrons might have applied it to a quadruple-weight domestic letter send by ship, but this type usage rarely appears. So, this value is almost always seen used with other stamps to make a rate — for instance, with a 3-cent stamp to pay the fifteen-cent airmail rate at the time.
Another of the stamps of this series that failed to sell out, the 12-cent stamp sold ca. 66,000 copies, and postal authorities destroyed over 143,000 on April 12, 1941.
Other than the numerous copies sold to collectors for retention or use on first day covers, very few of the 12-cent issue were used on non-philatelic mail. Even those found on mail from the Canal Zone Philatelic Agency rarely appear on cover.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 14-cent Gamboa-Before commemorative (Scott 130) of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series on August 15, 1939. The series includes eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Panama Canal areas and facilities.
The 14-cent stamp's outstanding feature is the Panama Railroad bridge over the Chagres River, 1913. In the center background, the earthen Gamboa Dike prevents the river from flowing into the canal prism. At right across the completed canal appears the area near Bas Obispo/Camp Elliott that appears on the 6- and 7-cent stamps of this series. Like most of the stamps in series, there was no defined use for the 14-cent stamp except in combination with others to pay postage on a letter or packet.
Only two stamps in this series sold fewer copies than the 37,365 sold of the 14-cent value. On April 12, 1941, the Canal Zone postal authorities burned the remaining 262,635, which had been withdrawn from sale earlier that year.
Collectors retained many 14-cent stamps. They also used significant numbers on first day covers and on cacheted envelopes prepared by dozens of artists on the Isthmus and the United States. Non-philatelic covers rarely appear, though some appear with a 1-cent stamp to pay the fifteen-cent airmail rate to the US; others were used by the Canal Zone Philatelic Agency to mail packets of stamps it had sold to collectors.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 15-cent Gamboa- After commemorative (Scott 131), one of stamps in the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series, on August 15, 1939. Along with fifteen other stamps, it is part of two groups of eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Canal Zone areas and facilities.
The scene strongly resembles that on the 14-cent stamp. However, by the time this shot was taken on December 22, 1922, electric pylons ran along the Panama Railroad tracks and the Gamboa Dike, destroyed on October 10, 1913, by President Woodrow Wilson, was gone. The dike's destruction allowed the waters of the Chagres River to flow into the Gaillard Cut. A pair of steamers plies its way through the Canal, and a train heads towards Cristobal, the Caribbean port city.
The 15-cent stamp covered first class postage to the United States, parts of Latin America, and parts of the Caribbean. This rate also applied to a minimum fee registered letter. It was relatively successful in terms of sales compared with the lower values. Of the 313,200 copies printed, just over 105,000 sold. Postmasters took them off sale on February 28, 1941. Officials destroyed the remaining 208,000 copies on April 12, 1941.
Patrons used the stamp on airmail letters when they chose not to use the Twemtu-fifth Anniversary airmail stamp intended for that purpose. It appears on a great variety of first day covers. In addition, collectors saved many unused copies. Since fifteen cents paid the minimum registry fee at the time, it appears on covers using that service. In addition, patrons used it with other stamps, and it appears in non-philatelic usages as one of a group of stamps on a cover or packet. Despite its relative frequency of use, it is still scarce on cover.
The 18-cent Pedro Miguel Locks Cut–Before commemorative (Scott 132) was issued on August 15, 1939. It is part of two groups of eight ‘Before’ and eight ‘After’ views of important Panama Canal scenes or facilities such as the single step locks at Pedro Miguel. In this northward-looking view taken on June 3, 1912, the west chamber is the focus of attention, and in it we can see that construction of the lock gates is well under way. Each of these lock gates weighs about seven hundred tons and is seven feet thick. At the far sides are the lower reaches of the twin peaks that dominate the area. These masses of rock served to anchor the work done at Pedro Miguel.
The 18-cent stamp was most often used to cover the domestic ship rate on a registered letter, most frequently seen on mail originating at the Canal Zone Philatelic Agency (CZPA). Only some 39,000 of the 210,000 printed were sold, many for use on first day covers at the time of issue and retained by collectors for their albums. The remainders were pulled off sale on February 28, 1941, and burned on April 12.
First day covers by dozens of cachet artists both on the Isthmus of Panama and in the United States are recorded, and the 18-cent value is common in such usages. However, except for those CZPA covers mentioned above, it is very seldom seen in any capacity on a non-philatelic cover.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 20-cent Pedro Miguel Locks-After commemorative (Scott 133) on August 15, 1939, as one of the high values in the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series. The series includes eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Panama Canal installations.
The 20-cent depicts a view of Pedro Miguel Locks on June 17, 1927, with an Italian freighter at left and the SS President Polk, owned by the Dollar Line, at right. Taken from the control house situated between the two lock chambers, the shot looks beyond the hills (seen in the 18-cent stamp) into Culebra Cut.
Having very few actual postal uses, the 20-cent stamp was used on packages and in make-up situations in combination with other stamps.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 205,000 of these stamps, but just over half (104,000) remained unsold and were withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941. Officials burned the remains on April 12 of that same year.
Like the other denominations of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series, the 20-cent was very popular with stamp collectors and first day cover enthusiasts. Like the others, collectors used it extensively on cacheted envelopes, which a large number of artists prepared. Other than on first day covers, it rarely appears on 'real' mail that collectors saved. It usually appears with other stamps to add value to the postage needed for a more 'exotic' usage such as a registered or overweight letter.
The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 25-cent Gatun Spillway-Before (Scott 134) commemorative stamp on August 15, 1939, as one of the high values in the sixteen-stamp Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series. The series includes eight 'before' and eight 'after" scenes of important Panama Canal facilities.
This stamp features an image of the giant concrete spillway and gates as they appeared on February 13, 1913, when the impounded waters of the Chagres River began filling one of the world's largest artificial lakes. The dam itself at Gatun still stands almost unchanged from the day completed. It rises from over a half mile wide at its base to only a hundred feet at its crest and 105 feet above sea level. This scene sweeps over the new river channel towards the spillway from the downstream or northern side. In the far distance, a glimpse of the slowly filling Gatun Lake can be seen.
Like many of the stamps in this series, the 25-cent stamp had no readily identifiable use. Patrons used it as a 'make-up' stamp on packages and special usages such as registered airmail letters.
The Bureau of Printing and Engraving produced 105,000 of this stamp, the fewest of any stamp in the series. Only 34,283 sold, leaving almost 71,000 remaining after being withdrawn from sale on February 28, 1941. Of all the stamps in this series, only the 11-cent is scarcer, with barely over 34,000 having sold.
All of the stamps in this long series sold well on the first day of issue. Collectors purchased large quantities, and many appeared on cacheted first day covers. Like the others, covers postmarked at any of the smaller towns and military bases are scarce. In terms of non-philatelic usages, collectors consider it the scarcest. For example, the 11-cent, even rarer in terms of sale, occasionally appears on a first class airmail letter that cost fifteen cents.
The relatively high value of the 25-cent stamp precluded its use for anything but a special service usage or package. Collectors soaked most of these off; others just simply threw them away. A few appear on envelopes from the Canal Zone Philatelic Agency, but any other usage is rare.