Art of Conservation stamp error discovered, fish released - Major League Fishing

Art of Conservation stamp error discovered, fish released

2011 State-Fish Art stamp honors young Illinois artist, largemouth bass
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An error has added collector value to blocks of 2011 State-Fish Art stamps that benefit conservation education and efforts by nonprofit organization Wildlife Forever.
September 30, 2011 • MLF • Archives

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. – The 2011 State-Fish Art® (SFA) Art of Conservation stamp was released during the 13th annual SFA Expo at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas. The young artist honored was Justas Varpucanskis, a talented seventh grader from Illinois. Last week, Lake Minnetonka Stamp Club member, Dick Westerling, visited Wildlife Forever’s headquarters and asked, “Can you spot the error on this stamp?” Staff couldn’t.

No “inverted Jenny” style jumping bass, no missing colors like Day’s Folly, nothing unusual that we could see. But Westerling had noticed it; in his hand he held a stamp with a blank left margin. The SFA stamps read WILDLIFE FOREVER up the left margin. His stamp did not. Wow, a true SFA stamp error!

Wildlife Forever pulled the stamps off the market to assess the situation. A few stamps were awarded in Texas at the 2011 SFA Expo and limited sales may have distributed some of the error stamps without anyone’s knowledge.

Through an inventory Wildlife Forever discovered only 1,250 error stamps with the blank left margin out of the 25,000 annual stamps. The sheets of 20 normally sell for $100. Wildlife Forever realized in this day and age of offset printing, actual stamp errors are really errors made by man not machine. Someone missed the copy deletion in the proof stage.

Not wanting to take unfair advantage of the collector for a printing mistake, Wildlife Forever sought counsel from stamp industry leaders and came up with a plan. The single “error” stamp with the $5 denomination will sell for $10 each. The horizontal or vertical pair with an error stamp will sell for $15. The block of four with an error stamp will sell for $25. The sheet of 20 stamps, with the lower-left error, will still be available at $100 a sheet.

“This way everyone can collect the fish `error’ stamp of 2011,” State-Fish Art Manager Karen Hollingsworth said. “It will only cost collectors a small premium, and everyone’s purchase will support the State-Fish Art program.”

Wildlife Forever President and CEO Douglas Grann said: “This year’s SFA stamp is truly a mistake stamp. Very few were printed.

“Our goal is to reach philatelic collectors and angling enthusiasts to expand our conservation education efforts across the country. The Art of Conservation stamp is not only a proud part of our SFA heritage, it is an important component to the financial support of our free youth-education program.”

Wildlife Forever believes conservation education is the key that will ultimately determine the very future of our country’s fish and wildlife heritage. This glimpse of the creative talents of America’s youth provides hope for tomorrow.

Shijun Munns of Shijun Art Studio in Georgia commented, “I would like to thank you for providing an essential outlet for all these young creative spirits to discover not only the importance of conservation but also … express their lives and their world through the joy of art.”

The State-Fish Art® Contest is heading into its 14th year teaching aquatic education through the arts to the children of America. The program is rapidly growing and has support across all 50 states and internationally. See for The Art of Conservation.

Order your online at Art of Conservation stamps online or by calling (763) 253-0222.

About the State-Fish Art Contest

The Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest is entering its 14th year of bringing children, art and aquatic conservation together. To enter, young artists create an original illustration of any official state-fish and a written essay detailing its behavior, habitat, and efforts to conserve it. Entries are categorized in four grade levels: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Educators nationwide utilize Fish On!, the full-color State-Fish Art Lesson Plan, combining the disciplines of science and art. It is available, at no charge, for download at Entries are due by March 31 each year.

About Wildlife Forever

Located in Brooklyn Center, Minn., Wildlife Forever is a nonprofit all-species conservation organization dedicated to conserving America’s wildlife heritage. Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states, committing millions of dollars to “on the ground” and “in the water” efforts. Wildlife Forever supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research, and management of fish and wildlife populations. Learn more at