This is the original artwork, a hand tinted “color” photographic composite, from which the first 5 cent air mail stamp was created, the well known “Beacon” Air Mail Stamp. This is a rather famous piece in philatelic circles, and has been researched often academically. The final postal stamp image is a composite from two or three different locations. I believe this original photographic art piece from which the US Postal stamp was made, may be a perfect trifecta of historical, aviation, fine art, and philatelic interest. The photographer, Nathaniel Lee Dewell, my paternal grandfather, is represented in the Smithsonian Institution by other work with the Omaha Indian Tribe, WWI, and Panama Canal, as well as thousands of photographs in the care of the Nebraska State Historical Society. The piece is mounted to cardboard, 23⅜” x 29¾”. It is unsigned, has a few small surface defects and one large “surface tear”, approximately 2″ in length (shown). It should probably removed eventually from its cardboard support by a certified conserver, and re-mounted. I’ve taken it out of the original frame in order to photograph it and begin minimal conservation on the piece. I will not remove the print from its backing board support. I will offer to reset it as is, in another frame with proper archival matting materials if requested. Shipping is unframed, unless requested.
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