One of the most colorful and dramatic episodes in American history - the settling of Oklahoma triggered by the Land Run of 1889 - is captured on a new 15-cent postal card.
The card, celebrating the centennial of this famous foray, features a hectic scene of people on horseback and in wagons charging toward the viewer, racing to stake their claims. The U.S. Postal Service recognizes three milestones in the settlement of the state with the following inscriptions in the cachet portion: First Land Run, 1889; Territory Established, 1890; and Cherokee Strip Run, 1893.Created by veteran stamp designer Bradbury Thompson, the Oklahoma card is based on a section of Olaf Wieghorst's painting, "Opening of the Cherokee Strip," which is currently on display in the Thomas Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa.
A Congressional rider to the Indian Appropriation Bill of 1889 opened the Oklahoma Territory to non-Indian settlement. President Benjamin Harrison ruled that distribution would be determined by a "run for the land" - first come, first served.
Thousands of people took part in this famous race for homestead land. At noon on April 22, 1889, U.S. Cavalry guns and cannons signaled the charge from north, south and east. This scene was dramatically portrayed in the film "Cimmaron."
Collectors who wish to secure first-day cancellations of the new 15-cent postal card are encouraged by the Postal Service to buy the cards at their local post office. These orders receive preferential service. Self-address the cards and send them to Customer-Provided Stationery, Postmaster, Guthrie, OK 73044-9991.
If you would rather have the Postal Service provide the card, include pressure-sensitive self-addressed labels for return mailing and a money order or personal check for 15 cents per card. Send to Settling of Oklahoma Postal Card, Postmaster, Guthrie, OK 73044-9992.
The deadline in both cases is May 22.
In an attempt to bolster its vitally important tourist industry, Israel has issued four new multicolored stamps (with tabs) that feature the country's prime vacation spots - its four shorelines.
The first stamp depicts the Mediterranean coast, which provides Israel with its longest border. Tourists are attracted to the shore by such cities as Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, Nahariyya and Ashkelon.
The second stamp illustrates the Sea of Galilee, the largest freshwater reservoir in Israel. It contains 4 billion cubic meters of drinking water.
The third stamp pictures the Dead Sea, which is 1,200 feet below sea level. Its waters are so densely saline that bathers find it easy to float and difficult to sink.
The fourth stamp shows the famed Red Sea with its Bay of Eilat, which lies at Israel's southern tip. Direct flights from abroad have made Eilat very accessible for tourists from various parts of the world. The Red Sea is well-known from the Bible passage in which Moses led his people through parted waters in flight from the Egyptian Pharaoh.
Israeli postal authorities have also issued two stamps honoring two rabbis - one from ancient times, the other more recent - who are prominent in Jewish history.
One stamp honors Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Ben Isaac, 1040-1105), who was among the great Jewish scholars. His commentaries were read by Jewish communities everywhere. With the aid of his pupils and family, he edited and dictated these commentaries, which are called the "Kunters."
Rabbi Leib Ha-Cohen Maimon (1875-1962) was a rabbi's son. In 1913, he settled in Israel, where he established the Mizrachi Party office, but was expelled by Turkish authorities during World War I. He returned to Palestine in 1918 to head the Mizrachi movement. In 1948, he participated in the ceremony proclaiming the State of Israel.
The six new stamps are available with mint tabs for $13.95; first-day covers are $19.95. Order from the Israel Stamp Collectors Society of America, Box 917, Van Nuys, CA 91408.