The Crosby Exhibit of 1935 California Pacific International Exposition covers

Four frame exhibit shown at the Virginia Beach Philatelic Exhibition November 1999
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Crosby Goes to The Fair

The California Pacific International Exposition opened in San Diego on May 29, 1935, and ran for for six months closing on November 11, 1935. It reopened for a second season on February 12, 1936, and remained open until September 9, 1936. In its 377 days of operation the Exposition attracted over 7.2 million visitors with the gate receipts making the Exposition profitable. The Exposition put the town of San Diego on the map but more importantly for philatelists, it launched the career of cachetmaker heavyweight Walter Garfield Crosby.

The Exposition was a sight to behold. The Spanish-Colonial city has been described as being that of a fairytale, while the exhibits included such modern day wonders as the Ford Building, the Electrical Building, and the Hollywood Motion Picture Hall. As with all major expositions there remains a sizable quantity of philatelic memorabilia available to the stamp collecting community. This includes the California Pacific International Exposition commemorative stamp which was issued on opening day. The release of the stamp (Scott 773) was anticipated by many philatelists as evidenced by the recorded 214,042 first day cancels. Many cachetmakers created first day covers for the stamp, but Crosby went several steps further producing covers for events throughout the entire Exposition.

Crosby had been an established philatelist since 1928 primarily known as a dealer in US Navy ship cancels. However, when this Exposition came to his home town he stunned cachetmakers worldwide when he produced what is considered to be his first cachets with thermographic print and real photographs. A design format that soon became his trademark. The proximity also contrived to make it possible for Crosby to produce a wide variety of philatelic postal history from the first day of the Exposition to the last. This exhibit is a collection of Exposition covers all produced by Crosby, and includes 19 of his prized first First Day Covers.

Hopefully this exhibit is as fun to view as it was to assemble. Also hopefully it does the job of demonstrating Crosby's artistic force, and the impact he made on philately with his creations for the California Pacific International Exposition.

Exhibit Overview

Frame One
Opening Day covers including unofficial first day cancels from the USS Wright, USS Yarnall and USS Dallas.

Frame Two
Eight first day covers with official Exposition cancels, two first days with unofficial Railroad Mail Service cancels, and Navy and Exposition cancels from June 10 to 14 for Fleet Fiesta including two letters written by Crosby promoting the Exposition.

Frame Three
Navy cancels for various Exposition events from Flag Day June 14, to Constitution Day September 17.

Frame Four
Navy cancels for Presidential Review October 2, Columbus Day October 12, Arrival of ZR3 October 15, Navy Day October 27, Last Day November 11, and Reopening Day February 12, 1936.

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