VERY FINE. THIS IS THE EARLIEST RECORDED USE OF THE ONE-CENT McKINLEY FULL-FACE POSTAL CARD. IT IS ALSO THE ONLY KNOWN USED EXAMPLE OF THE DIE PROOF POSTAL CARD, AND IT IS THE ONLY KNOWN USED CARD WITHOUT THE PRE-PRINTED ADDRESS. A PHENOMENAL RARITY OF THE HIGHEST ORDER.
According to the UPSS Catalog, "When plans were first made for a postal card in memory of President McKinley, following his assassination in September, 1901, a die was prepared showing a 'full-face' portrait. The holder of the postal card contract at that time was Albert Daggett, who was not noted for the high quality of his work. The plates produced very inferior impressions; the average of the production samples sent to Washington was judged unacceptable. To personally assess the situation, Superintendent of the Stamp Division, Major Reeve made an inspection visit of Daggett's Maine factory the last week of March 1902. He concluded the plates would never give acceptable results and ordered them removed from the presses and destroyed, along with the entire stock of 1,625,000 cards that had been produced up to that date.
"In late March one box of 500 cards was accidentally shipped to the Postmaster at New York City. This box could be one that didn't get returned to the warehouse from a large initial order of McKinley cards that was packed, counted and about to be shipped when the factory received notice from the Post Office cancelling the order. These 500 cards are the only ones recognized by the Post Office Department having been properly issued in error. The entire box was purchased by the firm of Booth, Bailey, and Ivins, which held a city contract for dumping garbage at sea (this accounts for the term 'garbage card'). The entire 500 were imprinted for their use, so that none of the 500 issued cards is known in mint condition."
The earliest recorded postmark on a "garbage card" is May 26, 1902, from Brooklyn N.Y. This Die Proof-imprinted card, used from Washington D.C., must have come from early samples sent to Washington as an example of the work being produced.