John Ranto was a collector and cachet designer of first day covers of US issues. I came into possession of Ranto cover as I specifically acquired one containing USA Scott Number 1590A and 1623B. These 2 booklet stamps are much rarer than their similar counter parts and were obvious holes in my collection for some time now.
My policy for filling in low value USA stamps is currently: “Fill them with something interesting”.
I found this interesting cover that contained both of these stamps (along with a few others) and from here I learned about cachet maker John Ranto.
Starting in the 1960’s, Ranto began creating specialty FDC’s that he created by folding up USPS postal bulletins and display posters. He would then adorn these not only with the issue in question, but, in many cases, similar or related issues.
At first he made these covers only for himself, but then started to make additional ones as well. Many of these (but not all) are signed and numbered by Ranto.
The following is a quote from the eBay listing that I purchased this from:
Postal Brochure Type 2 combo w/ #1591 992 John Ranto was a prolific US First Day Cover collector and producer of a special line of his own hand made Postal Bulletin FDC’s. He produced these covers starting in the 1960’s and created them up to just a few years ago. These covers were created by hand folding US Postal Service Bulletins into a standard FDC size and then applying the current issue for the cover in addition to related combination stamps. He cleverly crafted these covers into mostly one-of-a-kind cachets or productions. In the beginning, Mr. Ranto created these covers for his personal collection, but as he enjoyed the process, he did start to create extras that he would trade or sell. Each of his covers is normally signed or intialed on the reverse side, and also coded, but not in every case. ***************
I have known John personally since the early 1970’s, as he lived in Hamilton Township NJ, local to our store. He was an active member of the Hamilton Township Stamp Club as well as a Life Member of the American First Day Cover Society (AFDCS). We are fortunate to have recently purchased his collection from his estate, and can now offer these personalized covers directly to the collecting public. Please realize that many of these covers are one-of-a-kind items, although typically he did prepare anywhere from 1-5 of an issue, using different combinations of stamps in many cases.***************
There are 5 basic types of Ranto Cachets that we will classify: 1. Stamp issue FDC on the original bulletin for that specific issue 2. Stamp issue FDC on the original bulletin for a previous related topic issue 3. Stamp issue FDC on the photo copied bulletin for that specific issue 4. Stamp issue FDC on the photo copied bulletin for a previous related topic issue 5. Stamp issue FDC on other medium for that specific issue***********
****** Most issues Ranto would use combinations stamps on the related cachet issues. Many times Ranto would hand color on the photo copied issues (3 & 4 above) or even on the originals.
This seller currently has over 4,000 covers for sale from the Ranto collection!
I have also found a few other pieces of information here and here.