Introduction

Colorano Silks (Covers) are arguably the most colourful and attractive Silks produced in North America. The cachets are printed 4 colour on a silk-like fabric (rayon acetate). The actual process is a well-kept secret. The result is one of vibrant and luminescent colours creating a brilliant three dimensional-like effect. This Colorano effect cannot be copied by scanners, etc. Hence, the Silks illustrations herein will not reflect their true beauty.

The contents of the cachets are copies of either original paintings commissioned by Colorano or appropriate pictures, miniaturized to fit inside the gold border of the cachet. The best way to view an original cachet for maximum appreciation is under good lighting conditions and from different angles.

Background

The originators of Colorano Silks, Ray and Jennie Novak, the Dynamic Duo of East Norwich, New York, began producing covers as early as 1958. Their first United States cover was for the Project Mercury issue of February 20, 1962 with the art work being done by Ray’s older brother, Arthur Novak. In 1965, the name Colorano was coined by Hans Frankel, the publisher of Ayal Albums. It was a shortened version of Color Ray No(vak) - before long, the name was being pronounced like Colorado.

Maximum cards were the first items produced under the Colorano name. However, in 1970 Ray saw silk cachets produced by the French firm Ceres and instinctively knew that was the route he wanted to take. Thus, in 1971 he replaced the Maximum cards with the now well-known “Colorano Silks”. The U.S. Wool stamp (Scott Catalogue # 1423) appeared on the first Silk produced by Colorano. Appropriately, Ray’s brother Arthur was the artist for the cachet illustration on this first FDC.

As the popularity of the Colorano Silks grew, operations were expanded to include other postal jurisdictions outside the United States, namely,

  • Canada
  • Great Britain
  • Jersey
  • Guernsey
  • Isle of Man
  • Ireland
  • Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia
  • United Nations –New York, Geneva, Vienna

The following quote is taken from the June 24, 1989 issue of The Stamp Wholesaler,

“Ray (Novac)(sic) advertises that today most Colorano first-day covers are produced in quantities of 3,000 to 5,000 per stamp, many fewer than other FDC manufacturers.”

And from the same source, “During the FDC boom of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Colorano sales hit about $850,000 a year , Ray says.”

Recently, Ray estimated that Colorano produced Silks for about 15,000 stamp issues during the Novak’s period of ownership.

Distribution of Silks was limited to stamp dealers only with the dealers retailing them to the general public.