United States Postage Stamps
A History

Regular, Commementive, Memorial Issues
diamondIntroduction ~ Series of 1847
diamond Series of 1851
diamond Series of 1861
diamond Series of 1869
diamond Issues of 1870
diamond Issues of 1890&3
diamond Columbian Series of 1893
diamond Isues of 1894
diamond Trans-Mississippi Exposition Stamps of 1898
diamond Pan-American Stamps of 1901
diamond Series of 1902-3
diamond Lousiana Purchase Commemorative Stamps of 1904
diamond Jamestown Commemorative Stamps of 1907
diamond Issues of 1908-9
diamond Issues of 1909
diamond Issues of 1912
diamondPanama-Pacific Commemorative Stamps of 1913
diamond Issues of 1914-5
diamond Issues of 1918
diamond Issues of 1919
diamond Pilgram Tercentenary Commemorative Stamps of 1920
diamond Issues of 1922-23
diamond Issue of 1923
diamond Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary Stamps of 1924
diamond Issues of 1925
diamond Issues of 1926
diamond Issues of 1927
diamond Issues of 1928
diamond Issues of 1929
diamond Issues of 1930
diamond Isues of 1931
diamond Washington Bicentennal Commemorative Stamps of 1932 & other Issues
diamond Issues of 1933
diamond Issues of 1934
diamond Issues of 1935
diamond Special Souvenior sheets of 1935
diamond Issues of 1936
diamond Issues of 1937
diamond Issues of 1938
diamond Issues of 1939
diamond Famous Americans Commem's of 1940 & Others
diamond Vnmont Statehood of 1941
diamond Issues of 1942
diamond Overrun Countries commem's of 1943-44 & Others
diamond Issues of 1944
diamond Roosevelt and Armed Forces Series of 1945 & Others
diamond Issues of 1946
diamond Issues of 1947

Air Mail Stamps
diamond Issues of 1918-1947
Carriers' Stamps
diamond Issues of 1851
Newspaper & Periodical Stamps
diamond Issues of 1865
diamond Issues of 1875
diamond Issues of 1895
Offical Postage Stamps
diamond Issues of 1873-1884
Parcel Post Stamps
diamond Issues of 1912-1913
Postage Due Stamps
diamond Issues of 1879-1930
Parcel Post Postage Due Stamps
diamond  Issues of 1912
Postal Savings Offical Stamps
diamond Issues of 1910-1911
Postal Savings Stamps
diamond Issue of 1911
Registry Stamp
diamond Issue of 1911
Special Delivery Air Mail Stamp
diamond Issue of 1934-1936
Special Delivery Stamps
diamond Issues of 1885-1925
Special Handling Stamp
diamond Issue of 1925

United States Postage Stamps

1847 through 1947 ~ The first 100 years



The postage stamps of the 1908-9 issue, while possessing high artistic merit, gave considerable trouble to the public and to the Postal Service on account of the similarity of designs of the different denominations. All of the 12 stamps are of identical design, except that the 1-cent denomination bears the portrait of Franklin, while the others bear the portrait of Washington. There was not a sufficient number of distinctive colors for all the stamps, making it necessary above the 6-cent to use different shades of the same colors given the lower denominations. Thus, the 1-cent and 8-cent are different shades of green; the 3­cent and 50-cent are different shades of purple; the 5-cent and 15-cent are different shades of blue. In the rapid handling of mail matter one denomination was very apt to be mistaken for another, particularly under artificial light. The first six stamps are of sufficiently contrasting colors, but it was decided to change the subject of the 1-cent from Franklin to Washington and to change the 1-cent and 2-cent so as to express the denomination in numerals instead of in words, thus conforming to the other stamps of the series. No change was made in the 3-, 4-, 5-, or 6-cent stamps from those of the 1908 issue, but to give more marked contrast to the remaining five denominations (the 13-cent stamp having been discontinued) a change was made in the border design. The stamps of the 1912 issue combine utility with art and harmony, presenting the head of the first President on the first six denominations and that of the first Postmaster General, with a different border design, on the last five.

The 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-,5-, and 6-cent stamps bear the head of Washington in profile, from Houdon's bust, looking to the left. The borders of the first six denominations are identical, and of the same design as the series of 1908. The portrait of Washington appears within a plain ellipse on end, with branches of laurelon either side. Above the head in a straight line are the words "U.S. Postage"; in capital letters below it the word "Cents", with the denomination in numerals in both lower corners.

The colors of the five higher denominations are: 8-cent, olive; 10-cent, dark yellow; 15­cent, gray; 50-cent, lavender; $1, dark brown. The subject of these stamps is a portrait of Franklin in profile, from Houdon's bust, looking to the left, within an ellipse on end. In the upper corners are plain panels in the form of right angles; above the ellipse and following it in a curved line are the words "U.S. Postage" in capital letters; on either side of the lower part of the ellipse are branches of oak leaves; in the two lower corners the denomination appears in numerals, and between them is the word "Cents" (or "Dollar") in a horizontal panel which breaks the base of the ellipse.

The Department's supply of 13-cent stamps became exhausted and the denomination was discontinued, its primary purpose to prepay postage and registry fee on foreign mailings having ceased to exist when the registry fee was increased to 10 cents.