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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

WASHINGTON BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE STAMPS (1/2-CENT TO 10-CENT INCLUSIVE)-ISSUE OF 1932

In cooperation with the national celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of George Washington, the Department authorized a special series of 12 postage stamps in denominations of 1/2 cent to 10 cents, inclusive, to be kept on sale in post offices throughout the anniversary period in lieu of the regular series of stamps.

The stamps are of regulation size, 75/100 by 87/100 inch in dimension, arranged vertically, and have as the central designs portraits of Washington modeled from the works of noted artists. The stamps are described as follows:

One-half cent.-The stamp is dark brown in color and has a flat paneled border with darker interior over which is laid a circular panel in which appears the likeness of Wash­ington taken from a miniature painted by Charles Wilson Peale in 1777, the original of which is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The central design is bordered by white inner and outer lines forming a narrow circular panel, within which, across the top, is the legend "United States postage" in white­faced Roman, the remainder being filled in with laurel leaves. The circular panel is overlaid and supported at the base by a curved white ribbon containing the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right, with the word "Washington" underneath across the center of the ribbon. In each lower corner within a white edged circular panel is the fractional numeral "1/2" in white Roman on a dark background. The circles are connected by a horizontal panel containing the word "Cent" in white Roman letters.

One-cent.- The stamp is printed in green. Across the top is a flat panel containing, in two horizontal lines, the words "United States postage" in white-faced Roman. The panel is supported at either end by vertical flat fluted columns, the bases of which extend to the bottom of the stamp and hold in each lower Corner a white edged oval panel enclosing the numeral "1" in white Roman on a dark background. In the center of the stamp slightly overlapping the side columns is a large oval with dark background and white line border containing a reproduction of the profile bust of Washington by Jean Antoine Roudon made in 1785 and now in Mount Vernon. Across the base of the oval is a white-ribbon panel containing in dark Gothic lettering the name "Washington" in the center and the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right. In a horizontal line across the base of the stamp is the word "Cent" in white Roman on a dark background.

One-and-one-half cent.-The stamp is light brown in color with a narrow white border within which in the upper part is a flat tinted panel enclosing a background of darker shade. Extending to the top of the stamp is a semicircular panel with white edges and dark ground, resting at either end on fluted side columns which rise slightly above midway of the stamp. Within this panel appear the words "United States postage" in white-faced Roman. At the base of the column in each lower corner is a small rectangular panel with beveled upper corners containing the figures "1"h" in white-faced Roman on a solid ground. The small panels are connected by a horizontal panel with dark ground, containing the word "Cents" in white Roman. In the space under the arch in the central part of the stamp is a likeness of Washington modeled from a painting known as the Virginia Colonel made at Mount Vernon in 1772 by Charles Wilson Peale, the original of which is now in Wash­ington and Lee University. At the base of the portrait is a white-ribbon panel contain­ing the word "Washington" in the center and the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right in the curved ends which extend slightly upward and overlap the lower ends of the side columns.

Two-cent.-The stamp is printed in red and is enclosed in a narrow white-line border with small ornaments resembling fleursdelis in each upper corner. Beginning slightly above the center on either side and reaching the top is a semicircular panel with the words "United States postage" in white Roman on a solid background. The ends of the panel are sup­ported by acanthus scrolls rising from upright ovals in each lower corner. Within these ovals with white edges is the Roman numeral "2" in white on a solid background. At the base of the stamp between the ovals is a white bordered panel with the word "Cents" in white Roman letters on a solid background. In the center of the stamp with a dark back­ground is the likeness of Washington by Gilbert Stuart from a painting made at Germantown, Pa., in 1796, known as the Atheneum portrait, the original of which is now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. On a white ribbon below the portrait is the name "Washington" in dark Roman lettering. On the raised ends of the ribbon are the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right.

Three-cent.-The stamp is printed in purple ink and is enclosed in a white-line border. In a curved panel having white edges and solid background across the top of the stamp are the words "United States postage" in white Roman letters. The panel is supported at each end by small acanthus scrolls. In each upper corner of the stamp is a small sunken triangle. In each lower corner is a circle with white edge enclosing the white Roman nu­meral "3" on a dark background. Across the bottom of the stamp connecting the circles is a narrow panel containing the word "Cents" in white Roman on a solid background. Above the panel is a ribbon with the name "Washing­ton" in small dark Roman lettering. On the ends of the ribbon, which are curved upward to rest over the circles, are the date "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right. In the central part of the stamp is the likeness of Washington in the uniform of a general with cocked hat reproduced from a portrait by Charles Wilson Peale painted at Valley Forge in 1777. The original portrait is now in the State Normal School at West Chester, Pa.

Four-cent.-The stamp is printed in warm brown and has a narrow rectangular border indented at the sides and ends. Across the top of the stamp in a narrow double-curved, white-edged panel are the words "United States postage" in two lines in white Roman letters on solid background. The panel is widened at the center to accommodate the last word, and the ends of the widened portion are supported by acanthus scrolls which rise from each side of the large ovals occupying the central part of the stamp. Within the large oval is the likeness of Washington taken from a painting by Charles Willson Peale. The painting was donated to the National Portrait Gallery by its former owner, Mr. Wil­liam Patten, Rhinebeck, N.Y. Below the portrait in a curved white ribbon in dark

Gothic lettering is the name "Washington" in the center and the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right. In each lower corner is a circular panel with dark ground and white edge with the numeral "4" in white Roman. Between the circles in a narrow white bordered panel curved to conform with the ribbon above is the word "Cents" in white Roman letters. curved to conform with the ribbon above is the word "Cents" in white Roman letters.

Five-cent.-The stamp, printed in blue, is bordered by a beveled edge panel indented at the sides and ends. Across the top in a double curve in white Roman letters are the words "United States postage" in two lines. On each side of the word "Postage" is a small acanthus scroll. In the center of the stamp is a large dark shield with white-line border containing the likeness of Washington from a painting by Charles Wilson Peale made in 1795, and now in the possession of the New York Historical Society. On a curved ribbon below the portrait are the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right, and the name "Washington" in the center in dark Gothic lettering. In each lower corner is a rectangu­lar shaped panel containing the numeral "5" in white Roman with dark background.

Six.cent.- The stamp is printed in orange color. The stamp is enclosed by a rectangular panel with white edge forming a frame for the central design representing Washington in the uniform of a general reproduced from a painting by John Trumbull in 1792, now in Yale University. Over the head is a narrow semicircle panel with white-line border and solid background extending, at the center, to the top of the stamp. Within this panel are the words "United States postage" in white Roman letters on a solid background. The panel is supported on each side by small acanthus scrolls. In each upper corner is a triangular sunken panel with white edge and darker interior. In each lower corner is an upright oval with white edge containing the numeral "6" in white Roman on a solid back­ground. At the base in a horizontal line be­tween the ovals is the word "Cents" in white Roman. Under the portrait is a curved white ribbon bearing in the center the name "Wash­ington,, in dark Roman lettering. On the ends of the ribbon, which rest at the top of the ovals on each side, are the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right.

Seven-cent.- The stamp is printed in black ink with white edge and gray paneled border on the sides and top. The upright panels are slightly indented at the sides. Inside the border is a background of darker gray. Along the upper edge of the stamp in a hori­zontalline are the words "United States postage" in white Roman. In each lower corner is a circle with white edge and black ground enclosing the numeral "7" in white Roman. The circles are connected by a white edged panel containing the word "Cents" in white Roman on a dark background. In the center of the stamp is a large oval with light background and white border which contains a likeness of Washington in a colonial uniform showing the head and bust reproduced from a full length portrait painted by John Trum­bull in 1780, the original of which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Below the portrait is a double curved white ribbon bear­ing in the center in black Roman lettering the name "Washington." On the raised ends of the ribbon are the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right.

Eight-cent.-The stamp is of olive green color and is enclosed in a white-line border. In a large upright oval in the center of the stamp is a profile bust portrait of Washington facing to the left, reproduced from a crayon drawing made from life by Charles B. J. F. Saint Memin at Philadelphia in 1798. Enclosing the central oval is a narrow panel with white edges and dark ground containing the inscription "United States postage" in white Roman letters. On each side of the central oval near the top is shown the upper corner of a shieldlike inner panel. In each lower corner in an upright rectangular panel with white edge and double curved top is the numeral "8" on a dark background. At the base of the stamp in a narrow white edged panel between the numerals is the word "Cents" in white Roman on a dark background. At the base of the central oval is a white ribbon with the name "Washington" in dark lettering in the center and on the curved and raised ends the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right.

Nine-cent.-The stamp is printed in salmon pink with a white-line border. At the center in a large panel rectangular in shape below, oval and slightly widened in the upper portion, is the likeness of Washington modeled from a pastel portrait in the possession of the Masonic lodge of Alexandria, Va., for whom it was drawn from life by W. Wil. Iiams in 1794. Above the central panel in a double curved white ribbon with scrolled ends are the words "United States postage" in dark Roman. In each lower corner of the stamp is the numeral "9" in white Roman. In a horizontal line at the base between the numerals is the word "Cents" in white Roman. On a white ribbon at the base of the portrait within the central panel is the name "Washington" in dark Roman. In the curved ends of the ribbon above the numerals are the dates "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right. Rising from each ribbon end is a small laurel branch.

Ten-cent.-The stamp is yellow in color. The sides and top are slightly indented along the center and are bordered by a narrow panel having dark center and white edges. In the upper part, overlapping the border at the top and sides is a narrow white edged panel with double curve and small acanthus scrolls at each end containing in two lines the words "United States postage" in white Roman letters on a dark background. The panel is widened at the center to provide space for "Postage." In the center of the stamp is a large oval with white edge and dark ground enclosing the portrait of Wash­ington taken from a painting by Gilbert Stuart in 1795, now in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Within the oval under the portrait is a narrow curved panel with white edge and dark ground containing in Gothic lettering the name "Washington" in the center and the dates on each side, "1732" at the left and "1932" at the right. In each lower corner is a white edged panel, slightly shield-shaped on the bottom line, in which appears the numeral "10" in white Roman on a dark background. At the base of the stamp in a horizontal line is the word "Cents" in white Roman letters on a dark background.

The bicentennial stamps were first placed on sale January 1, 1932, at the post office in Washington, D.C.


III OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES COMMEMORATIVE STAMP (2-CENT)-ISSUE OF 1932

This special stamp was issued in honor of the International Olympic Winter Games held at Lake Placid, N.Y., in February, 1932.

The stamp is a horizontal rectangle 75/100 by 87/100 inch in dimension, printed in red ink and enclosed' in a single-line border. Across the top of the stamp in a straight line are the words "United States postage" in white Roman, and directly below in white lettering is the wording "III Olympic Winter Games."

The central design is a representation of a ski jumper in action, in the position of descent from right to left, with a background formed by a snow-covered mountain land­scape and overcast sky. Across the base of the central design in two lines in dark Gothic lettering appears the wording "Lake Placid, New York", and the dates "February 4-13, 1932." In each lower corner is a large white numeral "2." Extending across the bottom of the stamp between the numerals are the words 'Two cents" in white Roman.

This commemorative stamp was first placed on sale at the post office in Lake Placid, N.Y., on January 25, 1932.


ARBOR DAY COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE STAMP (2-CENT)-ISSUE OF 1932

This stamp was authorized in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of Arbor Day, on April 22, 1932, and in honor of the one hundredth anni­versary of the birth of J. Sterling Morton, through whose efforts a day was first officially set aside for the planting of trees by the State of Nebraska in 1872.

The stamp is of the same size as the regu­lar issue, 75/100 by 87/100inch in dimension, printed in red ink. It is surrounded by a narrow white-line border within which on either side rises a large tree with spread­ing branches that meet at the top in the form of an arbor. Across the top of the stamp in two curved lines are the words "United States postage" in white Roman. In a curved line inside the arch are the words "Arbor Day" in red Roman. Across the bottom of the stamp in a narrow panel, with solid background and white edges, are the words, "Two cents" in white Roman. Di­rectly above the panel on each side within a circle with white edge and solid back­ground is the large numeral "2." Acanthus scrolls extend from the tops of the circles over the base of the trees. The central de­sign of the stamp pictures the planting of a tree by a girl and boy, the former hold­ing the tree in position while the earth is filled in by the boy. In the left background is a small house with forest trees extending to the right. In a straight line below the central figures are the dates "1872-1932", in white Roman.

The Arbor Day stamp was first placed on sale in Nebraska City, Nebr., the former home of J. Sterling Morton, on April 22, 1932.


XTH OLYMPIAD COMMEMORATIVE STAMPS (3-CENT AND 5-CENTI) ISSUE OF 1932

   

This special series of postage stamps in the 3-cent and 5-cent denominations was issued in recognition of the International Olympic Games held at Los Angeles, Calif., from July 30 to August 14, 1932.

The two stamps are of the regular size, 75/100 by 87/100 inch in dimension, and are identical in every detail except color, denomination numerals, and central subject.

The 3-cent stamp is printed in purple ink and has for the central design the likeness of an Olympic runner in crouched position as if ready for the starting signal. The 5-cent stamp is printed in blue and includes as the central subject a representation of a discus thrower modeled from the statue "Discobolus", back of which on a solid back­ground is an outline of the globe with the lower part obscured by clouds.

The central subjects are in oval panels bordered along the top and sides with a narrow panel in the shape of a horseshoe with open part below. Within the bordering panels, which have white edges and solid backgrounds, is the inscription "Xth Olympiad-Los Angeles, 1932" in white Roman. Across the top of the stamps in a narrow white edged panel with solid background are the words "United States postage" in white Roman letters. Within a circular panel with white edge and solid ground in each lower corner is the large numeral "3" or "5", conforming to the denomination of the stamp. Rising from the top of each circle is an acanthus leaf which overlaps the base of the horseshoe panel. Connecting the circles containing the numerals and forming the base of the stamp is a narrow panel, with solid background and white edges, containing the word "Cents" in white Roman. On either side from behind the upper part of the horseshoe panel rises a smoking torch.

The Olympic Games stamps were first placed on sale at the post office in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 15, 1932.


ORDINARY POSTAGE STAMP (3-CENT)­ISSUE OF 1932

The issuance of this new design 3-cent stamp containing as the central subject the likeness of Washington reproduced from the Stuart portrait was aUthorized after the en­actment of legislation increasing the postage rate on letter mail of the first class, effective July 6, 1932, to conform to the established policy of having the likeness of the First President on the stamp representing the initial rate of postage for such mail matter.

The stamp is identical in size and design to the 2-cent stamp of the Washington Bicentennial series except for the change in denomination numeral and omission of the dates. The stamp is printed in purple ink.

The new 3-cent stamp was first placed on sale on June 16, 1932, at the post office in Washington, D.C.


STAMP COILS (6-CENT)-ISSUE OF 1932

To meet the public demand under the new postage rates, effective July 6, 1932, the Department authorized the issuance of 6-cent stamps in coils of 500 and 1,000 each.

The stamps in the coils are of the same design as the 6-cent stamp of the regular 1922-23 series, containing the likeness of Garfield and printed in orange color.

The new 6-cent coil was first placed on sale on August 18, 1932, at Los Angeles, Calif., in connection with the National Philatelic Exposition and American Philatelic Society Convention, held August 15 to 20, 1932.


WILLIAM PENN COMMEMORATIVE STAMP (3-CENT)-ISSUE OF 1932

This stamp was issued to commemorate the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of William Penn in America.

The stamp is of the same size and shape as the stamps of the regular issue,75/100 by 87/100 inch in dimension, and is printed in purple ink. In a horizontal line across the top of the stamp are the words "United States postage" in small solid Roman letters. In the center of the stamp is the likeness of William Penn in armor, reproduced from an engraving of a portrait painted from life in 1666, the original of which is in the posses­sion of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. On either side of the head, running perpendicularly, are the dates "1682", the year of William Penn's arrival in America, at the left, and "1932" at the right. Within an upright rectangle with white edges and solid background, in each lower corner, is a white keystone bearing the numeral "3" in solid Gothic. In a narrow panel across the base connecting the corner rectangles is the word "Cents" in white Gothic. Below the portrait on a narrow white ribbon panel is the name "William Penn" in small solid Gothic letters.

The William Penn commemorative stamp was first placed on sale October 24, 1932, at the post offices in New Castle, Del., Chester, Pa., and Philadelphia, Pa.


DANIEL WEBSTER COMMEMORATIVE STAMP (3-CENT)-ISSUE OF 1932

This stamp was authorized in honor of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Daniel Webster.

The stamp is the same size as the regular issue, 75/100 by 87/100 inch in dimension. The stamp is of the 3-cent denomination, printed in purple. The central subject is a full-face likeness of Daniel Webster, reproduced from a marble bust by Daniel Chester French at Franklin, N.H., the birthplace of Webster. In a semicircular white ribbon panel, with folded ends, over the portrait and touching the border at top and sides are the words "United States postage" in small solid Roman letters. In an upright oval panel with white edge and solid background in each lower corner is the numeral "3" in white Roman. In a panel with solid background, connecting the ovals, is the word "Cents" in white Roman. Above the base panel is a narrow ribbon with folded ends which cxtend over the ovals containing the denomination numerals. In the center of this ribbon at the base of the portrait are the words "Daniel Webster" in dark Roman letters, and in the folded ends are the dates "1782" at the left and "1932" at the right. On each side, extending from the top of the stamp to the ovals in the lower corners and partially obscured by the end of the semicircular panel, is a fasces. The stamp is enclosed in a nar­row white-line border.

The Daniel Webster commemorative stamp was first placed on sale October 24, 1932, at Exeter, Franklin, and Hanover, N.H.


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