The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was held in Seattle, Washington, to commemorate the development of the nation’s north-west territory on the 10th anniversary of the 1897 Klondike Gold rush and the 40th anniversary of the 1867 purchase of Alaska. Originally planned for 1907, it was delayed until 1909 so as not to compete with the Jamestown Exposition.
Secretary of State William H. Seward, who negotiated the $8 million purchase of Alaska from Russia, is depicted on the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific stamp. The popular press in 1867 referred to the purchase as "Seward's Folly," but by 1909 the importance of this acquisition and Seward’s foresight were well recognized.
The design of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific stamp was also produced as imperforate stamps that were to be privately perforated and coiled for use in vending and affixing machines though few were actually used for this purpose. In reality the stamps were not well-suited for this purpose because of their larger size. Most of these stamps that exist with private perforations were produced as favors to collectors.