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Victory Issue

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3-cent Victory and Flags of Allies single

Early in 1914 the Post Office Department prepared a special ‘Peace’ issue to commemorate the 100th anniversary of peace among English-speaking nations, which dated to The Treaty of Ghent, signed on December 24, 1814, to end the War of 1812. Hostilities raging in Europe, however, made it inadvisable to continue with preparations of the stamps in 1914. The November 11, 1918, triumph of the Allies in World War I presented the opportunity for a multi-stamp issue to celebrate the great victory.

With the Bureau busy making Liberty Bonds and revenue stamps, materials shortages and limited time, it was decided to issue only a single stamp. The 3-cent Victory issue featured the allegorical figure of the ‘Goddess of Liberty Victorious’ holding a sword in one hand and the Scales of Justice in the other. The figure is framed by the flags of the five allied countries most engaged in the conflict— Great Britain, Belgium, the U.S., Italy, and France (left to right).

The laudable theme not withstanding, the public did not receive the stamp well. The design’s cluttered appearance, its shaded background, and its light violet color presented a blurred and unsatisfactory appearance. In fact, the lack of public interest was acknowledged by the Post Office Department which, shortly after releasing the stamp, issued a directive to postmasters stating, “The issue of the Liberty Victorious is not sufficiently large to take the place of the regular issue of 3-cent stamps, and postmasters will, therefore, supply them only to patrons who request them.”

Roger S. Brody

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