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Commemorative Issues

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$1 Western Cattle in Storm single

Unlike definitives, commemorative stamps are printed in limited numbers to honor an event, person, or specific theme. Postmaster General John Wanamaker issued the nation's first commemorative stamps in 1893. The series of sixteen stamps illustrated the Columbus's discovery of America. They prepared the way for the rapid growth of commemorative issues in the twentieth century.

Like the Columbians, early commemorative stamps were issued in sets of a few stamps. In the late 1920s and throughout most of the twentieth century, individual stamps were issued to commemorate a topic. Commemorative sets or panes of multiple images have again become popular, especially with the development of self-adhesive stamps.

Roger S. Brody


5-cent Lexington-Concord Sesquicentenary The Minute Man single

“Come to the Fair!” That invitation might well be regarded as the theme of the majority of the...

2-cent The Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga Sesquicentenary single

During the mid-1920s, urban America enjoyed a period of economic prosperity, and the American public fixated on...

2-cent Ohio River Canalization single

The public's fascination with aviation and technology became clear to the...

2-cent Yorktown single

The Great Depression had just begun in 1930. During that year, the...

3-cent Peace of 1783 Washington's headquarters at Newburgh single

America and the world were in transition in 1932 and 1933. Franklin Roosevelt’s election to...

6-cent National Parks Crater Lake single

While Hitler consolidated his powerbase in Germany, Italy and Japan invaded Ethiopia and China, respectively. At the...

1-cent Navy John Paul Jones and John Barry single

King George V of England, one of the world’s most famous philatelists, died in...

3-cent Baseball Centennial stamp

Events in 1938-1939 Europe were among the worst in modern history. Hitler’s armies marched...

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