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Definitive Issues

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1-cent Franklin single

The Post Office Department has, since its very early days, issued stamps that efficiently handle the everyday payment of postage. These stamps, whose designs might be used for many years, are known as 'definitives'. From the first U.S. issue of 1847 through the end of the nineteenth century, images on definitive stamps portrayed important political and military leaders. By the turn of the twentieth century, definitive issues incorporated common design elements, and, later, clearly-defined themes, of which the 'Presidential Issue' of 1938 provides one example. The USPS continues offering definitive stamp sets with common themes, but many definitives do not share a common subject, design, or name.

Roger S. Brody

 

$5 John Marshall single

As the first postage stamps issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Series of 1894 holds a unique position in...

$2 Madison single

During the final months of 1902, a new series of stamps—the Second Bureau Issue—was introduced. It was the first...

13-cent Franklin single

The Third Bureau Issue, commonly known as the Washington-Franklins Head Issue (or simply the Washington-Franklins) appeared in...

1/2-cent Hale unwatermarked single

The Series of 1922, also known as the Fourth Bureau Issue, consisted of...

4-cent Martha Washington with Kans. overprint single

A series of post office robberies in the Midwest was the stated reason for the creation of the 1929 Kansas and Nebraska overprinted stamps of the...

19-cent Rutherford B. Hayes single

At the suggestion of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Post Office Department opened a national competition in 1937 to...

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