The remarque—a very small, original piece of artwork signed by the artist—is a phenomenon associated almost exclusively with the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. The artwork appears in a stamp’s margin and always complements the image on the stamp. Collectors commission winning artists to create the tiny, one-of-a-kind jewels.
The Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only annual, federally-sponsored art contest, attracts hundreds of entrants each year. Since it is open to the public, Duck Stamp collectors have an unprecedented opportunity to mingle with the artists, secure signatures, and commission remarques. Prior to 1949, the year of the first contest, commissioned artists supplied images for the stamps, and, therefore, collectors enjoyed very few opportunities to acquire embellishments on their stamps. Maynard Reece’s remarque on the 1948 issue, shown here, makes it unique and exceptionally desirable.
The Duck Stamp mini-sheet first appeared with the 2005 stamp, featuring the image titled "Hooded Merganser" by Mark Anderson. Anderson produced remarques on only ten of the 1,000 sheets issued. Seen here is remarque 1/10.