A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event, person, or object. The subject of the commemorative stamp is usually spelled out in print, unlike definitive stamps which normally depict the subject along with the denomination and country name only. Many postal services issue several commemorative stamps each year, sometimes holding first day of issue ceremonies at locations connected with the subjects. Commemorative stamps can be used alongside ordinary stamps. Unlike definitive stamps that are often reprinted and sold over a prolonged period of time for general usage, commemorative stamps are usually printed in limited quantities and sold for a much shorter period of time, usually, until supplies run out.
There are several candidates for the title of the first commemorative. A 17-cent stamp issued in 1860 by New Brunswick, showing the Prince of Wales in anticipation of his visit is one possibility.Often cited as the world’s first commemoratives are the sixteen stamps of the United States Columbian Issue, produced to celebrate the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago honoring the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. (Illustrated here is the $1 stamp from the series: "Isabella pledging her jewels.")
The United States 15-cent black stamp of 1866 depicts Abraham Lincoln and was the first stamp issued after his assassination in 1865, but it was not officially declared as a memorial to him.The U.S. also issued a 5-cent stamp in 1882 showing the recently murdered President James A. Garfield. In addition, the United States issued stamped envelopes for the Centennial Exposition in 1876, although technically these are postal stationery and not stamps. The British Jubilee Issue of 1887 may be thought of as commemorative of the 50 years' reign of Queen Victoria, although there are no special inscriptions on the stamps, and they were intended as regular stamps. In 1870 Peru issued a 5¢ scarlet Locomotive and Arms stamp and is regarded as the first commemorative postage stamp, issued to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first railway in South America.
Though the United Kingdom often set the precedent for postage stamps and their designs, they were the late runners with the issue of their first commemorative stamp, not issuing one until 1924 when it printed and released the British Empire Exhibition issue of 1924.
Other premier commemorative stamps were issued by New South Wales in 1888 to mark its 100th anniversary; the six types all include the inscription "ONE HUNDRED YEARS". Commemoratives followed in 1891 for Hong Kong and Romania. In 1892 and 1893 a half-dozen nations of America and Spain issued commemorative stamps for the 400th anniversary of the West's discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.
The appearance of commemorative postage stamps caused a backlash among some stamp collectors in the early years of stamp collecting, who balked at the prospect of laying out ever-larger sums to acquire the stamps of the world. This led to the formation of the Society for the Suppression of Speculative Stamps in 1895 to blacklist these excessive stamps. The organization broke up after unsuccessful attempts at getting collectors at large to comply with their wishes. Today early commemoratives are still prized by collectors.
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper issued by a post office, postal administration, or other authorized vendors to customers who pay postage, who then affix the stamp to the face or address-side of any item of mail—an envelope or other postal cover —that they wish to send. The item is then processed by the postal system, where a postmark or cancellation mark—in modern usage indicating date and point of origin of mailing—is applied to the stamp and its left and right sides to prevent its reuse. The item is then delivered to its addressee.
Stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps and related objects. It is related to philately, which is the study of stamps. It has been one of the world's most popular hobbies since the late nineteenth century with the rapid growth of the postal service, as a never-ending stream of new stamps was produced by countries that sought to advertise their distinctiveness through their stamps.
The Washington Bicentennial stamps of 1932 are postage stamps issued by the United States government in 1932 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of U.S. President George Washington's birth. Twelve stamps were issued as a collection, with each one depicting the President in a different period in his life.
An overprint is an additional layer of text or graphics added to the face of a postage stamp, banknote or postal stationery after it has been printed. Post offices most often use overprints for internal administrative purposes such as accounting but they are also employed in public mail. The most well-recognized varieties are commemorative overprints which are produced for their public appeal and command significant interest in the field of philately.
The history of postal service of the United States began with the delivery of stampless letters, whose cost was borne by the receiving person, later also encompassed pre-paid letters carried by private mail carriers and provisional post offices, and culminated in a system of universal prepayment that required all letters to bear nationally issued adhesive postage stamps.
A definitive stamp is a postage stamp that is part of the regular issue of a country's stamps, available for sale by the post office for an extended period of time and designed to serve the everyday postal needs of the country. The term is used in contrast to a "provisional stamp", one that is issued for a temporary period until regular stamps are available, or a "commemorative stamp", a stamp "issued to honor a person or mark a special event" available only for a limited time. Commonly, a definitive issue or series includes stamps in a range of denominations sufficient to cover current postal rates. An "issue" generally means a set that is put on sale all at the same time, while a "series" is spread out over several years, but the terms are not precise. Additional stamps in a series may be produced as needed by changes in postal rates; nevertheless some values may be permanently available, regardless of prevailing rates; examples include 1c or 1p and $1 or £1.
Postage stamps and postal history of Great Britain surveys postal history from the United Kingdom and the postage stamps issued by that country and its various historical territories until the present day.
The Trans-Mississippi Issue is a set of nine commemorative postage stamps issued by the United States to mark the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition held in Omaha, Nebraska. The finely engraved stamps depict various scenes of the West and are presently valued much by collectors. This was only the second commemorative issue offered by the U.S. Post Office and closely followed the pattern of its predecessor, the Columbian Exposition series of 1893: both sets appeared in conjunction with important international world’s fairs; both offered a wide range of stamp denominations; both adopted the double-width stamp format to accommodate pictorial tableaux.
The history of the postage stamps and postal history of China is complicated by the gradual decay of Imperial China and the years of civil war and Japanese occupation in the 1930s and 1940s.
The history of postage stamps and postal history of Malaysia, a state in Southeast Asia that occupies the south of the Malay peninsula and Sarawak and Sabah in the north Borneo, includes the development of postal services in these periods:
The postal history of the Bahamas begins in the 18th century, with the first post office operating since 1733. The earliest known letters date from 1802. In 1804 a straight-line "BAHAMAS" handstamp came into use. The Royal Mail Line initiated a regular mail service in 1841, and from 1846 used a "Crown Paid" handstamp along with a dated postmark for New Providence.
The postage stamps of Ireland are issued by the postal operator of the independent Irish state. Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when the world's first postage stamps were issued in 1840. These stamps, and all subsequent British issues, were used in Ireland until the new Irish Government assumed power in 1922. Beginning on 17 February 1922, existing British stamps were overprinted with Irish text to provide some definitives until separate Irish issues became available. Following the overprints, a regular series of definitive stamps was produced by the new Department of Posts and Telegraphs, using domestic designs. These definitives were issued on 6 December 1922; the first was a 2d stamp, depicting a map of Ireland. Since then new images, and additional values as needed, have produced of nine definitive series of different designs.
Postage stamps and postal history of the Canal Zone is a subject that covers the postal system, postage stamps used and mail sent to and from the Panama Canal Zone from 1904 up until October 1978, after the United States relinquished its authority of the Zone in compliance with the treaty it reached with Panama.
The Columbian Issue, often known as simply the Columbians, is a set of 16 postage stamps issued by the United States to commemorate the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago during 1893. The finely-engraved stamps were the first commemorative stamps issued by the United States, depicting various events during the career of Christopher Columbus and are presently much valued by collectors.
Presidents of the United States have frequently appeared on U.S. postage stamps since the mid-19th century. The United States Post Office Department released its first two postage stamps in 1847, featuring George Washington on one, and Benjamin Franklin on the other. The advent of presidents on postage stamps has been definitive to U.S. postage stamp design since the first issues were released and set the precedent that U.S. stamp designs would follow for many generations.
Clair Aubrey Huston was an accomplished and chief postage stamp designer at the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) early in the 20th century. He was the great-grandson of Michael Leib (1759–1822), an American physician and politician. Huston worked at the BEP for more than 21 years and was the designer of numerous United States postage issues.
The Regular Issues of 1922–1931 were a series of 27 U.S. postage stamps issued for general everyday use by the U.S. Post Office. Unlike the definitives previously in use, which presented only a Washington or Franklin image, each of these definitive stamps depicted a different president or other subject, with Washington and Franklin each confined to a single denomination. The series not only restored the historical tradition of honoring multiple presidents on U.S. Postage but extended it. Offering the customary presidential portraits of the martyred Lincoln and Garfield, the war hero Grant, and the founding fathers Washington and Jefferson, the series also memorialized some of the more recently deceased presidents, beginning with Hayes, McKinley, Cleveland and Roosevelt. Later, the deaths of Harding, Wilson and Taft all prompted additions to the presidential roster of Regular Issue stamps, and Benjamin Harrison's demise (1901) was belatedly deemed recent enough to be acknowledged as well, even though it had already been recognized in the Series of 1902. The Regular Issues also included other notable Americans, such as Martha Washington and Nathan Hale—and, moreover, was the first definitive series since 1869 to offer iconic American pictorial images: these included the Statue of Liberty, the Capitol Building and others. The first time (1869) that images other than portraits of statesmen had been featured on U.S. postage, the general public disapproved, complaining that the scenes were no substitute for images of presidents and Franklin. However, with the release of these 1922 regular issues, the various scenes—which included the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial and even an engraving of an American Buffalo—prompted no objections. To be sure, this series presented pictorial images only on the higher-value stamps; the more commonly used denominations, of 12 cents and lower, still offered the traditional portraits.
The 1869 Pictorial Issue is a series of definitive United States postage stamps released during the first weeks of the Grant administration. Ten types of stamp in denominations between one cent and ninety cents were initially offered in the series, with eight of these introduced on March 19 and 20, 1869 and the two greatest values being distributed somewhat later. During May, however, the Post Office began distributing a revised version of the 15-cent stamp, in which the original, poorly aligned frame had been modified ; and collectors consider this eleventh stamp an integral part of the Pictorial Issue. The two 15-cent stamps were assigned separate Scott Catalogue numbers: 118 and 119.
Puerto Rico topics have been featured on the stamps of Spain and of the United States. Spanish stamps are found at Postage stamps and postal history of Puerto Rico.
Territories of the United States on stamps discusses commemorative postal issues devoted to lands that have been ceded to the nation or purchased by treaty in conjunction with both war and peace. Thirteen states have been created from colonial territories, two from independent republics, four from previous states in the Union, and an additional thirty-one from United States territories.