Monday, 26 October 2020

When and how did stamps start featuring famous Americans who weren’t politicians? 

 The first U.S. stamps, released in 1847, featured George Washington, the first president, and Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster general. Designs gradually broadened, but it wasn’t until the Famous Americans series of 1940 that artists, scientists and writers appeared in significant numbers, says Daniel Piazza, curator of philately at the National Postal Museum. In 1957, to keep up with requests, the post office formed a Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee; composed of 10 to 15 citizens, it still exists today. Over 800 people have now been featured on U.S. stamps, from Sacagawea to Andy Warhol. The living aren’t officially allowed on stamps, but there have been a few exceptions—including Neil Armstrong, presumably the man inside the spacesuit on the “First Man on the Moon” stamp that came out in 1969.

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