Postal History

1991 Dennis Chavez stamp
April 3, 1991

First U.S. Stamp Printed Outside America

On April 3, 1991, the USPS issued its first stamp to printed outside the US. News of the stamp’s printing outside of America set off a firestorm of criticism and debate that made it all the way to Congress.

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1916 $2 Madison
March 22, 1917

High-Value Stamps Rushed into Use for WWI

On March 22, 1917, the US Post Office rushed to issue two new stamps to meet an urgent need. These high-value stamps were needed quickly for use on packages going to Europe.

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1958 Gardening and Horticulture stamp
March 15, 1858

Birth of Liberty Hyde Bailey

Horticulturalist Liberty Hyde Bailey was born on March 15, 1858, in South Haven, Michigan. The gardening and horticulture stamp issued for Bailey’s centennial birthday also marked a significant US postal first!

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Se-tenant booklet pair
March 11, 1977

First Se-Tenant Booklet Stamps

On March 11, 1977, the USPS issued its first se-tenant stamps in booklet form.  The stamps had two different denominations, one to meet the first-class rate and one to meet the postcard rate.  This issue also included the first multi-color booklet stamp.

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First US Postage Due stamp
March 3, 1879

Postage Due Stamps

On March 3, 1879, an Act of Congress authorized the use of Postage Due stamps. These stamps were unique, since they were the first US stamps that didn’t prepay for the delivery of mail. Instead, they denoted the amount of postage to be collected by the person receiving the mail because it was insufficiently prepaid.

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Yellowstone National Park stamp
March 1, 1972

National Parks Centennial

On March 1, 1972, the USPS issued the first stamp in a new series honoring the 100th anniversary of the world’s first national park. Exactly 100 years earlier, Congress established Yellowstone as a national park to protect its unusual features and resources.

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George Gershwin stamp
February 28, 1973

American Arts Series

On February 28, 1973, the USPS issued the first of seven stamps in its new American Arts Series. The stamps in the series honored artists from several different genres, including painting, music writing, and filmmaking.

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1912 5¢ Mail Train Parcel Post stamp
February 19, 1914

Parents Mail Children Through Parcel Post

On February 19, 1914, parents in Idaho took advantage of the affordable Parcel Post rate to mail their daughter to her grandmother’s house.  It was one of several instances of people mailing children using stamps.

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1¢ green Franklin
February 16, 1909

Bluish Paper Experiment

On February 16, 1909, stamps printed on an experimental bluish paper were issued. These stamps were part of an effort to prevent paper shrinkage.

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