Postage Stamps and Postal History of The United States - Definitive Issues of 1902-1903

Definitive Issues of 1902-1903

The definitive stamps issued by the U.S. Post Office in 1902-1903 were markedly different in their overall designs from the regular definitive stamps released over the previous several decades. Among the prominent departures from tradition in these designs was that the names of the subjects were printed out, along with their years of birth and death. (Printed names and birth and death dates are more typically a feature of Commemorative stamps.) Unlike any definitive stamps ever issued before, the 1902-03 issues also had ornate sculptural frame work redolent of Beaux-Arts architecture about the portrait, often including allegorical figures of different sorts, with several different types of print used to denote the country, denominations and names of the subjects. This series of postage stamps were the first definitive issues to be entirely designed and printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and their Baroque revival style is much akin to that of the Pan-American commemoratives the Bureau had issued in 1901. There are fourteen denominations ranging from 1-cent to 5-dollars. The 2-cent George Washington stamp appeared with two different designs (the original version was poorly received) while each of the other values has its own individual design. This was the first U.S. definitive series to include the image of a woman: Martha Washington, who appeared on the 8-cent stamp.

  • Selected Issues
  • Franklin
  • Lincoln
  • Harrison
  • Marshall

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