- George Washington -
Issue of 1861
Engraving modeled after the Gilbert Stuart portrait

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.

The paper postage stamp itself was born of utility (in England, 1840), as something simple and easy to use was needed to confirm that postage had been paid for an item of mail. People could purchase several stamps at one time and no longer had to make a special trip to pay for postage each time an item was mailed. The postage stamp design was usually printed from a fine engraving and were almost impossible to forge adequately. This is where the appearance of presidents on stamps was introduced. Moreover, the subject theme of a president, along with the honors associated with it, is what began to define the stamp issues in ways that took it beyond the physical postage stamp itself and is why people began to collect them. There exist entire series of stamp issues whose printing was inspired by the subject alone.

The portrayals of Washington and Franklin on U.S. postage are among the most definitive of examples and have appeared on numerous postage stamps. The presidential theme in stamp designs would continue as the decades passed, each period issuing stamps with variations of the same basic presidential-portrait design theme. The portrayals of U.S. presidents on U.S. postage has remained a significant subject and design theme on definitive postage throughout most of U.S. stamp issuance history.[1][2]

Engraved portrayals of U.S. presidents were the only designs found on U.S. postage from 1847 until 1869, with the one exception of Benjamin Franklin, whose historical stature was comparable to that of a president, although his appearance was also an acknowledgement of his role as the first U.S. postmaster general. During this period, the U.S. Post Office issued various postage stamps bearing the depictions of George Washington foremost, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln, the last of whom first appeared in 1866, one year after his death. After twenty-two years of issuing stamps with only presidents and Franklin, the Post Office[3] in 1869 issued a series of eleven postage stamps that were generally regarded by the American public as being abruptly different from the previous issues and whose designs were considered at the time to be a break from the tradition of honoring American forefathers on the nation's postage stamps. These new issues had other nonpresidential subjects and a design style that was also different, one issue bearing a horse, another a locomotive, while others were depicted with nonpresidential themes. Washington and Lincoln were to be found only once in this series of eleven stamps, which some considered to be below par in design and image quality. As a result, this pictographic series was met with general disdain and proved so unpopular that the issues were consequently sold for only one year where remaining stocks were pulled from post offices across the United States.[2][4][5]

In 1870 the Post Office resumed its tradition of printing postage stamps with the portraits of American presidents and Franklin but now added several other famous Americans, including Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Alexander Hamilton and General Winfield Scott among other notable Americans.[1][2] Indeed, the balance had now shifted somewhat; of the ten stamps issued in 1870, only four offered presidential images. Moreover, presidents also appeared on less than half of the denominations in the definitive sets of 1890, 1917, 1954 and 1965, while occupying only a slight majority of values in the definitive issues of 1894–1898, 1902 and 1922–1925.

Presidential images did, however, overwhelmingly dominate the definitive sets released in 1908 and 1938: on the former, 10 of the 11 stamps offered the same image of Washington, while in the 1938 "prexies" series, 29 of the 32 stamps presented busts of presidents. The 1975 Americana Series marked a clear end to this tradition, being the first U.S. definitive issue on which no presidential portrait appeared; and presidents played only a minor role in the subsequent Great Americans series.

Every deceased U.S. president as of 2023 has appeared on at least one U.S. postage stamp, and all but Richard Nixon, and the two most recently deceased Presidents, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush, have appeared on at least two. Per postal office regulations, no living figure is permitted to be the subject of a postage stamp, so no living President is permitted on a postage stamp.

First appearances

The portrayals of various American presidents made their first appearances on U.S. postage at different times for very different reasons. Among the most definitive is George Washington, whose engraving (along with that of Benjamin Franklin) appeared on the first U.S. Postage stamps released by the U.S. Post Office, on July 1 of 1847. Thomas Jefferson first appeared on U.S. postage in March 1856, nine years after the first issues were released. Fifteen years of stamp issuance would pass before Andrew Jackson would appear on a U.S. postage stamp. However, by this time, Jackson had already been presented on two Confederate stamps (both 2-cent values), making him the only U.S. president introduced to postage by the Confederacy rather than the U.S. Post Office. Abraham Lincoln appeared for the first time on a U.S. postage stamp with the issue of 1866, released on April 14, 1866, the first anniversary of his death. Up until this time only the portrayals of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and Jackson were found on U.S. postage.[1]

George Washington
Issue of 1847
Thomas Jefferson
Issue of 1856
Abraham Lincoln
Issue of 1866

George Washington


This engraving was modeled after a bust of Washington by renowned French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon.

George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the first president of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1797, and before this, served as the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783. The Electoral College elected Washington unanimously in 1789, and again in the 1792 election; To this day George Washington remains the only American president to have received 100 percent of the electoral votes. Washington took his oath of office while standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City.[10][11]

The chronology of presidents on U.S. postage begins with George Washington. Near the end of Washington's second term as president, Martha Washington commissioned the well-known portrait artist Gilbert Stuart to paint both her portrait and the president's. Stuart was known for the length of time it took him to complete a painting, and consequently neither the president nor his wife ever saw the finished paintings. The two portraits remained unfinished and tacked to a door in Stuart's Boston studio until his death in 1828. In 1860, artist Rembrandt Peale finished Stuart's work, filling in where this artist had left off. Stuart's portrait of Washington[12][13] became the model image for a good number of postage issues of the 19th and 20th centuries.[14]

George Washington remains the central figure found on U.S. postage. The first president appears on the face of U.S. postage more than any other president. The engraved images of Washington found on the early issues set the precedent that all U.S. postage issues would follow in the following decades. Indeed, in virtually every U.S. definitive stamp series offered between 1851 and 1932, Washington appeared on the normal letter-rate value (the only exception being the short-lived 1869 pictorial issue); other presidents, statesmen and famous Americans were confined to the less commonly used denominations. Since the first U.S. postage stamp was issued by the U.S. Post Office, there have been more examples of George Washington appearing on U.S. postage than all other American presidents combined, including Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and even the frequently honored Benjamin Franklin (who was not president).[1] Examples of all the various Washington stamps are too numerous to include in this section, as many of the issues are very similar with only differences in color and denomination, such as the Washington–Franklin issues. Featured below are the issues that are unique in their designs and the most definitive.


When the U.S. Post Office issued its 10-cent Washington value of 1847 as part of the first U.S. national postage stamp release, Washington's image had already been appearing for five years on postage stamps printed in the U.S. by private letter-carrying services and by local postmasters. Indeed, the first postage stamp ever produced in the Western Hemisphere was a 3-cent issue bearing a somewhat crude engraving of Washington, introduced in 1842 by the City Despatch Post in New York City.

N. Y. Postmaster's Provisional, 1845

In 1845, the New York Postmaster issued a provisional stamp for local use which offered a far more elegant image of Washington, engraved by the firm of Rawdon, Wright and Hatch (the same company that, two years later, would produce the first National U.S. postage stamps). That year, Washington also appeared on a very rare 5-cent provisional issue offered by the post office in Millbury Massachusetts. Washington was the only president depicted on any of the postmasters' provisionals released during this period.

Classic period

Postage stamp designs of this period were typically taken from paintings and other works by famous artists that set the precedent for stamp designs in the ensuing years of American stamp production. Engravers from this period typically used the works of John Trumbull, Gilbert Stuart and Jean Antoine Houdon as models for their engravings.[7]

Issue of 1851/1857
Issue of 1851
Issue of 1855
Issue of 1860
Issue of 1860

Civil War era

Abraham Lincoln assumed office in March 1861 and just one month later the Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter which marked the beginning of the American Civil War. Issued only months after the Battle of Fort Sumter, no other series of stamps issued during the Classic Period has such an important connection to American history as the 1861 National Bank Note Company Issues. As in the series issued between 1851 and 1860, Washington occurs five times in the 1861 group while Franklin occurs twice and Jefferson once.[1]

Issue of 1861
Issue of 1861
Issue of 1861
Issue of 1862
Issue of 1861
Issue of 1869

After Civil War

Bust of Washington
by Jean Antoine Houdon

This sculpture served as the model for Washington engravings on a variety of postage issues of the late 19th century

The ending of the American Civil War marked a beginning in U.S. stamp subject and design change. The Union victory brought with it a strong American nationalism among the populace throughout the north and much of the country. This national sentiment was largely responsible for the various Civil War figures to appear on U.S. postage. Until 1869, with the one exception of Benjamin Franklin, only American presidents were found on U.S. postage. In April 1870, however, the images of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Winfield Scott, Alexander Hamilton and Oliver Hazard Perry appeared on new the 12¢, 15¢, 24¢, 30¢ and 90¢ stamps, and the following year Edwin M. Stanton, the U.S. secretary of war under Lincoln, appeared on a 7-cent postage stamp.[1][18]


The postage issued in the US during this time was printed by the National Bank Note Company (NBNCo) on white wove paper. The first printing was issued with 'grills', tiny cuts in the paper to absorb ink. Later reprintings were issued without grilling. The National Bank Note Company's contract expired in 1873, and the Continental Bank Note Company (CBNC) won the contract to continue printing the series and took over some of the dies and plates used by NBNCo. The new company employed secret marks on the lower-value stamps to distinguish its work from the first printing.[1][7] The green Washington 3¢ issue was printed in such large quantities that postally used examples remain inexpensive to this day, from pennies to a few dollars, depending on type of cancellation and condition. (The green variety was reprinted again by the American Bank Note Company (AmBNC), also in very large quantities, and issued on July 16, 1881.) The 3-cent Washington design was printed yet a fourth time, in vermillion, in 1887. The 3-cent issues paid the domestic letter rate for a half-ounce letter.[1]

The profile image of George Washington found on various postage issues of the late 19th century and early 20th century is modeled after a bust of Washington by the renowned sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Several engravers of presidential portraits on U.S. postage have modeled their engravings after Houdon's sculptures.

Large Bank Notes of the 1870s
Issue of 1870
Engraving taken from bust by Jean Antoine Houdon
Issue of 1887
(reprint of 1870 issue)
Jean Antoine Houdon's portrait sculpture of Washington was the result of a specific invitation from Benjamin Franklin to come to the United States so that Washington could model for him. Washington sat for wet clay life models and a plaster life mask in 1785.[19] These models served for many commissions of Washington and eventually were used as models for the engravings of Washington on several US Postage issues of the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.


In 1883 the Post Office reduced the first-class letter rate from 3 cents to 2 cents for a half-ounce letter mailed within the continental United States, which Congress approved on March 3, 1883, effective October 1, 1883.[20] The Post Office immediately issued a 2-cent Washington stamp, so that the first president's image would remain visible on normal letters.

American Bank Note Company
Engraving taken from bust by Jean Antoine Houdon
Issue of 1883
Issue of 1883
Issue of 1887


Stamp issues during the 1890s were first printed by the American Bank Note Company in 1890 and then by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1894. The image for both issues was produced by an engraving that was modeled after a bust of Washington by sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon.[9]

Issue of 1890
Issue of 1895

Early 20th century

At the beginning of the 20th century, George Washington continued to be the most prominent subject depicted on the face of U.S. postage stamps. Washington would remain the most prevalent figure on U.S. postage for most of the 20th century. Only Benjamin Franklin is second to Washington, in part because Franklin is depicted on the numerous denominations of the Washington–Franklin series nearly as often as Washington.[21] Ironically, George Washington did not appear on a commemorative issue until 1925 when he was featured on a stamp commemorating another historical event.

Issue of 1903
Issue of 1903

Washington–Franklin Issues

Main article: Washington–Franklin Issues

The Washington – Franklin Issue

The Washington–Franklin Issues were unique in the sense that these subjects were the only ones found on definitive stamps for more than a decade. Beginning in 1908 the Washington–Franklin definitive stamps were issued over a twelve-year period in denominations ranging from one cent to five dollars, with different colors for each denomination, all with the same engraved profile of Washington or Franklin. While both Washington and Franklin occur on the 1-cent values, both in green, only one of them appears in a given series (Franklin on the issues until 1912), while the same Washington image graced the remaining eleven denominations, which ranged from two cents to one dollar. In later issues, Washington was present only on the seven denominations between one cent and seven cents, and all the higher values were assigned to Franklin. The engraving of Washington was modeled after a bust by the renowned sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon.[9] The few examples exhibited here are largely representative of this greater series. Franklin is displayed once here for general reference to the Washington–Franklin issues.

Issue of 1908
Issue of 1917
Issue of 1909
The various denominations found on postage for a given year issue can be viewed on the
Washington–Franklin issues chart

Washington on commemorative issues

Until the end of World War I, the Post Office, as a rule, issued commemorative stamps for only one reason: to promote a significant national exposition mounted by a U.S. city (the solitary exception to this practice was the Lincoln Memorial issue of 1909). The limited range of stamp subjects suitable to these trade fairs left no room for Washington's image on such commemoratives – even though he was the central subject of U.S. definitive stamps during these years. It was only after this restriction had been abandoned, in 1925, that Washington first appeared on a commemorative issue. This was twenty-one years after the Louisiana Purchase Exposition series, which had included the first three American commemoratives to honor specific presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and William McKinley.[23]

Washington at Cambridge
Issue of 1925
Washington at Brooklyn
Issue of 1951
Washington takes Oath
Issue of 1939
Battle of Yorktown
Issue of 1931
Washington Greene
Issue of 1937
Washington, Lee & University
Issue of 1949
Christmas Issue, 1977

1932 Washington Bicentennial

Main article: Washington Bicentennial stamps of 1932

On January 1, 1932, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth, the U.S. Post Office released its Washington Bicentennial Issue, a series of twelve postage stamps each with a different portrait of Washington. Each engraved portrayal was modeled from a different painting by an early American artist and the images present Washington at different periods in his life.[1][7] Engravings of Washington often depict his profile. In the 1932 Bicentennial anniversary series there are two issues that show Washington in profile, one facing left, the other facing right. Information regarding quantities issued can be found on the Washington Bicentennial Issue page.

Washington Bicentennial issue of 1932

The Washington Bicentennial issues of 1932 are the first commemorative postage stamps ever issued by the Post Office that honor and depict George Washington by himself, and not in conjunction with other people, places, or events as is the case with the three commemoratives with Washington's image issued before 1932.[2] There were 4.2 billion copies produced of the 2-cent Washington value in this series, a total that remains the largest stamp printing of a single issue ever to occur in U.S. postal history.[24]

Washington issues, middle 20th century

Issue of 1923
Issue of 1932
Issue of 1938
Issue of 1954
Issue of 1962
Issue of 1966

Washington, recent issues

Issue of 1982
Issue of 2001

In recent years, Washington has appeared much less frequently on stamps than he did during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

John Adams

Issue of 1938

John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the second president of the United States, serving from 1797 to 1801.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson Die Proof 1861

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the third president of the United States, serving from 1801 to 1809.

Thomas Jefferson's likeness over the years has been finely depicted on the face of the various postage issues that honored him. The first issue to depict Jefferson was issued in 1856, (displayed above) nine years after the Post Office issued its first two stamps of Washington and Franklin in 1847. (Before this time hand-stamps were used to mark and confirm payment of postage.) Almost as popular and famous as George Washington, Jefferson appears comparatively less often on U.S. postage issues, and unlike Washington and Franklin, appears on just two commemorative issues, one in 1904, displayed below, the other on the AMERIPEX presidential issue of 1986. His remaining depictions are confined to regular issues.[23]

Issue of 1861
Issue of 1870
Issue of 1890
Issue of 1903
Issue of 1923
Issue of 1938
Issue of 1954
Issue of 1968

Jefferson on commemorative issue

Thomas Jefferson has only appeared on two U.S. commemorative issues, the first of which was released in 1904 and was one of the first three commemorative issues ever to honor U.S. presidents (along with Monroe and McKinley).[1]

The First Presidential Commemorative
Classic engraving of Jefferson Louisiana Purchase Exposition Issue of 1904.

James Madison

James Madison was the fourth president of the United States, served from 1809 to 1817. Madison appears on three definitive issues.[23]

Issue of 1894
Issue of 1903
Issue of 1938
1st Madison Commemorative
Issue of 2001

Despite having appeared on definitive stamps, Madison never appeared on a U.S. commemorative stamp until he was included along with the other past presidents on a 22-cent commemorative AMERIPEX presidential issue released in 1986.

In 2001, the Postal Service finally honored James Madison with a single commemorative stamp, issued for the 250th anniversary of his birth, first released in New York, N.Y., on October 18, 2001. The stamp was designed and illustrated by John Thompson.[7]

James Monroe

James Monroe (April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831), was the fifth president of the United States, served two terms from 1817 to 1825.

Issue of 1925
First Monroe Postage stamp Issue of 1904
Issue of 1938
Issue of 1958
Issue of 1954

John Quincy Adams

Issue of 1938

John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829. He has appeared on the following two U.S. postage stamps:

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson, was the seventh president of the United States, served from 1829 to 1837. He was the commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Jackson died in 1845, and the Post Office first released a stamp in his honor 18 years after his death, with the issue of 1863 (displayed in First appearances) above).[1] At that time, as aforesaid, he had already appeared on two different Confederate 2¢ stamps.

Regular issues of the 19th century
Issue of 1873
Issue of 1883
Issue of 1894
Regular issues of the 20th century
Issue of 1903
Issue of 1938
Issue of 1963
Issue of 1967

Andrew Jackson on commemorative issues

Andrew Jackson appears on the following commemorative issues:[1]

Jackson Scott
Issue of 1937
Tennessee Statehood
Issue of 1946
Battle of New Orleans
Issue of 1961

Martin Van Buren

Issue of 1938

Martin Van Buren (December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862) was the eighth president of the United States from 1837 to 1841. Before his presidency, he served as the eighth vice president (1833–1837) and the 10th secretary of state under Andrew Jackson. Van Buren was the first U.S. president to be born an American citizen.[37]

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was the ninth president of the United States from March to April 1841, and served in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of major general during the War of 1812.[38] The last U.S. president born a British royal subject before the start of the Revolutionary War, he was also the first to first to die in office, dying one month to the day after taking the oath of office.[39] Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, was the 23rd president, from 1889 to 1893, making them the only grandparent–grandchild pair of presidents.[40]

Issue of 1938
Issue of 1950

John Tyler

Issue of 1938

John Tyler (March 29, 1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth president of the United States (1841–1845). He became president upon the death of William Henry Harrison, first vice president to succeed to the presidency intra-term.[42]

James K. Polk

Issue of 1938
Issue of 1995

James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the 11th president of the United States (1845–1849). Polk was born in North Carolina. He later lived in and became Governor of the state of Tennessee. A Democrat, and an ardent supporter of Andrew Jackson, Polk served as Speaker of the House (1835–1839) and Governor of Tennessee (1839–1841) before becoming president. During his single four-year term, Polk accomplished every major goal that he set for his administration and successfully managed the Mexican–American War, obtaining for the United States most of its present contiguous land area.[43]

Zachary Taylor

Issue of 1875
Issue of 1938

Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850) was the 12th president of the United States (1849–1850) and an American military leader. Taylor ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass and becoming the first man elected to the Presidency without having held any previous elected office. He served in the Army for over forty years, had a reputation for never losing a battle, and was nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready". During the Mexican–American War (1846–1848) Taylor became a national hero, and with this fame he was elected to the presidency.

Millard Fillmore

Issue of 1938

Millard Fillmore (January 7, 1800 – March 8, 1874) was the 13th president of the United States, serving from 1850 until 1853. He became president upon the death of Zachary Taylor, under whom he had been the nation's 12th vice president, and was the last member of the Whig Party to serve as president.

Franklin Pierce

Issue of 1938

Franklin Pierce (November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869), a politician and lawyer, was the 14th president of the United States, serving from 1853 to 1857, and is the only president from New Hampshire. Pierce enlisted in the volunteer U.S. Army during the Mexican–American War and rose to the rank of colonel. In March 1847, he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers and took command of a brigade of reinforcements for Winfield Scott's army marching on Mexico City.[45]

James Buchanan

Issue of 1938

James Buchanan, Jr. (April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the 15th president of the United States, serving from 1857 until 1861. The last president to be born in the 18th century, Buchanan served as a congressman (1821–1831), Senator (1834–1845), Minister to Russia (1832–1834) and Secretary of State (1845–1849) before ascending to the presidency in 1857. Opinions by historians of Buchanan's presidency vary, as some credit him for keeping a divided nation together for so long while others fault him for failing to avert a civil war. To date he is the only president from the state of Pennsylvania and the only one never to have married.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Die proof of 1890 issue

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States, serving from 1861 to 1865. The first Republican to be elected president, he successfully led the United States through its Civil War, thus preserving the Union and bringing an end to slavery, first issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and then promoting ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. His presidency was cut short when he was assassinated in April 1865, only six weeks into his second term.

Second only to the number of times George Washington has been featured on the face of U.S. postage, Lincoln's appearances on U.S. postage are more numerous than those of all the remaining presidents. His first appearance on U.S. postage came on or near the one-year anniversary of his death.[1]

Issue of 1869
Issue of 1870
Issue of 1882
Issue of 1890
Issue of 1894
Issue of 1898
Issue of 1903
Issue of 1926
Issue of 1938
Issue of 1954
Airmail Issue of 1960
Issue of 1965

Lincoln on commemorative issues

Issue of 1909
Chinese Resistance
Issue of 1942
Gettysburg Address
Issue of 1948
Lincoln Sesquicentennial Issue

The U.S. Post Office issued a series of four commemorative stamps during 1958 and 1959 in honor of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 1809. The four stamps were modeled after various famous works of art.

The Young Abe Lincoln, Issue of 1959
Lincoln Douglas debates of 1858, Issue of 1958
Lincoln Memorial
Issue of 1959
Issue of 1959
Bust of Lincoln, 1909
by Gutzon Borglum
Used as model for engraving of 1959 issue.
Issue of 1984
Issue of 1995

Lincoln 200th Anniversary of birth commemorative issues
Issue of 2009

Andrew Johnson

Issue of 1938

Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States serving from 1865 to 1869. As a Unionist, he was the only Southern senator who didn't give up his post upon secession. Johnson was the most prominent War Democrat and Southern Unionist during the Civil War prior to becoming the 16th vice president under President Abraham Lincoln in March 1865. After assuming the presidency following Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865, Johnson presided over the first 4 years of the post–Civil War Reconstruction era.

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant
Die proof of 1st Grant stamp

Ulysses S. Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. A national hero of the American Civil War, Grant was elected president in 1868, the youngest man theretofore elected president. He was re-elected in 1872. Grant began his lifelong career as a soldier after graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1843. Fighting in the Mexican–American War, he was a close observer of the techniques of generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. During President Johnson's term, Grant was appointed to be the secretary of war.

Ulysses S. Grant died in 1885 and first appeared on U.S. postage some five years later in 1890 when the American Bank Note Company first printed the postage stamps that depicted his portrait.[1]

The first Grant postage stamps
Engravings were modeled after a photograph by William Kurtz
Issue of 1890
Issue of 1894
Issue of 1898
Issue of 1903
Issue of 1923
Issue of 1938

Grant on commemorative issues

Army Issue of 1937
General Grant taken from Mathew Brady photo on Commemorative Issue of 1995

Grant has appeared three times on commemorative stamps.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Issue of 1922
Issue of 1938

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was the 19th president of the United States serving from 1877 to 1881. In the years before his presidency he was the Governor of Ohio for two separate terms. Serving in the Civil War as Brigadier General, Hayes commanded the First Brigade of the Kanawha Division of the Army of West Virginia and turned back several Confederate advances. During his military service he was wounded on five separate incidents.

James Garfield

James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881) was the 20th president of the United States from March to September 1881. An assassin's bullet ended his life and presidency and cut his time in office after serving only 200 days.[55] He had a distinguished military background. Garfield served in the United States Army as a major general, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives,[56] and as a member of the highly controversial Electoral Commission of 1876. He was the second U.S. president to be assassinated.[57] Garfield was the only sitting member of the House of Representatives to have been elected president.[58]

The first issue to honor Garfield was released in 1882, printed by the American Bank Note Company. The 5-cent Garfield was the second U.S. postage stamp to honor an assassinated president within the year following his death and is also considered a 'mourning stamp' by many. Unlike the first Lincoln issue, released after one whole year after his death the 5-cent Garfield stamp was released only seven months after his death in 1881. The 1882 issues were the first issues produced from engravings completed by the American Bank Note Company since it began producing postage stamps for the federal government. Before this time the A.B.N.C. used existing dies using slight changes to frames and portraits that were primarily the National Bank Note Company's design. The re-engraved issues of 1881–1882 are an example.[7]

James A. Garfield Memorial Issues
Issue of 1882
Issue of 1882
Reprinting of 1888

Issues depicting Garfield released on and after 1894 were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.[1]

Late 19th century Issues
Issue of 1890
Issue of 1895
Issue of 1898

The American Bank note issues of 1890 are almost identical to the Bureau Issues that followed in 1894, with minor differences in the frame design.

Early 20th century Issues
Issue of 1903
Issue of 1922
Issue of 1938

Chester A. Arthur

Issue of 1938

Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886) served as the 21st president of the United States from 1881 to 1885. A Republican, Arthur worked as a lawyer before becoming the 20th vice president, under James Garfield. On July 2, 1881, President Garfield was shot and killed by Charles J. Guiteau, but Garfield did not die until September 19 of that year, at which time Arthur was sworn in as president, serving until March 4, 1885.

Grover Cleveland

Issue of 1923
Issue of 1938

Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908) was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president ever to have served two non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897) as president and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents.

Benjamin Harrison

The 1st Harrison stamp
Issue of 1902

Benjamin Harrison (August 20, 1833 – March 13, 1901) was the 23rd president of the United States, serving one term from 1889 to 1893. Harrison was born in North Bend, Ohio, and at the age of 21 moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he became involved with Indiana state politics. During the American Civil War, Harrison served as a brigadier general in the Army of the Cumberland.

Under Harrison and his postmaster general John Wanamaker, the nation's first commemorative stamps were made available and were first issued at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. Wanamaker originally introduced the idea of issuing the nation's first commemorative stamp to Harrison, the Congress, and the Post Office. Contrary to the general opinion of Congress at the time Wanamaker predicted that commemorative stamps would generate needed revenue for the country. Shortly thereafter, the nation's first commemorative stamps were issued in conjunction with the World Columbian Exposition, both of which were in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. To demonstrate his confidence in the new commemorative stamp issues Wanamaker purchased $10,000 worth of stamps with his own money. Harrison was also present at the World Columbian Exposition and ceremony and delivered a speech[60] where he said. "In the name of the Government and of the people of the United States, I do hereby invite all the nations of the earth to take part in the commemoration of an event that is pre-eminent in human history, and of lasting interest to mankind." The exposition lasted several months and by the time it was over more than $40 million had been generated in commemorative postage stamp sales alone.[60][61] From that point onward, the U.S. Post Office would issue commemorative postage on a regular basis. Harrison appears on four regular issues and on two commemorative issues.[1]

Issue of 1926
Issue of 1938
Issue of 1959

William McKinley

William McKinley Jr. (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th president of the United States from 1897 to 1901, and the last veteran of the American Civil War to be elected to the presidency. He was the last American president to serve in the 19th century and was the first president to serve in the 20th century. He spent much of his adult life in politics and was a six-term congressman, and was also the governor of Ohio before defeating William Jennings Bryan for the Presidency (1897–1901). McKinley was assassinated early in his second term while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901.

Issue of 1923
Issue of 1904
Issue of 1938

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. In September 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated, and Roosevelt became president at the age of 42, taking office at the youngest age of any U.S. president in history at that time. Roosevelt was a hero of the Spanish–American War and the Battle of San Juan Hill for which he received the Medal of Honor and was the commander of the legendary Rough Riders. He negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War which later won him the Nobel Peace Prize.[64] Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

1st Roosevelt stamp
Issue of 1925
Issue of 1938
Issue of 1955
Issue of 1958

William Howard Taft

Issue of 1938
Issue of 1930

William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States from 1909 to 1913, and later the 10th Chief Justice of the United States from 1921 to 1930. Taft is the only person to have served in both offices. Born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, into the powerful Taft family, Taft graduated from Yale College Phi Beta Kappa in 1878, and from Cincinnati Law School in 1880.

Woodrow Wilson

The 1st Wilson stamp
Issue of 1925
Issue of 1938

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. First known by the slogan "he kept us out of the war", Wilson was finally pressured into asking Congress to declare war on Germany who was attacking U.S. vessels at high sea.

Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding
Memorial Issue of 1923

Issued only one month after death on Sep 1, 1923 in Harding's hometown of Marion

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was the 29th president of the United States, serving from 1921 until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1923. A Republican from Ohio, Harding was once an influential newspaper publisher at the Marion Daily Star. He served in the Ohio Senate (1899–1903) and later as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (1903–1905) and as a U.S. Senator (1915–1921).

Issue of 1925
Issue of 1930
Issue of 1938

Calvin Coolidge

Issue of 1938

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) from Plymouth, Vermont, was the 30th president of the United States serving from 1923 to 1929. Coolidge became president upon the death of Warren G. Harding. On February 22, 1924, he became the first president of the United States to deliver a political speech on radio, and his 1925 inauguration was the first to be broadcast on radio.[68] He was known as "Silent Cal" for being a man of few words in private while known for being an excellent orator at the pulpit.

Up through Coolidge, every president (with the two exceptions of Monroe and McKinley) had made his first appearance on U.S. postage in a definitive series, only later being honored by a commemorative stamp. With subsequent presidents, the reverse is true: all have made their first appearances on commemoratives. According to Find Your Stamps Value. For all of the later presidents, a commemorative stamp has been issued no later than one year and four days after the president's death.

Herbert Hoover

Issue of 1965

Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was the 31st president of the United States serving from 1929 to 1933. Hoover was a professional mining engineer and author. A son of a Quaker blacksmith, Hoover brought to the Presidency a reputation for public service as a humanitarian.[69] After World War I, Hoover had massive shipments of food sent to feed starving millions in central Europe. He also provided much needed aid to Soviet Russia in 1921 which was then plagued with famine.

In spite of Hoover's many humanitarian efforts, he is ranked less than favorably as a president among many historians for his failure to bring the country out of the great depression that beset the country in 1929, the year Hoover assumed office. Hoover has never appeared on a U.S. definitive stamp.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945) was the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 to 1945, and a leading figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. Roosevelt was the only American president elected president for more than two terms. He forged a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. In his first "Hundred Days" in office, beginning March 4, 1933, Roosevelt launched a variety of major social programs. In his first term (1933–37), Roosevelt led Congress to enact the New Deal, a large, complex interlocking set of programs designed to produce social and economic relief.

Only two months after Roosevelt's death, the Post Office issued a series of four commemorative (or memorial) stamps in honor and memory of the deceased president.

FDR Memorial issues of 1945

Issue of 1966
Issue of 1982

Harry S. Truman

Issue of 1973

Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States serving from 1945 to 1953. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice-president and the 34th vice president of the United States, he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his historic fourth term. Truman began his political career in politics as a county judge in 1922. He was Franklin D. Roosevelt's running mate in 1944.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight David Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th president of the United States, serving from 1953 until 1961. During World War II, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe and planned the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45, from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.

Issue of 1969
Issue of 1970
Issue of 1971
Issue of 1971

John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), was the 35th president of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Few American presidents have quotes that are remembered long after their deaths, and Kennedy was among those few for saying to the nation, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." He was the second-youngest president (after Theodore Roosevelt). Kennedy was faced with a number of important events during his term as president which include the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Space Race and the Berlin Wall crisis.

Issue of 1964
Issue of 1967
The dedication of a new Forever stamp to honor what would be President John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Issue of 1973

Lyndon B. Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973) was the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969, served as vice president during the Kennedy administration. When Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, Johnson assumed the presidency. He won election to a full term, in 1964 with 61 percent of the vote and served until January 20, 1969.

Richard M. Nixon

Issue of 1995

Richard Milhous Nixon, (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States from 1969 to 1974. Nixon's political career started as a California representative. He was Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice president for two terms and was defeated in 1960 by John F. Kennedy for the presidential election. In 1968, Nixon won the presidency and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1972. Nixon was the only person to be elected twice to both the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. He was also the only U.S. president to resign the office. Nixon was instrumental in ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and establishing U.S. relations with communist China.

Gerald Ford

Issue of 2007

Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th president of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th vice president of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. Ford was the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, filling the vacancy left by Spiro Agnew's resignation. He became president upon Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974.

Ronald Reagan

Issue of 2005
Issue of 2011

Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th president of the United States and served two terms from 1981 to 1989, and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). Born in Tampico, Illinois, Reagan was an actor before going into politics. He has been honored on three commemorative stamps.

George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018) was the 41st president of the United States, serving one term from 1989 to 1993. Before his election as president, Bush had been the 43rd vice president of the United States, serving from 1981 to 1989. Earlier, he had been a United States representative from Texas and served in other positions including United States Ambassador to the United Nations and Director of Central Intelligence. After Bush's death in 2018, a "forever" commemorative stamp honoring him was released on June 12, 2019, which would have been his 95th birthday.[75]

AMERIPEX issues of 1986

AMERIPEX issues of 1986

On May 22, 1986, the Postal Service released a series of postage stamps with a portrait of a past U.S. president inscribed upon each one. The series of 36 stamps were issued in a set of four separate mini-sheets, with nine stamps to the sheet, each stamp having a denomination of 22 cents. All of the presidents who were deceased at the time were included (the first 35 men who served as president, through Lyndon Johnson), and several of the issues honor presidents who had never appeared on a U.S. commemorative stamp before. On 'sheet IV' the stamp in the middle depicts the White House entrance.[1]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah Jones, William A. (2010). Kloetzel, James E. (ed.). Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. Scott Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-89487-446-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kenmore Collectors Catalogue, #906, 2010
  3. ^ References are made to U.S. Post Office for history prior to 1971
  4. ^ "The U.S. Philatelic Classics Society". Uspcs.org. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  5. ^ Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum (May 16, 2006). "The 1869 issues, National Postal Museum". Arago.si.edu. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "1847USA". 1847usa.com.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae "Arago: Third Bureau Issues (1908–1922)". arago.si.edu. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  8. ^ Scotts United States Stamp Catalogue: Domestic Letter rates
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah Scotts Identifier of U.S. Definitive Issues
  10. ^ a b "White House, Washington D.C., Presidential Archives". The White House. October 1, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  11. ^ "George Washington". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on June 25, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  12. ^ This is Stuart's most famous and celebrated portrayal of Washington, known as 'The Athenaeum', which, was used to model the engravings on the U.S. one dollar bill and various postage stamps of the 19th and 20th centuries.
  13. ^ Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum Gilbert Stuart Biography
  14. ^ Alexander T. Haimann (May 22, 2006). "Smithsonian National Postal Museum, 1861 Issues". Arago.si.edu. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  15. ^ Paperly, John Jr. "Series of 1861 (August 17, 1861, to February 17, 1869)". Stamps. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  16. ^ John Birkinbine (May 22, 2006). "Smithsonian, Washington issue of 1861". Arago.si.edu. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  17. ^ "Arago: 24-cent Washington". arago.si.edu.
  18. ^ Steven R. Boyd. "Post Civil War Nationalism and the Designs of United States Stamps in the Nineteenth Century". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  19. ^ "Mount Vernon Estate : archives". Mountvernon.org. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  20. ^ "American Philatelic Society". Stamps.org. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  21. ^ a b Washington Franklins 1908–1921, 1979 by Martin Armstrong
  22. ^ Scotts Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps, Washington – Franklin Issues
  23. ^ a b c d e f g Scotts Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps: Commemorative Index.
  24. ^ "Arago: 1932–1933". arago.si.edu.
  25. ^ a b King, Beverly; Johl, Max (1934). The United States Postage Stamps of the Twentieth Century, Volume III. H. L. Lindquist., a) p. 159, b) p. 71-72.
  26. ^ "Arago: 5-cent Re-engraved Washington". arago.si.edu.
  27. ^ "George Washington 1982 Issue". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  28. ^ a b "50th Anniversary National Archives Issue". Arago. National Postal Museum. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  29. ^ "Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens". mountvernon.org.
  30. ^ USPS Postal Bulletin (April 10, 2008)
  31. ^ "United States Senate : Art and History". Senate.gov. March 26, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  32. ^ "Museum Syndicate". Museum Syndicate. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  33. ^ Roger S. Brody. "Smithsonium Postal Museum / James Madison". Arago.si.edu. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  34. ^ Jeff Shapiro. "Smithsonium, James Madison, 1938 issue". Arago.si.edu. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  35. ^ "10-cent Monroe". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
  36. ^ Reilly, Robin (1974). The British at the gates – the New Orleans campaign in the War of 1812. New York: Putnam.
  37. ^ NARA.gov, Martin Van Buren
  38. ^ Freehling, William. "William Henry Harrison: Life In Brief". Charlottesville, Virginia: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  39. ^ Freehling, William. "William Henry Harrison: Death of the President". Charlottesville, Virginia: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  40. ^ Calhoun, 2005, pp. 43–49
  41. ^ "1847 U.S.A., Postage Stamps of the United States First Issued in 1938". 1847usa.com.
  42. ^ Freehling, William. "John Tyler: Life In Brief". Charlottesville, Virginia: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  43. ^ Pinheiro, John C. "James K. Polk: Life In Brief". Charlottesville, Virginia: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  44. ^ Trend can be noted with the aid of any illustrated US postage stamp catalog.
  45. ^ Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804–1864 (2010). "The Life of Franklin Pierce, 1852, Chapter 4". Eldritch Press. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  46. ^ a b Four souvenir miniature stamp sheets, with nine 22-cent stamps each, honoring deceased US presidents were first issued on May 22, 1986, during AMERIPEX '86, the international philatelic show held in Rosemont, Illinois.
  47. ^ "Arago: 6-cent Lincoln". arago.si.edu.
  48. ^ "4-cent Lincoln". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  49. ^ Scotts Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps – Air Post Stamps
  50. ^ King, Beverly; Johl, Max (1937). The United States Postage Stamps of the Twentieth Century, Volume I. H. L. Lindquist., p. 312.
  51. ^ "National Postal Museum". Arago.si.edu. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  52. ^ "Arago: 5-cent Grant". arago.si.edu.
  53. ^ "Ulysses S. Grant". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  54. ^ "American Civil War Issue". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  55. ^ "James Garfield – Army General and President". Flipkart.com. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  56. ^ "White House Archives: James Garfield". The White House. October 1, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  57. ^ "America's second President to be Assassinated. James Garfield". Thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  58. ^ "ohiohistorycentral.org". ohiohistorycentral.org. July 1, 2005. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  59. ^ "U.S. Senate Archives: Art and History". Senate.gov. March 26, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  60. ^ a b "Columbian Exposition Issues (1893)". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  61. ^ "JOHN WANAMAKER, Postmaster General". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original on May 9, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  62. ^ "Arago: Old Glory Issue". arago.si.edu.
  63. ^ Delta ChiThe Delta Chi Fraternity at Coastal Carolina University Archived September 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  64. ^ Frederick W. Marks III, Velvet on Iron: The Diplomacy of Theodore Roosevelt (1979); Greg Russell, "Theodore Roosevelt's Diplomacy and the Quest for Great Power Equilibrium in Asia," Presidential Studies Quarterly 2008 38(3): 433–455
  65. ^ Scotts U.S. Stamp Catalogue, Canal Zone Postage
  66. ^ "Photography & The American Stage – Broadway Photographs". broadway.cas.sc.edu.
  67. ^ Scott's Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps: Quantities issued
  68. ^ "Calvin Coolidge, the first President to do a radio address 2-22-1924". Old Radio Shows.org. February 22, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  69. ^ "Herbert Hoover". archives.gov. December 30, 2014.
  70. ^ Flint, Katelyn; Prim, Alexandra (February 20, 2017). "New Stamp Commemorates 100th Birthday of JFK". WBTS-CD. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  71. ^ "Richard M. Nixon Issue". Arago. Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  72. ^ "Stamp Announcement 07-38: Gerald R. Ford". USPS.com. August 2, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  73. ^ Service, U.S. Postal. "U.S. Postal Service Reissues President Ronald Reagan Stamp in 39 Cent Denomination". www.prnewswire.com.
  74. ^ "Postage stamp to honor Reagan". The Washington Times. December 13, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  75. ^ "U.S. Postal Service Reveals New Forever Stamp Design Honoring Former President George H.W. Bush". USPS.com. April 6, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2019.