The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

The Americana Stamp Series

Between 1975 and 1981, the freedoms of the United States were honored with the Americana Stamp Series. The stamps contain images from Colonial America; they feature phrases like “Freedom to speak out” with a podium and “A public that reads” with a pile of books. The images on the stamps show quaint and charming pieces of Americana.

The United States Postal Service hired the private firm Kramer, Miller, Lomden and Glassman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to design the art. The series came in twenty stamps in sheets and twelve in coils, plus one stamp made for a booklet.

This was the first U.S. stamp series with no male being featured; two female figures appear, though they represent allegorical characters rather than real women in history. Another separation of this series from other series was its lack of any featured President.

The stamps had five themes:

The Roots of Democracy

Rights and Freedoms of the American People

Symbols of America

Pioneer America, and

America’s Light.

This series produced the famous CIA Invert error (Scott 1610c), a postage stamp error on a one dollar stamp in the “America’s Light” theme. One sheet of 100 stamps was printed with the black inverted, so that the candle and text are positioned opposite of the colored flame.

The CIA Invert Error stamp from the Americana Stamp Series.

The CIA Invert Error.

A CIA employee bought a sheet of the error stamps, and other interested CIA employees saved one stamp each. The remaining stamps were sold to a stamp collector. The U.S. government tried to buy back the errors, but some employees refused to give them back. Rumor says these employees were fired!

Unfortunately the Americana Stamp Series was not terribly successful, and it was ended earlier than expected.

You can see stamps from the series here. Which stamp is your favorite?

Sources:

Arago

Wikipedia

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