A United States stamp honoring singer-songwriter Jim Morrison (1943-71) appears to be in the works, according to a leaked stamp subjects list published by The Washington Post in February.
Germany issued a 70-pfennig+35pf semipostal honoring Morrison, the front man for the Doors, in 1988. The stamp (Scott B668) is shown in Figure 1.
The leaked subjects list named a number of approved subjects planned for the U.S. Music Icons series.
In addition to Morrison, the list includes Elvis Presley, James Brown, Roy Orbison, John Lennon, Bill Monroe, Sam Cooke, Tammy Wynette, Fats Waller, Freddie Fender, Sarah Vaughan and Willie Dixon.
Stamps for Lydia Mendoza, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles were issued in the series in 2013. Figure 2 shows the 2014 stamps for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
I am less than enthusiastic about some of these folks that are being recognized. Yes, their music entitles them to be remembered in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but in my opinion their private lives, if there exists such a thing for people at this level of fame, disqualifies them from being honored on U.S. postage stamps.
Ah, but the stamps will make a bundle of money for the U.S. Postal Service — and isn’t that what matters?
It is of interest to note that the idea of a Jim Morrison stamp was floated to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee as early as 1993, according to a friend who was on the committee at that time, five years before I joined CSAC for a 12-year run that ended in 2010.
Apparently the word got out that Morrison was being considered, as committee members received a letter from Patricia Kennealy Morrison, his self-described wife “without benefit of licence.”
Her letter, dated Nov. 1, 1993, goes on for two single-spaced pages, but its essence can be summed up in her introductory paragraphs:
“It has come to my attention that certain misguided individuals, with no knowledge of or connection to the principal whatsoever, save the one existing in their own delusional minds (or, indeed, apparently any lives of their own), have been pushing an effort to get you and the other members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to put upon a U.S. postage stamp the likeness of my late beloved consort, Jim Morrison.
“Since I think I can speak for Jim, in his absence, with rather more authority and knowledge than they, and assuredly with more love and caring (which he in turn reciprocated), I should like to bring to your attention how very deeply my much-loved deceased partner would have objected to appearing on anything that would use him — his name and fame and face and image — to make money for a government that, when he was alive, did everything it could to bring him down in flames, and which was, in my estimation as well as his own, responsible at least in part for his death.”
Whether for this or other reasons, a Morrison stamp was not issued. But fans are nothing if not persistent, so here we are again.
I don’t know if Patricia Morrison has again weighed in on the subject, but in this pop culture era of U.S. stamps, I doubt her feelings would sway the committee or the USPS.
There is precedent for ignoring the feelings of a stamp subject and their family.
Woody Guthrie was the subject of a 1998 32¢ commemorative stamp shown in Figure 3. It was issued as part of a Folk Musicians set in the American Music series.
When the stamp had been issued, his son Arlo Guthrie said, “For a man who fought all his life against being respectable, this comes as a stunning defeat.”
blogEleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds share ideas …,” and Linn’s is fortunate to have thoughtful leaders of the stamp hobby on its Editorial Advisory Board. Board members participated in a lively discussion of “The State of the Stamp Hobby” Aug. 21 at the American Philatelic Society Stampshow in Grand Rapids, Mich. Read More ›
August 19, 2015 01:58 PMIn an unusual development for our hobby, the Office of Inspector General of the United States Postal Service is blogging about stamp collecting. Read More ›
August 17, 2015 12:19 AMFrom 1967 to 2006, Royal Mail (Great Britain’s post office) advertised all new issues with posters displayed in post offices. Most of these posters had pictures of the stamps along with basic information such as the date of issue, instructions for first-day covers, etc. Some were a little more elaborate. Read More ›
August 14, 2015 09:46 AMWill the United States Postal Service issue a Christmas stamp this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic television musical special A Charlie Brown Christmas? Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke discusses happenings at the recent APS Stampshow from the show floor.
Watch as Linn's/Scott editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the early release of the new U.S. Elvis stamp, the possibility of a Peanuts stamp and Linn's at the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses highlights of Robert A. Siegel Auction Rarities Week sales in late June, and reports that the 49¢ price for a first-class United States stamp will remain in effect until April.
Watch as Linn’s senior editor Denise McCarty discusses the hiring of a new executive director of the American Philatelic Society, the new Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board and the upcoming APS Stampshow.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.