US Stamps

By Charles Snee

American Landmarks stamps offer vibrant colors, great subjects

July 18, 2014 09:10 AM

  • Figure 1. This $4.80 stamp depicting Mount Rushmore was issued in 2008. It is the first issue in the American Landmarks series.

  • Figure 2. Two 2009 $4.95 Redwood Forest stamps were used to pay most of the postage on this registered cover mailed Jan. 23, 2010, from Ohio to Athens, Greece.

 In 2008, the United States Postal Service launched a series of high-denomination stamps for use on Priority Mail and Express Mail parcels. Artist Dan Cosgrove brings vibrant colors and bold lines to the designs. The overall effect makes the stamps look like travel posters.

Illustrated in Figure 1 is the first stamp of the American Landmarks series (Scott 4268). It pictures Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

At the time of issue, June 6, 2008, the $4.80 face value satisfied the domestic rate for the Priority Mail flat-rate envelope.

To satisfy the then-current rate of $16.50 for the Express Mail domestic flat-rate envelope, Cosgrove designed a stamp depicting Hoover Dam on the Colorado River at the border between Arizona and Nevada (Scott 4269).

The USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii is depicted on the most recent American Landmarks stamp (Scott 4873), which was issued March 13 with a denomination of $19.99. The stamp fulfills the rate for what the USPS now calls the Priority Mail Express 1-day flat-rate envelope.

In fact, each time a new American Landmarks Priority Mail Express stamp is issued, it becomes the most expensive postage stamp in U.S. history.

Although issued for specific rates, the American Landmarks stamps are valid for any postal use.

You can have some fun by using the stamps to mail a letter or parcel to a fellow collector in another country and ask that the mailing be returned to you. That’s how I acquired the registered cover pictured in Figure 2. It was mailed Jan. 23, 2010, from Ohio to the American Embassy in Athens, Greece.

Most of the $14.16 postage is paid with two 2009 $4.95 Redwood Forest stamps (Scott 4378).

For you postal historians out there, the registration fee was $11.50, and the 2.4-ounce letter required $2.66 postage.

Linn’s welcomes information and items about U.S. dollar-denominated commemorative and definitive stamps. Write to Dollar-Sign Stamps, Box 29, Sidney, OH 45365.