US Stamps

By Jay Bigalke and Michael Baadke

Stamp honoring Harvey Milk May 22

May 06, 2014 06:50 AM

  • The United States nondenominated (49¢) Harvey Milk commemorative forever stamp will be issued May 22 during a White House ceremony in Washington, D.C.

San Francisco political figure and gay rights activist Harvey Milk will be honored on a new forever stamp from the United States Postal Service.

The stamp will be issued May 22 in Washington, D.C. The stamp’s first-day ceremony will be a closed event at the White House.

“A stamp dedication ceremony on May 22 at the White House comes with incredibly special significance for both place and date,” said human rights activist Stuart Milk, cofounder and board president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, and nephew of Harvey Milk.

May 22 was Harvey Milk’s birth date in 1930, and is celebrated annually in California as Harvey Milk Day.

“President Obama and his administration have provided the nation with steadfast and trend setting leadership in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the U.S. and abroad,” Stuart Milk said.

A second stamp ceremony that will be open to the public is planned for May 28 in San Francisco. The Postal Service has not yet revealed the time and location for the second ceremony, but notes that details will be forthcoming.

Harvey Milk was born in Woodmere, N.Y., and enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating from the New York State College for Teachers in 1951. He served as a naval diving instructor, achieving the rank of lieutenant junior grade.

After returning to civilian life in New York, Milk worked as a teacher and as a financial analyst.

He moved to San Francisco in 1972 and opened a camera business in the city’s Castro district.

Active in human rights efforts and local issues, he became known as the unofficial “mayor of Castro Street.” He won election as a San Francisco city supervisor within six years, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States.

During his tenure, he passed a gay rights ordinance and helped to defeat Proposition 6, a California state initiative that would authorize California public schools to fire teachers for being gay.

Milk’s efforts to overcome discrimination and secure equality for all citizens were cut short Nov. 27, 1978, when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated at city hall by a former city supervisor.

President Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, and Time magazine named Milk one of the most influential people of the 20th century.

U.S. Postal Service art director Antonio Alcala served as the designer for the stamp, using a photograph of Milk taken by Daniel Nicoletta around 1977.

The design includes the name Harvey Milk in white dropout lettering at upper right, and six squares of color arranged vertically in the upper left corner, evoking the rainbow colors of the pride flag.

Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products printed a quantity of 30 million stamps in panes of 20.

Press sheets of the Harvey Milk stamp, both with and without die cuts, are available. Each press sheet consists of 12 panes and sells for $117.60. A total of 1,000 press sheets of each type were printed.

The digital color postmark for the stamp includes a horizontal banner with a gradient rainbow color design.

Nondenominated (49¢) Harvey Milk Forever stamp
FIRST DAY— May 22, 2014; city— Washington, D.C., and nationwide.
DESIGN: existing photograph— Daniel Nicoletta; art director, typographer and designer— Antonio Alcala, Alexandria, Va.; modeler— Donald Woo.
PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black; paper— phosphor tagged, overall; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 30 million stamps; format— pane of 20, from 240-subject cylinders; size— 0.82 inches by 1.42 inches (image); 0.98 inches by 1.56 inches (overall); 5.92 inches by 7.24 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “S” followed by four single digits; marginal markings— plate numbers (front); “©2014 USPS,” USPS logo, plate position diagram, barcode, promotional text, biography, “Harvey Milk licensed by the Harvey Milk Foundation” (back); USPS item No.— 472004.

First-day cancel ordering information
Standard ordering instructions apply. Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Harvey Milk Stamp, Special Events, Box 92282, Washington, DC 20090-2282. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by July 21.
The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Harvey Milk stamp is item No. 472016 at 93¢. USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2014 U.S. Stamp Program.