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Monday Morning Brief | WPA Posters stamps

February 17, 2017 12:54 PM

Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke reports on the 10 new WPA Posters forever stamps that will be issued March 7. The stamps show the designs of poster art created 80 years ago during the Great Depression.

Full Video Transcript:

Just about 80 years ago, the United States was in the grip of the Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash of 1929, and continued throughout the 1930s. Americans lost their savings as banks collapsed and unemployment soared.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1932, and devised a series of fiscal programs designed to right the American economy.

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One of these was the Works Progress Administration, later renamed the Work Projects Administration, which employed some eight and a half million people constructing and repairing roads, bridges and airports.

Artists and writers were also employed by the WPA, and some were asked to create posters to advertise theater works, films and musicals, and to publicize various programs and health concerns. Those who worked were paid $41.57 a month.

The Library of Congress says that 2,000 WPA posters are known to exist.

The United States Postal Service has created a new set of 10 forever stamps that will be issued March 7 reproducing 10 different designs of actual WPA posters from the 1930s.

This set of stamps features a wonderful variety of subjects that will appeal to many topical collectors. A poster encouraging people to visit the zoo is decorated with a pair of herons, and two bighorn sheep are shown on another poster publicizing the national parks. Ships are featured on a poster about foreign trade zones, and airplanes soar across a poster for New York City’s municipal airports.

The WPA Posters stamps will be issued in a double sided pane of 20, which the Postal Service calls a booklet. An 11 a.m. first-day ceremony is planned in Hyde Park, N.Y., at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, but we haven’t gotten word yet on whether or not there is an admission fee, or if the program is open to the public.

The WPA Posters stamps will be sold at post offices nationwide starting March 7. The images remind us of the devastating hardships Americans endured during the Great Depression, with a window into history on each and every stamp.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott catalogs, I’m Michael Baadke.