US Stamps

Ayn Rand studies and the Ayn Rand stamp

Aug 9, 2022, 1 PM
Ayn Rand, portrayed on this 1999 33¢ U.S. commemorative, is the subject of an article on how her stamp came to be in a recent issue of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Did you know there is a scholarly group that studies the life and works of Ayn Rand (1905-1982), who is the subject of the 1999 33¢ stamp (Scott 3398) shown here? I didn’t either.

Of course, there are lots of scholarly societies, but there are not so many famous novelists portrayed on U.S. stamps who were stamp collectors and proud of it. This makes her scholarly crowd and its publication of more than passing interest.

I wrote about Rand’s philatelic confessions in the U.S. Stamp Notes column in the Sept. 9, 2019, Linn’s, and would be happy to provide a copy of that column to any Linn’s reader who requests one by email at

That column eventually led to a correspondence with Amos Wollen, who is a student of Rand and a frequent contributor to the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the Penn State University Press.

To make a long story short, Wollen published in the December 2021 issue of that journal an essay titled “The Lady and the Stamp.” The abstract describes the article thus: “In 1999, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Ayn Rand commemorative stamp, an out-of-place addition to their long-running Literary Arts series. This article tells the story of the stamp — how it came to be and why.”

With Wollen’s cooperation, I am glad to be able to offer his paper as an email attachment to any Linn’s reader. It is insightful and well-researched, and I believe will be of interest to stamp collectors who want to know how stamps come to be and to those who appreciate Rand’s writings.

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