US Stamps

Follow-up on sales suspension of 1980 Olympics stamps

Sep 11, 2023, 11 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

In the U.S. Stamp Notes column in the May 31, 2021, issue of Linn’s, we looked at the United States stamps issued to publicize the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.

The most often seen, the 15¢ block of four issued Sept. 28, 1979 (Scott 1794a), is shown in Figure 1. Sale of the stamps was suspended on March 11, 1980, after the U.S. government decided to boycott the Olympics to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

The Games were held as scheduled from July 19 to Aug. 3, 1980, but 65 countries joined the boycott or refused to participate for other reasons. Seven more competed in the Games, instead choosing not to participate in the opening ceremonies as their form of protest.

On Aug. 4, the day after the Games ended, the U.S. Postal Service put the Olympics stamps back on sale.

In my May 31, 2021, column, I showed a commemorative cover marking the date the stamps were withdrawn, shown here in Figure 2. I also mentioned that I knew of no covers marking the day the stamps were returned to sale.

Linn’s reader John Everett of Watertown, Mass., recently sent the re-release cover shown in Figure 3, an item that is much harder to find than a routine first-day cover. Thanks to Everett for sharing this cover.

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