US Stamps

Janis Joplin stamp fifth entry in Music Icons series Aug. 8

Apr 28, 2021, 5 AM

United States nondenominated (49¢) Janis Joplin commemorative forever stamp to be issued Aug. 8 in San Francisco, Calif.

Rock star Janis Joplin (1943-70) will be honored Aug. 8 with a new United States commemorative forever stamp.

The nondenominated (49¢) stamp will be issued in San Francisco, Calif., as the fifth stamp in the Music Icons series.

Previous stamps in the series have honored Lydia Mendoza, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix.

The first-day ceremony for the Joplin stamp will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the Panhandle Stage of the Outside Lands festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

The U.S. Postal Service is offering a limited number of complimentary general admission tickets for collectors who would like to attend. The deadline for reserving a ticket is July 28. Collectors can reserve tickets by calling 866-268-3243, or by sending an e-mail to with “JJ RSVP_Stamp Collector” as the e-mail subject.

The Joplin stamp and stamp pane are designed to look like the sleeve of a 45 rpm record.

The stamp was designed by USPS art director Antonio Alcala using a June 1970 photograph of Joplin by David Gahr. Alcala tinted the black-and-white photograph light blue and made Joplin’s round sunglasses a rose color.

The 1960s-style text was created by illustrator Daniel Pelavin.

The back of the stamp pane features a photograph from May 1968 taken by Bruce Steinberg during the First International San Jose Pop Festival. Faded out lettering in the same typography as the stamp is used on the blue background to spell out the words blues, rock, country, soul and folk accompanying Joplin’s name.

The stamp side of the pane has a banner at top with an image of a record showing through the imagined record sleeve layout. Markings resembling a faint indentation of the full record circles the stamp pane inside the bright orange selvage.

Text in the lower margin on the stamp side of the pane provides a brief biography of Joplin.

“Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was a groundbreaking singer whose powerful, bluesy voice propelled her to the pinnacle of rock stardom. An icon of the 1960s, she was known for her uninhibited and soulful performances. Joplin is now recognized as one of the greatest rock singers of all time, as well as a pioneer who paved the way for other women in rock music.”

Joplin was born Jan. 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas.

In 1966, at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, Joplin performed with the group Big Brother and the Holding Company for the first time. They also recorded a self-titled album that debuted in the summer of that year.

The group’s breakthrough follow-up, Cheap Thrills, was recorded and released in 1968 and sold more than 1 million records within the year.

Joplin left the band in December 1968 and started the Kozmic Blues Band.

Joplin and her band performed Aug. 17, 1969, at the Woodstock festival in New York.

Her solo album, I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, was released in September 1969.

In early 1970, Joplin ended the Kozmic Blues Band and formed the Full-Tilt Boogie Band, debuting the new group in a June 12, 1970, concert in Louisville, Ky.

Joplin’s last public performance, with the Full-Tilt Boogie Band, took place Aug. 12, 1970, in Boston.

She died Oct. 4, 1970, in Hollywood, Calif., as a result of a drug overdose. She was 27 years old.

Joplin’s final studio album, Pearl, was released posthumously in 1971. Popular songs from the album include the No. 1 hit Me and Bobby McGee, and Mercedes Benz, the last song she recorded.

In 1995, Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Postal Service contract printer Ashton Potter created 50 million stamps in panes of 16.

Press sheets for the Joplin stamp were produced in a quantity of 1,000 with die cuts and 1,500 without die cuts. The sheets consist of nine panes of 16 stamps and sell for $70.56 each.

A pictorial first-day cancel featuring Joplin’s full name surrounded by stars will be available at the first-day ceremony and by mail.

A first-day digital color postmark will be offered on a U.S. Postal Service envelope for $1.64.

Technical specifications and first-day cancel ordering information for the Janis Joplin stamp are below. Collectors have a 60-day grace period to mail in requests for the first-day postmarks.

Nondenominated (49¢) Janis Joplin forever stamp

FIRST DAY— Aug. 8, 2014; city— San Francisco, Calif., and nationwide.

DESIGN: designer, art director and typographer— Antonio Alcala, Alexandria, Va.; modeler— Joseph Sheeran; engraver— Mueller A76; series— Music Icons.

PRINTING: process— offset; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Mueller Martini A76; inks— black, cyan, magenta, yellow; paper— nonphosphored type III, block tagging; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 50 million stamps; format— pane of 16, from 144-subject cylinders; size— 1.09 inches by 1.09 inches (image); 1.23 inches by 1.23 inches (overall); 7 inches by 7 inches (full pane); plate numbers— none; marginal markings— “©2014 USPS,” USPS logo, bar code, proprietary text, descriptive text, promotional text (stamp side); photo, Music Icons logo (back); USPS item No.— 588104.

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 Janis Joplin Stamp, USPS Retail Manager, Box 7838, San Francisco, CA 94120-7838. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by Oct. 8.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Janis Joplin stamp is item No. 588116 at 93¢. USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2014 U.S. Stamp Program.

USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2014 U.S. Stamp Program.