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The List: 6 facts about presidential stamps

Many presidents have been featured on stamps over the years, including, clockwise from top left, Warren Harding (1930), Thomas Jefferson (1923), William McKinley (1927), Ulysses Grant (1923), James Monroe (1923), James Garfield (1922), Woodrow Wilson (1925), Benjamin Harrison (1926) and Theodore Roosevelt (1922).

To help mark the release of the stamp honoring George H.W. Bush, the nation’s 41st commander in chief, here are six facts about presidential stamps.

1. Presidential stamps are now issued after death. Since 1945, presidents have been memorialized on stamps usually within a year of their death and often on their date of birth. The stamp honoring Bush, who died last fall, was released June 12, when he would have turned 95.

2. George Washington is the president of stamps. The nation’s first commander in chief has appeared on more than 300 different stamp issues, including one of the first U.S. stamps.

3. John Adams waited the longest before getting a stamp. A stamp honoring Adams, the nation’s second president, was issued in 1938 — 112 years after his death in 1826.

4. Abraham Lincoln was the first president memorialized on a stamp shortly after death. He died on April 15, 1865; a postage stamp featuring his likeness was issued in April 1866.

5. Twelve presidents made their stamp debut in the same year. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge appeared for the first time on a stamp when they were included in the 1938 Presidential Series.

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt got four memorial stamps within a year of his death. Elected president a record four times, Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, at the beginning of his fourth term. During the next nine months, he was honored on a series of four stamps — the Roosevelt Memorial Series.

A recent entry on Postal Posts, the USPS blog, has more information about presidential stamps. Got ideas for future editions of “The List”? Email them to

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