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United States Stamps

Stamp collecting came into existence as soon as stamps themselves did. Before there were stamps, U.S. postage rates were extremely complex and costly for the American public. Letter rates were based on the number of sheets included and distance traveled, and they were often refused because the receiver had to pay delivery costs.

In order to make correspondence easier, Congress standardized postage rates in 1845. This made pre-payment possible, and innovative local postmasters began to issue their own Postmaster Provisional stamps between 1845-1847.

Congress authorized official U.S. postage stamps on March 3, 1847, and the Post Office Department issued its first stamps on July 1, 1847. The original 5-cent stamp pictured Benjamin Franklin, and the 10-cent stamp pictured George Washington, who has been on more U.S. stamps than any other figure.

The very first commemorative stamp honored the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Martha Washington was the first woman on a stamp in 1902. Pocahontas was the first prominent Native American figure in 1907, and in 1940 Booker T. Washington was the first African American.

 

Quick Facts

  • The word philately, which means, “stamp collecting,” derives from the Greek word phileo, meaning love, and ateleia meaning “free of charges"
  • The “Inverted Jenny” is one of the most expensive stamps ever sold. First issued in 1918, the stamp owes its name to the image of the airplane in the center of the design being printed upside-down
  • The most rare U.S. stamp is the “Z-grill”, only 10 of which are known to exist. A 1-cent “Z-grill” stamp sold in 1998 for $935,000

Recommended Items at Auction

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13 1976-1995 US MIGRATORY HUNTING DUCK STAMPS
Oct 28, 9:00 AM EDT
13 1976-1995 US MIGRATORY HUNTING DUCK STAMPS
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $60- $120
$403 Bids
Uncut Sheet Of 50 United States Postage 3 Cent Stamps In Frame. "Armed Forces Reserve" Theme.
Oct 21, 5:00 PM EDT
Uncut Sheet Of 50 United States Postage 3 Cent Stamps In Frame. "Armed Forces Reserve" Theme.
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$22 Bids
Large Collection of Stamps and Stamped Envelopes
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
Large Collection of Stamps and Stamped Envelopes
by Caza Sikes
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
(3) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
(3) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$402 Bids
(2) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
(2) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$302 Bids
Binder full of Plate Block Stamps Unused
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Binder full of Plate Block Stamps Unused
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $150- $200
$512 Bids
(2) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
(2) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$201 Bid
A LARGE WASHINGTON 3c STAMP CARVED FOLK ART PLAQUE
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
A LARGE WASHINGTON 3c STAMP CARVED FOLK ART PLAQUE
by Dirk Soulis Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
1979 THE ANGEL GABRIEL 23K GOLD STAMP
Nov 01, 12:30 PM EDT
1979 THE ANGEL GABRIEL 23K GOLD STAMP
by Museum of Culture and Arts, Inc
Est: $80- $300
$121 Bid
(2) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
(2) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$201 Bid
U.S. STAMP LOT
Nov 01, 12:30 PM EDT
U.S. STAMP LOT
by Museum of Culture and Arts, Inc
Est: $80- $350
$101 Bid
(3) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
(3) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$201 Bid
Group of Misc Canceled Stamps & First Day Covers
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Group of Misc Canceled Stamps & First Day Covers
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $150- $200
$251 Bid
Group of Misc Canceled Stamps & First Day Covers
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Group of Misc Canceled Stamps & First Day Covers
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $150- $200
$251 Bid
GRANDE STAMPA - LARGE STAMP
Oct 21, 6:30 PM CEST
GRANDE STAMPA - LARGE STAMP
by Galleria Sarno
Est: €100- €150
€400 Bids
(3) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
Oct 23, 9:30 AM EDT
(3) U.S. Medals/Pins/Badges
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$200 Bids
bp parity badge
Bobby Orr Framed & Autographed Stamp Sheet
Oct 23, 11:30 AM EDT
Bobby Orr Framed & Autographed Stamp Sheet
by Oakwood Auctions
Est: $50- $60
$350 Bids
Harry S. Truman Great Americans 1984 Stamp Sheets
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Harry S. Truman Great Americans 1984 Stamp Sheets
by Showplace
Est: $100- $200
$250 Bids
Encased Postage Stamp Unique One Cent KIRKPATRICK + GAULT Plain Frame Rarity
Oct 23, 9:00 AM PDT
Encased Postage Stamp Unique One Cent KIRKPATRICK + GAULT Plain Frame Rarity
by Early American History Auctions
Est: $10,000- $14,000
$8,0000 Bids
US Stamps Souvenir Cards and Bush Photo in Sheet File
Oct 29, 1:00 PM EDT
US Stamps Souvenir Cards and Bush Photo in Sheet File
by OG Collections
Est: $400- $900
$500 Bids
Scotts American Stamp Album Plus Additional Postage Stamps
Nov 12, 6:00 PM EST
Scotts American Stamp Album Plus Additional Postage Stamps
by Lettieri Auction & Appraisal
Est: $70- $125
$300 Bids
Sheets Uncirculated Stamps Car, Birds, Circus
Nov 21, 11:00 AM EST
Sheets Uncirculated Stamps Car, Birds, Circus
by Moggies Auction Service
Est: $30- $50
$200 Bids
SCOTT #230 AND #232. U.S. COLUMBIAN MINT BLOCKS. UNITED STA...
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
SCOTT #230 AND #232. U.S. COLUMBIAN MINT BLOCKS. UNITED STA...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $150- $200
$800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell United States Stamps


Holabird Western Americana

Holabird Western Americana

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.