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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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1909 ISSUE-RARE STAMP (356 F/COIL PERF 12-BROOKMAN C), 10 CENTS
Nov 29, 5:00 PM EST
1909 ISSUE-RARE STAMP (356 F/COIL PERF 12-BROOKMAN C), 10 CENTS
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$2411 Bids
McCormick Stamps
Nov 29, 9:00 AM EST
McCormick Stamps
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$256 Bids
Box Full of US Stamps
Dec 10, 9:30 AM EST
Box Full of US Stamps
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$605 Bids
Stamps
Dec 09, 6:00 PM EST
Stamps
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$405 Bids
McCormick Stamps
Nov 29, 9:00 AM EST
McCormick Stamps
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$185 Bids
U.S. C18 Cover Lot.
Dec 15, 11:00 AM EST
U.S. C18 Cover Lot.
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $400- $700
$2403 Bids
Misc. Stamps
Nov 29, 9:00 AM EST
Misc. Stamps
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$23 Bids
1975 Apollo & Spirit of 76 Stamp Sheets
Nov 28, 5:00 PM EST
1975 Apollo & Spirit of 76 Stamp Sheets
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$63 Bids
OVER $300 FACE VALUE US STAMP COLLECTION
Nov 30, 9:00 AM EST
OVER $300 FACE VALUE US STAMP COLLECTION
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $200- $300
$603 Bids
Wells Fargo Express Covers.
Dec 15, 11:00 AM EST
Wells Fargo Express Covers.
by Weiss Auctions
Est: $80- $120
$502 Bids
1952 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6 Face Value
Nov 29, 5:00 PM EST
1952 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6 Face Value
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$32 Bids
1953 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6 Face Value
Nov 29, 5:00 PM EST
1953 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6 Face Value
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$32 Bids
1954 USPS 2 & 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $5 Face Value
Nov 29, 5:00 PM EST
1954 USPS 2 & 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $5 Face Value
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$32 Bids
1955 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6.60 Face Value
Nov 29, 5:00 PM EST
1955 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6.60 Face Value
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$32 Bids
Over 100 Old U.S. Stamps
Nov 28, 5:00 PM EST
Over 100 Old U.S. Stamps
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$32 Bids
State Birds & A Postage (15c) Stamp Sheets
Nov 28, 5:00 PM EST
State Birds & A Postage (15c) Stamp Sheets
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$52 Bids
1950-52 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6 Face Value
Nov 29, 5:00 PM EST
1950-52 USPS 3 Cent Stamp Sheets - $6 Face Value
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
2014 Coin & Chronicles Set Franklin D. Roosevelt - 4 Stamps & 4 Coins w/ Nice Presentation Holder
Nov 28, 5:00 PM EST
2014 Coin & Chronicles Set Franklin D. Roosevelt - 4 Stamps & 4 Coins w/ Nice Presentation Holder
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
LOT OF 20 US MINT STAMPS, 1918-1932 GENERAL ISSUES AND COMMEMORATIVES
Dec 10, 12:00 PM EST
LOT OF 20 US MINT STAMPS, 1918-1932 GENERAL ISSUES AND COMMEMORATIVES
by RB Fine Arts
Est: $400- $450
$501 Bid
1976 US $2 Dollar Note First Day of Issue "Crisp" Kansas Stamp
Dec 02, 6:00 PM CST
1976 US $2 Dollar Note First Day of Issue "Crisp" Kansas Stamp
by J & S Coins and Bullion
Est: $0- $0
$61 Bid
HUSSEY'S EXPRESS SPECIAL MESSAGE STAMP
Dec 16, 11:45 AM EST
HUSSEY'S EXPRESS SPECIAL MESSAGE STAMP
by Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $80- $320
$121 Bid
EARLY REVENUE STAMP
Dec 16, 11:45 AM EST
EARLY REVENUE STAMP
by Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $80- $320
$121 Bid
EARLY REVENUE STAMP 
Dec 16, 11:45 AM EST
EARLY REVENUE STAMP 
by Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $80- $330
$121 Bid
PAIR OFFICIALLY SEALED STAMPS
Dec 16, 11:45 AM EST
PAIR OFFICIALLY SEALED STAMPS
by Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $80- $290
$101 Bid

Sellers Who Sell United States Stamps


Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Weiss Auctions

Weiss Auctions

Bering Auctions

Bering Auctions