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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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American Full Sheet Mint Stamps, Four Albums (265+)
Feb 26, 7:00 PM EST
American Full Sheet Mint Stamps, Four Albums (265+)
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$5507 Bids
American Mint Plate Blocks & Sheet Postage Stamps, 3 Albums (150+)
Feb 26, 7:00 PM EST
American Mint Plate Blocks & Sheet Postage Stamps, 3 Albums (150+)
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$3254 Bids
Collection of US Postal Service Stamp Blocks
Mar 01, 9:00 AM MST
Collection of US Postal Service Stamp Blocks
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$254 Bids
Collection of US Postal Service Stamp Blocks
Mar 01, 9:00 AM MST
Collection of US Postal Service Stamp Blocks
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$203 Bids
U.S. and Foreign Stamps and Philatelic Accessories
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
U.S. and Foreign Stamps and Philatelic Accessories
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$153 Bids
Box Lot Of Stamps
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
Box Lot Of Stamps
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$353 Bids
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America's Christmas Collection | First Day of Issue Collector's Panel of Stamps
Feb 25, 1:00 PM PST
America's Christmas Collection | First Day of Issue Collector's Panel of Stamps
by Pasadena Antique Warehouse
Est: $5- $300
$52 Bids
United States Full Sheet Mint Postage Stamps-Four Albums (140+)
Feb 26, 7:00 PM EST
United States Full Sheet Mint Postage Stamps-Four Albums (140+)
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2252 Bids
U.S. Stamps and Stamp Blocks and Covers
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
U.S. Stamps and Stamp Blocks and Covers
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
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Fleetwood Wildlife of America Mint Stamp Collector's Prints by Artist Don Blake
Feb 25, 1:00 PM PST
Fleetwood Wildlife of America Mint Stamp Collector's Prints by Artist Don Blake
by Pasadena Antique Warehouse
Est: $5- $300
$52 Bids
American Mint Postal Stamp Collection, Commemoratives Sheets & Plate Blocks (200+)
Feb 26, 7:00 PM EST
American Mint Postal Stamp Collection, Commemoratives Sheets & Plate Blocks (200+)
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
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Spirit of 1976 US Bicentennial Stamps 4 Panel First Day Cancelled Album Sheet
Feb 25, 1:00 PM PST
Spirit of 1976 US Bicentennial Stamps 4 Panel First Day Cancelled Album Sheet
by Pasadena Antique Warehouse
Est: $5- $300
$51 Bid
Assortment of U.S. Stamps and Albums
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
Assortment of U.S. Stamps and Albums
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Three Proofcard Society of the United States Binders Full of First Day Issue Stamps
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
Three Proofcard Society of the United States Binders Full of First Day Issue Stamps
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
U.S. STAMP #114
Mar 08, 10:30 AM EST
U.S. STAMP #114
by Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $90- $390
$151 Bid
Stamp Collection Album, United States & World Stamps, H 11.75" W 2.25" Depth 10.75"
Mar 14, 11:00 AM EDT
Stamp Collection Album, United States & World Stamps, H 11.75" W 2.25" Depth 10.75"
by DuMouchelles
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
Original 1929 Poster Stamp Convention Detrit Mich.
Feb 29, 3:00 PM EST
Original 1929 Poster Stamp Convention Detrit Mich.
by Artelisted
Est: $20- $50
$101 Bid
1 Ten Cent Famous 1940s Famous American Plate Block: James Whitcomb Riley. Mint never hinged. Scarce.
Feb 29, 5:00 PM EST
1 Ten Cent Famous 1940s Famous American Plate Block: James Whitcomb Riley. Mint never hinged. Scarce.
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
1965 Battle Of New Orleans Sesquicentenial, 5-Cent Block Of 6 U.S. Stamps. Scotts # 1261.
Feb 29, 5:00 PM EST
1965 Battle Of New Orleans Sesquicentenial, 5-Cent Block Of 6 U.S. Stamps. Scotts # 1261.
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
1985 USPS Mint Set of Commemorative Stamps with Booklet
Feb 29, 5:00 PM EST
1985 USPS Mint Set of Commemorative Stamps with Booklet
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
1986 USPS Mint Set of Commemorative Stamps with Booklet
Feb 29, 5:00 PM EST
1986 USPS Mint Set of Commemorative Stamps with Booklet
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
1992 USPS Mint Set of Commemorative Stamps with Booklet
Feb 29, 5:00 PM EST
1992 USPS Mint Set of Commemorative Stamps with Booklet
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
Vintage U.S. Stamps and More
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
Vintage U.S. Stamps and More
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid

Sellers Who Sell United States Stamps


Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center

RB Fine Arts

RB Fine Arts

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer