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Civil War Blog

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Stamp for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

Posted By on May 13, 2013

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According to information released by the United States Postal Service, a postage stamp commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg will be released with First Day of Issue at Gettysburg on 23 May 2013.  Ceremonies will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Gettysburg National Park Visitors Center and are open to the public.

Simultaneously, another stamp commemorating the Battle of Vicksburg, will be issued at Vicksburg, Mississippi.  The stamps are part of a series of ten stamps, two issued each year during the Civil War Sesquicentennial, 2011-2015.  The stamps are being issued in two formats:  (1) a sheet of twelve stamps, six of each design (Gettysburg and Vicksburg); and (2) a souvenir sheet of two, with one stamp in each design.  The first issue in the series, for Fort Sumter, issued in 2011, was reported and pictured in the blog post Fort Sumter – The War Begins.

At the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, a commemorative stamp in blue and gray was issued at Gettysburg.  See:  Commemorative Postage Stamps for the Civil War Centennial, 1861-1865 to 1961-1965.

The stamp to be issued on 23 May 2013 was designed by art director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, Virginia, who created the stamp using an image of the Battle of Gettysburg which reproduced an 1887 lithograph by Thure de Thulstrup (1848-1930), a Swedish-born artist was an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly after the Civil War.  Thure de Thulstrup was previously mentioned in the blog post entitled Civil War Illustrations by Lewis Prang, and a picture the lithograph upon which the 2013 stamp design was based is shown below.

The Prang lithographs were created for the 25th Anniversary of the Civil War.

The United States Postal Service sells products related to the First Day of Issue of stamps.  For the 2013 Gettysburg stamp, a variety of items can be purchased through the web site and some of the items are available at postal stores throughout the country.  One such item is shown below, the first-day-canceled souvenir sheet and sheet of 12 stamps.

Other items available can be found at the USPS web site (search for Gettysburg) with ordering instructions provided.

Because of the huge quantity of these stamps that will be issued, they probably will never have any value beyond that of the current postage rate – it they are unused (not canceled).  They are being issued as “Forever” stamps, meaning that if purchased on the day of issue, their face value is that of the current first-class letter rate.  When the letter-rate rises, they will be “re-valued” at the new letter rate.  If they are canceled, their value decreases significantly.  This will not stop individuals from collecting items such as First Day Covers (which are canceled stamps, on envelopes, bearing an “official” postmark, supposedly imprinted on the day of issue, but usually imprinted well in advance of the first day).  Bear in mind, that re-sale value of any these items will depend on the quantity issued and the future demand.  If purchased, they should be looked at as souvenirs rather than as “investments”.

Note:  As part of a Civil War sheetlet of 20 stamps that was issued in 1995, a Battle of Gettysburg stamp was included.  This stamp will be discussed in a future post.

See also:  Battle of Gettysburg Stamp to be Issued May 23.


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