US Coins

Stamps for Presidential Chronicles sets from secondary market

The stamps used in the 2015 Presidential Coin and Chronicles sets for Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson were obtained from a private dealer by the U.S. Mint's contracted packaging vendor for the numismatic product.

Although the U.S. Postal Service is reported to maintain its own cache of modern U.S. postage stamps to support its own philatelic products, the USPS did not provide any of the 17,000 Truman stamps needed for the Truman sets, the 17,000 for the Eisenhower sets, the 50,000 needed for the Kennedy sets and 25,000 for the Johnson sets. Several readers contacted Coin World wondering how the Mint could acquire all 109,000 stamps needed for the limited-edition sets.

Melody Green, spokesperson for the Mint's packaging vendor, Unicover Corp., in Cheyenne, Wyo., said the stamps for the Coin and Chronicles sets were acquired from an undisclosed private stamp dealer. Green said the stamps in each sheet of stamps had to be manually separated for placement in each set's packaging.

Lateefah Simms, public affairs specialist in the U.S. Mint's Office of Corporate Communications, said the packaging incorporating the stamps was shipped to the Philadelphia Mint for manual assemblage of each set's remaining components. Those components included the Reverse Proof 2015-P Presidential dollar and Presidential 1-ounce .999 fine silver medal for the president represented.

When each of the U.S. postage stamps the Mint chose for placement in the recent sets was officially released, millions were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Imprinting or contracted printer.

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Here are additional details details for each of the stamps:

Harry S. Truman

8-cent stamp, issued May 8, 1973, in Independence, Mo. Listed as Scott 1499 in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. The Truman stamp design by artist Bradbury Thompson is based on one of 18 photographs taken in 1953 by photographer Leo Stern. The stamp portrait was engraved by Joseph S. Creamer Jr. and the lettering by Robert G. Culin Sr.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The 1969 6-cent stamp is Scott 1383. According to the 2015 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, the stamp was designed by Robert J. Jones.

The stamp design is based on a photograph by Bernie Noble of the Cleveland Press. The photograph was a favorite of Mrs. Eisenhower, according to a contemporary report by the United States Post Office Department (as it was then known). The stamp was issued in Abilene, Kan., on Oct. 14, 1969.

John F. Kennedy

The two-panel, 1964 Kennedy 5-cent postage stamp is identified as Scott 1246 in the 2015 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. It depicts, at the left, the Eternal Flame from President Kennedy’s grave site at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia; and at the right, a portrait based on a 1958 photograph of the future president taken by Los Angeles Times photographer William S. Murphy. The stamp was designed by a New York firm, Raymond Loewy/William Smith Inc., based on a sketch by Bureau of Engraving and Printing artist Robert L. Miller using Murphy’s photograph. The final selection of the design was made by President Kennedy’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy. Printed from January to April 1964 by the BEP, the stamp was officially issued in Boston on May 29, 1964, what would have been President Kennedy’s 47th birthday.  

Lyndon B. Johnson

The 8-cent 1973 LBJ stamp is listed in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers as Scott 1503. It shows a 1968 portrait of Lyndon Johnson painted by Elizabeth Shoumatoff, the official White House portrait. An announcement in the March–April 1973 Stamps Information News published by the United States Postal Service reported “In September, 1972, at our request, the late President Johnson submitted a copy of his favorite portrait for our files. This was to be held for future use when a memorial stamp would be called for — little did we think it would be so soon. This was done (as with the late President Truman’s) to forestall any controversy as to what would be depicted on the stamp.” The stamp was issued in Austin, Texas, Aug. 27, 1973, on what would have been Johnson’s 65th birthday. 

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