United States Postal Service -- The U.S. Postal Service rarely announces new stamps on a Saturday, but did so on April 6, 2019 in revealing the new stamp honoring former President George H.W. Bush, who died November 30, 2018, at the age of 94. The “Forever” stamp will always be valued at the first-class 1-ounce letter rate, currently 55¢.
George Herbert Walker Bush (1924–2018), served as America’s 41st president from 1989 to 1993. During his term in office, he guided the U.S. and its allies to a peaceful end of the Cold War, helped reunify Germany, and led a multinational coalition that successfully forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.
On the domestic front, President Bush signed historic civil rights legislation to integrate Americans with disabilities more fully into society. His Clean Air Act tightened air pollution standards and dramatically reduced urban smog and acid rain. George Bush also called and inspired millions of Americans to serve their communities with his vision of a nation of volunteers as “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”
In addition to serving as vice president under President Reagan, Bush held a number of other senior leadership roles including Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China, and Director of Central Intelligence.
George H.W. Bush was the first sitting vice president elected president since Martin van Buren in 1836, and one of only two presidents to have a son who also served as Commander-in-Chief.
The stamp art is a portrait of Bush painted by award-winning artist Michael J. Deas, based on a 1997 photograph taken by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Phil Jordan was the art director and stamp designer.
As has become customary, the first-day-of-issue ceremony will be held on the president’s birthday, June 12, at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Robert M. Duncan will serve as the dedicating official.
The US Postal Service announced on May 23, 2019 that speakers at the ceremony will also include Pierce Bush, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star and grandson of George H.W. Bush; David B. Jones, president and CEO of the George & Barbara Bush Foundation; Warren Finch, director of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum; Amb. Chase Untermeyer, founding chairman of the Qatar-America Institute; and Jean Becker, former Chief of Staff in the Office of George H.W. Bush.
The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at 11 a.m. CDT at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center in College Station, Texas.
The first day of issue event for the stamps is free and open to the public. If you wish to attend the dedication ceremony, you may wish to RSVP at usps.com/georgehwbush. News of the stamp is being shared with the hashtags #GHWBushStamp or #USPresidentsStamps.
The stamp is available for pre-order for delivery on or after the June 12 ceremony at usps.com/stamps, or by phone at 800-Stamp24 (800-782-6724).
Fred Baumann of the American Philatelist, weighs in on presidential memorial stamps --
Michael J. Deas paintings have been a popular choice for recent presidential memorial stamps: Deas' work was highlighted on the following memorial stamps: former President Gerald R. Ford on a 41¢ stamp in 2007 (Scott 4199); and Ronald W. Reagan on a 37¢ stamp in February 2005 (Scott 3897) and a 39¢ stamp 2006 (Scott 4076).
Some consider the first U.S. presidential memorial stamp to be the 15¢ stamp (pictured right) printed in black and released almost precisely one year after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. This April 1866 stamp was issued 28 years before the first official U.S. commemorative, and has no inscription or dates marking it as a commemorative, but its funereal appearance tempts modern collectors to regard it as such. Relatively few Americans in 1866 ever would have seen or used this stamp: as the first U.S. 15¢ stamp, it was chiefly used to pay the single-weight letter rate to France.
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This blog was first published on April 11, 2019, and was updated with first day of issue ceremony information from a US Postal Service press release on May 24, 2019. Find the original press release here, and the first day of issue press release here.