On August 29, 2019, in Washington, DC, the United States Postal Service® issued four Tyrannosaurus Rex stamps, “Forever”-priced at the first class mail rate, currently 55¢, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive pane of 16. According to instructions in the August 1 issue of the USPS Postal Bulletin, “The Tyrannosaurus Rex pane of 16 stamps may not be split and the stamps may not be sold individually.”
The Postal Service brings Tyrannosaurus rex to life some 66 million years after its demise with four designs depicting:
A face-to-face encounter with a T. rex approaching through a forest clearing,
The same young adult T. rex with a young Triceratops shown in fossil form,
A newly hatched T. rex covered with downy feathers
A bare-skinned juvenile T. rex chasing a primitive mammal.
A pane of 16 of the stamps, which honor a specimen nicknamed “The Nation’s T rex” that is returning to display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
The “Nation’s T. rex” — the young adult depicted on two of the stamps — was discovered on federal land in Montana and is one of the most studied and important specimens ever found. A July 2018 article by Katherine J. Wu at Smithsonian.com noted that the famous fossil will be returning to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. “after a four-year hiatus” to be showcased in “the newly renovated ‘David H. Koch Hall of Fossils — Deep Time’” where it will include “the first fully assembled T. rex skeleton to be on display at the Smithsonian.”
“The patriotically-named dinosaur returns after a few years abroad—but rex hasn’t squandered its time soaking up the sights. The fossils of this T. rex [including a Triceratops that fell victim to one of them] have spent the last four years being meticulously assembled by a team of scientists in Canada.” You can read more about it here.
According to A Philatelic Exhibit: T rex — a wide-ranging 18-page online exhibit by APS Life Member Fran Adams carefully reviewed for scientific accuracy — “Tyrannosaurus, probably the most famous of the dinosaurs, was one of the largest terrestrial carnivores in our earth’s history. At least 22 specimens have been found, of which several are nearly complete and in good condition. Due also to the spectacular size and attributed ferociousness of the animal, many experts study the available fossil remains. The remaining questions about the life style of T. rex are on the way to being answered.”
As of 2019, the number of known T. rex specimens has now grown to 50, a number that is easily exceeded by the number of them seen on postage stamps. To view Fran Adams’ remarkable topical exhibit, go to www.franadams.com/digital_exhibits/Trex_exhibit.pdf
Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps with original artwork by scientist and artist Julius T. Csotonyi, who specializes in creating images of fossil creatures.
This is not the first outing for terrifying thunder-lizards on U.S. stamps. Two Allosaurus, which were somewhat smaller bipedal predators that preceded T. rex by about 90 million years, were pictured on a 6¢ Age of Reptiles stamp marking the centenary of New York’s American Museum of Natural History in 1970 (Scott 1390), and a pair of Tyrannosaurus rex prowled the Cretaceous plains on one of four 25¢ Prehistoric Animals stamps released in 1989 (Scott 2422).
The USPS answer to the question “What’s worse than a hungry T. rex?” appeared in 1989 on this 25¢ Prehistoric Animals stamp, Scott 2422.
Customers have 120 days to obtain the first-day-of issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local post office or the USPS website at usps.com/shop. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes, and place them in a larger envelope with the require amount of mint postage addressed to:
FDOI – Tyrannosaurus Rex Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900
After applying the first-day postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50 covers, but there is a 5¢ charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by December 29, 2019.