The breadth of U.S. postage stamps issued during the 20th century is staggering, from denominational postage bearing formal presidential portraits to stamps that celebrate everything from national parks to space exploration. In general, unused stamps are more expensive to collect than used stamps, which makes condition an important determinant of a stamp’s price.

One of the most collected series was issued early in the century, on May 1, 1901, to promote the Pan American Exposition and World's Fair in Buffalo, New York. Issued in denominations of 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 10 cents, the stamps show off America’s transportation know-how, from steamships to trains to automobiles. Another early series, this one produced to promote the St. Louis World’s Fair, celebrated the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase. Images in this series include the 10-cent stamp, which features the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase overlaid on a map of the United States.

The U.S. Air Mail stamps of 1918 are noteworthy because one sheet of the first release, with a denomination of 24-cents and the image of a Curtiss Jenny biplane on its front, was printed with the biplane upside down. Subsequent airmail stamps from 1918 saw denomination decreases to 16 cents and then just 6 cents. In 1930, images of Graf Zeppelins were printed on 65-cent, $1.30, and $2.60 stamps (a “Baby” Zeppelin stamp was also issued in 1933).

Ten National Parks stamps, in denominations from a penny to a dime, were issued in 1934, and numerous commemoratives were issued in 1937 (Union generals Sherman, Grant, and Sheridan got a 3-cent stamp, while Confederate generals Lee and Jackson were remembered on a 4-cent stamp). In 1940, Famous Americans were given stamps, organized by authors such as Irving and Twain, poets like Longfellow and Whitman, and inventors such as Morse and Bell (in all, 35 Americans were thus honored).

During World War II, the 13 Overrun Nations stamps issued in 1943 and ’44 are noteworthy because they marked the first time the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) contracted work to an outside printer (American Bank Note). In addition, instead of plate-block numbers, the sheets were printed with the name of each occupied nation. Later that decade, in 1947, the Postal System marked its own centennial with a souvenir sheet showing the first two U.S. stamps, a 5-cent Franklin and a 10-cent Washington. And a slew of commemoratives followed in 1948, honoring constituents as diverse as Swedish pioneers and the American poultry industry.

Stamps got more colorful in 1956 thanks to the purchase of a Giori Press, which allowed the BEP to print three colors from the same plate. Examples of Giori stamps include the Whooping Crane stamp of 1957, the International Geophysical Year stamp of 1958, the Soil Conservation stamp of 1959, and the American Credo issues of 1960 and ’61. And in 1960, the Postal Service issued the first of many space-exploration themed stamps, beginning with the 4-cent Echo 1 stamp and culminating for many collectors with the 10-cent, horizontal Giori marking Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Stamp Collecting Round-up

The Stamp Collecting Round-up

Don Schilling's long-running, in-depth blog on stamp collecting and postal operations. Schilling stays up on all th… [read review or visit site]

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

If you're into postal history or collectibles, check out the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. This extensive s… [read review or visit site]

Post Office in Paradise

Post Office in Paradise

Post Office in Paradise showcases Hawaiian postal history from the years before Hawaii became a part of the United … [read review or visit site]

Private Die Proprietary Stamps

Private Die Proprietary Stamps

Bob Hohertz's impressive database of U.S. Private Die Proprietary stamps from the Civil War and Spanish American Wa… [read review or visit site]

Alphabetilately

Alphabetilately

First shown in 2008 to celebrate the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's 15th anniversary, Alphabetilately is esse… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Us Regular, Perf 12 Sc # 311 1902-03 $1 Mint Nh Cat $1900Us Stamps # 315 Fvf Og Nh Deep Color Scott Value $600.00Us Panama-pacific, Perf 10 Sc # 404 1914-15 10c Mint Nh Cat $1700Noblespirit No Reserve {th1}superb White Plains 630 Sht Mnh Gem Xf Uncut=$600 CvUs Stamps # 312 Vf Full Og Lh Fresh Color Scott Value $825.00Us Stamps # 459 Fine Og Lh Fresh Scott Value $175.00Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#461 2c Washington Mint Nh Og Pink Back $325U.s. #400a Mint Nh Beauty - 1915 10c Pan-pacific, Orange ($400)Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#327 10c Mint H Og Cv$130Us Scott #315 Mint StampNystamps Us Stamp # 630 Mint Og H $600Noblespirit No Reserve Valuable Mint Us Treasure TroveUs Stamps # 388 F + Og H Several Creases Scott Value $1,300.00Nystamps G Mint Old Us Stamp Collection Scott Album Scv $1800Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#357 1c Franklin Mint Og Gum Bend Bluish $85Scott#400a, 10c Orange Yellow Panama Pacific Expo. Xf.Us Regular Sc # 311 1902-03 $1 Mint Nh Cat $1900Ckstamps : Outstanding Most Mint Us Stamps & Airmails Collection In BinderCkstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#669-679 (11) Mint H Og Cv$265.25Drbobstamps Us Scott #296 Mnh Og Vf Stamp W/clean 2016 Pse Cert. 2017 Scv $170Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#658-668 (11) Mint H Og Cv$216.25Us Franklin Sc # 523 1918 $2 Mint Nh Cat $1150Us Stamps # 355 L/p Vf Og Nh Scott Value $3,250.00Us Stamps # 354 L/p Vf Og Nhj Line Pair Fresh Scott Value $3,000.001930 Usa Graf Zeppelin Stamp 1$30 Brown Very Fine Used Cv $450Buffalo Stamps: Scott Usa #630 Souvenir Sheet, Mint Lh/og And Xf, Cv = $450Noblespirit No Reserve {th1} Popular Us 630 Mvlh = $300 Cv White Plains SheetNystamps Us Stamp # 630 Mint Og Nh $600Nystamps E Investment Mint Old Us Stamp & Plate Block Collection With NhUs Stamps # 359 Fine Dist Og H Thin Scott Value $1,800.00Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#402 2c Mint Nh Og Cv$170Drbobstamps Us Scott #487 Mnh Og Lp W/clean 2016 Pse Cert. 2017 Scv $275Us 539 Beautiful Mint Very Light Hinged Issue Uptown 19571Us Washington - Rotary Coil, Perf 10 Vertically Sc # 453 1914-16 2c Mint Nh Cat Momen: Us Stamps #487 Mint Ognh *pse Graded Cert Xf-sup 95* Smq$225 Lot #5720-7U.s.stamps Pan-american Expo 1901: #294-299 Unused Og Nh&hinged-fresh SetCkstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#400 10c Mint Nh Og Cv$270Us Franklin Sc # 419 1912-14 20c Mint Nh Cat $400U.s. #630 Mint Beauty - 1926 2c White Plains Sheet ($350)Us Pictorial Sc # 127 1875 10c Mint H Cat $1650Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#803-834 (32) Mint Nh OgU.s. #595 Choice Mint Xf - 2c Carmine, Rotary P11 ($240)Us Stamps # 528a Xf Og Nh Fresh Scott Value $115.00Us Mh White Plains Souvenir Stamp Sheet 630Us Pan-american Sc # 298 1901 8c Mint Nh Cat $230U.s. #e1 Scarce Mint Nh - 1885 10c Messenger ($1,300)U.s. #320a Mint Nh Pair - 2c Lake, Imperf ($225)Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#373 2c Mint Nh Og Pair Pf CertUs Stamps # 579 Vf Og Nh Scott Value $900.00Nystamps E Many Mint Nh Old Us Stamp & Coil CollectionNystamps E Many Mint Nh Old Us Famous American Stamp & Plate Block CollectionNoblespirit No Reserve Incredible Us Washington + Franklin Coils = $1,501 CvUsa : 1923. Scott #573 Very Fine-extra Fine, Mint Original Gum. Catalog $90.00.Nystamps Us Plate Block Stamp # 832g Mint Og Nh $500 P# 4Ckstamps: Us Stamps Collection Scott#579 2c Washingotn Mint Nh Og Cv$150Sb1 Stamps - Very Nice Full Sheet Of 100, 2c Norse-american; Sc. 620; MnhUs Scott #563a Mint Og Nh Xf+ 11 Cent 1922 Hayes -- Pse Graded Xf 90jUs Stamps # 387 Superb Og Nh Mint State Scott Value $390.00Us Scott # 620 - 621 Mint/ H-nh Blocks Of Four; Scv $115.00Scott #669 - 679 Unused Ng Nebraska Overprint Issue - Very Nice (ano14)