Abraham Lincoln appears on more than 50 U.S. postage stamps – more than any other person. Four more will be added to his tally in 2009, in celebration of his 200th birthday.
The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission joined the U.S. Postal Service in Hodgenville, and Springfield, Ill., on Oct. 30 to unveil the designs of the four commemorative stamps honoring Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial. The cities will host the official first day of issue ceremony for the stamps Feb. 9 and they will be available throughout the week at the post office in Hodgenville.
The block of four commemorative stamps illustrates aspects of Lincoln’s life:
Rail Splitter. The stamp showing Lincoln as a rail-splitter includes the earliest-known photograph of Lincoln, taken in 1846 by N.H. Shepherd, and depicts Lincoln as a youth splitting a log for a rail fence on the American frontier. When he was a candidate for president in 1860, the Republican Party used the image of Lincoln as a “rail-splitter” to enhance his appeal to the workingman.
Lawyer. The stamp featuring Lincoln as a lawyer includes a photograph of Lincoln, taken May 7, 1858, by Abraham Byers and shows Lincoln in a courtroom in Illinois, where he practiced law for nearly 25 years, riding a circuit of courthouses across central Illinois.
Politician. This stamp includes a photograph of Lincoln, dated Feb. 27, 1860, by Mathew Brady, and shows Lincoln debating Stephen A. Douglas during their 1858 campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois.
President. The stamp featuring Lincoln as president includes a photograph dated Nov. 8, 1863, by Alexander Gardner, and depicts Lincoln conferring with generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman toward the end of the Civil War. The depiction is based on “The Peacemakers” (1868), a painting by George P. A. Healy.
The stamp art was created by Mark Summers, who is noted for his scratchboard technique.
The stamps will be available in post offices across the country Feb. 9, three days before Lincoln’s 200th birthday.