Stamps, often considered miniature works of art, have been issued by world postal services since 1840. October is National Stamp Collecting month. It began in 1981 as a joint venture between the United States Postal Service and the Council of Philatelic Organizations. The Postal Service continues to promote National Stamp Collecting Month and stamp collecting as “the world’s most popular hobby.”
The Marshall Foundation has its own stamp collection. Foreign stamps, stamps of past presidents, and Marshall Plan stamps from all over the world can be found in the archives. Among those stamps is the 40 Pfenning West German stamp. It was created as a tribute to Marshall for proposing the Marshall Plan and was released on the first anniversary of Marshall’s death.
Prompted by this action, then Marshall Foundation president, General Omar Bradley, suggested to Secretary of State Dean Rusk that the State Department should sponsor a commemorative stamp to honor Marshall.
The result was a 20-cent stamp portraying General George C. Marshall. It was the thirteenth stamp released in the “Prominent Americans Series” of regular stamps. The stamp was first sold on October 24, 1967, at Lexington, Virginia.
Robert Geissmann, of New York, designed the stamp. The stamp portrait is based on a photograph that appeared in Life magazine on November 22, 1943, when Marshall was Army Chief of Staff. The vertical stamp was printed in olive green and issued in panes of 100 with an unlimited printing.
Along with the issuance of the 20-cent stamp, the United States Postal Service also released a first day cover. A collection of these first day covers autographed by key individuals responsible for the postage stamp’s creation is included in the collection.
Another interesting first day cover in the collection is the Marshall Space Flight Center’s release of the Apollo 15 Lunar Roving Vehicle in 1971 from Huntsville, Alabama.