Prexie Era Committee
Prexie Era Committee 

Presidential Issue of 1938 (The Prexies) - Details of Each Value

HALF CENT PREXIE

This orange stamp, the third stamp issued in the 1938 Presidential Series is an anomaly: 1) It pictures Benjamin Franklin who was never a President of the
United States, and 2) No rate ever existed that would have been paid soley with this half cent stamp.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) does have a major connection to philately. Among his many achievements, Franklin served as the first Postmaster General of the United States.  For that, and for all his other achievements, he was honored when his picture was engraved on the first postage stamp to be issued by the United States in 1847. His likeness has graced many postage stamps issued by the United States, and other countries ever since. 

 

It is fitting that Benjamin Franklin be included in the 1938 Presidential Series. Many scholars agree that if it wasn't for Franklin's advanced age at the time of the creation of the United States, he would have surely been elected President.

Millions of these Franklin stamps were used to pay postal rates, but no single rate ever existed for the half cent Franklin. A collector wanting to show a
single franking on cover would have to resort to showing this half cent stamp affixed to a stamped envelope, postal card, or an envelope with a meter.

The likeness of Franklin on this stamp was taken from a photograph of a statue by James Earl Fraser which stands in the Franklin Institute, in Philadelphia, PA,
where the stamp was first put on sale on May 19, 1938.
 
ONE and ONE HALF CENT PREXIE

Bearing one of three non-presidental subjects, and the only woman portrayed on the 1938 Presidential Series, the 1.5c yellow brown Martha Washington stamp saw extensive use from it's debut in 1938 through the late 1950s. The likeness of Martha Washington comes from a bust on display in the Memorial Continental Hall Museum.

 

Little has been written about the Nation's first First Lady when compared to all the articles and books penned about her husband, George Washington.

It has been said that Martha Washington (1731-1802) was a gracious and charming First Lady, but that she was happiest at her home Mount Vernon.

The 1.5c stamp can be found in two forms: as a sheet stamp (issued May 5, 1938) and as a horizontal (sidewise) coil (issued January 20, 1939). The most
common usage of this stamp was to pay the third class "greeting card" rate, in effect April 1925 thru December 1948.

TWO CENT PREXIE

The rose-carmine 2c value of the 1938 Presidential Series bears the likeness of the second President, John Adams taken from a bust on view in the Senate
Gallery of the US Capitol.

 

Adams (1735-1826) provided leadership to the American Colonies and during the War of Independence. He served two terms as Vice President under George Washington, and defeated his arch-rival Thomas Jefferson to become
the second President of the United States (1797-1801).

 

This 2c stamp can be found in four formats: a sheet stamp (issued June 3, 1938), a vertical (endwise) coil (issued January 20, 1939, a horizontal (sidewise) coil (issued January 27, 1939), and in pane form (issued January 27, 1939). The most common solo usage of this Prexie stamp can be found on a domestic post card (January 1952-July 1958), a locally delivered letter (July 1933-March 1944) and on a third class (unsealed) greeting card (January 1949-July 1958).

Unusual usage within the Territory of Guam. Since there was only one post office on the island, a 2c Prexie was affixed to pay the 2c local delivery fee in effect July 1933 to August 1958. This cover is from 1939. (courtesy of Jeff Shapiro)

THREE CENT PREXIE

The purple 3c value of the 1938 Presidential Series pictures Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), one of the most influential founders of the United States and the
third President of the United States (1801-09). Jefferson's likeness on the stamp comes from a bust on display in the Congressional Library.

A genius and an enigma, it was Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence but also owned slaves.

 

With over 130 billion stamps printed, more than any other value in the Presidential Series, this 3c stamp was the workhorse of the mail during the Forties and early Fifties. The stamp can be found in four formats: a sheet stamp (issued June 16, 1938), a sidewise (horizontal) coil (issued January 20, 1939), a
vertical (endwise) coil (issued January 27, 1939) and in pane format (issued January 27, 1939).  

 

The most common way to find a single stamp usage is on a first class domestic envelope. This rate was in effect July 1, 1932-July 31, 1958.  The 3c stamp could also pay the international post card fee, in effect July 9, 1934 thru July 31, 1958 and the 3c per ounce Pan American Union and Spain Treaty Rate on letters addressed to South America and Spain, in effect October 4, 1932 thru October 31, 1953.

 

FOUR CENT PREXIE

The red-violet 4c value of the 1938 Presidential Series features the likeness of the fourth President, James Madison, who served in that capacity 1809-1817.
Scholars have generally regarded Madison (1751-1836), as "the Father of the Constitution", because he planned the system of "checks and balances" so
important in the running of the United States government.

 

Two varieties of the 4c Prexie were printed: a sheet stamp (issued July 1, 1938) and a vertically perforated (sidewise) coil (issued January 27, 1939).

The 4c Prexie was not widely used when first issued; the most common usage being two times the 2c per ounce rate for locally delivered letters (in effect July
1933 thru March 1944), but as the years went by, postal rates appeared which required the use of 4c postage.  A 4c stamp was required to pay the fee on
domestic air mail postcards (in effect January 1949 thru July 1958), and to pay for a domestic first class letter (in effect August 1958 thru January 8, 1963). 

FOUR AND A HALF CENT PREXIE

The third stamp in the 1938 Presidential Series not to portray a President, the 4.5c green-gray value featured a picture of the White House, provided by the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

 

The White House has been the home to the Presidents beginning with John Adams in 1800.  Rebuilt after the British burned it during the War of 1812, the White House has seen numerous additions and remodelling projects ever since.

While it may seem strange that such an unusual denomination be included in the Presidential Series, businesses demanded such a rate to pay triple the 1.5c
third class per two ounce merchandise rate (in effect July 1939 thru March 1944), and triple the 1.5c fourth class book rate at 1.5c per pound (in effect November 1938 thru June 1942).

 

The 4.5c White House stamp issued was in two varieties: in sheet form (issued July 11, 1938) and in the horizontal (sidewise) coil format (issued January
20, 1939).

A solo 4 1/2 cent Prexie paid 3x the 1 1/2 cent per two ounce international printed matter rate on this censored returned wrapper addressed to an oil storage facility in Japan. (courtesy of Jeff Shapiro)

FIVE CENT PREXIE

The picture of James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth President of the United States (1817-1825) and a prominent leader in the War for Independence, appears on the 5c blue stamp issued as part of the 1938 Presidential Series. Monroe's likeness was taken from a medal furnished by the US Mint.

It is ironic that a stamp portraying Monroe, the author of the "Monroe Doctrine" (which warned the European powers to stay out of affairs of the Americas), be the stamp paying the much-used one ounce surface rate to the world (in effect July 1875 thru October 1953). The 5c Prexie could also pay the one ounce domestic air mail rate in effect October 1946 thru December 1948.

 

Two varieties of the 5c Monroe stamp were produced: the sheet stamp (issued July 21, 1938) and the horizontal (sidewise) coil issued (January 20, 1939).

SIX CENT PREXIE

The portrait of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States of America (1825-29), appears on the orange six cent value of the 1938 Presidential Series. The likeness was taken from a bust on display in the US Capitol.

 

The son of the second US President, John Adams (who appeared on the 2c value of the Series), John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) started a brilliant fifty-four year
career in public service at age 27 when President George Washington appointed him Minister to the Netherlands.

 

Two varieties of the six cent stamp exist: as a sheet stamp (issued July 28, 1938) and as a horizontal (sidewise) coil (issued January 20, 1939).

The primary usage of the six cent stamp, when first issued, was for paying the six cents per ounce domestic air mail rate (in effect July 1934 thru March
1944 and again in January 1949 thru July 1958) and two times the three cents per ounce domestic first class rate (in effect July 1932 thru July 1958). The 6c
stamp also saw a great deal of use paying the special 6c air mail military concession rate available to those serving in World War II.

The 6c Military airmail concession rate was extended to Prisoner of War mail in the spring of 1944. This is an example from July 10, 1944. (courtesy Jeff Shapiro)

SEVEN CENT PREXIE

The picture of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States (1829-1837), appears on the seven cent sepia stamp issued as part of the 1938
Presidential Series. Jackson's likeness was influenced by his statue in the Rotunda of the US Capitol.

 

Jackson (1767-1845) was the first President from the "Wilderness", having spent most of his life in Tennessee. He earned his nickname "Old Hickory" from
his troops for his toughness in battle as a General in the War of 1812.

 

Printed only as a sheet stamp, the seven cent stamp was first placed on sale August 4, 1938. Despite the many seven cents used to pay postal fees,

no single rate could be paid by a solo seven cent stamp until after the Liberty Series was introduced; the seven cents per ounce domestic air mail rate, in
effect August 1, 1958 to January 5, 1963.

 

EIGHT CENTS PREXIE

Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), the eighth President of the Unites States, appears on the 8c olive-green denomination of the 1938 Presidential Series. Van Buren's likeness was taken from a bust on display in the Senate Gallery of the US Capitol. It is interesting to note that the image of Queen

Vicoria appeared on the world's first postage stamp (the "Penny Black" issued in Great Britain) during Van Buren's Presidencey (1837-1841), but Van Buren would not appear a postage stamp until the 1938 Presidential Series.

 

The 8c Van Buren stamp was issued in sheet form on August 11, 1938.  This 8c stamp saw limited use during the early years after it's release, when the solo
stamp could pay for two rates; the 5c per ounce domestic air mail fee plus a 3c international surface supplementary charge (in effect November 23, 1934 thru
September 30, 1946) and the two ounce international surface rate (5c for the first ounce and 3c for the next ounce, in effect October 1, 1907 thru October 31, 1953) Near the end of World War II, 8c stamp saw more usage when the one ounce domestic air mail rate became 8c. This rate was in effect for only a short time --- March 26, 1944 thru September 30, 1946. More extensive
use of this stamp came when the one ounce surface rate to foreign countries became 8c (in effect November 1, 1953 thru June 30, 1961).  A half ounce letter could have been sent by air mail to Cuba for 8c from June 29, 1945 thru July 31, 1954.

 

NINE CENT PREXIE

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), the ninth President of the United States, appears on the 9c pink 1938 Presidential Series stamp. Harrison's likeness
was taken from a bust on view in the Rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol, in Richmond, VA.

 

Harrison, a hero of the Indian Wars and the War of 1812, was the first President to die in office. On Inauguration Day, 1841, Harrison caught a cold which
developed into pneumonia. He died thirty days later.

 

The 9c stamp was printed only in sheet form and was issued on August 18, 1938. The most common way to find a 9c solo usage is paying triple the 3c first class rate, in effect July 9, 1934 thru July 31, 1858. More difficult to find is the 9c stamp paying three times the 3c per ounce Pan-American Union and Spain surface rate, in effect April 1, 1932 thru October 31, 1953.

TEN CENT PREXIE

The likeness of John Tyler (1790-1862), the tenth President of the United States, appears on the orange-brown 10c denomination of the 1938 Presidential
Series. The image appearing on the stamp was taken from a bust on view in the Rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, VA. This was Tyler's first
appearance on a postage stamp. 
A professional politician, Tyler was the first Vice President to assume the Presidency.  He took office after William Henry Harrison died thirty days into his term. Tyler finished the term (1841-1845) but did not stand for election to another term.

 

The 10c denomination was released in two forms; as a sheet stamp (September 2, 1938) and as a horizontal (sidewise) coil (January 20, 1939).

While the Tyler stamp saw extensive use in combination with other stamps, collectors looking for a solo usage of this 10c stamp would have to search for half ounce air mail covers to a few US Posessions, ie Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (in effect the Summer of 1929 thru January 14, 1945), and the Canal Zone (rate in effect April 1, 1945 thru September 30, 1946), to a few international destinations, ie Jamaica (rate in effect November 15, 1930 thru October 31, 1946), Bermuda (rate in effect February 14, 1938 thru October
31, 1946), the uniform air mail rate to Central and South America (in effect November 1, 1946 thru June 30, 1961), and finally, for international post cards
to most countries (in effect June 1, 1954 thru June 30, 1961).

In order to change the terms of a COD (Cash On Delivery) item, the required 10 fee, paid with a 10c Prexie here, was affixed to this September 1942 form. (courtesy of Jeff Shapiro)

ELEVEN CENT PREXIE

The image of James K. Polk (1790-1849), the eleventh President of the United States (1845-1849), appears on the 11c value of the 1938 Presidential Issue. Polk's likeness on the stamp was taken from a medal struck by the US Mint.

This ultramine stamp was printed only as a sheet stamp and was issued on September 8, 1938. It is interesting to note that the first two stamps

produced by the United States were issued during his Presidency (1847), but this 11c denomination is the first time that James Polk appeared on a postage
stamp.

 

While this 11c stamp can be found in use with other stamps, solo usages of this stamp are relatively difficult to find. A single 11c cent stamp would have
paid the international surface rate for up to three ounces (five cents for the first ounce and three cents for each of the next two ounces) in effect October 1, 

1907 thru October 31, 1953), as well as the combination air/surface/air rate to Europe (five cents for the international surface rate plus three cents for domestic air service and a three cents supplement for air carriage within Europe), in effect November 23, 1934 thru the beginning of World War II. 

 

TWELVE CENT PREXIE

Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), the twelvth President of the United States, appears on the 12c denomination of the 1938 Presidential Series. His likeness was taken from a bust on view in the Rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol, in Richmond, VA.

 

"Old Rough and Ready" as Taylor was known, was a soldier for over forty years. It was said he never lost a battle in his long career. He became a national hero during the Mexican War (1846-48) and this fame swept him into the Presidency.  He served only 16 months (March 1849 - July 1850) and was succeeded upon his death from gastreonitis by Vice President Millard
Fillmore.

 

This violet 12c stamp was issued as a sheet stamp on September 14, 1938.

The 12c stamp was widely used. Rates which could be paid with a single 12c stamp included: special delivery for a local letter (in effect March 26, 1944 thru October 31, 1944), four times the domestic first class rate (in effect July 1, 1932 thru July 31, 1958), two times the 6c domestic air mail rate (in effect July 1 1934 thru March 25, 1944 and January 1949 thru July 31, 1958), and two times the 6c WWII military air mail rate. Half ounce letters prepaid with this 12c postage could be sent by air to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, with rates in effect December 1, 1937 thru March 31, 1946.

 

THIRTEEN CENT PREXIE

Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), the thirteenth President of the United States, appears on the 13c denomination of the 1938 Presidential Series. His likeness was taken from a bust on view in the Senate Gallery of the the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

 

Vice President Fillmore became President upon the death of John Tyler. He served out the term (1849-1850) but was not elected to another term. Gold
was discovered in California during his Presidency.

 

This blue-green stamp was printed in sheet form and was issued on September 22, 1938.  This was Millard Fillmore's first appearance on a postage stamp.

While the 13c value saw use in combination with other stamps, especially on fourth class mail, finding a solo usage can be a challenge. For instance, a first
class, special delivery cover could have been properly paid with a combination rate in effect November 1, 1944 thru December 31, 1948.

FOURTEEN CENT PREXIE

The likeness of Franklin Pierce (1804-1869), the fourteenth President of the United States, appears on the 14c denomination of the 1938 Presidential Series. Pierce's image was taken from a medal produced by the US Mint.

 

A hero of the Mexican War, Pierce, a long-time politician, was elected to the US Congress at age twenty-nine and then to the Senate four years later. A
compromise candidate for President, Pierce received a huge voter mandate, but served only one term (1853-1857).

 

The 14c dark blue Presidential issue was printed only in sheet form, and was issued on October 6, 1938. This was Pierce's first appearance on a postage stamp. The Pierce stamp saw limited use and solo usages are hard to find. One example paid by a single 14c stamp would be  the international surface rate for four ounces (5c for the first ounce and 3c for each of the next three ounces), in effect October 1, 1907 thru October 31, 1943. 

14c Solo Franking paying twice the 7c domestic airmail rate. (Dickson Preston)

FIFTEEN CENT PREXIE

The likeness of James Buchanan (1791-1868), the fifteenth President of the United States, appears on the fifteen cent 1938 Presidential Series. The image
was taken from a bust on display in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

 

Buchanan served in a number of high-ranking positions (Congressman, 1821-1831, Senator 1834-1845, Minister to Russia 1832-1834, Secretary of State 1845-1849, and Minister to Great Britain 1853-1856), before being elected to his one term as President, 1856-1861. He then retired to his country estate in Pennsylvania, "Wheatland", which would appear on a 1956 stamp. It is interesting to note that Buchanan was the only bachelor to serve as President.

 

The 15c blue-gray stamp was printed only as a sheet stamp and was issued on October 13, 1938.  This was James Buchanan's first appearance on a postage stamp. The 15c stamp was used extensively both in combination with other stamps and as a solo paying various rates. 

 

For example, a 15c stamp would pay the one ounce air mail rate to/from the Territory of Hawaii (in effect January 15,1945 thru September 30, 1946), the half ounce air mail rate to the Canal Zone (in effect December 1, 1937 thru March 31, 1945), the half ounce air mail rate to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela (in effect April 1, 1945 thru October 31, 1946) and the half ounce air mail rate to Europe and North Africa (in effect November 1, 1946 thru April 30,
1967).

 

SIXTEEN CENT PREXIE

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), the sixteenth President of the United States (1861-1865), appears on the 16c value of the 1938 Presidential Series.  The likeness of Lincoln comes from a bust on view in the Senate Gallery in Washington, DC.

 

Much has been written about the life of the legendary Abraham Lincoln, from his birth in a log cabin in Kentucky to his assassination at the beginning of his
second term as President in 1865.  Lincoln has been considered a symbol of the United States and has, in that capacity, appeared on hundreds of stamps
world-wide.

 

This 16c value was printed in black, and only in sheet form. The stamp was issued on October 20, 1938. No single rate ever existed for this 16c stamp, but

the stamp can be found in use with other stamps to pay variety of postal rates.  In addition, a solo 16c stamp would pay for a variety of domestic combination
rates. When the stamp was issued, the 16c stamp would prepay two times the 3c domestic first class rate and the 10c special delivery.  This combination of was in effect July 6, 1932 thru October 31, 1944. 

 

Also, at the time of the stamp's issue, the 16c stamp would pay the 6c one ounce domestic air mail rate plus 10c for special delivery.  This combination was in effect July 1, 1934 thru October 31, 1944. The 6c per ounce military air mail rate created another opportunity for solo usage, when added to the 

existing 10c special delivery fee.  This combination was in effect December 25, 1941 thru October 31, 1944.

 

When the special delivery rate was raised to 13c on November 1, 1944, the 16c value could still be used, but this time on a one ounce 3c domestic letter. This
combination rate was valid until December 31, 1948. 
When the domestic air mail rate was raised to 8c an ounce on March 26, 1944, a 16c stamp could pay double the rate.  This rate lasted until September 30, 1946.

 

SEVENTEEN CENT PREXIE

The image of Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), the seventeenth President of the United States, appears on the 17c value of the 1938 Presidential Series. 
Johnson's likeness was taken from a bust on view in the Senate Gallery in Washington, DC.

 

A career politician, Johnson was the third Vice President to become President after the death of an elected President, in this case, Abraham Lincoln.
Johnson was an unpopular President and escaped impeachment by one vote. He finished Lincoln's term (1865-1869) but was not elected to another.

 

This rose-red stamp was issued on October 27, 1938, as a sheet stamp. It marks the first appearance of Andrew Johnson on a postage stamp. The 17c stamp saw much use in combination with other stamps. The most common way to find a solo 17c usage is prepaying charges for a local letter (2c) with

minimum registration (15c). This combination rate was in effect July 1, 1933 thru March 24, 1944.

 

A more difficult challenge is to find this 17c stamp paying the international surface fee for five ounces: 5c for the first ounce and 3c for each of the next
four ounces. This rate was in effect October 1, 1907 thru October 31, 1953.

 

EIGHTEEN CENT PREXIE 
The image of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the eighteenth President of the United States, appears on the 18c denomination of the 1938 Presidential
Series. Grant's likeness was taken from a statue in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.
 
Grant was a career military professional who's service in the Civil War made him a national hero. This popularity eventually propelled him into two terms of the Presidency (1869-1877).
 
This carmine brown stamp was printed as a sheet  stamp and was released to the public on November 3, 1938. 

 

When first issued, the 18c stamp would have paid for a 3c domestic letter plus 15c for minimum  registration (in effect july 6, 1932 thru March 25, 1944). In addition, a solo 18c stamp could have prepaid 3c for a letter to South America and Spain, plus the 15c fee for international registration ( in effect July 6, 1932 thru January 31, 1945).
 
A few years later, beginning on October 1, 1946, the 18c stamp would prepay 5c for domestic air mail and 13c for special delivery. This combination rate was
in effect until December 31, 1948. 
When postage rates were raised, an 18c stamp would still prepay 3c for a domestic letter and 13c for special delivery. This combination of rates would be
in effect January 1, 1949 thru December 31, 1948.
 
Other ways to use the 18c stamp include paying six times the 3c per ounce domestic letter rate (in effect July 6, 1932 thru July 31, 1958) and three times the 6c airmail rate (in effect July 1, 1934 thru March 25, 1944 and again January 1, 1949 thru July 31, 1958, and for World War II military personnel,
December 26, 1941 thru September 30, 1946).

 

NINETEEN CENT PREXIE

The likeness of Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893), the nineteenth President of the United States, appears onthe 19c denomination of the 1938 Presidential Series. Hayes' image was taken from a medal struck by the US Mint.

 

Hayes, a lawyer, served as a three term Governor of Ohio, and as a member of the US Congress, until he was elected President (1877-1881). He pledged only to serve one term.

 

This 19c violet stamp was printed only in sheet form and was released to the public on November 10, 1938, along with the 20c Prexie denomination.

While this 19c stamp can be found paying for rates and postal fees in combination with other stamps, there was no single rate applicable to the 19c stamp when issued. Complex combination rates were possible, but any solo usage of this stamp is very hard to find.
 

Examples includes three times the 3c per ounce domestic letter rate plus 10c for special delivery, (in effect July 1, 1928 thru October 31, 1944) , or two times the 3c domestic letter fee plus 13c for special delivery, (in effect November 1, 1944 thru December 31, 1948).

 

TWENTY CENT PREXIE

The likeness of James A. Garfield (1831-1881), the twentieth President of the United States, appears on the 20c denomination of the 1938 Presidential Series. Garfield's image was taken from a medal created by the US Mint.

 

Garfield chose academia as a career early in life, but soon turned to politics, where he was elected to seven terms in the US House of Representatives. He was the first left-handed person elected President and the second President to be assasinated. Garfield was shot by a disgruntled civil servant only a few months into his Presidency (1881).

 

This bluish green value was printed only as a sheet stamp and was issued to the public on November 10, 1938, the same day as the 19c Presidential value.

When first issued, a variety of rates could have been paid with a single twenty cent stamp, including a registered letter to most foreign countries,( 5c for
the one ounce UPU surface rate plus the 15c international registration fee, in effect December 1, 1925 thru January 31, 1945), the half ounce air mail
rate to/from Hawaii (in effect April 24, 1937 thru January 14, 1945, the half ounce air mail rate between Hawaii and Guam (in effect April 21, 1937 thru
September 30, 1946), and the half ounce air mail rate to British Honduras (in effect February 4, 1938 thru March 31, 1945).

 

A few years later, a 20c stamp would have paid to mail
a half ounce letter by air to South America. This rate
was in effect April 1, 1945 thru October 31, 1946.  

With the reduction of this South American air mail
rate on November 1, 1946, the same 20c stamp would pay
two times the new 10c per half ounce air mail. This
rate was in effect until June 30, 1961.

 

TWENTY-ONE CENT PREXIE
The image of Chester A. Arthur (1830-1886), the  twenty-first President of the United States, appears  on the 21 cent value of the 1938 Presidential Series. The likeness was taken from a bust on view  in the US Senate Gallery in Washington, DC.
 
Arthur, a lawyer and a career politician, was the fourth Vice Rresident to ascend to the office of President, serving the remaining three and a half year term of James Garfield (1881-1885), who had died from gunshot wounds. 
 
The 21 c greenish blue stamp was printed only in sheet form and was issued on November 22, 1938. This was Chester Arthur's first appearance on a postage
stamp.
 
At the time of the stamp's release, this 21c would have paid a number of postal fees, including 1) a double rate domestic letter (6c) plus minimum registration (15c), and 2) a single weight domestic letter (3c) with minimum registration (15c) a return receipt (3c). Both these combination of rates were in effect July 6, 1932 thru March 24, 1944.
 Additionally at the time the stamp was issued, 21c would pay for a one ounce air mail letter (6c) with minimum registration (15c). This combination of fees was in effect July 1, 1934 thru March 24, 1944.

 
Years later, this 21c stamp would pay for additional combination rates, including the fees for air mail, special delivery letters:  From November 1, 1944
thru September 30, 1946, a one ounce domestic air mail letter (8c) plus special delivery (13c), and from January 1, 1949 thru December 31, 1951, a one ounce air mail letter (6c) with special delivery services (15c). 

 

TWENTY-TWO CENT PREXIE

The likeness of Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) appears on the 22c value of the 1938 Presidential Series.Cleveland's image was taken from a medal produced by the US Mint.

 

Cleveland, a lawyer and career politian, was the only person to serve two non-consecutive terms as President of the United States (1885-1889, 1893-1897), and therefore considered by most as the 22nd and 24thPresident. Cleveland was also the only President to be married while in Office.

 

This vermilion stamp was printed only in sheet form and was issued on Novemver 22, 1938, the same day as the 21c Garfield stamp.

While the 22c stamp was used in combination with other stamps, finding a solo 22c usage to pay postal fees is extremely difficult.  Examples include 1) a special delivery (20c) postcard to the Pan-American Union and Spain (2c) mailed between April 1, 1934 thru October 31, 1953 and  2) a special delivery (20c) domestic postcard (2c) sent while this combination rate was in effect, January 1, 1952 thru June 30, 1957.

TWENTY-FOUR CENT PREXIE

The likeness of Benjamin Harrison (1833-1903), the twenty-third President of the United States (1889-1893), appears on the 24 cent value of the 1938
Presidential Series.  Harrison's image was taken from a bust on view at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

Harrison, the son of John Scott Harrison, a two-term US Congressman, and the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States
(who appeared on the 9c value of the Presidential Series), it was almost natural that he enter the family business --- politics.

 

This gray black stamp was issued only in sheet form and was issued on December 2, 1938, the same day as the 25c Presidential Series stamp portraying William McKinley. The 24c stamp can be found alone or in combination with other stamps paying a variety of postal fees. When the stamp was issued, this solo 24c stamp would pay 1) for two times the 3c per ounce domestic letter rate and 15c for minimum registration plus 3c for return receipt service (in effect July 6, 1932 thru March 25, 1944) 2)for three times the 2c local letter rate, plus 15c for minimum registration and 3c for a return receipt (in effect January 1, 1933 thru thru March 25, 1944) and 3) 6c for a one ounce domestic air mail letter plus 15c for minimum registration and 3c for a return receipt (in effect July 1, 1934 thru March 25, 1944).

24c used to pay the 3c per oz. first class rate, 3c for the return receipt fee and 18c for registration with indemnity under $25. Cover from October 1940. (courtesy of Jeff Shapiro)

TWENTY-FIVE CENT PREXIE

The likeness of William McKinley (1843-1901), the twenty-fifth President of the United States, appears on the 25c value of the 1938 Presidential. His image
was taken from a medal produced by the US Mint.

 

A career policitian, McKinley was a six term Congressman and the Governor of Ohio before beating William Jennings Bryan for two terms in the White House (1897-1901). He was assassinated early in his second term while attending the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901.

 

This red lilac stamp, printed only in sheet form, was issued on December 2, 1938, the same day as the 24c Presidential value featuring Benjamin Harrison. 

While this 25c stamp would pay a variety of rates in combination with other stamps, collectors looking for a solo usage have many rates to choose from,
including: 1) a domestic registered (20c) one ounce air mail (5c) letter in effect October 1, 1946 thru December 31, 1948, 2) a special delivery (20c) one ounce surface letter to foreign countries (except South America and Spain) (5c) in effect September 1, 1926 thru October 31, 1953, and 3) a half ounce air mail letter to Asia (except the USSR and Turkey) the Pacific Islands and Africa (except Mediterranean North Africa), in effect November 1, 1946 thru June 30, 1971.

 

THIRTY CENT PREXIE

The image of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), the twenty-sixth President of the United States (1901-1909), appears on the 30c value of the 1938
Presidential Series. Roosevelt's likeness was taken from a bust on display in the Senate Gallery of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC.

 

Roosevelt, a noted historian, naturalist and explorer, with thirty-five books to his credit, was also askillful politician who became a national hero for his exploits with his "Rough Riders" during the Spanish-American War. As Vice President, "Teddy" assumed the Presidency upon the assassination of
William McKinley in 1901.

 

This ultramine stamp, printed only in sheet form, was issued to the public on December 8, 1938, the same day as the 50c Presidential stamp, featuring William Howard Taft. This 30c stamp saw extensive use in paying fees alone

or in combination with other stamps. There are many opportunities for collectors to find solo usages of this stamp paying a variety of rates, including 
1) a half ounce air mail letter to Europe (in effect April 28, 1939 thru October 31, 1946), 2) a half ounce air mail letter to South America (10c) plus special
delivery (20c) (in effect November 1, 1946 thru June 30, 1957), and 3) a post card sent to most international countries (10c) plus special delivery (20c) (in effect June 1, 1954 thru June 30. 1957).

 

FIFTY CENT PREXIE

The likeness of William Howard Taft (1857-1930), the twenty-seventh President of the United States, appears on the 50c value of the 1938 Presidential series. The image was taken from a bust sculpted especially for the stamp. Other existing busts were rejected for use as they looked too much like another President, Grover Cleveland, who appeared on the 22c stamp.

 

Taft, a lawyer and judge, entered civil service at the request of his friend Theodore Roosevelt. Years later, Taft, it was said, reluctantly accepted the nomination to the Presidency, as he really wanted to be a justice of the Supreme Court, a job he received after he retired after two terms as Chief Executive of the United States (1908-1913).

 

The 50c lavendar stamp was printed only as a sheet stamp and was issued on December 8, 1938, the same day as the 30c stamp portraying Theodore Roosevelt. The 50c stamp saw extensive use in the domestic and foreign mails and many opportunities for solo usage exist. For example, when the 50c stamp was issued, it would have paid the half ounce air mail rate to the Philippines (in effect April 21, 1937 thru June 30, 1946). A few years later, the same 50c stamp would have paid the half ounce air mail rate to West Africa (Gambia, Sierra Leone, Gold Coast, Nigeria and Liberia, in effect December 2, 1941 thru October 31 1946). A 50c stamp would have also paid two times the 25c per half ounce air mail rate to most countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific (in effect November 1, 1946 thru June 30, 1971).

Want to Become a Member?

Contact

Jeffrey Shapiro, Chairperson

PO Box 3211

Fayville, MA 01745-3211

 

Membership

$5 US/yr-newsletter via e-mail.

$10 US/yr- newsletter via snail mail within US. Addresses outside US contact Jeff Shapiro.

 

United States Stamp Society

 

Payment

Within US via cheque to Jeffrey Shapiro

Outside US via PayPal

Revised and Updated

May 2017

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© Prexie Era Committee