Saturday, March 29, 2008

Trailblazers and Trendsetters on U.S. Stamps

First Man on the Moon
Paul Calle, 1969, Acrylic on Board

The United States' National Postal Museum is dedicated to showcasing postal history of the U.S. They regularly house exhibits detailing some aspect of U.S. philately. One current exhibit is "Trailblazers and Trendsetters: The Art of the Stamp".

The exhibit showcases the artwork that has been used on United States postage. Each piece of art in the exhibit was commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service over a 40-year time frame, from 1967 through 2006. A variety of artistic techniques, such as oil painting, watercolors, photography, and pen and ink drawings, were used in the creation of the artworks. These images are then reduced in size, sometimes by a hundred-fold, to fit on a postage stamp.

United States First Man on the Moon
10-cent Air Mail Stamp, 1969

One painting, by Paul Calle, depicts the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. The painting shows Armstrong at the base of the Lunar Lander, his one foot tenuously on the moon's surface.

In 1969, the United States featured the painting on a 10-cent stamp caption "First Man On The Moon". Interestingly, the original painting was done in acrylic, but the stamp shows the fine lines of the engraving process, which slightly alters the appearance of the image.

Be sure to visit the National Postal Museum's online exhibit Trailblazers and Trendsetters: The Art of the Stamp. The website is located at

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