Getting to Know the Postmaster General’s Collection

As we announced last week, more than 100 philatelic items from the Postmaster General’s Collection are now up for auction on eBay. Noteworthy items of historical interest include:

The Postmaster General’s Collection began in the 1860s as a modest set of Post Office Department files filled with records and a small sampling of stamps, and continues to evolve today. Now, thousands of stamps later, the archive has become a one-of-a-kind stamp collecting resource with unusual, rare, and unique holdings.


A stamp collector’s prize, the Nature of America Limited Edition Collectors Set is a rare find! Click the image for details.

The 30,000 items consist of two distinct elements: stamps and original stamp artwork and includes many pre-production items, including proofs (quality control samples) and essays (either rejected or not finalized stamp designs), black and white models, and uncut press sheets (typically six to eight sheets of stamps from a single sheet that is not perforated for individual stamp removal).

Early proofs were made from the original steel dies on which stamp designs were engraved. The dies were then pressed onto transfer rolls which were used to create the plates for printing stamps. Later with lithographic printing, designer or production prints were mounted to replicate the earlier die proof standard. Many of these were autographed for approval by the Postmaster General when they were created.

The stamp collection also contains many rare and unique items, including full sheets of early high denomination stamps, experimental paper issues, die proofs (quality control samples) of the inverted Jenny airmail stamp, and mail postmarked on the moon. Very few of these items have been seen by the public.

The stamp art collection originated in 1942 and includes the original art commissioned by the Post Office Department and U.S. Postal Service for more than 3,000 U.S. postage stamps. The collection includes original artwork by Norman Rockwell and hundreds of other artists who have volunteered to create the art that would be used in miniature form on U.S. stamps. In addition to the approved artwork, the collection includes thousands of concept designs as well as many preliminary sketches. For the Elvis Presley stamp, for example, more than 50 original designs were submitted by various artists to the Postal Service for consideration.


A truly rare collectible set, the Emancipation Proclamation Stamp and Poster Set Signed by PMG and Artist will be coveted by stamp and history enthusiasts alike! Click the image for details.

This special auction of items from the Postmaster General’s Collection will end at 3 p.m. on Monday, September 23. Don’t let this unique opportunity to own a piece of history pass you by. Head over to eBay and add something unique to your collection today.

New Postal Store & Special USPS Auction Coming to eBay Today!

Exciting news! We have collaborated with eBay, one of the world’s largest marketplaces, to open a Postal Store on the site ( that will offer stamps and other USPS-related merchandise for sale. The store is now open and ready for business!

Later today, USPS will also begin auctioning stamp-related collectible items from the Postmaster General’s Collection.


This proof of the 20th Anniversary of Moon Landing Priority Mail stamp (issued in 1989) is one of only three quality control samples created prior to printing 35 million stamps. It will be auctioned on eBay as part of the Postmaster General’s Collection.

The Postmaster General’s Collection began in the 1860s with a small sampling of stamps and Post Office Department files. Today, and thousands of stamps later, the collection has become a one-of-a-kind stamp archive consisting of unique and rare stamps and original stamp artwork totaling approximately 30,000 items. To preserve the collection, only duplicate items will be auctioned.

“The Postmaster General’s Collection is a stamp collector’s dream,” said Chief Marketing Officer Nagisa Manabe. “It includes U.S. stamps and other rare postal artifacts found nowhere else in the world.”

The current auction of the Postmaster General’s Collection, with more than 100 items, begins today, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. EDT and expires at 3 p.m. EDT, Mon, Sept. 23. More items will be auctioned on eBay at a later date. Check the special auctions page on eBay for details.