Postage Stamps of the United States - 1919


Woodrow Wilson

Postmaster General
Albert S. Burleson


Click Control Above To Hear
1919 "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles"

Postage Rates

Postal Rates of January 1 - July 1, 1919
Domestic Letter Rate: 3¢ per oz.
Postcard Rate: 2¢
Air Mail Rate: 6¢ per oz.

Starting on June 30, 1919 - Pre-War Rates Restored
Domestic Letter Rate: 2¢ per oz.
Postcard Rate: 1¢
Air Mail Rate: 6¢ per oz.


The Victory Issue of 1919
Flat Plate - Perf 11 - 280 Subject Plates

Victory Issue of 1919
99,585,200 issued
First Day: March 3, 1919

Although known as the "Victory Issue", this stamp could just as well be known as the Peace Issue, for the allegorical figure of the "Goddess of Liberty Victorious" holding a sword in one hand and the Scales of Justice in the other, is framed by the flags of nations which America had hoped for continued peace and cooperation. From left to right the flags are: Great Britain, Belgium, the U.S., Italy and France.

The light violet color, compounded by the fact that the inks of the day were of such inferior quality, made the intricate and detailed design a poor choice. The stamp was not well received by collectors, and even with the nearly 100 million issued, well-impressioned, nicely centered copies are surprisingly hard to come by.

First Day Cover collecting had not yet become common, particularly since no city had been singled out to promote new issues. For that reason covers dated March 3, 1919 are very scarce.

Two shades of this stamp command a premium, the pale red violet and the red and deep red violet shades. The deep red violet is exceptionally scarce and its certification is, at best, a very subjective matter. Note that most stamps that have strong red violet color, even tending toward deep red violet are expertized as the far more common red violet shade. It must be assumed that all red violet stamps, even ones that appear to be a deep red violet, are the red violet shade until certified. The rare Number 537a, deep red violet shade, should never be bought or sold without a certificate, for when it is time to sell the stamp it is very, very likely the stamp will be certified as just the red violet shade.

The 13¢ Franklin of 1919
Flat Plate - Perf 11 - 400 Subject Plates

13¢ Franklin of 1919
32,285,356 issued
First Day: January 10, 1919

The 13¢ Franklin was issued primarily for use in paying both the letter fee of 3¢ and the special delivery fee of 10¢, or the 3¢ letter fee and the 10¢ registry fee. Although this is the only variety of the Franklin 13¢ stamp, it comes in many shades. The deep apple green brings a slightly higher premium.

The Shanghai Overprints of 1919

13¢ Franklin of 1919
32,285,356 issued
First Day: January 10, 1919

In 1919, the U.S. Dollar was worth almost exactly twice the value of the standard currency in Shanghai at the time. The U.S. postal agency in Shanghai would accept payment in U.S. currency only, making it difficult for non-American patrons to send letters via the U.S. mail system, resulting in a loss of revenue. By placing a surcharge on a portion of its stamps, the U.S. Agency in Shanghai could still offer the non-surcharged stamps at face value when payment was made in dollars.

By May of 1919, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing had printed the overprints on many denominations of the normal stamps of the day, the perf 11 un-watermarked Washington Franklins, Number 498 through Number 518, and shipped the overprinted stamps to Shanghai. The overprints were not issued publicly until the beginning of the 1920 fiscal year - i.e. July 1, 1919. The values issued included the 1¢ through the $1 stamps, resulting in 2¢ through $2 overprinted stamps.

The following postage stamp varieties were first issued by the U.S. in 1919

No new varieties of U.S. Air Mail stamps were issued in 1919
No new varieties of U.S. Special Delivery stamps were issued in 1919
No new varieties of U.S. Postage Due stamps were issued in 1919

Ordinary Issue
Number 496 - 5¢ Washington rotary coil perf 10 vert. No Wmk - EDU: 4/15/1919
Number 500 - 2¢ Washington Type Ia - EDU: 12/15/1919
Number 531 - 1¢ Washington offset imperforate - EDU: 3/17/19 (on cover 4/7/19)
Number 536 - 1¢ Washington offset perf 12½ - EKU: 8/15/1919
Number 538 - 1¢ Washington coil waste perf 11 x 10 - EDU: 6/28/1919
Number 539 - 2¢ Type II Washington coil waste perf 11 x 10 - EDU: 6/30/1919
Number 540 - 2¢ Type III Washington coil waste perf 11 x 10 - EDU: 6/17/1919
Number 541 - 3¢ Washington coil waste perf 11 x 10 - EDU: 6/14/1919

Ordinary Issue - Shanghai Overprints
Sheets of the Shanghai overprints first went on sale 7/1/1919
Number K1 - 1¢ Washington Shanghai Overprint (2¢) - EDU: 7/2/1919
Number K2 - 2¢ Washington Shanghai Overprint (4¢) - EDU: 7/2/1919
Number K3 - 3¢ Washington Shanghai Overprint (6¢)
Number K4 - 4¢ Washington Shanghai Overprint (8¢)
Number K5 - 5¢ Washington Shanghai Overprint (10¢)
Number K6 - 6¢ Washington Shanghai Overprint (12¢)
Number K7 - 7¢ Washington Shanghai Overprint (14¢)
Number K8 - 8¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint (16¢)
Number K9 - 9¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint (18¢)
Number K10 - 10¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint (20¢)
Number K11 - 12¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint (24¢)
Number K12 - 15¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint (30¢)
Number K13 - 20¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint (40¢)
Number K14 - 30¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint (60¢)
Number K15 - 50¢ Franklin Shanghai Overprint($1)
Number K16 - $1 Franklin Shanghai Overprint ($2)

Number 537 - 3¢ Violet Victory Issue - Designer: Claire A. Huston - Engravers: M. W. Baldwin and Edward M. Hall
Number 537a - 3¢ Red Violet and Deep Red Violet Victory Issue - The deep red violet shade is exceptionally rare
Number 537b - 3¢ Pale Red Violet - The pale red violet, as well as the red violet stamps bring a nice premium