Presidents: Jan. 1 – Mar. 4: Theodore Roosevelt · Mar. 4 – Dec. 31: William Howard Taft.
Postmasters General: Jan. 1 – Mar. 4: George von L. Meyer · Mar. 5 – Dec. 31: Frank H. Hitchcock.
Domestic Letter Rate: 2¢ per oz. · Postcard Rate: 1¢ · Foreign Rate: 5¢.
Registry Fee: Jan. 1 – Oct. 31: 8¢ · Nov. 1 – Dec. 31: 10¢.
The Commemoratives Issued in 1909
Flat Plate – Perf 12 and Imperforate – Double-line Watermark.
400 Subject Plates
Issue Date: Feb. 12, 1909
280 Subject Plates
Issue Date: June 1, 1909
240 Subject Plates
Issue Date: Sept. 25, 1909
Washington Franklins Issued in 1909
Flat Plate – Perf 12 – Double-line Watermark.
|400 Subject Platesest. 100 million issuedIssue Date: Jan. 7, 1909||400 Subject Platesapprox. 2.9 million issuedIssue Date: Jan. 11, 1909||200 Subject Plates,826,790 issuedIssue Date: Jan. 13, 1909|
|400 Subject Platesest. 15-17 million issuedIssue Date: Jan. 19, 1909||200 Subject Plates313,590 issuedIssue Date: Jan. 29, 1909|
The Commemoratives of 1909
The commemorative stamps issued in this year comprise three entirely unique sets and commemorate three entirely different events. Properly, they should be considered as distinct as say, the Pan American, Louisiana and Jamestown issues. For convenience, they are often lumped into a single set by collectors, but the entirely different dates of issue and different sizes reaffirm this concept of separateness.
This stamp marks the first time the U.S. Post Office issued a "commemorative" stamp that did not promote a current event. Still, as with the McKinley stamp of the Louisiana Purchase Issue, the stamp was a memorial stamp as much as a commemorative one. When the ordinary issue was changed in 1908 to designs of Washington and Franklin only, there was a public outcry about the exclusion of Lincoln, whose likeness had been on at least one denomination of each issue since 1866. Since the year 1909 marked the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, a stamp commemorating that event seemed a logical choice.
There are many collectible varieties of this stamp, with the more obvious being the imperforate and blue paper stamps which have been given separate Scott numbers. There are many collectible plate positions, and the marginal imprint with small solid star used by the Bureau for identification purposes, is nearly unique to this stamp. There are spacing varieties as well, the sheets were printed with both 2mm and 3mm spacing between the stamps.
The imperforate stamp was distributed to private coil vending companies who in turn provided their own perforations. Many of these private perforations, found as well on the other 1909 commemoratives and many of the ordinary "imperforate" stamps of the era, are quite collectible. We have enclosed imperforate in quotes since the stamps, once privately perforated, are no longer imperforate.
The imperforate two cent Lincoln of 1909 is found with the following private perforations: Brinkerhoff Types I, II, IIa, and IIb; Farwell Types 4A and 4B; Mailometer Types I, II, III, and IV; Schermack Types I, Ia, Ib, II, and III; and the U.S. Automatic Vending Machine Types I, II, and III. The U.S. Automatic Vending Machine Company also introduced the prototype for privately perforated coils with this stamp, Type IIIx.
See also: Private Perforations – Vending and Affixing Machine Perforations on U.S. Stampsю
In 1909, to celebrate its connection with the Alaskan and Canadian Northwest frontiers and to commemorate the gold rush in the Klondike region, Seattle hosted a world’s fair, the Alaskan-Pacific-Yukon Exposition. Efforts were made to get the Post Office to issue a set of stamps to promote the event, as had been done for the Columbian, Trans-Mississippi, Pan-American, Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown expositions that had preceded it. After some badgering, the Postmaster agreed to issue one stamp to honor the event.
The design of this stamp went through several phases, including an attractive seal – the furry kind – on a block of ice, but these concepts were turned down when the promoters of the event insisted on promoting Alaska’s mild summers and not its harsh winters.
The exposition had been planned for 1907, the 40th anniversary of Secretary of State William Seward’s purchase of the Alaskan territory from Russia for $8 million, but conflicts with the Jamestown Exposition pushed it back two years. In 1867 the purchase of Alaska had been known as "Seward’s Folly", but by 1909 the importance of this acquisition was well appreciated, and Seward was widely regarded as a prophet of sorts.
His portrait on the stamp is certainly justifiable, in the same manner as Livingston’s was on the one cent Louisiana stamp.
As with the Lincoln stamp of 1909, there are many collectible varieties, including the privately perforated "imperforate" stamps, and additionally, a variety of collectible World’s Fair and Exposition cancels.
The imperforate two cent Alaska-Yukon of 1909 is found with the following private perforations: Attleboro; Brinkerhoff Types I, II, and IIa; Mailometer Types I, II, III, and IV; Schermack Type III; and the U.S. Automatic Vending Machine Types I, Ia, II, and III.
Like the Alaska-Yukon Exposition – World’s Fair, the Hudson-Fulton Celebration committee pushed for the issuance of a stamp to promote their event. As the title of the stamp suggests, the celebration commemorated two events – the discovery of the Hudson River – in 1609, and the first demonstration of a viable steamship – in 1807.
The stamp depicts both of these events, although the dates on the stamp suggest otherwise, commemorating only the tercentenary of the discovery of the Hudson River. If one looks closely at the central vignette however, it is plain that an early seventeenth century sailing boat, Hudson’s "The Half Moon", and a nineteenth century steamboat, Robert Fulton’s "Clermont", are sailing peacefully on the same Hudson River. An anachronism to be sure, but the point was clearly made.
The imperforate stamp was not really necessary, since its large size made it ill-fitted for most private vending machines, but a fair number were issued – 216,480. Although 200,000 may seem small for a commemorative issue, many, if not most, of these were saved by collectors, and the imperforate stamps are not exceptionally scarce. As with the other imperforates of 1909, some of these were privately perforated, although primarily for philatelists.
The imperforate two cent Hudson-Fulton of 1909 is found with the following private perforations: Brinkerhoff Type II; Mailometer Types I, II, III, and IV; Schermack Type III; and the U.S. Automatic Vending Machine Types II and III.
There is a web site, by Steven Stratford, devoted entirely to the 1909 U.S. Commemorative stamps: us1909.com.
The New Designs of the Regular Issues of 1909
These stamps rightfully belong to the "Series of 1908", although they were not issued until early 1909. The rest of the 1908 series stamps may be seen by clicking here.
The thirteen cent, fifty cent and dollar stamps were issued in one variety only, on the double-line watermarked paper, although the thirteen cent does appear in the blue paper variety. Both the ten cent and fifteen cent stamps were issued on single-line watermarked paper as well, and are also known in the blue paper varieties. The ten cent was also issued in coil form.
For more information on the identification of the various Washington Franklin stamps, see: Washington Franklin Identifier.
The following postage stamp varieties were first issued by the U.S. in 1909:
No new varieties of U.S. Special Delivery stamps were issued in 1909.
No new varieties of the Postage Due stamps were issued in 1909.
Designer: Claire Aubrey Huston, based on the profile from Houdon’s busts of Washington and Franklin.
Engravers: Marcus W. Baldwin, Edward M. Hall and Robert Ponickau.
Scott 338 – 10¢ Washington – perf 12 double-line watermarked – EDU: 1/18/09.
Scott 339 – 13¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk – EDU: 3/5/09.
Scott 340 – 15¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk – EKU: 3/12/09.
Scott 341 – 50¢ Washington perf 12D/L Wmk – EKU: 10/23/09.
Scott 342 – $1 Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk – EKU: not known.
Scott 343V Vertical Coil – 1¢ Franklin imperforate from a vertical strip D/L Wmk. – EDU: 8/8/10.
Scott 343H Horizontal Coil – 1¢ Franklin imperf. from a horizontal strip double-line watermarked.
Scott 344V Vertical Coil – 2¢ Washington imperf. from a vertical strip D/L Wmk – EDU: 10/13/09.
Scott 344H Horizontal Coil – 2¢ Washington imperf. from a horiz. strip D/L Wmk – EDU: 3/23/09.
Scott 345 – 3¢ Washington imperforate D/L Wmk – EKU: 2/13/09.
Scott 345H* Horizontal Coil – 3¢ Washington imperf. from a horizontal strip double-line watermarked.
Scott 346 – 4¢ Washington imperforate D/L Wmk – EDU: 3/13/09.
Scott 346V* Vertical Coil – 4¢ Washington imperf. from a vertical strip D/L Wmk – EDU: 2/18/11.
Scott 347 – 5¢ Washington imperforate D/L Wmk – EKU: 3/4/09.
Scott 347V* Vertical Coil – 5¢ Washington imperf. from a vertical strip D/L Wmk – EDU: 7/24/11.
Scott 349 – 2¢ Washington perf 12 horizontally D/L Wmk – EDU: 5/14/09.
Scott 351 – 5¢ Washington perf 12 horizontally D/L Wmk – EDU: 9/21/09.
Scott 352 – 1¢ Franklin perf 12 verticallyD/L Wmk – EKU: 3/3/09.
Scott 353 – 2¢ Washington perf 12 vertically D/L Wmk – EDU: 6/14/09.
Scott 354 – 4¢ Washington perf 12 verticallyD/L Wmk – EDU: 6/9/09.
Scott 355 – 5¢ Washington perf 12 verticallyD/L Wmk – EDU: 10/25/09.
Scott 356 – 10¢ Washington perf 12 verticallyD/L Wmk – EDU: 3/9/09.
Scott 357 – 1¢ Franklin perf 12 D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EDU: 2/21/09.
Scott 358 – 2¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EDU: 2/23/09.
Scott 359 – 3¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EKU: not known.
Scott 360 – 4¢ Washington perf 12D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EKU: not regularly issued.
Scott 361 – 5¢ Washington perf 12D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EDU: 5/18/10.
Scott 362 – 6¢ Washington perf 12D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EKU: 9/14/11.
Scott 363 – 8¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EKU: not regularly issued.
Scott 364 – 10¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EDU: 2/3/10.
Scott 365 – 13¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EKU: not known.
Scott 366 – 15¢ Washington perf 12 D/L Wmk Blue Paper – EKU: not known.
* The issue dates of these imperforate coils are unknown to this author. Although the EDUs of these stamps are in 1911, it is most probable they were issued in either 1909 or 1910, since some of the single-line watermarked stamps issued at least a year later (Scott 383 and 384 vertical and horizontal coils) have EDUs of 1910. They are listed on this page since the imperforate stock from which they were made was issued in 1909.
Printed by the Bureau of Engraving & Printing on soft porous double-line watermarked paper.
Designer: Claire Aubrey Huston and Marcus W. Baldwin on the Hudson-Fulton stamp.
Scott 367 – 2¢ Lincoln perf 12 – Engravers: M. W. Baldwin, E. M. Hall and Robert Ponickau.
Scott 368 – 2¢ Lincoln imperforate.
Scott 368V Vertical Coil – 2¢ Lincoln imperf. from a vertical strip – EDU: 5/3/09.
Scott 368H Horizontal Coil – 2¢ Lincoln imperf. from a horiz. strip – EDU: 12/9/09.
Scott 369 – 2¢ Lincoln perf 12 Blue Paper.
Scott 370 – 2¢ Alaska-Yukon perf 12 – Engravers:M. W. Baldwin, Edward M. Hall and R. Ponickau.
Scott 371 – 2¢ Alaska-Yukon Imperforate.
Scott 372 – 2¢ Hudson-Fulton perf 12 – Engravers: Marcus W. Baldwin, E. M. Hall and R. Ponickau.
Scott 373 – 2¢ Hudson-Fulton Imperforate.