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Rotating Columbian Exposition stamp images
Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the Nation’s First Commemorative Stamps
 

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The Columbian Exposition and the Nation’s First Commemorative Stamps

The National Postal Museum celebrates the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the story of Christopher Columbus’s journeys to the New World as told through the nation’s first commemorative stamps, the 1893 Columbians.


 
         
circle 5-dollar plate proof single   The Nation's First Commemorative Stamps
The 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s initial landing in the “New World” provided Chicagoans with an occasion to reflect, to celebrate, and to memorialize the adventurous Italian navigator. Though financial and construction problems postponed the celebration for one year, in 1893 city leaders hosted a magnificent international exhibition to commemorate both Columbus and the nation’s progress over those four centuries—the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. In keeping with the exposition’s celebratory theme, the U.S. Post Office Department issued the nation’s first commemorative stamps, the “Columbians”.
         
circle 1c Columbus in Sight of Land single   Columbian Exposition Issues
The World's Columbian Exposition opened on Chicago's lakefront on May 1, 1893. Over the next seven months, twenty-seven million visitors attended the fair. The Columbian Exposition commemoratives keep the fair alive for a small population of stamp collectors.
         
circle Columbian Exposition postal card   Significant Acquisition of 1893 Columbian Exposition Postal Cards
A mint set of the third and last issue of the official Columbian Exposition souvenir—an expanded series of twelve domestic-size (6 1/8 x 3 3/4 inch) 1-cent postal cards and a wrapper (not original to the set)—were given to the Museum.
         
circle Columbian Exposition postal card   World's Columbian Exposition Postal Card Computer Monitor Background
Created by Charles W. Goldsmith. Printed by the American Lithographic Company of New York, New York, 1893.
         
 
 
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