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44-cent Bart Simpson single

As the election and inauguration of America’s first African-American President, Barack Obama dominated the news and popular culture in 2008-2009, the United States Postal Service’s commemorative postage stamp lineup delivered numerous surprises and a large variety of superbly designed stamp issues.

A new state flags series, iconic furniture designs of Charles and Ray Eames, Vintage Black Cinema, Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness, Latin Jazz, Automobiles of the 1950s, Disney’s The Jungle Book, and Civil Rights Pioneers were just a few of the topics, themes and people featured on United States postage stamps during 2008-2009.

As with every year since the first U.S. postage stamps were issued in 1847, a number of important Americans were individually honored on postage stamps during this period including astronomer Edwin Hubble, journalist Ruben Salazar, singer and actor Frank Sinatra, actress Bette Davis, author Richard Wright, actor and comedian Bob Hope and educator Anna Julia Cooper.

The United States honored the 200th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln with four commemorative stamps, each featuring a different period of Lincoln’s life as seen through one of his many professions. The 200th birthday celebrations also included a stamp honoring one of America’s most famous poets and writers, Edgar Allen Poe.

Arguably the greatest surprise in this period was the issuance of five stamps featuring the members of one of America’s fictional families: The Simpsons. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie each appeared on postage stamps specially designed by Simpson’s creator Matt Groening in celebration of the television show’s 20th anniversary.

Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum

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