Telling the Story of a Nation

Figures of the American West

4-cent Frederic Remington stamp
The 4-cent Frederic Remington Issue stamp was issued October 4, 1961. The date of the stamp's release coincided with Remington's 100th birthday.

Historically, the American West has served as a home for a wide range of people. Legends surrounding the cowboy and Native American are evidence to this region's influence on American culture. Frederic Remington celebrated the American West through a variety of artistic mediums. He portrayed the Native American in a painting entitled "Smoke Signal," and also honored the Cowboy in a sculpture named "Coming Through the Rye." These two works are depicted separately on a 4-cent and 18-cent stamp. The stamps honor Remington, but they are also reminders that the legends and events from the West are an important part of America's identity.

The Post Office Department issued "Smoke Signal" on a stamp in 1961 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Remington’s birth. The image shows two Native Americans releasing a smoke signal as a means of communication. In the painting, there is another native and a horse. However, they were both cropped in order to center the stamp’s focus on the smoke signal. At the dedication ceremony for the stamp, Postmaster General J. Edward Day said that this image was fitting, as it shows early communication between men. Day pointed to the fact that The Post Office Department was continuing that communication through the use of over 36,000 post office braches. The stamp was the first to portray a piece of American art in its full color, and it was designed with the intention of adding beauty to postage stamps.

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The 10-cent Famous Americans Issue stamp honoring artist and sculptor Frederic Remington was issued September 30, 1940.
18-cent Frederic Remington stamp
The 18-cent stamp celebrating Frederic Remington's sculpture "Coming Through the Rye" was issued October 9, 1981.

"Coming Through the Rye" was issued on a stamp in 1981. The bronze sculpture shows cowboys on horseback with their guns drawn. Remington finished the work in 1902. He died seven years later.