Duck Stamps

Topical Reference Page

Fulvous Whistling Duck painted by Burton Moore. This southern species had never been featured on a Federal Duck Stamp until this 1986 issue. Courtesy of an anonymous lender.

Officially known as “Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps,” Federal Duck Stamps are the longest running series of U. S. stamps. They are also among the largest and most beautiful of stamps, depicting all species of North American ducks, swans and geese.

Duck stamps are revenue stamps, not postage stamps. The first duck stamp was issued in 1934 and cost $1.00. The price has risen over the decades and the stamp has cost $15.00 since 1991. The stamps provide revenue for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase or lease land—valuable waterfowl habitat—for inclusion in the national wildlife refuge system. The Federal Duck Stamp program has protected over 5 million acres of waterfowl habitat since its beginning in 1934 and its success has spawned similar programs at the state and local level.

July 1, 2004 - July 10, 2006

This exhibition explored the history of rare and collectible Federal Duck Stamps created as a result of this extraordinary conservation program.

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sketch of a duck with "Aint that duck"
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issues a federal duck stamp every year to validate duck hunting licenses. Though sold at post offices, these are tax stamps with no postal value.

The Jeanette C. Rudy Duck Stamp Collection
The lovely, alluring duck stamps have captivated many collectors, including Jeanette Cantrell Rudy. The indomitable Mrs. Rudy, however, occupies a niche all her own. Over a fifty-year span, she assembled the hobby’s foremost collection. This exhibit features a sampling of the collection’s premier items, including the first duck stamp ever sold, errors, artist-signed issues, and remarques.

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$5 multicolor Pair of Ross's Geese stamp
Each year since 1934 the federal government has issued a "Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp," a revenue stamp popularly referred to as a "Duck Stamp." Funds generated by the sale of the stamp are used to purchase and maintain migratory waterfowl refuges. The program has raised over 670 million dollars to date by the sale of over 120 million Federal Duck Stamps to hunters, conservationists, and stamp collectors.
Object Spotlight

Each fall the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosts the Federal Duck Stamp Contest at different locations throughout the United States to select artwork that will provide the design for the next year’s stamp. Hundreds of entries are put on public view for the only federally-sponsored art competition mandated by Congress.

Related Blogs

2010 Federal Duck Stamp First Day of Sale Ceremony

The First Day of Sale for the 2010 Federal Duck Stamp was held on Friday, June 25, 2010 at the Bass Pro Shop at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Maryland.

Federal Duck Stamp Program Lands on Washington Post's Front Page

A painting of an American Wigeon duck resting in the water near some reeds graced the front page of The Washington Post's October 28th issue along with a...