1993 Elvis Presley
- Best-selling commemorative stamp in US history
- Design voted on by the public in a contest bringing in over one million votes
- Kicked off the Legends of American Music stamp series
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Legends of American Music Series
Value: 29c First-Class postage rate
First Day of Issue: January 8,1993
First Day City: None. Issued nationwide at noon on January 8. Dedication ceremonies took place at Elvis’ Graceland home in Memphis.
First Day Cancel: Memphis, Tennessee
Quantity Issued: 517,000,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Semi-jumbo stamp; printed in panes of 40; 5 columns across and 8 rows down
Why the stamp was issued: The Elvis stamp was issued as the first of the new Legends of American Music Series. It satisfied the First-Class postage rate.
About the stamp design: The stamp was designed by Mark Stutzman, with art direction by Howard Paine.
Special design details: The stamp bears Elvis’ first name only on a background representing a torn ticket stub.
About The Set: The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993 and ran until 1999. More than 90 performers and musicians are represented from all styles of music: rock and roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk. In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include bandleaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, plus conductors and lyricists.
The Legends of American Music Set was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored so many Black and female artists.
The 29c “young Elvis” – #2721, kicked off the series in a big and very public way. Its design was voted on by over one million Americans, about 75% of whom favored the young Elvis over the “old Elvis” version.
History the stamp represents: When Elvis died in 1977, fans around the nation immediately wanted a stamp honoring him. After ten years, he was eligible to appear on a US stamp, and requests poured in. A decade later, the postmaster general hinted at issuing a stamp to honor Elvis along with other major American music figures. While many people liked the idea of an Elvis stamp, he was also a controversial subject due to his history of drug use. However, after a long debate, Elvis was chosen for the first stamp in the new Legends of American Music Series. The big day came on January 8, 1993, which would’ve been Elvis’s 58th birthday. In all, 517,000,000 million of that first Elvis stamp (#2721) were printed, three times the usual print run for a commemorative. The first Elvis stamp of the Legends of American Music Series is the most widely publicized and best-selling US commemorative in history.
On June 16th, the second Elvis stamp in the Legends of American Music Series, was issued in a se-tenant set of seven (#2724). It appeared on a sheet of 35, along with the six other Legends of American Music honorees: Bill Haley, Clyde McPhatter, Ritchie Valens, Otis Redding, Buddy Holly, and Dinah Washington. On the same day, Elvis appeared on yet a third stamp (#2731) with these same greats of Rock ‘n’ Roll. This time the format was a booklet of eight with Elvis appearing twice. A booklet pane of 4 included Elvis, Otis Redding, Buddy Holly, and Dinah Washington.
The Legends of American Music Series was on its way. A total of 17 individual sets were issued throughout the series’ run.