1961 4¢ Republic of China
Issue Date: October 10, 1961
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10½ X 11
This stamp was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of China’s revolt against the Qing Empire. It pictures Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a founding father of the Republic of China and the country’s first president.
President Kennedy pushed for a stamp picturing Sun Yat-sen to soften tensions between the U.S. and the Republic of China (in Taiwan). Originally, the wording on the stamp going to be “50th Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution,” but the Chinese in Taiwan opposed it because it could be associated with the Communist revolution in mainland China that took place in 1949. The inscription was changed to “1911 Anniversary Republic of China 1961.” The Chinese characters across the top of the stamp spell out the Republic of China.
Issued during the Cold War, the Post Office Department received many complaints from citizens who thought the stamp supported Communism. In a letter created to address the complaints, the Post Office stated the stamp was issued as “a gesture of friendship toward free China” and Sun Yat-sen “symbolized freedom and democracy.” It would be another decade before the U.S. would begin diplomatic relations with Communist China.