1993 Elvis Presley
- The popular “young” Elvis stamp (#2721) was re-issued six months later as part of a booklet of eight stamps honoring the greats of rock & roll and rhythm & blues.
- Elvis appeared twice in the booklet pane of 8; and once again in the pane of four.
- The booklet stamp had changes in its design.
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Legends of American Music Series (Rock ‘n’ Roll/Rhythm & Blues)
Value: 29c First-Class postage rate
First Day of Issue: June 16, 1993
First Day Cities: None. First Day ceremonies were held inCleveland, Ohio (site of the future Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame) and at the Santa Monica Pier in California with Dick Clark, former host of American Bandstand as the MC. These weren’t official First Day cities because the stamps went on sale nationwide on the same day.
Quantity Issued: 98,841,000
Printed by: Multi-color Corp. for American Banknote Company
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Semi-jumbo stamp; booklet panes of 8 containing two Elvis stamps along with the other Rock ‘n’ roll/Rhythm & Blues greats: Bill Haley, Clyde McPhatter, Ritchie Valens, Otis Redding, Buddy Holly and Dinah Washington. Plus a pane of four consisting of Elvis, Otis, Dinah, and Buddy.
Perforations: 11 horizontally on one or two sides.
Why the stamp was issued: The Elvis stamp was issued as part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll/Rhythm & Blues booklet, a subset of the new Legends of American Music Series.
About the stamp design: The stamp was designed by Mark Stutzman who designed the #2721 Elvis just a few months earlier. Art direction was by Howard Paine.
Special design details: At first glance, the design of the Elvis booklet stamp is the same as the first in the series (#2721). In fact, it had several design changes. Instead of one “ticket stub” at bottom left there are two: one bearing Elvis’ first name, and another his last. Both names are also in smaller type than the first Elvis stamp.
The seven Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rhythm & Blues booklet stamps, including Elvis, are different from those on the sheet of 35 version: The design size is smaller. Some colors are more vibrant. All have a thin black frame line around the design. The line of type that runs up the left side of the booklet stamp is shorter than on the sheet stamps. The type in that inscription is a little thinner.
About The Set: TheLegends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993 and ran until 1999. More than 70 artists 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 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.
A few months later, the second Elvis stamp (#2724) in the Legends of American Music Series was issued in a se-tenant set of seven. Six other Legends of American Music greats were honored: Bill Haley, Clyde McPhatter, Ritchie Valens, Otis Redding, Buddy Holly, and Dinah Washington. At the same time, Elvis appeared on this third stamp (#2731) with these same superstars of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rhythm & Blues. This time the format was a booklet of seven.
More About Elvis: In 1956, Elvis Presley exploded on the music scene with his super-seller “Heartbreak Hotel”, and popular music was never the same… Interestingly, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” began as a country singer in Memphis, Tennessee. Influenced by the Grand Ole Opry and blues music he heard on the radio, Elvis made his first recordings, country backed with rhythm & blues, with Sun Records and began touring as a promising newcomer to the country and western field.
His talent in rhythm & blues, as well as pop music, led to offers by larger recording companies, including RCA Victor, whom Presley signed on with in 1955. “Heartbreak Hotel” was just the first of 45 records that would sell over one million copies each. In fact, Elvis released 14 consecutive million-selling records before being drafted into the Army in 1958.
Following his discharge two years later, Elvis made his movie debut in Love Me Tender. Concentrating on his movie career throughout much of the 60’s, he went on to make 32 additional movies. During the late 60’s he began to moderate his rebellious rock ‘n’ roll style, moving toward more traditional melodies with slower rhythms. Although his audience had aged, it continued to expand until his death in 1977.