1993 29¢ Gold Stars Mark World War II Losses, 1943
1943: Turning the Tide
World War II 50th Anniversary Series
· Stamp from the third in a series of five sheetlets commemorating the 50th anniversary of World War II
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: WWII 50th Anniversary
First Day of Issue: May 31, 1993
First Day City(s): Washington, DC
Quantity Issued (if known): 12,000,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Offset printing in plates of 80; intaglio printing in sleeves of 160
Format: Sheetlet of 10 stamps arranged in two strips of five surrounding world map
Why this stamp was issued: By the mid-1980s, Americans were already writing in to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) suggesting stamps honoring the upcoming anniversary of World War II. The challenge would be creating enough stamps to appropriately honor the war, while not adding an extra 100 stamps to each year’s schedule.
To aid in this process, CSAC created a three-member World War II subcommittee to figure out how to select subjects for the stamps. The committee then worked with Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine historians to develop a list of appropriate topics. By April 1986 they had a list they believed would “properly recognize and honor all facets of national endeavor that contributed to victory.” They also selected the themes for each year and recommended that the center of each sheet feature a world map surrounded by 10 stamps honoring significant events.
At various times, the group considered issuing a variety of stamps such as singles, se-tenant blocks of four, and souvenir sheets. They also considered beginning the series in 1989, which would have marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the war in Europe. In the end, they decided to produce five 10-stamp sheets commemorating the years the US was in the war – 1941 to 1945.
About the stamp design: British-born artist and World War II veteran William H. Bond of Virginia was selected to create the art for the stamp. He’d never designed stamps before, and the set of 50 was quite a challenge. The stamps had to be immediately recognizable for each event, and their designs and color schemes had to vary enough that they didn’t look similar, but also appear balanced across the sheet. It was also extremely important that the illustrations be accurate as millions of people who had participated in the war would be looking at them with a very critical eye. Bond took inspiration from war-time photos, with some stamps being nearly identical and others a combination of multiple photos.
The Gold Stars mark World War II losses stamp pictures a Gold Star flag handing in the window of a home with the blind drawn half-way down. Bond had to search extensively to find a Gold Star flag to use for reference, and ultimately used a photo from the Lyndon B. Johnson Library.
About the printing process: This stamp was printed on the six-color offset, three-color intaglio webfed D press.
First Day City: The sheetlet this stamp came from was issued on Memorial Day in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. This was President Bill Clinton’s first stamp dedication and during the ceremony he signed a proclamation making the following week one of national observance of the 50th anniversary of World War II.
About the World War II 50th Anniversary Series: Issued between 1991 and 1995, this series commemorates battles and events at home and abroad from the years America was involved in the war. Each sheetlet features 10 stamps surrounding a detailed map. The world maps are masterpieces of thumbnail summaries. They call attention to the major military and political developments of the year and include events not featured on the individual stamps. Color coded for easy identification of friend and foe, they’re “a year in summary” at a glance.
History the stamp represents:
During the early days of World War I, Service Flags, which were displayed from homes, businesses, churches, and schools, bore a Blue Star to indicate the number of individuals from each family or organization that were serving in the Armed Forces.
As the war progressed and the number of men and women killed in combat increased daily, it was suggested that a Gold Star be used to signify the memory of an American soldier. It was felt that the Gold Star would not only bring glory and honor to the individual who had offered his life for his country, but that it would also give the family a feeling of pride in their sacrifice rather than a sense of personal loss. For every man or woman who died in the line of duty, a Gold Star was placed over the Blue Star. During World War II and the Korean War, this practice was continued.
In 1928, a group of 25 mothers met to organize the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Open to any mother whose son or daughter has died in the line of duty or from wounds sustained in such service, this organization has chapters in all fifty states and continues to work closely with all veterans’ organizations. In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day.