1993 29¢ AIDS Awareness
· The last stamp issued in 1993
· Issued on World AIDS Day
Stamp Category: Commemorative
First Day of Issue: December 1, 1993
First Day City: United Nations, New York, NY
Quantity Issued: 100,000,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Panes of 50; gravure printing cylinders of 200
Why the stamp was issued: To raise awareness of efforts to prevent and cure AIDS.
About the stamp design: The AIDS stamp was a passion project for Wisconsin nurse Jean Anne Hlavacek. She began her campaign for promoting AIDS awareness and fundraising in 1987. Over the course of six years, she sent 10,000 letters to the president, politicians, public health officials, and more, hoping to raise support for her idea. Postal officials were split on the idea, concerned it might be controversial or unpopular like the 1981 Alcoholism stamp. Supporters of the stamp argued that the US had issued successful stamp promoting public health, and that over 30 other countries had already issued AIDS awareness stamps. After much consideration, the USPS approved the stamp subject in December 1992. Tom Mann designed the stamp, picturing the well-known red ribbon of awareness. At one point, the USPS considered making it America’s first semi postal, but ultimately decided against that.
Special design details: The design of the sheet and booklet version of this stamp are identical. They can be identified by the different vertical perforation gauges. The selvage of the stamp sheet also has contact information for AIDS-related agencies and volunteer groups.
First Day City: This stamp was issued on World AIDS Day at the United Nations’ New York headquarters. It was also available at post offices throughout the country that same day.
History the stamp represents: Inspired by the folk-art traditions of quilting and sewing bees, the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt is an international symbol of the fight against AIDS. Begun as a response to the growing number of deaths and the widespread misinformation about HIV and AIDS, the Quilt is composed of thousands of fabric panels, each bearing the name of someone who has succumbed to the disease. Panels are created by friends, lovers, and families of those lost, and then stitched together by volunteers into the ever-growing Quilt.
Hundreds of Quilt displays occur each year around the United States and throughout the world. More than a way to remember those who have died, the Quilt serves as a tool for educating people who are still at risk. Recognizing this strength, The NAMES Project National High School Quilt Program worked with high schools across the country to display sections of the Quilt in an effort to teach students about the AIDS epidemic.
The entire Quilt has been displayed in Washington, D.C., on several occasions, and received numerous awards. In 1993, Quilt panels were carried in President Clinton’s Inaugural Parade and displayed at the White House on December 1, World AIDS Day. The Quilt weighs about 54 tons and is considered the largest piece of community folk art in the world.