U.S. # 4803a
2013 46¢ Althea Gibson Imperforate
Before she could compete on a tennis court, Althea Gibson had to defeat racism and segregation. She proved to be a formidable opponent, breaking the color barrier in professional tennis and earning recognition for herself as the “female Jackie Robinson.”
Gibson (1927-2003) was born in the South but grew up in Harlem. Unhappy in school and often absent, Gibson first explored tennis by bouncing rubber balls off a brick wall until a one-armed coach taught her how to play. With the help of supporters including boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, she won her first tournament at age 15.
Gibson quickly rose through the ranks of the American Tennis Association, which was founded in 1916 for black players. She won the ATA singles tournament ten years in a row, but was banned from more prestigious events because of her race. Finally, white tennis star Alice Marble wrote an open letter in protest. Gibson was allowed to compete in the U.S. Nationals beginning in 1950.
Perfecting an aggressive serve-and-volley style, Gibson made history by becoming the first black person to win a Wimbledon title, the French Open in both singles and doubles, the doubles title at the Australian Open, and the U.S. Open.
U.S. #4803 features an oil on wood painting by Kadir Nelson of Althea Gibson at Wimbledon.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: August 23, 2013
First Day City: Flushing, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 200 in 10 panes of 20
The Althea Gibson stamp is the 36th issue in the Black Heritage series. The longest-running U.S. commemorative series, Black Heritage began in 1978 with an issue honoring Harriet Tubman. Click here for more on the Black Heritage series.
Scarce Modern Imperforates
The modern imperforate stamps are one of the hottest stories around. In 2012, the U.S. Postal Service released some issues as press sheets. The sheets with die cut perforations were issued in limited quantities.
To the surprise of many collectors, officials then issued a small number of press sheets without perforations. The uncut sheets were only available in Kansas City, Missouri, yet most sold out immediately. In an instant, the imperforate stamp sheets became modern rarities. For example, only 75,000 Baseball All-Star se-tenant sheets were issued compared to 118,000 Bugs Bunny sheets with the 10th stamp imperforate.
In a controversial move, the editors of Scott Catalogue announced they would not list or give numbers to these stamps because they did not fit Scott guidelines. This decision was strongly debated since the imperforate stamps are valid for postage. They eventually decided to give the stamps minor numbers and have continued issuing imperforates in the years since.
Because they were issued in such limited quantities, these scarce modern imperforates can be difficult to find. Luckily Mystic purchased a small number of each imperforate stamp issued so you can add these modern rarities to your collection. Be one of the lucky few – order today.