U.S. # 4856a
2014 49¢ Shirley Chisholm Imperforate
Black Heritage Series
The 37th stamp in the Black Heritage Series commemorates Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman in Congress. In 1972, she ran for President, the first Black person and second woman to seek the nomination from a major political party.
The steely grit that would define Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) quickly became apparent. When she was assigned to an agricultural committee, the new congresswoman insisted on being reassigned to a position relevant to her urban constituents. In 1971, Chisholm was a co-founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
In spite of breaking ground for women and minorities, Chisholm found herself handicapped by both gender and race. The Congressional Black Caucus withheld their endorsement because of her gender. When she sought the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, support from the National Organization for Women was minimal because of her race.
Chisholm faced several challengers in the primary, including self-proclaimed segregationist George Wallace. Chisholm survived three assassination attempts, while Wallace was paralyzed in another. The congresswoman’s visit to Wallace’s hospital room created a storm of media coverage and controversy.
In the end, Chisholm served seven consecutive terms representing New York’s 12th Congressional District. Her autobiography, which detailed her tireless experience fighting for social change, was appropriately titled Unbought and Unbossed.
For the stamp image, art director Ethel Kessler chose a portrait that was part of Robert Shetterly’s series of paintings titled Americans Who Tell the Truth.
Value: 49¢ First-class rate
Issue Date: January 31, 2014
City: Brooklyn, NY, Chisholm’s birthplace
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed By: CCL Label Inc.
Printing Method: Photogravure printed in sheets of 200 with 10 panes of 20 per sheet.
The Black Heritage Series commemorates African-American politicians, educators, athletes, scientists, authors, and others who helped shape history in the U.S. The first stamp in the series was issued in 1978 and pictured Harriet Tubman. She was the black woman to appear on a U.S. postage stamp.
Here's a video of Chisholm's life and career, produced by the U.S. Postal Service.
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.