2019 55¢ Post Office Murals – "Air Mail"
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: April 2, 2019
First Day City: Piggott, AR
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 10
Quantity Printed: 30,000,000
In 1937, Piggott, Arkansas, sough permission to use funds from building a new post office to commission a mural. The request was approved, but it took three years to complete the painting.
At first, Piggott commissioned Iowa artist Lowell Houser to paint their post office mural. However, when Houser failed to begin the painting after two years, they asked another Iowa artist – Dan Rhodes – to do the job. Rhodes was mainly a ceramic and sculpture artist, but on August 21, 1940, he agreed to submit a design proposal.
Rhodes came back with his design on November 4, saying "As you will note, I have chosen as subject matter the Air Mail. I feel the Air Mail is of unusual significance to the smaller and more isolated community, linking them as it does with the most distan[t] centers." Ed Rowan, the section superintendent in charge of Piggott, loved the design. The contract with Rhodes was signed November 18 and the mural was completed and hung in the post office by March 11, 1941.
Rhodes was paid a total of $700 for his work on the Piggott Post Office mural, equal to over $22,000 today. The painting hangs in the post office to this day, a permanent reminder of the history of rural America.