2019 55¢ Tyrannosaurus Rex – Adult
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 29, 2019
First Day City:
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Flexo, Lenticular
Format: Pane of 16
Quantity Printed: 50,000,000
The first Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found was discovered by Barnum Brown (renowned paleontologist and assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History) in 1900 Wyoming. Brown found a second specimen in Montana two years later. This began decades of fossil digs resulting in over 50 T. rex skeletons being excavated.
The largest and most well-preserved T. rex found as of 2019 was "Sue." The fossil was found August 12, 1990, in the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota and named after its discoverer, Susan Hendrickson. There was some controversy over the skeleton as it was found on Indian Reservation land owned by Maurice Williams. Williams was paid $5,000 for the bones, but in 1992, still claimed he owned the T. rex. The case went to court, and, in the end, Sue was awarded to Williams. He then sold the fossil for $8.4 million to the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.
Sue is one of the most complete T. rex fossils ever found (90% of the bones were recovered). It measures 40 feet long, 12 feet tall, and weighed around 30,800 pounds when it was alive. At 28 years old at time of death, Sue is the third-oldest T. rex specimen found. It's fun to imagine the life Sue must have led. At such a size, it would have been the ruler of the land. No one could have hoped to challenge such an impressive beast.
The American Museum Of Natural History Is Established
On April 6, 1869, the American Museum of Natural History is established in New York City.
The museum was largely the dream of naturalist Dr. Albert S. Bickmore. For several years, Bickmore lobbied extensively for the creation of a natural history museum in New York.
In 1869, Bickmore gained the support of several wealthy sponsors, including Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (father of future President Theodore Roosevelt), J.P. Morgan, and Charles A. Dana. With their strong support, Bickmore gained New York Governor John Thompson Hoffman’s approval. The governor signed a bill officially establishing the museum on April 6, 1869. That same year, John David Wolfe is made the museum’s first president.
In 1871, exhibits from the museum go on display for the first time at the Central Park Arsenal. By the following year, the museum already began to outgrow its space at the Arsenal, so its leaders petitioned for a larger space – Manhattan Square. The new property encompassed an entire block across the street from Central Park. While the approved funding only covered a small building, the project’s architects planned a massive museum covering the entire site.
In 1874, President Ulysses S. Grant laid the cornerstone for the new building at 77th Street. Three years later, President Rutherford B. Hayes presided over the opening ceremony of the first building.
Beginning in the 1880s, the museum launched a series of expeditions to the North Pole, Siberia, Outer Mongolia, Gobi, and the Congo. These expeditions helped greatly expand their collections to represent every continent on Earth.
Throughout the 20th century, the museum expanded significantly with exhibits featuring a wide range of topics. These include Halls dedicated to the Northwest Coast, African Mammals, South Asiatic Mammals, Ocean Life, North American Mammals (which is home to some of the finest habitat dioramas in the world), African mammals, American Forests, North American Small Mammals, Primates, Eastern Woodlands Indians, Plains Indians, African Peoples, Mexico and Central America, Pacific Peoples, Minerals, Reptiles and Amphibians, Asian People, Meteorites, South American Peoples, Human Biology and Evolution, Primitive Mammals, Advanced Mammals, Saurischian Dinosaurs, Ornithischian Dinosaurs, Vertebrate Origins, Biodiversity, Planet Earth, and Human Origins.
The museum also opened its famed Hayden Planetarium in 1935. And in 1991, the museum installed a five-story tall Barosaurus cast, which was the world’s highest freestanding dinosaur display. In 2006 the movie A Night at the Museum was set in the museum. This inspired them to start holding Night at the Museum Sleepovers for children and their families.
Today the museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. It consists of 26 buildings and 45 permanent exhibition halls containing over 34 million items. The museum has one mission statement: “To discover, interpret, and disseminate – through scientific research and education – knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.”