1923 2¢ Harding Memorial Issue
Issue Date: September 1, 1923
First City: Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 1,459,487,085
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Flat plate
Perforation: 11 gauge
U.S. #610 was a special stamp that was to be issued for a limited time of about 60 to 90 days in memory of Warren Harding, the 29th President of the United States. Of the 200,000 copies sent to Marion, Ohio (Harding's hometown), 180,000 were sold the first day of issue.
Demand for this stamp was far greater than for any previous special issue. It was impossible to meet the demand by printing from flat plates alone. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was finally authorized to supplement that printing with a rotary press version. This was the first commemorative or memorial stamp issued using two printing methods. Eventually, over one billion stamps were issued, stretching the original 60-day limit to nearly 6 full months.
Warren Harding Gets Fond Farewell
Warren Harding was a frequent subject on stamps such as U.S. #610 in the few years after his death. Harding was beloved across the country when he died in August 1923 while still in office. An estimated three million mourners gathered to watch his funeral train pass by. The New York Times called it “the most remarkable demonstration in American history of affection, respect, and reverence for the dead.