1925 Norse-American Issue
5¢ Viking Ship
First Day of Issue: May 18, 1925
First City: St. Paul, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Benson, MN; Northfield, MN; Algona, IA; Decorah, IA; Washington, D.C.
Quantity Issued: 1,900,983
Printing Method: Flat Plate
Color: Dark blue and black
The Norse-American issue honors two important events in the history of Norwegian Americans – the arrival of Leif Ericson and the first Norwegian immigrants in America.
The Norse-American Stamps
These were among the handful of stamps produced since the 1901 Pan-Americans to feature bi-color printing, a costly and time-consuming process. Because the stamps took so long to print, they were produced in much smaller quantities than other stamps of the day. Producing large quantities of the stamps was difficult too, because they were printed in sheets of 100, rather than 400, like most stamps at that time.
When the stamps were released, they were in great demand, with post offices around the country receiving several calls for them daily. A second printing was suggested, but was far too costly. It has been estimated that less than 300 post offices received the stamps, with some only getting one or two sheets each, making them even more difficult to find today.
The First Europeans Arrive in North America
Around 1000 A.D., Leif Ericson and his crew of 35 men became the first Europeans to reach North America. They sailed a ship similar to the one shown on the Viking ship stamp – which pictures a U.S. flag. Critics claimed this was a mistake, as the American flag wasn't designed until centuries later. Officials claim the design shows a replica sailed from Norway to America in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition, which did carry an American flag.