1932 2¢ Winter Olympics
Issue Date: January 25, 1932
First City: Lake Placid, NY
Quantity Issued: 51,102,800
The 1932 2¢ Winter Olympic Games stamp is the first U.S. stamp issued to commemorate the international competition. Voters chose U.S. #716 as on of the 100 Greatest American Stamps.
1932 marked the third time the Winter Games were held, and the first time the event was held in the U.S. The games were held in Lake Placid, a small town in upstate New York that was home to less than 3,000 year round residents.
The Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce asked the village postmaster to suggest a commemorative stamp for the event. A New York congressman helped persuade reluctant officials, and the stamp was approved.
The 2¢ Winter Olympic Games stamp was issued just days before the opening ceremonies, and sold only in Lake Placid and Washington, D.C. Demand for the stamp was heavy from the moment the Lake Placid Post Office opened at 7 a.m. until mid-morning, when its entire supply of 400,000 stamps was exhausted. State police were called in to control the crowd.
Postal officials were soon embarrassed to learn the stamp design contained an error. Ski jumpers don’t use poles, but the athlete pictured on the 2¢ stamp is clearly grasping a pair as he flies mid-air.
The Winter Games returned to Lake Placid in 1980, when a U.S. men’s hockey team composed of amateurs and college students defeated the mighty Soviet Union team. After their stunning victory, the U.S. team went on to defeat Finland in the final game and win the gold medal.