1938 16¢ Abraham Lincoln
Issue Date: October 20, 1938
First City: Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 100,598,400
Printing Method: Rotary press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
Known affectionately as the “Prexies,” the 1938 Presidential series is a favorite among stamp collectors.
The series was issued in response to public clamoring for a new Regular Issue series. The series that was current at the time had been in use for more than a decade. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed, and a contest was staged. The public was asked to submit original designs for a new series picturing all deceased U.S. Presidents. Over 1,100 sketches were submitted, many from veteran stamp collectors. Elaine Rawlinson, who had little knowledge of stamps, won the contest and collected the $500 prize. Rawlinson was the first stamp designer since the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began producing U.S. stamps who was not a government employee.
Two hundred years after his birth, Abraham Lincoln is still honored as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents. Lincoln was a complex man whose legacy is often overshadowed by the Civil War. Indeed, he ably led the Union throughout the War Between the States, but he did much more.
Lincoln made millions of acres in the West available to the public inexpensively, allowed grants for agricultural universities, and signed bills that funded the first transcontinental railroad. Lincoln introduced the first U.S. paper currency and income tax, and reformed the national banking system.
President Lincoln controlled the border slave states as the Civil War loomed. He rallied public opinion for the war effort within the Union states and prevented foreign nations from joining the Confederate cause. A gentle man who neither hunted nor fished because he couldn’t bear to kill, Lincoln believed the nation could be peacefully reunited at the end of the bitter war. Then, just days after the Civil War ended, Abraham Lincoln became the first U.S. President to be assassinated.
Today, the rail-splitter from Kentucky is one of America’s greatest heroes. Self-educated, honest, and hardworking, Lincoln embodies the notion that a common person can work their way to the nation’s highest office and become one of America’s most admired Presidents.