1938 Presidential Series
Issue Date: December 8, 1938
City: Washington, DC
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
Color: Light red violet
Known affectionately as the “Prexies,” the 1938 Presidential series is a favorite among stamp collectors. The 50¢ denomination pictures William Taft. Taft, who stood 6 feet tall and weighed 300 pounds, was the largest man to ever serve as U.S. President. A lawyer at heart, he never really wanted to become President, and later went on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
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.