1938 Presidential Series
Issue Date: November 17, 1938
City: Washington, DC
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Flat plate
Color: Carmine and black
Known affectionately as the “Prexies,” the 1938 Presidential series is a favorite among stamp collectors. The $5 denomination pictures Calvin Coolidge.
Calvin Coolidge first served as Vice President and then as our 30th President, following Harding's death in 1923. His ability to stabilize the adverse effects of the Teapot Dome oil scandal earned him a second term in office. Chief Justice William Taft administered the Presidential oath and became the first former President to do so. When it was broadcast by radio, Coolidge's inaugural address was the first one to be heard throughout the country and around the world.
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.