3¢ Win the War
Issue Date: July 4, 1942
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10.5
U.S. #905, the “Win the War” stamp, was issued on the anniversary of American independence in order to bolster American support of the war effort.
This stamp was honored in the 100 Greatest U.S. Stamps book.
Win the War
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Americans rallied together, ready to prove to Japan, Germany, and the rest of the world, how strong their resolve was to defend their home. The day after the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”
It was not long before Americans around the country began writing the Post Office Department and the White House requesting stamps representing America’s dedication to winning the war.
The selected design for the stamp was based on a poster by artist Mark O’Dea picturing the American eagle. When he received the early designs, President Roosevelt liked the stamp, but suggested that the eagle have very little engraving, to make it stand out from the background.
Surprisingly, when the stamp was issued, it received such negative criticism, many speculated it would be removed from sale and reissued. The problem with the design lay in the direction of the eagle’s gaze and arrows. Historically, depictions of the American eagle in wartime pictured the eagle facing the same direction his arrows pointed, so that both the eagle and weapons are directed toward their objectives. Some have speculated that President Roosevelt realized this, and deliberately accepted the printed design, so that the weapons point toward the enemy while the eagle looks the other way, toward peace.
Despite criticisms over the design, the Win the War stamp was one of the most commonly used 3¢ stamps during the war, and was often sent on mail to U.S. soldiers fighting overseas.
FDR – The Stamp-Collecting President
President Franklin Roosevelt was instrumental in the design and issuance of U.S. #905. Introduced to stamp collecting at a young age by his mother, Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned to his collection throughout his life to relax and unwind.
Elected President four times, Roosevelt served in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. During those 12 years, Roosevelt shared his love of stamps with the nation, personally approving each of more than 200 stamp designs. He suggested topics, rejected others, and even designed some himself. It was his aim to use stamps not just to send mail but also to educate Americans about our history. And as he reluctantly entered America into World War II, he saw these stamps as an outlet to raise spirits and bring hope.