Louisiana Purchase Commemorative Stamps — Issue of 1904

Beginning April 21, a series of postage stamps to commemorate the Louisiana purchase was issued for sale during the term of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, from May 1 to December 1, 1904.

This series is as follows:

US Stamps of 1904 - details

The size of the 1904 commemorative stamp is 31/32 by 1 and 3/8 inches; the words “Commemorative series of 1904” in small type appear at the top of each design, with the legend “United States of America” in prominent type; and the surnames of the subjects of the 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-cent denominations, with years of birth and death, also the denominations spelled out, are shown in the lower portion.

The purpose was to make the subjects of this series of stamps appropriate. Thus Livingston, who as United States minister to France conducted the negotiations for the Louisiana purchase; Jefferson, President of the United States at the time of the purchase; Monroe, special ambassador to France in the matter of the purchase, who with Livingston closed the negotiations: McKinley, who as President, approved the acts of Congress officially connecting the Government with the commemorative exposition: and the 10-cent stamp showing the territory of the purchase itself.

Louisiana Purchase Commemorative Stamps of 1904

Following is a description in some detail of the several denominations:

One-cent. — On either side of Livingston’s portrait are fluted pillars supporting a plain arch; landscapes are on either side of the portrait, the one on the left representing the swamp country of the extreme south of the purchase, that on the right an immigrant wagon approaching the mountains in the extreme northwest; in the lower corners are shields surrounding the numeral “1”; a ribbon under the portrait bears the name and the years of birth and death of the subject; a panel along the base contains the words “Postage, one cent.”

Two-cent. — Over the portrait of Jefferson is a flat arch supported by fluted columns; the numeral “2” on either side is surrounded by an ellipse on end within laurel wreaths, and underneath the wreaths are ribbons showing years of birth and death of the subject ; the name “Jefferson” appears in a scroll under the portrait ; a panel at the base of the stamp bears the words “Postage, two
cents.”

Three-cent. — Below the portrait of Monroe is a ribbon showing his name, with years of birth and death. The portrait is partly surrounded by a wreath of laurel; on either side are ornamental shields exhibiting the numeral “3”: the portrait, wreath, and ribbon are within an ornamental panel; the words “Postage, three cents” appear along the lower part of the stamp.

Five-cent. — The face of the stamp is divided into three panels by Corinthian columns supporting a panel at the top, in which the words “United States of America” appear. The portrait of McKinley is within a circle in the center panel, with the numeral “5” in an ornamental shield on either side.
At the base of the panels are two palm branches separating the panels from the wording ‘”Postage, five cents.” Beneath the portrait is a ribbon bearing the name and years of birth and death of the subject.

Ten-cent. — The central figure is a map of the United States, showing the territory of the Louisiana purchase in dark tint, with the year of the purchase, “1803”, obliquely across the face of the shaded portion : the border is composed of a column at either end, with ornamental shields at the bases bearing the numeral “10”: panels along the top and bottom contain the lettering.

These stamps were first placed on sale April 21, 1904, at New Orleans, La.

Published by John Jr. Paperly
Source: Postage Stamps of the United States 1847-1959