This series of stamps postage were issued to replace the regular issue of adhesive stamps, known as the “Series of 1902“.
For the sake of uniformity and artistic effect, the head of Washington (a profile from Houdon’s bust) was adopted as the subject of all the denominations except the 1-cent, which bears the head of Franklin (the first Postmaster General). The border designs are identical on all the stamps, the head appearing within an ellipse on end, with laurel leaves on either side of the ellipse. Above the head are the words “U. S. postage”; below it, the denomination expressed in words on the 1-cent and 2-cent and in numerals on the other denominations.
The $2 and $5 denominations are not represented in this series, as there was little need for these high denominations since the reduction of rates of letter postage to certain foreign countries and the increase in the unit weight of international postage.
A marked departure was made in the special-delivery stamp of the series of 1908. The design was artistic, but many complaints were received from the public and from postmasters that letters bearing the new stamp were escaping special-delivery treatment on account of the altered shape, design, and color.
It was finally decided to discontinue this stamp, and this was done by order of the Postmaster General dated June 9, 1909, and the issuance of the special-delivery stamp of the 1902 series was resumed.
The green special-delivery stamp, issue of 1908, is described as follows:
Size, 84/100 by 1 ana 1/100 inches; color, green. In the upper left corner is the denomination ”10″ in figures inclosed within a circle. Running diagonally from the lower left corner appears an olive branch entwining the winged hat of Mercury. In the lower right-hand portion of the stamp is the inscription “U. S. postage, special delivery”, in a rectangular panel.
The number of green special-delivery stamps of the 1908 series issued was 3,876,551.
Published by John Jr. Paperly
Source: Postage Stamps of the United States 1847-1959