Commemorative Stamp Facts, Rules
The United States Postal Service Rules for Commemorative Stamps.
- Stamps will feature American or American-related subjects.
- No living person shall be honored by portrayal on U.S. postage.
- Commemorative stamps or postal stationery items honoring individuals usually will be issued on or in conjunction with significant anniversaries of their birth, but no postal item will be issued sooner than 10 years after the individual's death. The only exception to the 10-year rule is the issuance of stamps honoring deceased U.S. presidents. They may be honored with a memorial stamp on the first birth anniversary following death.
- Events of historical significance shall be considered for commemoration only on anniversaries in multiples of 50 years.
- Only events, persons and themes of widespread national appeal and significance will be considered for commemoration.
- Stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor fraternal, political, sectarian or service/charitable organizations. Stamps or stationery shall not be issued to promote or advertise commercial enterprises or products.
- Stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor cities, towns, municipalities, counties, primary or secondary schools, hospitals, libraries or similar institutions.
- Requests for observance of statehood anniversaries will be considered for commemorative postage stamps only at intervals of 50 years from the date of the state's first entry into the Union. Requests for observance of other state-related or regional anniversaries will be considered only as subjects for postal stationery, and again only at intervals of 50 years from the date of the event.
- Stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor religious institutions or individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings or beliefs.
- Stamps or postal stationery items with added values, referred to as "semi-postals," shall be issued every two years in accordance with Public Law 106253. Semi-postals will not be considered as part of the commemorative program and separate criteria will apply.
- Requests for commemoration of universities and other institutions of higher education shall be considered only for stamped cards and only in connection with the 200th anniversaries of their founding.
- No stamp shall be considered for issuance if one treating the same subject has been issued in the past 50 years. The only exceptions to this rule are traditional themes such as national symbols and holidays.