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Mark Twain Scores a Forever Stamp

By June 27, 2011

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Mark Twain Forever Stamp

So important to the fabric of America for so long, and with a rejuvenated interest spawned by the release of his uncensored autobiography 100 years after his death; I'm beginning to think the test for American citizenship should quiz the applicant's knowledge of Twain and his works. Although he appeared on the Famous American series' 10 cent writers stamp in the 1930s, it is little wonder that he has won yet another commemorative that was released June 25. The stamp is the 27th in the USPS's Literary Arts series.

Last year I was surprised to make a sale of an autograph and postal cover: They were from Josh Billings, who never had the widespread fame of Twain, but was a popular American humor writer "in his own write" as he may have put it. Who did I sell the autograph to? Believe it or not it now has a home in the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum.

Like Twain, Billings wrote in the vernacular of the people. One of his most famous quotes is of some interest to us here at About.com Stamps: "Consider the postage stamp my son. It's usefulness consists in sticking to one thing until it gets there."

But if there is any doubt about Twain's literary legacy, it can be put to rest by another quote, this one from another writer who you may have heard of and who is also part of the Literary Arts series of stamps: Ernest Hemingway. "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," said Hemingway.

The USPS credits art director and stamp designer Phil Jordan, in concert with stamp artist Gregory Manchess for the Twain stamp.

It's a great design, though I can picture Twain looking quizzically at the stamp. Slightly shaking his head, the same boyish devil he wrote into Tom and Huck gets him and he says something like "Fine looking fella, though a mite overdressed for the riverside."

Stamp image USPS


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