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The Norse American commemoratives were a departure from other commemoratives of the time in two respects.

The Norse American Stamps
 
Flat Plate - Perforated 11 - 100 Subject Plates

 

Scott 620 - 2c Norse American

Scott 621 - 5c Norse American

9,104,983 issued
First Day: May 18, 1925

1,900,983 issued
First Day: May 18, 1925


The Norse American commemoratives were a departure from other commemoratives of the time in two respects. They were printed in two colors, which in essence nearly doubled the time needed to print them, and they were printed in sheets of 100 stamps (10 x 10), rather than in sheets of 200 or even 400, again a more time intensive method of production. On the other hand, none of the stamps had straight edges and the two colored design created some of the more striking stamps of the early 20th century. The slow production limited the number of stamps produced, to the extent that the Norse American issue has the distinction of having the smallest quantity issued of any commemorative series ever issued by the U.S. These stamps were particularly popular in the upper Midwest, particularly western Wisconsin and Minnesota, where there were large populations of Norwegian descent. The limited quantities available led to grumbling, and that along with the high cost of production, left a legacy that discouraged the future production of bi-colored stamps and to some extent issues publicizing current events. In this case they promoted the Norse American Centennial in St. Paul, Minnesota which began on June 8 of 1925.

The two cent stamp was issued to meet the regular mail rate and the five cent stamp to cover most foreign mail, including letters to Norway. The illustration on the two cent stamp is an artist's rendition of what the ship "Restaurationen" probably looked like based on a drawing of its sister ship. In 1825, the Restaurationen was the first ship to bring Norwegian immigrants to America. 

The design on the five cent stamp is from a photograph of an exact size replica of an ancient Viking ship that sailed from Norway to Chicago in time for the Columbian Exposition of 1893. So faithful were the engravers to the photograph from which the stamp's design was made, that a flag of the United States is seen waving from the bow of the ship!

A great deal of care was taken to ensure the quality of the stamps in this set. Most copies are very well-centered and, as mentioned, there were no straight edges. Although many cities asked for the privilege of issuing the stamps on the First Day, only six cities were chosen. The stamps were issued May 18, 1925 at the Philatelic Agency in Washington, D.C., Decorah and Algona, Iowa and Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Benson, Minnesota.


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