American Philatelic Society

1984 - youth
designed holiday
Who Decides?
Where do stamp ideas come from?

Anyone can submit an idea for a stamp. About 50,000 ideas are submitted each year! See information below about where to submit an idea.

Who Decides What is on a Stamp

For a long time the Postmaster General decided what should go on stamps. Then in 1957 the Postmaster General created a committee to review the ideas.

  1. Citizens submit stamp ideas

    Anyone can submit an idea but you need to follow a few rules (see how to submit and the rules).
  2. The ideas are considered

    The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee, a group of 12 to 15 members, considers all ideas submitted (they receive about 50,000 ideas a year!).
  3. Recommendations are made

    The Committee then recommends about 35 new subjects for commemorative stamps each year to the Postmaster General.
  4. A decision is made

    The Postmaster General makes the final decision.
  5. An artist begins officially creating the stamps

    After a stamp subject has been selected, the Committee commissions an artist to undertake the project and the artist begins drawing preliminary designs.
  6. Stamps are printed

    Once a drawing is approved, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing or an outside contractor prints the stamp. The stamps are then perforated and inspected for flaws and the finished stamps are sent to post offices and held for date of issue.
  7. Stamps go on sale

    Finally, the stamps go on sale at post offices nationwide.
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