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Top Stamp Designer Paul Calle Dies

Noted stamp designer Paul Calle died Dec. 30, 2010, from melanoma, a form of skin cancer. He was 82.

Best known for his U.S. space stamps, including the 1969 Man on the Moon stamp, Calle designed more than 40 U.S. stamps.

His son Chris is also a stamp designer.

Although the elder Calle worked with several media, he was acknowledged as a master of pencil sketches, and is the author of the book, The Pencil. (Click on the link to order it from Amazon.com.) Another book of his art, Paul Calle: An Artist's Journey, was awarded the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award for Fine Arts in 1993.

His art has been displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and other venues. Early in his career, he designed science fiction pulp magazine covers, which fostered his interest in space art, and a search for "Paul Calle" on Amazon.com also finds book illustrations and mass-market commemorative plates on a variety of subjects, including the American West. (Click here to see some of those works on a gallery site.)

In 1962, he was one of the artists chosen by NASA for its art program, and when Apollo 11, the flight to the moon, was launched in 1969, he was the only artist allowed to observe the three astronauts as they prepared for the mission that morning. His pen and ink drawings from that mission were shown at the National Gallery, the Air and Space Museum, and sent by the Smithsonian Institution to other museums for display.

In 1974, he accompanied the U.S. astronauts for the joint Apollo/Soyuz mission to the Soviet Union to document their training with the Soviet cosmonauts.

Shortly after the Moon Landing stamp, Sc. C76, was issued in 1969, Calle revealed the secret of designing postage stamps: “When you do a stamp,” he said, “think big, but draw small.”

U.S. Stamps Designed by Paul Calle

  • Gemini Space Twins (Sc. 1331-2)
  • Douglas MacArthur (Sc. 1424)
  • Robert Frost (Sc. 1526)
  • Retarded Children (Sc. 1549)
  • Clara Maass (Sc. 1699)
  • Early Cancer Detection (Sc. 1754)
  • International Year of the Child (Sc. 1772)
  • Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan (Sc. 1824)
  • 5¢ Pearl S. Buck (Sc. 1848)
  • Frederic Remington (Sc. 1934)
  • Aging Together (Sc. 2011)
  • Voluntarism (Sc. 2039)
  • Vietnam Veterans (Sc. 2109)
  • Carousel Animals (Sc. 2390-3)
  • Carousel Horses (Sc. 2976-9)
  • 5¢ Canoe (Sc. 2453-4)
  • Moon Landing 25th Anniversary (Sc. 2841)
  • $9.95 Moon Landing Express Mail (Sc. 2842)
  • 32¢ Lila and DeWitt Wallace (Sc. 2936)
  • Celebrate the Century - 1930s (Sc. 3185)
  • Moon Landing (Sc. C76)

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