John F. Kennedy (U.S. 2017)

Updated February 7th: From the Spellman Philatelic Museum: “A dedication ceremony will be held at the JFK Library on Monday, February 20. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. U.S. Senator Edward Markey will be the featured speaker.”

From the JFK Library: “The US Postal Service will commemorate the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth by dedicating a Forever stamp in his honor. The 10 a.m. ceremony will launch the Forever stamp, making the First-Day-of-Issue Stamp exclusively available at the Presidents’ Day Family Festival on February 20 and available nationwide in Post Offices starting on February 21. The dedication ceremony is free and open tot he public. Registration is encouraged at usps.com/jfk.”

Updated January 18th:
On February 20, 2017, in Boston, MA, the U.S. Postal Service will issue the John Fitzgerald Kennedy First-Class Mail stamp (Forever priced at 49 cents), in one design, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 12 stamps (Item 474600).

The stamp will go on sale nationwide February 20, 2017.

This stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president of the United States. Kennedy was the nation’s first Catholic president and, at age 43, the youngest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office. The stamp art features a photograph of Kennedy taken by Ted Spiegel in 1960. The selvage art, showing President Kennedy in a reflective pose, is a 1970 oil painting by Aaron Shikler (courtesy of the White House/White House Historical Association). Art director Derry Noyes designed the issuance.

Stamp Fulfillment Services will make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices of a quantity to cover approximately 30 days of sales.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark:
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – John Fitzgerald Kennedy Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by April 20, 2017.

There are six philatelic products for this stamp issue:

  • 474606 Press Sheet with Die-cut, $47.04
  • 474610 Digital Color Postmark Keepsake (2 panes), $13.95
  • 474616 First-Day Cover, $0.93
  • 474621 Digital Color Postmark, $1.64
  • 474624 Framed Art, $39.95
  • 474630 Ceremony Program, $6.95

Technical Specifications:

Issue: John Fitzgerald Kennedy Stamp
Item Number: 474600
Denomination & Type of Issue: First-Class Mail Forever
Format: Pane of 12 (1 design)
Series: N/A
Issue Date & City: February 20, 2017, Boston, MA 02205
Designer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Art Director: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Typographer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Existing Photo: Ted Spiegel, Fishkill, NY
Existing Art: Aaron Shikler
Modeler: Sandra Lane/Michelle Finn
Manufacturing Process: Offset, Microprint
Printer: Banknote Corporation of America
Printed at: Browns Summit, NC
Press Type: Alprinta 74
Stamps per Pane: 12
Print Quantity: 84,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Phosphor Tagged Paper, Block
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit SC
Colors: Custom/Light Brown, Custom/Dark Brown
Stamp Orientation: Vertical
Image Area (w x h): 1.09 x 1.42 in/27.69 x 36.07 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 1.23 x 1.56 in/31.24 x 39.62 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h): 9.35 x 6.47 in/237.49 x 164.34 mm
Press Sheets Size (w x h): 19.60 x 26.247 in/497.84 x 666.67 mm
Plate Size: 96 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers: “B” followed by two (2) single digits
Marginal Markings:
Front: Header: “John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1917-1963” • Plate number in two corners
Back: © 2016 USPS • USPS logo • Plate position diagram •
Barcode (474600) in upper right and lower left corners of pane • Promotional text

Updated January 9th: additional details, illustration of pane
[press release]
JFK Forever Stamp to be Dedicated on Presidents Day
February 20 Ceremony at Presidential Library

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service will commemorate the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth by dedicating a Forever stamp in his honor at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

The 10 a.m. February 20 Presidents Day ceremony, free and open to the public, will kick off the 6th Annual Presidents Day Family Festival. There is a fee to enter the library and museum to attend the festival. Children 17 years old and under are free.

The stamp features a 1960 photograph by Ted Spiegel of Kennedy campaigning for president in Seattle. The artwork accompanying the stamp, showing Kennedy in a reflective pose, is a 1970 oil painting by Aaron Shikler (courtesy of the White House / White House Historical Association). The Forever stamp, available only at the event on Presidents’ Day, will be available nationwide in Post Offices February 21. In late January, customers may pre-order the stamps for delivery after February 21 at usps.com/shop. The public is asked to share the news using the hashtag #JFKStamps.

“Our family is honored that the Postal Service is commemorating my grandfather with this stamp,” said Jack Schlossberg, grandson of John F. Kennedy. “As we mark the centennial of his birth, we hope that the stamp will be an enduring symbol of President Kennedy’s call for service, innovation, and inclusion, and his belief that we each have the power to make this world a better place.”

Kennedy’s Legacy
Born May 29, 1917, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. He remains for many a captivating and charismatic personality — one who appealed to the nation’s higher ideals and inspired young Americans to engage in public service.

On January 20, 1961, Kennedy, at age 43, became the nation’s first Catholic president and the youngest person elected to the presidency. In his Inaugural Address, he famously called upon Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

In the early months of his administration, Kennedy announced his signature initiative, the Peace Corps, to aid people in developing nations. In May 1961, Kennedy announced the bold goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade, setting the nation on the path toward achieving the historic Moon landing in 1969.

During the height of the Cold War, Kennedy confronted the Soviet Union in a series of conflicts that could have escalated into a major war. During the summer of 1961, for example, he defended the status of West Berlin, a small pocket of freedom within Soviet-supported East Germany, when it came under threat from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Kennedy opposed Khrushchev again in the fall of 1962 after Soviet forces installed nuclear missiles in Cuba. Against the urging of his military advisers to bomb the missile sites, Kennedy decided on a naval quarantine to prevent further shipments of military equipment to Cuba. After suspenseful days in which war appeared imminent, Soviet ships heading to Cuba turned back, and Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles.

On June 11, 1963, Kennedy made an impassioned speech on civil rights that characterized the unequal status and treatment of blacks in America as a moral crisis. He then submitted a bill to end racial segregation, which in substance was passed after his death as the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. His death at age 46 left the nation grief-stricken, all the more so because of the unrealized potential of his presidency. Updated January 5th: The USPS confirms that this stamp will be issued February 20th, with Boston as the first-day city.

Updated December 19th, 2016: The JFK Library is reporting that this stamp will be issued on President’s Day, Monday, February 20th. The location was not specified. There is no confirmation yet from the USPS.

From the USPS, September 20, 2016:

s_jfkcentennialThis stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president of the United States. Kennedy was the nation’s first Catholic president and, at age 43, the youngest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office. The stamp art features a photograph of Kennedy taken by Ted Spiegel in 1960. Kennedy remains for many a captivating and charismatic personality — one who appealed to the nation’s higher ideals and inspired young Americans to engage in public service. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.

VSC: The JFK stamp design appears to be a definitive or “special” stamp, rather than a commemorative. Is that correct?

USPS: JFK is actually a semi-jumbo stamp. Semi-jumbo has a similar aspect ratio to our “special” sized stamps, but is proportionally larger.

15 thoughts on “John F. Kennedy (U.S. 2017)

  1. From PostBull 19 JAN 2017 USPS 4746 Souv. Sht 12 Yes Auto-Distrib #10 Keepsake (2) $13.95 #16 93c #21 $1.64 No cancellation artwork in the P.B.

  2. Why not issue on his actual BIRTH DATE of May 29 since it is celebrating the 100th anniversary of his BIRTH?

    Other than being Presidents’ Day, does the date of February 20 have ANY special significance in JFK’s life?

    I may be a little biased since JFK and I share the same birth date.

    • I don’t and can’t speak for the Postal Service, but I know in the case of other anniversary-based issues (such as Statehoods), the commissions have asked that the stamp or stamps be issued in advance of the actual anniversary date so that they can be used to promote the celebrations. Also, there may be so many other JFK-related events on May 29th that the USPS fears its stamp issuance would be lost. February 20th is Presidents Day, which some might consider an appropriate date in advance of the actual anniversary.

      I think there is a good chance the Boston post office will offer a pictorial cancel on May 29th; other post offices, too. However, May 29th this year is Memorial Day, so finding an open post office will be a challenge.

      • I had forgotten about the 29th being Memorial Day this year. But the USPS has released stamps, without ceremony, on days the post office is closed. This past Sunday (Jan. 22) is an excellent example when the Liliuokalani Gardens Priority Mail & Gateway Arch Express Mail stamps were supposedly released.

        For the JFK stamp, I would see nothing wrong with the FDOI being the Saturday before (May 27). Or, for that matter, almost any date within the month of May. But THREE MONTHS before I find a little incredulous.

        Maybe I’m just too old fashioned. When an anniversary of any kind is celebrated, I expect it to be on (or very near) the actual date.

  3. Just realized that the confirmed issue date of February 20, along with being Presidents Day (which I already knew), is also a FEDERAL HOLIDAY!!! If the stamps are going on sale that day, as stated in the press release, how are we going to get them when the Post Office will be closed in observance of Washington’s Birthday???

    Again, I don’t think the planning for this release was that well thought out. If the date they picked was going to be a holiday anyway, why not go ahead and do it ON his BIRTH date?

  4. A very close look at the postal bulletin as well as USPS.COM lists this as a Pane of 12, NOT A souvenir sheet, so the USPS CAN sell you one, or more, stamps out of this Pane of 12. With the plate numbers at the bottom, you have 2 Plate Blocks available.

    • You can order the stamp now, but it won’t ship until the day of issue, or, in this case, the day after, since February 20th is a postal holiday.

      And if you order several items, the entire order may be held until all have been issued!

      • Usually when items won’t ship until the issue date, they say they are available for pre-order. Currently this stamp says it is available.

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