1984 20¢ Family Unity
· The second US stamp designed by a student as the result of a nationwide contest
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Value: 20¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: October 1, 1984
First Day City: Shaker Heights, Ohio
Quantity Issued: 117,625,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure and Engraved
Format: Panes of 50 in Sheets of 230
Why the stamp was issued: This stamp was created as the result of a nationwide contest to engage students in art and citizenship, and to increase positive relations between communities and the post office.
About the stamp design: This was America’s second stamp designed by a student, Molly LaRue, who was a high school senior at the time. Her design depicts a stick figure family with bodies shaped like hearts.
First Day City: The First Day ceremony for this stamp was held in Shaker Heights, Ohio, hometown of the stamp’s designer Molly LaRue. The stamp’s issue also marked the start of National Stamp Collecting Month.
History the stamp represents: In 1982, the USPS announced a contest inviting children to design stamps with subjects of their own choosing. The contest was held in conjunction with National Card and Letter Writing Week. More than 500,000 students participated, and the winning design came from Molly LaRue of Ohio. She was a senior when she designed the stamp in 1982, but had moved onto college by the time the stamp was issued on October 1, 1984. LaRue’s art teacher encouraged her to keep her design simple, to which she thought “what could be simpler than to draw it as a young child would.” In selecting the subject, she said she wanted to illustrate “something that’s very important to America and something I value most.” The final stamp design only had very small changes from her original illustration.