1992 First Voyage of Columbus
- Commemorates 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage
- Shows four scenes from his voyage
- Joint Issue with Italy
Category of Stamp: Commemorative
Value: 29¢, First-Class mail rate
First Day of Issue: April 24, 1992
First Day Cities: Christiansted, Virgin Island
Quantity Issued: 40,005,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method/Format: Offset lithographed and Intaglio engraved. Offset – 160 subjects (10 across, 16 down), Intaglio – 320 subjects (10 across, 32 down)
Reason the stamps were issued: This block of four stamps was issued in honor of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage in 1492.
About the stamp design: Richard Schlecht, an artist whose work is seen on over 20 US stamps, provided watercolor paintings used on these stamps. Both the US and Spain used the same design for this Joint Issue.
The stamps show Columbus presenting his plans to Queen Isabella, his three ships on the ocean, three sailors watching as they approach land, and Columbus and his party going ashore.
Special design details: On the Meeting Queen Isabella stamp, King Ferdinand was originally pictured next to Queen Isabella. A Postal Service researcher found he was not at the meeting depicted, so the symbols of royalty were removed from the person sitting next to the queen.
About the printing process: These stamps were printed using both offset and intaglio methods. Only the words were engraved, the rest of the image was printed using offset lithography.
First Day City: The First Day of Issue ceremony for both the US and Italy stamps took place on St. Croix, part of the US-owned Virgin Islands. Columbus first landed on the island during his second voyage. It is the only US territory that Columbus definitely landed on.
An additional ceremony took place at the Granada 92 international stamp show in Granada, Spain.
Unusual thing about this stamp: When this issue was still in the planning stages, a suggestion was made to incorporate the 1893 Columbian stamps into the design. This idea was dismissed when it was decided that the Columbians would be reissued as souvenir sheets.
History the stamp represents: In 1492, Columbus set off in his three ships, Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, searching for a westward route to the Indies. His voyage was funded by Queen Isabela of Spain. In the early morning hours of October 12, land was sighted by a sailor on the Pinta. Columbus named the island San Salvador. He continued to sail and reached present-day Cuba and Haiti. Columbus and his weary crew began their journey home in mid-January of the following year. After several stops, the sailors returned to Spain in March. Columbus later reported his journey to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.