U.S. # 5035
2015 49¢ Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is one of the oldest military awards worldwide that is open to all who are wounded in battle. The Badge of Military Merit (the predecessor of the Purple Heart) was first awarded on August 7, 1782, by General George Washington. With the Revolutionary War nearly over, Washington wanted some way to repay his troops for their sacrifices. He created the Badge of Military Merit, to be awarded to soldiers displaying high merit and serving for over three years. Only three badges were known to have been awarded to Revolutionary War soldiers, with no documentation of any others until after World War I.
In October 1927, Army Chief of Staff General Charles Pelot Summerall petitioned Congress to have the badge revived, but the bill failed. Four years later, General Douglas MacArthur resumed Summerall’s work, overhauling the badge’s design and issuing it on the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth. From 1932-43, the Purple Heart was awarded for wounds received in action and for acts of high merit.
In 1943, with the establishment of the Legion of Merit – a military decoration awarded for exceptional service and achievement – the requirements for the Purple Heart changed. Since then, a person must be a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and wounded or killed in action to be awarded the Purple Heart.
Ira Wexler photographed the Purple Heart medal that appears on the stamp while art director Jennifer Arnold designed the stamp.
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: October 2015
First Day City: Washington, D.C.
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Method: Offset printing in sheets of 200, with 10 panes of 20
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 200,000,000 stamps
The Purple Heart stamp was first issued in 2003 and was re-printed again each year between 2006 and 2009. In 2011, the stamp was redesigned to include the ribbon at the top. However, the 2015 stamp was the first to include microprinting (USPS appears along the top-left side of the ribbon).