Background

Established in 1957, the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) serves the Postmaster General of the United States (PMG). Using their collective expertise in history, science, technology, art, education, sports, and other areas of public interest, CSAC members consider and then recommend stamp subjects to the PMG for final approval.

CSAC meets quarterly. Meetings are closed and confidential. The Postal Service's Stamp Development staff handles all administrative matters and correspondence for the Committee.

Members

There are currently 11 members:

  • Gail Anderson
  • Peter Argentine
  • B. J. Bueno, Chair
  • Ivan Cash
  • Spencer Crew
  • Dr. Cheryl R. Ganz
  • Mike Harrity
  • Carolyn Lewis
  • Harry Rinker
  • Maruchi Santana
  • Katherine C. Tobin, Ph.D.

Stamp selection process

The Postal Service welcomes suggestions for stamp subjects that celebrate the American experience. Any proposal that meets the established criteria will be considered. If you are interested in submitting an idea, please follow these four steps:

  1. Carefully consider the criteria for appropriate stamp subjects (See Stamp subject selection criteria.)
  2. Submit your proposal in writing by U.S. mail. (No in-person appeals, phone calls, or e-mails are accepted.)
  3. Include pertinent historical information and important dates associated with the subject in your proposal.
  4. Mail your suggestion (one topic per letter) to the address below:
    Stamp Development
    Attn: Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
    475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
    Washington, DC 20260-3501

Please note that due to the time required for research and approval, ideas for stamp subjects should be received at least three or more years prior to the proposed issuance year.

As of January 2018, no living persons will be honored on a stamp. Deceased individuals will be honored no earlier than three years after his or her death.

All suggestions that meet criteria are presented to the Committee at the next quarterly meeting. Each proposal is presented without attribution and receives the same level of consideration.

If the Committee decides not to recommend a subject for issuance as a stamp, the proposal can be submitted again for reconsideration following a three-year interval.

No credit or compensation is given for the submission of a stamp subject that is selected.

Stamp subject selection criteria

The U.S. Postal Service and the members of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) have set certain basic criteria used in determining the eligibility of subjects for commemoration on all U.S. stamps and stationery.

  1. U.S. postage stamps and stationery will primarily feature American or American-related subjects. Other subjects may be considered if the subject had significant impact on American history, culture or environment.
  2. The Postal Service will honor extraordinary and enduring contributions to American society, history, culture or environment.
  3. U.S. stamp programs are planned and developed two to three years in advance. In order to be considered, subject matter suggestions should be submitted three or more years in advance of the proposed stamp.
  4. Living people will not be considered at the present time. Beginning in 2018, proposals for a deceased individual will be considered three years following his/her death.
  5. A memorial stamp will be issued honoring U.S. presidents after they are deceased.
  6. Events of historical significance shall be considered for commemoration on anniversaries in multiples of 50 years.
  7. A balance of stamp subjects that includes themes of widespread national appeal and significance will be considered for commemoration. Official postal cancellations, which may be arranged through the local postmaster, may be requested for significant local events or commemorations.
  8. Commemorative postage stamps will be issued at intervals of 50 years from the date of the state's first entry into the Union.
  9. The stamp program commemorates positive contributions to American life, history, culture and environment; therefore, negative occurrences and disasters will not be commemorated on U.S. postage stamps or stationery.
  10. Due to the limitations placed on annual postal programs and the vast number of locales, organizations and institutions in existence, it would be difficult to single out any one of the following for commemoration: government agencies, localities, non-profit organizations, associations, and similar entities. Stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor religious institutions or individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings or beliefs. However, these subjects may be recognized with commemorative postmarks.
  11. Stamps may be issued for the five active-duty branches – Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. This includes Reserve/Guard components of the current organizational structure. Stamps for the major service academies will be considered on a case-by-case basis for 50-year anniversaries (or multiples thereof).

Artwork for stamp designs

Stamp Development works with professional art directors to oversee the creation of stamp designs. The art directors, in turn, work with professional designers, artists, illustrators, and photographers to produce the stamp art, one of the most visible forms of public art.

The Postal Service issues approximately 35 stamps each year; a small percentage of those stamp designs are created by artists new to stamp design.

In order to have your work considered, please follow the submission guidelines below. Personal interviews are not granted.

  • Submit a portfolio of samples in print form (tear sheets, color copies, etc.) that best represent your style of work. Samples are not returned; neither original art nor slides will be accepted.
  • Do not submit artwork or photographs for a stamp subject for consideration. Unsolicited stamp designs will not be reviewed or considered.
  • Mail your portfolio to the following address:
    USPS Stamp Development
    Attn: Stamp Design
    475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
    Washington, DC 20260-3501

The Stamp Development design team reviews all submitted portfolios. Approved portfolios are placed in a talent file. This file is reviewed periodically as new stamp subjects are assigned. The Stamp Development design team makes artist selections in consultation with CSAC and the art directors.

The Stamp Development design staff assigns each contract. Contracts are flat fee; there is no competitive bid process.

Reproducing stamps

The U.S. Postal Service copyrights all stamp designs. If you wish to reproduce a stamp design, you must contact the Postal Service for permission.

For information and permission, please visit:

https://about.usps.com/doing-business/rights-permissions/stamp-use-information.htm

Additional Resources

Thank you for your interest

  • To order stamps and stamp products online, visit: usps.com/stamps.
  • To obtain a free subscription to USA Philatelic, the official source for the complete line of stamps and stamp products from the U.S. Postal Service visit: usps.com/philatelic.