Stamps for the Philippines
FIRST REAL POSTAGE
To Be Used on July 4 Next—McKinley’s and Other American Patriots’
Photographs Will Figure on Them
The gift of a new kind of money
from Uncle Sam furnished the Filipinos with substantial grounds
for a grand celebration last 4th of July. This 4th of July the Filipinos
will have another cause for jubilation.
On that day they will be supplied
with a new and distinctive series of postage stamps of all denominations.
This will make an epoch in the history of the islands. They will
be the first real Filipino postage stamps ever used.
For sentimental reasons this new issue
of Philippine stamps will possess great interest for the people
of the United States, although they will not be available for postage
here any more than are Cuban stamps. Upon six of the denominations
will appear portraits of distinguished citizens of the United States.
The four centavo, corresponding to
our two cent stamp, will bear the photograph of William McKinley.
This will be the first time the face of President McKinley has had
a place on a postage stamp.
At the time of his death the Post
Office Department had under consideration a new series of stamps
and immediately there developed a strong sentiment in favor of honoring
Mr. McKinley with a place on one of the denominations. This could
not be done without displacing Washington, Franklin, Lincoln or
Grant, provided McKinley was to have a place on a stamp of general
In view of the fact that Franklin’s
portrait had appeared on our stamp of lowest value from the time
of the issue of our first stamps, and Washington had always occupied
a similar position on the stamp carrying domestic letter mail, it
was decided not to disturb them. Then there was serious discussion
of the proposition to issue a mourning stamp bearing the head of
McKinley, but this was also abandoned.
Now McKinley’s face will appear on
a postage stamp, and it will adorn the stamps used by the people
liberated from the yoke of Spain during his Administration.
The new series of stamps for the Philippines
will consist of the same number and denominations—expressed in centavos—as
the current issue of United States stamps.
The question naturally arises: Why
should Admiral Sampson be honored by a place on the stamps rather
than Admiral Dewey? The explanation is simple.
The policy of the Government does
not permit the placing of portraits of persons still living upon
postage stamps. The scheme of the Insular Bureau contemplated representation
on the series of stamps of American officers who participated in
the land and sea operations which resulted in the acquisition of
the Philippines, and Admiral Sampson was the only commanding officer
of high grade not now living.
The placing of Franklin and Washington
on the stamps of the Philippines is also a bit of sentiment. The
first two postage stamps ever issued by the United States Government
were the five cent face of Franklin and the ten cent face of Washington
in 1847. Since that date these two faces have appeared on every
series of postage stamps issued, and it is fitting that they should
now be continued on the stamps of the colonies.
Postage stamps have been in use in
the Philippines since 1854. They were Spanish stamps until the United
States took charge in 1898, since which time the United States stamps
with the word “Philippines” printed diagonally across the face of
the stamp have been used.
From 1854 until 1890 the stamps bore
the portraits of Queen Isabella and King Alfonso XII., followed
by the face of the four-year-old King Alfonso XIII. These were known
as the baby head stamps, and this design continued on all Spanish
and colonial stamps until 1898, when the portrait of the young King,
then 12 years of age, appeared. These stamps had just gone into
circulation in the Philippines when the United States took possession
of the archipelago.
When the design for the Philippine
coins was under consideration a year ago the sketch submitted by
a native Filipino was accepted, and in the selection and preparation
of the designs for the new Philippine stamps influential Filipinos
were consulted and their suggestions approved.
While the stamps will be distinctively
Filipino in a way, Uncle Sam will still indicate his interest in
the postal system of his ward by the use of an inscription in small
letters at the top of each stamp, substantially as follows: “Government
of the Philippines, U. S. A.,” and although the Spanish currency
will be the basis—centavos and pesos—the English language will be
applied as for example, “two centavos,” rather than “dos centavos.”