Columbus Sighted on Stamps from Near and Far

Today, October 10, is Columbus Day, once regaled as the opening of the Western hemisphere to the Old World and now the focal point among historians to reflect and interpret the archaic practices of territorial expansion of that time. Political and social views notwithstanding, Columbus certainly has a place in the world of stamp collecting.

When the 400th anniversaries of Christopher Columbus’ voyages were observed starting in 1892, there were celebrations noting the Italian-born explorer’s excursions to the Americas. Of particular note was the World’s Columbian Exposition, essentially a world’s fair, in Chicago. That’s when the United States Post Office Department issued its first-ever commemoratives, a handsome engraved set of 16, including several unprecedented high-denomination stamps. The stamps are called “Columbians” among collectors.

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