The 3-cent stamp honoring International Geophysical Year was issued through the Chicago, Illinois, post office on May 31, 1958. The stamp's design was based on a photograph of the sun, depicting an area of intense solar activity. This phenomenon was, among others, studied during the eighteen months of the International Geophysical Year. Superimposed above the solar disc and the fiery solar prominences emanating from it is a segment of Michelangelo's famous fresco, "The Creation of Adam." Across the top of the stamp is the wording "International Geophysical Year 1957-58," arranged in two lines, and across the bottom is "US Postage 3c." All lettering is in whiteface Gothic.
Ervine Metzl, the stamp's designer, explained, "In the small confines of a postage stamp we have endeavored to picture a man's wonder at the unknown together with his determination to understand it and his need for spiritual inspiration to further his knowledge."
The stamp was printed on the Giori rotary sheet-fed press, perforated on an L-type machine, and issued in panes of fifty stamps each. An initial printing of 120 million stamps was authorized.
Postal Bulletin (April 24, 1958)