Arago: 8-cent Pershing

8-cent Pershing

On November 17, 1961, the Post Office Department replaced the 8-cent Liberty stamp with an 8-cent stamp commemorating General John. J. Pershing (1860-1948). It has been argued that this stamp is not actually in the Liberty Series but was intended as the first issuance of a new series of definitives, which never materialized. Its announcement stated that “this stamp will ultimately replace the 8-cent Statue of Liberty design, which now appears also on the 3-cent and 11-cent regular denominations.”

The portrait of Pershing is facing left and to the right of center, a very different design from all other portraits featured in the Liberty series. Pershing is shown in full dress uniform with four stars on his shoulder. Though entitled to wear five stars, Pershing always chose to wear only four.

A photograph of a color reproduction of an oil painting by J.F.Boucher was utilized for the design, which was executed by Robert J. Jones at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The official color of the stamp in its first day of issue announcement was noted as "khaki" but is now listed as "brown" in the Scott Catalogue.

On September 3, 1917, Pershing was given the title 'General of the Armies of the United States'. At the close of World War I, he became chief of staff of the U.S. Army. He was asked to consider running for the presidency in 1920 and again in 1924, but he steadfastly refused.

In honor of Pershing's service to his country, the Pershing tank and Pershing missile were later named after him. The 2nd Brigade of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division is nicknamed 'Black Jack', which was Pershing’s nickname. Pershing County in the state of Nevada is named in his honor.

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