An image of James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth president of the United States (1817-1825) and a prominent leader in the War for Independence, appears on the 5-cent blue stamp issued as part of the 1938 Presidential Series. Monroe's likeness was taken from a medal furnished by the U.S. Mint.
It is ironic that a stamp portraying Monroe, the author of the 'Monroe Doctrine' (which warned the European powers to stay out of affairs of the Americas), be the stamp paying the much-used one-ounce surface rate to the world that was in effect July 1875 through October 1953. The 5-cent Prexie could also pay the one-ounce domestic airmail rate in effect October 1946 through December 1948.
The Bureau produced two varieties of the 5-cent Monroe stamp—the sheet stamp (issued July 21, 1938) and the horizontal (sidewise) coil issued (January 20, 1939).