Arago: 17-cent Johnson

17-cent Johnson

The image of Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), the nation's seventeenth president, appears on the 17-cent value of the 1938 Presidential Series. Johnson's likeness was inspired by a bust displayed in the Senate Gallery in Washington, District of Columbia.

A career politician, Johnson was the third vice president to become president after the death of an elected president, in this case, Abraham Lincoln. Johnson was an unpopular president and escaped impeachment by one vote. He finished Lincoln's term (1865-1869) but was not elected to another.

This rose-red stamp was issued on October 27, 1938, as a sheet stamp. It marks the first appearance of Andrew Johnson on a postage stamp.

The 17-cent stamp saw much use in combination with other stamps. The most common use for a solo 17-cent stamp was for prepaying charges for a local letter (two cents) with minimum registration (fifteen cents). This combination rate was in effect July 1, 1933, through March 24, 1944.

A more difficult challenge is to find this 17-cent stamp paying the international surface fee for five ounces—five cents for the first ounce and three cents for each of the next four ounces. This rate was in effect October 1, 1907, through October 31, 1953.

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