Four souvenir miniature stamp sheets honoring deceased US presidents were issued on May 22, 1986, during AMERIPEX '86, the international philatelic show held in Rosemont, Illinois. The 22-cent commemorative stamps went on sale in post offices nationwide the following day, May 23.
First-time stamp artist Jerry Dadds of Baltimore, Maryland, designed the four sheets containing thirty-six stamps under the direction of Howard Paines, a design coordinator for the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee. After hours of carefully researching hundreds of old paintings, etchings, and photographs, Dadds executed the designs in the woodcut style that has become his artistic trademark.
Thirty-five of the stamps feature portraits of the deceased presidents, and a thirty-sixth stamp depicts the White House. Above each president's portrait is a facsimile of his signature. Listed below each portrait are the years of his administration.
America's postage stamps have featured images of US presidents since 1847, when the first adhesive stamp was issued. In fact, prior to 1900, much of the Post Office Department's stamp inventory consisted of issues depicting presidents, Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln being the most popular subjects.
The philatelic tradition of honoring presidents on postage is a reflection of Americans' deep respect for the prestigious office and the distinguished individuals who have occupied it.
The stamps were printed on the offset/intaglio combination press.
Postal Bulletin (April 17, 1986).