A block of four 22-cent stamps which commemorate five intrepid Polar explorers were issued May 28, 1986, in North Pole, Alaska.
The stamps honor Elisha Kent Kane, Adolphus W. Greely, Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson, and Vilhjalmur Stefansson.
Kane opened the door to the North Pole by sailing his tiny ship Advance northward, perhaps to a sighting of the Polar Sea itself. Greely's party reached a point that was the closest any explorer had come to the North Pole, a record unsurpassed for twenty-one years. Robert E. Peary and his resourceful assistant Matthew Henson undertook perilous expeditions that ended in a triumph at the North Pole. Vilhjalmur Stefansson explored the Beaufort Sea, the last unknown Arctic area.
The designer of the stamps was Dennis Lyall of Norwalk, Connecticut. Lyall also has designed commemoratives which honored Joseph Priestley (issued in 1982), American Inventors (block of four, 1984) and Horace Moses (1985), and regular stamps in the Great Americans Series that depicted Thomas Gallaudet (1983) and Walter Lippmann (1985).
The stamps were printed in the photogravure process by the American Bank Note Company and issued in panes of fifty.
Postal Bulletin (May 22, 1986).