A 20-cent commemorative stamp honoring ragtime composer Scott Joplin was issued June 9, 1983, in Sedalia, Missouri. The First Day of Issue ceremony was held at the former site of the Maple Leaf Club, where Joplin, the King of Ragtime, frequently performed.
Through his life, Scott Joplin fought for recognition. In the 1970's, ragtime finally began to receive academic recognition and respect and, in 1977, Joplin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize posthumously for Treemonisha.
The Scott Joplin stamp design was unveiled July 16, 1982, in St. Louis, Missouri. Designed by Jerry Pinkney of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, the stamp features a head and shoulders portrait of Joplin based on a photograph on the title page of The Collected Works of Scott Joplin II, edited by Vera Brodsky Lawrence. Superimposed to the lower right of the stamp is a drawing of Joplin playing an upright piano. Ronald C. Sharpe modeled the stamp.
The vertically oriented stamp is included in the Black Heritage Series, begun in 1978 to recognize the contributions Black Americans have made to the growth and development of the United States.
The stamp was printed in the photogravure process, with fifty stamps per pane.
Postal Bulletin (May 5, 1983).