When Franklin D. Roosevelt first won election as president in 1932, a new era was about to dawn for stamp collectors. Roosevelt was the only president who was also an ardent philatelist. In addition to his frequent statements extolling the pleasures of the hobby, he took a proactive stance in the operations of the Post Office Department by actually designing some of the stamps issued during his unprecedented twelve years in office.
In the 1930s the Post Office Department was still the focus of the country’s political patronage system; James A. Farley, the chairman of the National Democratic Committee, was named postmaster general. Farley was not a collector. But at the very beginning of the administration, he was determined to further ingratiate himself with the “Boss,” as he called Roosevelt, by giving him unusual examples of new postal issues. In addition to the President, these presentations eventually included special printings to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, who was the only stamp collector in the cabinet. Other prominent persons also received some of these printings, as did Farley’s children, who he hoped would take up the hobby.