Arago: Byrd Antarctic Issue

Byrd Antarctic Issue

3c Byrd Antarctic Expedition II President Franklin D. Roosevelt sketch

Scott Catalogue USA: 733

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's original design for the Byrd Antarctic Expedition II, signed Franklin Delano Roosevelt and dated 4/25/35[34].

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a plan for a stamp to be issued for mail sent to the Admiral Richard E. Byrd's second Antarctic expedition site. The resulting stamp honored Admiral Byrd's first three major polar expeditions. The Post Office Department charged fifty-three cents for each letter sent to the "US Post Office Little America" in Antarctica - three-cent postage regular rate plus an additional fifty cents to help finance the Byrd Expedition.

The first designs prepared for approval were horizontal and had a thirty-five cent denomination. None of the four designs prepared by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing met President Roosevelt's approval. Roosevelt then sketched a rough design inside a vertical frame depicting the four routes traveled by Byrd: his 1926 North Pole flight, his 1928-1930 First Antarctic Expedition, and the upcoming 1933-1935 Antarctic Expedition. His 1927 trans-Atlantic flight route from New York to France also appeared in the design.

Artist Victor S. McCloskey, Jr., of the BEP prepared three more designs, and Roosevelt selected his preferred design. When the president inspected the final proof, he noted that the line indicating Byrd's travels from New York to Ver Sur was incorrect, saying, "He landed further north than that." The final design included the correct flight paths for each expedition.


Baur, Brian C. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Stamps of the United States 1933-45. Linn's Stamp News, 1993. 23-24.

Ice Cap News. American Society of Polar Philatelists. Vol. 21. No. 4. July-August 1976.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 4/25/35[34]
paper; graphite
Height x Width: 4 x 4 3/4 in. (10.16 x 12.07 cm)
Museum ID:

  • 3c Byrd Antarctic Expedition II President Franklin D. Roosevelt sketch
  • 3c Byrd Antarctic Expedition II President Franklin D. Roosevelt sketch
Additional Records

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