On a number of occasions, the name “Michigan” or a clear representation of the geographical outline of the state has appeared on a United States postage stamp.
In 1935, the 3-cent, dark lilac Michigan Centenary stamp was issued to commemorate the state’s centennial. The Michigan Centenary stamp includes the state seal, which highlights the state’s motto: Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice (If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look About You). In 1987, the 22-cent, multi-colored Michigan Statehood sesquicentennial stamp was issued highlighting Michigan’s state tree, the white pine.
Some commemorative stamps were issued as part of a series, and Michigan has been depicted in several. The 13-cent, multicolored Michigan Flag issue was part of a fifty-state series honoring the bicentennial of the nation in 1976 with the flags of each state illustrated. The 34-cent, brightly colored Greetings from Michigan stamp was part of a fifty-state issue that depicted postcard images with nostalgic and colorful retro tourist scenes of each state. The Renaissance Center, the People Mover and fishing in the Great Lakes are featured on the Michigan postcard.
Not all Michigan stamps reflect commemoration of statehood or are part of a larger postal series. Michigan State College (present-day Michigan State University) was depicted in a 3-cent, emerald green-colored Landgrant College stamp released in 1955. The centennial stamp reflects the founding of Pennsylvania State College and Michigan Agriculture College in 1855. However the stamp is printed in Michigan State’s well-known green, rather than Penn State’s blue.
Finally, the 3-cent, turquoise blue Mackinac Bridge stamp released in 1958 commemorated the dedication of the new bridge connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
Besides these “state” stamps, an assortment of Michigan places and faces have appeared on U.S. postage stamps. These include the St. Joseph Lighthouse (1995), Joe Louis (1993), Ty Cobb (2000) and Henry Ford and his Model T (1968). The most recent addition is Lake Superior, which is featured in the Wonders of America series (2006).
For more great stories on Michigan’s past, look to Michigan History magazine. For more information or a free trial issue, call (800) 366-3703 or visit http://www.michiganhistorymagazine.com/.