The U.S. Postal Service's first priority mail stamp, issued on July 20, 1989, commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 expedition to the moon.
Credit: U.S. Postal Service
The Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum is asking for help in selecting an iconic stamp to represent the United States in an international gallery and one of its choices celebrates the first moon landing.
You can vote on which stamp best represents America; choices include the Statue of Liberty, the capitol dome or a flag-and-fireworks stamp. One of the seven candidate stamps is the classic $2.40 Apollo 11 single.
The stamp that receives the most votes by January 20, 2011, will be the winner.
Stars and Stripes on the lunar surface
The moon-landing priority mail stamp was unveiled back in 1989, during ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of Apollo 11's July 1969 moon landing. [Apollo 11 Anniversary: A Look Back in Pictures]
The dedication ceremony with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in attendance was held in conjunction with gala anniversary celebrations at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
The stamp features two astronauts planting the Stars and Stripes on the lunar surface. The designer of the stamp was Christopher Calle of Ridgefield, Conn. Calle is the son of Paul Calle, the veteran illustrator who produced the first moon-landing tribute stamp, a 10-cent airmail stamp issued on Sept. 9, 1969.
Like the work his father created for the 1969 stamp, Christopher Calle's original mixed media design was based on NASA photographs of astronauts practicing moonwalking duties preflight.
The U.S. Postal Service issued its first Priority Mail stamp on July 20, 1989, partly to promote speedy mail delivery, but also to celebrate the Apollo 11 expedition to the moon.
The winning stamp will be prominently displayed in the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, which is expected to open in 2012. This new addition will be part of the National Postal Museum, located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C.
William H. Gross is the founder of PIMCO a global investment solutions provider and he's also a stamp collector. Gross donated $8 million to the National Postal Museum to create a new 12,000-square-foot gallery that will be named in his honor.
The International Collections exhibit will explore geography, ancestry, history, culture, the environment and other global topics and themes through interpretive displays of stamps and other philatelic items from around the world.
"The William H. Gross Stamp Gallery will educate and inspire people of all ages through exhibits that feature stamps as a window to the American experience, emphasizing the ways stamps and mail have had an impact on every American's life," National Postal Museum director Allen Kane said in a statement.
So if you're so inclined, let your fingers do the moonwalking and consider selecting the moon landing stamp!
To cast your vote, go to: http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/vote/
- U.S. Postal Service Reveals Designs for 2011 Space Stamps
- NASA's Most Memorable Missions
- Apollo 11 Anniversary: A Look Back in Pictures
Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is past editor-in-chief of the National Space Society's Ad Astra and Space World magazines and has written for SPACE.com since 1999.