Stamp Sales Go Into Orbit

During the Kennedy years, the space race was in full swing and America had its eyes on the stars…literally! Do you know the 1962 event that made history twice?

On February 20th, at 2:43p.m., astronaut John Glenn made his historic splash down in the Atlantic after orbiting the Earth three times aboard the Mercury Friendship 7. (What aview!)

It was one small splash for man… And one giant splash for the post office: As soon as Glenn was safely aboard his recovery ship, a 4-cent stamp commemorating the successful mission was issued.

In a “covert operation,” the special stamp had been secretly printed. Thenitwasdistributedandheldatpostofficesaroundthecountryuntilthe “thumbs up” wasgiven.

There’s only one word to describe what happened when the post office issued its surprise announcement regarding the Glenn commemorative stamp… STAMPEDE (get it?)

People flooded post offices around the country in a Space Age buying frenzy that had never been seen before. When the day was over, more than ten million “Project Mercury” stamps were available to the public, any many of these were scooped up by speculating stamp collectors.

Today, those stamps sell for about the same price as the issue price – just four cents.

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