Stamped Out

Stamped Out


  As early as 1982 the USCF had already started making preparations for the upcoming events commemorating the centennial of the death of Paul Morphy (1837-1884).  Paul Morphy, as most chess enthusiasts realize, was the most celebrated chess player of the 19th century.  During his peak years his name was plastered in newspapers and discussed in secular periodicals as well as in the chess-specific ones.  His then-unrivaled celebrity along with the fact that he was American born and raised gave the US Chess Federation the belief, even the expectation, to see the face of Paul Morphy on an official postage stamp in 1984.  

     Not only did the USCF start lobbying for that to occur, but it started taking steps to help ensure that it did.  In February 1984, USCF's official periodical, Chess Life and Review announced its plans to solicit stamp designs:

     and in May actually announced a design contest (a hasty one that would termnate in just a month).

     Meanwhile, they published an article on chess stamps which included this paragraph:

Here's the cover the article mentions (click image for full size)

     The contest winners were announced in November 1982:

     In 1984 it was announced that all their efforts had been in vain:

     The top image is the winning entry;  the rest, top to bottom, are as credited in the article as "clockwise from top").  Unfortunately none but the one from the cover are in color:


The stamp that never was to be.