Mark Twain Immortalized on Forever Stamp

WASHINGTON — Acclaimed author and humorist Mark Twain is being honored by the U.S. Postal Service with the issuance of a commemorative Forever postage stamp in the city that served as the setting for two of his most famous works. A first-day-of-issue ceremony will be held June 25 at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, MO. The 27th stamp in the Literary Arts series, the Mark Twain First-Class Forever stamp will go on sale nationwide at Post Offices and online at on June 25.

“Our literary tribute this year rightfully honors Mark Twain, author of one of the greatest novels in American literature and the man whom William Faulkner called ‘the first truly American writer,’ said Postal Service Board of Governors member James H. Bilbray. “Mark Twain was a rarity, as he was one of the first writers to exploit the vernacular voice in his books, using the speech of common Americans,” Bilbray said.

Joining Bilbray at the dedication ceremony will be Henry Sweets, curator for the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum; Rachel Bringer, Circuit Judge, 10th Judicial Circuit, Hannibal MO; and David Martin, district manager, Gateway District, USPS.

Mark Twain (1835—1910), is the author of beloved works such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. His Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is widely considered one of the greatest novels in American literature. In this tale of an abused boy and a runaway slave who become friends while riding a raft down the Mississippi River, Twain addressed issues of race and racism in America with a frankness that is still startling more than a100 years later. Born Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain took his name from his time working as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi.

The postage stamp portrait shows Twain as an older man; the steamboat in the background evokes a way of life along the Mississippi River that played a huge role in many of Twain’s works, as well as in his own life. Art director and stamp designer Phil Jordan collaborated with stamp artist Gregory Manchess, who based his portrait of Twain on a photograph taken around 1907.

The Mark Twain Forever Stamp is always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce rate. Past honorees for the Literary Arts series include T.S. Eliot (1986), Ernest Hemingway (1989), William Faulkner (1987), Tennessee Williams (1995), Thomas Wolfe (2000), James Baldwin (2004)and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (2008).

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmark

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first day of issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office™ facility, at The Postal Store® website at, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Mark Twain Stamp

U.S. Postal Service

801 Broadway Street

Hannibal, MO 63401-9998

After applying the first day of issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by August 25, 2011.

Ordering First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic Catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment

Dept. 6270

U.S. Postal Service

PO Box 219014

Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Ordering the Stamp and Related Products

There are five philatelic products available for this stamp issue:

466861, First Day Cover, $0.88

466865, Digital Color Postmark, $1.60

466873, Commemorative Booklet and Block of 4 Stamps, $12.95

466891, Ceremony Program, $6.95

466899, Keepsake Pane and Digital Color Postmark, $10.95