Remembering Our First Love

Forty years ago this month—January 26, 1973, to be exact—the U.S. Postal Service issued its first Love stamp. Featuring a minimalist and timeless design by leading 1960s pop artist Robert Indiana, the stamp proved wildly popular with the public: more than 300 million stamps were printed.

USPS73STA100Indiana originally created the “Love” design for the Museum of Modern Art to use as a Christmas card in 1964. Later, he transformed the design into a steel sculpture that has been on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 1970. Today, the iconic design appears in a wide variety of forms—including a popular sculpture at Kennedy Plaza in Philadelphia, “the city of brotherly love.”

Born Robert E. Clark, Robert Indiana (1928– ) adopted the name of his native state early in his career. A painter of the American environment, he creates images from words and numbers that are inspired by the world of signs—in particular, signs of the highway that refer allegorically to life’s journey. His paintings, sculpture, and graphics can be found in many museums and public places, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

In 1978, Indiana left New York City for the solitude of Vinalhaven, Maine, the small fishing community and summer vacation spot where he lives and works today. The 1973 Love stamp is his only stamp design.

We hope you’ll join us over the next few weeks as we look back at some of our favorite stamps in the Love series and prepare for one of our favorite celebrations: Valentine’s Day!

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About USPS Stamps

The Postal Service™ is proud of its role in portraying the American experience to a world audience through the issuance of postage stamps and postal stationery. Each year the Postal Service issues commemorative stamps reflecting subjects of national significance and appeal. More than 160 years of stamp development has yielded an incredible archive of imagery and commentary reflecting American culture and society. Even in this fast-changing world, stamps are still a versatile and convenient method of postage. And stamp collecting is a lifetime hobby that is fun and educational for all ages. Stamp collecting is easy to start without a big investment. It is also a great way to learn about the world and its many wonders, opening the door to an exciting universe of history, science, geography, the arts, technology, and sports. Our mission is to provide universal service that is prompt, reliable, efficient, affordable, and self-sustaining. Throughout its history the Postal Service has grown with the nation, binding it together by ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the same ability to communicate regardless of technological change.