Stamp Detective: USA's 1925 Norse-American Centennial


15 June 2023
Our Stamp Detective takes a look at some intriguing US stamps from 1925 that recall the arrival of a Norwegian ship, and suggests that this pair are set to go up in value.

On 9 October 1825, the sloop Restaurationen arrived in the harbour of New York with the very first group of immigrants from Norway. They were then followed by many other Norwegians looking for a better future in North America.

The centennial of the arrival of the Norwegians was celebrated with two US postage stamps released on 18 May 1925. The 2c value shows the Restaurationen and a Viking ship is depicted on the 5c stamp. Both are of considerable interest to collectors of ships on stamps. The designs were the work of Clair Aubrey Huston who was a resident artist at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington and responsible for numerous US stamp designs.

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Slightly more than nine million stamps were sold of the 2-cent value. The Scott catalogue indicates that 1.900.983 copies of the 5-cent stamp were sold which is a fairly low quantity as far as US commemorative stamp issues are concerned. Many were undoubtedly used on mail to foreign countries as 5 cents was the rate for ordinary surface letters at the time.

Recently a major US stamp dealer offered to pay $5.00 each for unmounted mint sets of the Norse-American issue without specifying that only well-centred stamps were needed. Most sets offered today are mounted mint and unmounted mint is a lot scarcer.

Most US dealers tend to charge about £12-£15 for a fine/very fine UMM set and a lot more for exceptionally well centred specimens. About £10 would be a fair price to pay for a nice set which appears to be in demand.