Geek Trivia

The United States Postal Service Printed Billions Of Stamps With The Wrong Image Of?

Mount Rushmore
The Statue of Liberty
George Washington
John F. Kennedy
Inspector Gadget Was Voiced By The Same Actor Who Portrayed Which Of These Famous Spies?

Answer: The Statue of Liberty

On December 1, 2010, the United States Post Office issued a new stamp, featuring the Statue of Liberty in the form of a first-class “forever” stamp. People really loved the stamp and it has been printed to the tune of 10.5 billion stamps.

That’s not a particularly interesting story just by itself and it’s not at all surprising that a stamp featuring the Statue of Liberty sold well in the United States. Where things get interesting is that for months after the stamp was released, nobody noticed that the photo on the stamp wasn’t the actual Statue of Liberty. The visage on the stamp didn’t belong to the real deal, the statue¬†Liberty Enlightening the World located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The visage on the stamp belonged to an artistically-interpreted replica of the Statue of Liberty located outside the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sheer number of stamps printed makes the Statue of Liberty stamp the single largest run of stamp misprints in the history of the Post Office.

The New York-New York Hotel & Casino version, created by sculptor Robert S. Davidson, is distinctly different from the original in that the face of his Lady Liberty has a fuller chin; a rounded jawline and neck; a softer and wider mouth in relation to the nose; and lifted corners of the mouth to create a friendlier expression. The use of a photograph of the sculpture on the stamp sparked a (still ongoing) lawsuit between Davidson and the USPS.

Image courtesy of the USPS.