Marginal Markings Committee


Legal Notices





Design Elements


Legal notices protect USPS designs and slogans, as well as emblems of organizations and the names and images of individuals honored on stamps.


Copyright (©) notices first appeared in 1978 with the Indian Head Penny issue (1734).  It is now a common practice for the USPS to copyright all its designs.


©USPS 1994


Trademarks first appeared in 1989 with the 25¢ Eagle & Shield (2431) pressure-sensitive stamp, marked “EXTRAordinary Stamps™” on unfolded panes.


USPS Trademark for "EXTRAordinary Stampsä"



Pink Panther Trademark & Copyright




Dance Trademarks


Various Emblems have appeared in margins.  Emblems include the US Bicentennial emblem in the margin of the Colonial American Craftsman issue (1458) and the USPS Eagle with Olympic Rings in the margin of the Wildflowers issue (2955-2956).  Other emblems, or logos, that have appeared as marginal markings include WSE ’89 SM logo, American Music Stamp Festival logo, and PUAS (Postal Union of the Americas and Spain) logo (2512).


US Bicentennial emblem



Olympic Rings and Trademarked USPS emblem


The USPS first started Registration of its slogans in 1978 with the Indian Head Penny issue.  The ® mark indicates that the slogan is registered.  Mr. Zip became registered with the Captain Cook issue (1732-1733). 





Registered examples of Zip slogans.


What do W.C. Fields and Lou Gehrig have in common?  When they were honored with a commemorative stamp, both estates insisted on royalties for the use of the name and image.  As a result, the USPS now negotiates licenses in advance, and a Licensing statement is added to the margin.



James Cagney Trademark, Copyright and Licensing Data



Plate Identification


Production Markings









M. J. Reinhard, "The Bicentennial Emblem as a Marginal Marking", The United States Specialist, Vol 45, January 1974, pg 10.

M. Ryba1ka, "The Copyright Inscription, 1978-1987", The United States Specialist, Vol 59, October 1988, pg 447453.

J. Gulka, "Some Firsts Around the Edges", The United States Specialist, Vol 61, September 1990, pg 496.

M. Rybalka, "U.S. Sheet Stamps of 1989", The United States Specialist, Vol 61, September 1990, Sep. pg. 520.

D. B. Littlefield, "The First Public Service Messages on Booklet Panes", The United States Specialist, Vol 63, 1992, Aug. pg 412

John S. Meek, The Calendar, Year Dates and Some Marginal Markings, Vol 70 No 12, December 1999, pg 559-567.

Doug D’Avino, The Encyclopedia of United States Stamp Collecting:  Marginal Markings, The United States Specialist, Vol 75, September 2004, pg 389-406. 





Marginal Markings -










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