In a major departure in stamp design of special delivery stamps, this design
featured a Helmet of Mercury.
In Roman mythology, Mercury was the god of commerce and merchants, of science
and astronomy, of thieves, travelers, and vagabonds, and of cleverness and
eloquence. The messenger of the gods, Mercury was represented in art as a young
man with a winged hat and sandals.
While the stamp design was artistic, it was not received well. Many complaints
that letters bearing the new stamps were escaping special delivery treatment
because of the altered shape, design, and color were received from the public
and from postmasters.
The stamp was discontinued by order of the postmaster general on June 9, 1909,
and the reissuance of the preceding issue was resumed.