These are poster stamps — collectible mini-posters produced from before the turn-of-the-19th/20th-century to around the 1930s and used to advertise and commemorate things, people, events and, of course, products and services. These particular poster stamps are a curious amalgam of politics, government, history, tea and irony (at least seen today).
The stamps celebrate the United States Park Service by featuring President Woodrow Wilson’s cabinet against a graphic representation of their respective “portfolios.” However, the commercial sponsor is a Russian tea company, Poppoff’s Tea. At this time, Russia was no longer our ally; the Russian Revolution had installed its Bolshevik government, but this reminder of the Czarist era was nonetheless a strange juxtaposition. Below is a little piece of Popoff promotion:
This is the tea that will bring back fond memories for most Russians and East Europeans living overseas. We added some white tips to the tea to enhance the flavour and produce a rounded strong cup. Highly recommended to those who like a nice strong cup of tea with a strong fragrance.
For more Steven Heller, check out Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility, one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.