Photo of Bettendorf and Mississippi River by Rock Island Resident David Sebben About to Become a Stamp | Bettendorf

When Rock Island resident David Sebben took a picture of the American Queen steamboat docked in Bettendorf in 2015, he wasn’t thinking about the US Postal Service and how his photo would look great on a postage stamp.

Instead, he enjoyed his hobby and captured the lights of the steamboat, the blue sky darkening behind and the calm of the Mississippi River.

Five years later, however, he discovered that the photo he had taken was fortunate enough to embellish envelopes across the United States.

Sebben’s photo was chosen by the Postal Service as part of its new Mighty Mississippi stamp series, which includes stamps for each state that touches the Mississippi River. Other stamps capture the head of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, the Gateway Arch in Missouri, and the Mississippi marshes.

“I was totally shocked that they selected my photo of the docked American Queen,” Sebben said.

He shared the photo on Flickr, an image hosting website, where the Postal Service found it. They contacted him and explained that his photo, if he gave them permission to use it, would represent Iowa in the set of 10 stamps.

U.S. Postal Service senior public relations representative Sara Martin said in an email that the idea behind the Mighty Mississippi stamp series was one of 30,000 submitted each year, of which only about 30 are chosen. The stamps produced by the Postal Service highlight the American experience, she said.