The Unique Thelonious Monk is a 1956 album from Thelonious Monk, his second for Riverside Records and like his Riverside debut, is made up of standards. It was a continuation of Riverside's strategy to broaden consumer interest in Monk by having him record cover versions of well-known material which, Riverside hoped, would help to break down the prevailing perception that Monk's original music was "too difficult" for mass-market acceptance.
Though composed solely of standards, The Unique Thelonious Monk contains strong performances from both Thelonious and his band members, Art Blakey and Oscar Pettiford. The album itself, however, is often overlooked by documentaries of Monk's career and is little heard. The Riverside publicist Billie Wallington used a marketing ploy, at the time of the first re-issue, of mass-printing the stamp featured on the cover art. Riverside distributed sheets of 100 stamps, some of which even made their way through the United States Postal Service despite being larger than regulation size. Standard stamps of the era were under an inch wide and high; the Monk stamp is 1-9/16" high by 1-3/8" wide. In 1956 it took a 3-cent stamp to carry a 1st Class letter. Riverside's Monk stamp had a 3 in the lower left and a 3-1/3 in the lower right. The stamps are scarce today.