NEW YORK (AP) _ Four United States postal stamps commemorating five American arctic explorers were unveiled Wednesday night at the Explorers Club.

The explorers honored were Gen. Adolphus Greeley, Admr. Robert Peary and his asssociate, Mathew Henson, Vilhajmur Steffanson and Elijah Kane.

The stamps will be officially issued at a ceremony May 28 at North Pole, a suburb of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Each stamp depicts a bust-like portrait of the explorer or explorers, a small map, and a pictorial vignette from an expedition.

Peary and Henson led the first expedition to the North Pole in 1909. Their stamp features a scene of men being carried by dog sled.

Greeley led an expedition to Northern Greenland in 1881 and was one of six survivors of an expedition to Cape Sabine in 1884. His stamp features a picture of men pulling a sled.

Steffanson, who explored the Canadian Arctic between 1913-18, is honored by a stamp in which he is shown dragging a seal carcass across the frozen terrain.

Kane journeyed to the arctic in the years before the Civil War. The stamp depicts his ship icebound and tipping precariously to one side, a reference to an incident in his 1855 expedition to Greenland.

The stamps were designed by Dennis Lyall, an artist from Norwalk, Conn., who has created eight other stamps for the postal service including a series on electrical pioneers.

''It's a challenge to take a complicated subject and make it as interesting and visually exciting as possible,'' he said in a telephone interview from his home. ''I'm looking forward to seeing them (the stamps) as much as anybody else.''