Tag Archives: benjamin franklin

Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #1

History Through Philately — Mrs. Silence Dogood

History Through Philately stamp

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The very first adhesive postage stamp in the world was issued by Great Britain on May 1, 1840, for use beginning May 6. It is known as the Penny Black:

British Penny Black

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The Penny Black is not a rare stamp since 286,700 sheets were printed comprising 240 stamps each, for a total of 68,808,000 stamps. An estimated 1.5 million Penny Blacks still exist. A used Penny Black in FINE condition can be had for about $125, and an unused one in FINE condition can be had for about $3,500.

Of course, a postal system existed in many countries prior to 1840 but without postage stamps. When the carriage fee was paid, the postal clerk made a mark in the upper right corner indicating fee paid and took the envelope for delivery. Eventually postmarks came into use. Created by Henry Bishop of London, they were called a Bishop mark and were first used in 1661 at the London General Post Office.

Here in the United States, the first postal system was established in 1692 under a grant provided by King William and Queen Mary to Thomas Neale. The United States Post Office was established by the Second Continental Congress on July 26, 1775, and is one of only a few government agencies expressly authorized by the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7; known as the postal clause).

The Congress also named Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. Franklin had been a postmaster in the Colonies for decades so he was a natural choice.

Many States and Cities started issuing their own postage stamps after Britain got everything started. It was not until the Stamp Act of 1847 (March 3) that Congress authorized the printing of stamps by the United States Post Office, and the first stamp the Office issued on July 1, 1847, bore an engraved picture of Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster General:

Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #1

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Five cents paid the rate for a letter weighing less than one ounce and traveling less than three hundred miles. About 3,700,000 stamps were printed and many survive today. Used and unused stamps in very fine condition sell for, respectively, about $600 and $1,600. However, stamps in poor condition can be purchased for as little as 10% of those prices.

Contrary to today’s FOREVER postage stamps, the first United States postage stamp was declared invalid for postal use after July 1, 1851.

Following are other early United States postage stamps featuring Benjamin Franklin, each one above a trivia tidbit about Franklin. I have included their Scott Catalog number so you can easily find them to purchase for your own stamp collection.

Scott #38, 1860Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #38Invented the lightning rod and bifocals.

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Scott #63, 1861Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #63Invented the Franklin stove, named after him.

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Scott #133, 1869Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #133Served as the first United States Ambassador to France.

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Scott #134, 1870Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #134Became wealthy by publishing
Poor Richard’s Almanack [sic] and The Pennsylvania Gazette.

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Scott #212, 1887Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #212Helped found the University of Pennsylvania in 1740.

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Scott #247, 1894Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #247Elected first president of the American Philosophical Society.

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Scott #300, 1903Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #300Governor of Pennsylvania from 1785 to 1788.

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Scott #331, 1908Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #331Born in Boston on January 17, 1706.

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Scott #423, 1912Benjamin Franklin postage stamp, Scott #423Used the pseudonym “Mrs. Silence Dogood” to write letters to the editor of
the New England Courant, which happened to be his older brother, James.

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Scott #3473 — Washington Monument

History Through Philately — On this day in….

History Through Philately

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On this day in….

….1215 — King John of England signed the Magna Carta by applying his royal seal. Although the document was basically a peace treaty between King John and his barons, it provided guarantees for protecting feudal rights and privileges, upholding church freedom, and maintaining laws throughout England. The Magna Carta, or Great Charter, is now seen as a cornerstone in the development of democracy in England, which then led to democracy throughout Europe, the rest of the Old World, and the New World, which is why the United States issued a postage stamp on June 15, 1965, recognizing its role in United States history and government.

Scott #1215 — Magna Carta

Scott #1215 — Magna Carta

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The Magna Carta implied there were laws that even the king was required to observe, thereby precluding future claims to absolutism by English monarchs. Arguably the most important statement was made by Clause 39 which provided that “no free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised [dispossessed] or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised … except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” Now recognized as an early guarantee of trial by jury and of habeas corpus, it inspired England’s Petition of Right of 1628 and the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679.

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….1849 — James K. Polk, eleventh President of the United States, died in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 53 and just three months after leaving office. His birthplace is unknown but believed to have been in a log cabin in what is now Pineville, North Carolina. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and was both a lawyer and a planter.

Before becoming President of the United States, he served as Governor of Tennessee, Congressman from Tennessee and 17th Speaker of the House. His public service career stretched from 1825 to 1849.

During Polk’s presidency, he oversaw the opening of the United States Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first United States postage stamps States.

Scott #816 — James K. Polk

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Scott #2217b—  James K. Polk

Scott #2217b— James K. Polk

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Scott #2587 — James K. Polk

Scott #2587 — James K. Polk

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Scott #3001 — United States Naval Academy

Scott #3001 — United States Naval Academy

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Scott #1838 — Smithsonian Institution

Scott #1838 — Smithsonian Institution

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Scott #3059 — Smithsonian Institution

Scott #3059 — Smithsonian Institution

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Scott #1, Benjamin Franklin, issued in 1847

Scott #1, first U. S. postage stamp, issued in 1847

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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Benjamin Franklin's kite?

On this date in 1752

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

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Way back on this date in 1752 Benjamin Franklin flew a kite.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Ever wonder what kind of kite?

Perhaps this:

Benjamin Franklin's kite?

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Scott #1, Benjamin Franklin, issued in 1847

Halls of History — #1: Benjamin Franklin (Scott #1)

Halls of History

 

What is currently known as the United States Postal Service was established by the Second Continental Congress on July 26, 1775, while meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That means that it is older than the United States itself! It also is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution:

Article I, Section 8, Clause 7, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, provides that “The Congress shall have power … To establish Post Offices and post Roads.”

The first United States postage stamp, Scott #1, featured Benjamin Franklin:

Scott #1, Benjamin Franklin, issued in 1847

 

Benjamin Franklin has been on more United States postage stamps than all but one person. Five cents paid the rate for a ½-ounce letter sent under three hundred miles.

Franklin had been Postmaster General for the City of Philadelphia since 1737. In 1753, the British Government appointed Franklin the Joint Deputy Postmaster for the Colonies. Under his direction he extended mail delivery outside the Colonies, initiated night travel for postal riders to speed mail delivery, and created a dead letter office for undeliverable mail. By 1757 Franklin had surveyed the post roads and reorganized postal operations to provide smoother communication among the Colonies, a task that was crucial to the American Revolution.

At the same meeting of the Second Continental Congress in 1775, Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first United States Postmaster General. He served in that capacity until November 7, 1776, when he left to serve as United States Ambassador to France.

The Post Office continued to evolve. On February 20, 1792, President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act which established the Post Office Department. Eighty years later, the Post Office Act of 1872 elevated the Post Office Department to a Government Cabinet. Almost one hundred years after that, on August 12, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Postal Reorganization Act that replaced the Post Office Department with an independent United States Postal Service, effective July 1, 1971.

Scott #1 was authorized by Congress and approved on March 3, 1847. Stamps were issued on July 1 in New York City, July 2 in Boston, July 7 in Philadelphia, and July 11 in Washington, DC. The earliest known use of Scott #1 is on an envelope dated July 7, 1847, and mailed from New York City to Liverpool, England.

Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, a banknote engraving firm, prepared the design for Scott #1. Originally President Andrew Jackson, recently deceased, was supposed to be on the stamp. Franklin’s portrait, based on artwork by James B. Longacre, was deemed more acceptable as a unifying icon for a nation divided over slavery because of his role in securing independence for the country seventy years earlier.

Ultimately 3,564,000 stamps were issued but few survive today.

Generally postage stamps are valid for postage in perpetuity, but this stamp was declared invalid for postage effective July 1, 1851. However, there are known uses of Scott #1 for postage as late as 1860.

The same design is used on Scott #1a, 1b, and 1c, all color variations, and
Scott #3, issued in 1875.

 

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Scott #3188h - Ford Mustang

Welcome to the Halls of History!

Halls of History

 

Welcome to my newest series! Not new to me, just new to my WordPress friends. This series combines two of my lifelong interests, philately and history.

Scott #2384 - 1932 Packard

Scott #2384 - 1932 Packard

My interest in philately (collecting stamps) began as a Cub Scout in Brigham City, Utah. I was eight or nine, whatever the earliest age is to be a Cub Scout. Every time I joined a Cub Scout Den, though, the Den would promptly collapse and fold. It took six or seven times, but eventually I learned. Never completed Scouting. I did stay with philately, so I do thank the Scouts for that!

My interest in history also began at an early age. My high school senior English teacher, Mrs. Edith Head (but not that Edith Head!) nurtured it along while we were studying Gilgamesh, Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, e.e. cummings, etc.

Scott #3188h - Ford Mustang

Scott #3188h - Ford Mustang

Philately makes a great family event because it encompasses so many things of interest to so many people. You can collect all postage stamps of a country, or you can specialize, collecting just stamps that show animals, or birds, or dogs, or architecture, or music, or film and television, or people. You can even specialize to the extent that you collect just one person, say Benjamin Franklin. He’s on postage stamps of many countries throughout the world and was the first Postmaster General of the United States Post Office, established on July 26, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress. In other words, the United States Post Office is older than the United States itself!

Postage stamps of the world are catalogued and referenced using the Scott catalog, and I’ll include those catalog numbers with the stamps. That way, if you or someone in your family (like a young Cub Scout!) want to get a start in philately, all your Scout (boy or girl) needs to do is reference the Scott catalog number.

In my Halls of History series, we’ll look at the postage stamps of the United States and use them to study history in its many forms — its events, people, projects, buildings, creations, art, music, and more. I hope you enjoy it.

Coming up next, I’ll look at the first postage stamp of the United States, issued in 1847.

Gather round, enjoy yourself and philately, and perhaps learn something new. I do every day.

 

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