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National Capital Sesquicentennial Issues

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3-cent Supreme Court Building single

Washington, DC, celebrated its 150th anniversary as the capital of the United States in 1950. The Post Office Department issued four stamps called the "National Capital Sesquicentennial Issue" to commemorate the occasion. It released the Statue of Freedom on Capitol Dome on April 20, Executive Mansion on June 12, Supreme Court Building on August 2, and the United States Capitol on November 22. President Truman christened the celebration the "Freedom Fair."

All four first day issues were postmarked in Washington, DC, and the number issued exceeded a half billion stamps.

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3-cent Statue of Freedom single

The Post Office Department released a 3-cent stamp bearing an image of the Statue of Freedom on April 20, 1950. The statue sits atop the dome of the United States Capitol. The stamp was the first in a series of four stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of Washington, DC, as the US capital.

Thomas Crawford designed the statue, which was erected in 1863. A thirty-five gun salute - one salute for each state — heralded the statue's dedication. Originally designed with a Phrygian cap, headgear associated with struggles for liberty, the statue was redesigned to wear a Roman helmet. Critics felt the original concept harkened undesirable memories of the French Revolution.

Victor S. McClosky, Jr., designed the stamp, and C. A. Brooks engraved it. On the statue's left appears the text "U. S. Postage," with the 3-cent denomination to its right. Printed on the base appear the words "National Capital Sesquicentennial 1800 Washington 1950."

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced the stamp in bright blue on the rotary press, using the electric eye plate and 11 x 10.5 perforations. The stamp was issued in four panes of fifty each.

References:

Jeffrie H Lovell

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3-cent White House single

The Post Office Department issued the deep green 3-cent stamp featuring an image of the White House on June 12, 1950, in Washington, DC. The stamp is one of four stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the nation's capital. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 376,789 stamps of this issue.

Designed by W.K. Schrage and engraved by M.D. Fenton, this stamp features the text "Washington" (centered on top), flanked by "1800" and "1950." The image of the White House sits atop the words "National Capital Sesquicentennial." The denomination appears in the upper left, and in the upper right appear words "US Postage."

James Hoban designed the White House. Stamps issued in 1981 honored Hoban.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced this stamp in deep green on a rotary press using an Electric Eye plate with perforations 10 1/2 x 11. The stamp was issued in subjects of two hundred, with four panes of fifty stamps each.

References:

  • Kloetzel, James E., ed. 2008 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. 86th ed. Sidney, Ohio. Scott Publishing Co., 2009.
  • Allen, Bob. "US Stamps 1847USA Knowledge is Power." 1947usa.com/identify/YearSets/1950.htm (accessed January 12, 2009)

Jeffrie H Lovell

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3-cent Supreme Court Building single

Of the three buildings shown in the Washington, DC, sesquicentennial issue, the Supreme Court building was the last built (1932-1935). The 3-cent stamp featuring an image of this building was the third of four stamps issued to commemorate the National Capital sesquicentennial event.

The Post Office Department released the stamp on August 2, 1950. The vignette presents an image of the Supreme Court building. Under the building, the words "US Supreme Court" appear over the words "National Capital Sesquicentennial." The denomination appears in the lower left corner, and at the bottom appear the words "United States Postage."

It is interesting to note that the Montarrenti quarries of Siena, Italy, supplied some of the marble for the building and that Benito Mussolini was personally petitioned in May 1933 to insure that only the finest marble was sent to the United States.

Charles R. Chickering designed the stamp, and G. A. Gundersen engraved it. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 324,007 stamps of this issue.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced this stamp in light violet on a rotary press using and Electric Eye plate. Perforations were 10 1/2 x 11, and the stamp was printed in four panes of fifty stamps each.

Reference:

  • Kloetzel, James E., ed. 2008 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. 86th ed. Sidney, Ohio. Scott Publishing Co., 2009.
  • Allen, Bob. "US Stamps 1847USA Knowledge is Power." 1847usa.com/identify/YearSets/1950.htm (accessed January 12, 2009)
  • Wikipedia. "United States Supreme Court building." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Supreme_Court_building

Jeffrie H Lovell

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3-cent U.S. Capitol single

The Post Office Department issued the 3-cent United States Capitol stamp to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Washington, DC, as the capital of the United States. Issued on November 22, 1950, in Washington, DC, it was the last of four stamps issued that year commemorating the capital's location. The first stamp in this series features the Statue of Freedom, which sits atop the Capitol dome.

Designed by R.L. Miller and engraved by C.T. Arlt, the stamp features the dates 1800-1950 in the upper right corner. The upper left corner describes the commemorative event, and the scrollwork under the Capitol reads, "United States of America." The 3-cent denomination splits the words in the middle.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed the stamp in bright red violet ink on the rotary press using the electric eye plate and 10 1/2 x 11 perforations. It issued the stamp on sheets of 200, which divided into four panes of fifty stamps each.

Reference:

  • Kloetzel, James E., ed. 2008 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. 86th ed. Sidney, Ohio: Scott Publishing Co., 2008.
  • Allen, Bob. "U.S. Stamps 1847USA Knowledge is Power." 1847usa.com/identify/YearSets/1950.htm (accessed November 20, 2008)

Jeffrie H Lovell

Reference:

  • Kloetzel, James E., ed. 2008 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, 86th ed. Sidney, Ohio; Scott Publishing Co., 2008
  • Allen, Bob. U.S. Stamps 1847USA Knowledge is Power. 1847usa.com/identify/YearSets/1950.htm (accessed February 2, 2009)
  • Harry S Truman, XXXIII President of the United States. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=13433

Jeffrie H Lovell

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