Featuring Research Volunteer Contributions

Colorado Statehood Issue

refer to caption
13-cent Colorado Statehood single

The United States Postal Service issued a 13-cent Colorado Statehood (Scott 1711) commemorative stamp on May 21, 1977, in Denver, Colorado. Designed by V. Jack Ruther, the stamp depicts the Rocky Mountains, the state flower (a white and lavender columbine), and the state’s nickname (the 'Centennial State'.)

Coloradans began asking for a centennial stamp in 1972, which should have been a routine request. However, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) repeatedly rejected the request. By April 1976, the sentiment in Colorado turned from disappointment to anger, and the Colorado Bicentennial Commission (CCBC) initiated a petition drive to get a postage stamp. The Committee to Commemorate Colorado (CCC) soon formed for the purpose of getting a centennial stamp issued. The CCC organized its own petition drive for a postage stamp and issued a Cinderella commemorative honoring the bicentennial to highlight the fact that the Postal Service had rejected Colorado. They believed that a postage stamp should have been issued on August 1, 1976, the centennial date. The USPS consented and issued the stamp at ROMPEX in 1977.

The yellow, light blue, dark blue, purple, light green, and dark green issue was printed on the Bureau of Engraving and Printing seven-color Andreotti gravure press (601) as sheets of two hundred subjects, tagged, perforated 11, and distributed as panes of fifty.

The perforating operation was started on the Andreotti in-line perforator, but mechanical difficulties made it necessary for about 90 percent of the issue to be perforated on the L-perforator, creating two varieties of the stamp. On the L-perforator, the horizontal and vertical perforations run completely through the selvage of the sheet rather than just past the edge of the stamps into the selvage, and the perforations at the four corners of an individual stamp do not line up perfectly, as they do on the in-line perforator. Mr. Zip, “MAIL EARLY IN THE DAY,” electric eye markings, and six plate numbers, one in each color used to print the sheet, are printed in the selvage.

The Constitution of the State of Colorado, ratified on March 14, 1876, was modeled after the U.S. Constitution, beginning with a Bill of Rights that guaranteed all national and civil rights. It set the terms and duties of government officials and the ways in which a law could be introduced and passed; established a system of courts, and provided for the supervision and maintenance of public schools. The Constitution also determined that a state census be taken, designated the elimination of dormant corporations, regulated railroad lines, and set-up a system for state tax. Finally, it allowed for future amendments of the Constitution.

Following approval by the citizens of Colorado, the results were dispatched to Washington, D.C., and President Ulysses S. Grant declared Colorado a state on August 1, 1876.


Doug D'Avino

About U.S. Stamps