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Alta California Issue

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13-cent Alta California single

The 13-cent Alta California commemorative stamp (Scott 1725) was first available on September 9, 1977, at San Jose, California. The stamp commemorates the 200th anniversary of the founding of El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, the first civil settlement in Alta California. Earl Thollander designed the stamp, which depicts the earthen-roofed houses of the settlement. Its colors are yellow, orange, blue, red, green, and black.

The stamp was printed on the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Giori press as sheets of two hundred subjects, tagged, perforated 11, and distributed as panes of fifty (five across and ten down). Mr. Zip, “MAIL EARLY IN THE DAY,” electric eye markings, and a plate number in each corner are printed in the selvage.

San Jose was California's first civic settlement, founded November 29, 1777, by Mexican colonists who named the community 'El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe'. The name honored both St. Joseph and the Guadalupe River, which flowed near the town site. The town was to support the military by producing agricultural products in the Alta (upper) California territory. Each settler was issued animals, farm implements, seeds, and a monthly stipend. These farmers joined Spanish missionaries already in the area. The Native American inhabitants of the region were the Olhone, who eventually succumbed to the disruption of their culture by the missionaries and farmers and the spread of diseases.


Doug D'Avino

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