1988 25c Antarctic Explorers: Nathaniel Palmer

# 2386 - 1988 25c Antarctic Explorers: Nathaniel Palmer

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U.S. #2386
1988 25¢ Nathaniel Palmer
Antarctic Explorers

  • From a block honoring four explorers of the South Pole
  • Pictures Palmer and his ship Hero
  • Stamp issue coincided with Richard Byrd’s 100th birthday and 100th anniversary of the National Geographic Society 

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Antarctic Explorers
Value: 
25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
September 14, 1988
First Day City: 
Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 
40,535,625
Printed by: 
American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Panes of 50 in sheets of 200
Perforations:  11

 

Why the stamp was issued:  The 1988 Antarctic Explorers block was issued as a companion to the 1986 Arctic Explorers (US #2220-23).  The block was issued one month prior to Admiral Richard Byrd's 100th birthday.  

 

About the stamp design:  Artist Dennis Lyall, who designed the Arctic Explorers block, also designed this block in a similar style.  Each stamp has a head-and-shoulders portrait with an illustration and map of the discovery route.  The stamps in the block were arranged in chronological order with the earliest explorer in the top left and the most recent explorer in the bottom right.

 

Lyall based his portrait of Nathaniel Palmer on a painting by Samuel Waldo from the Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington, Connecticut, Palmer’s hometown.  The image of his ship, Hero, was based on a line drawing by John Leavitt from the same museum. 

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for the Antarctic Explorers block was held at the Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium of the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC.  In addition to celebrating the issue of the stamps, the ceremony also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Geographic Society.

 

Unusual fact about this stamp:  Errors of the Antarctic Explorers block have been found imperforate and missing the black ink.

 

History the stamp represents:  On November 17, 1820, Nathaniel Palmer and his crew became the first Americans to see Antarctica. 

 

Born in 1799 in Stonington, Connecticut, Palmer had a life-long love of the sea. As a child, he played in his father’s shipyard and began working on his first ship at just 14 years old.

 

Palmer’s hometown of Stonington was a major sealing port. At that time, sealskins were a popular trade item with China. Palmer quickly established himself as a skilled and daring seal hunter during his frequent travels to South America. By the time Palmer turned 21, he had received his first command – captaining the 47-foot-long sloop Hero.

 

By 1820, the traditional sealing spots off the coasts of South America and the Falkland Islands were barren, leading explorers to search further south. That November, Palmer joined an expedition to the South Shetland Islands. When they found no seals there, Palmer forged ahead, taking advantage of his small boat that could easily navigate the islands.

 

On November 17, Palmer sailed south from Deception Island and saw “land not yet laid down on my chart.” Palmer and his men had found Antarctica. Two other explorers had seen the land earlier that year – Edward Bransfield and William Smith of Ireland and England respectively. But Palmer was the first American. The spot he sighted was later named Palmer Land in his honor. The following year, Palmer returned to the area and joined in the discovery of the nearby South Orkney Islands archipelago.

 

Palmer continued his successful sealing career until he embarked on a new career, sailing express freight around the world. During his decades at sea, Palmer saw first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of the day’s ships. He proposed and designed his own improvements, earning him a credit as co-developer of the clipper ship.

 

In his later years, Palmer settled in Stonington, where he owned clipper ships that others sailed for him. His legacy in the Antarctic continues today with the Palmer Archipelago, Palmer Station, the clipper ship N.B. Palmer, and the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. Additionally, Hero Bay in the South Shetland Islands is named after his ship.

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U.S. #2386
1988 25¢ Nathaniel Palmer
Antarctic Explorers

  • From a block honoring four explorers of the South Pole
  • Pictures Palmer and his ship Hero
  • Stamp issue coincided with Richard Byrd’s 100th birthday and 100th anniversary of the National Geographic Society 

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Antarctic Explorers
Value: 
25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
September 14, 1988
First Day City: 
Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 
40,535,625
Printed by: 
American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Panes of 50 in sheets of 200
Perforations:  11

 

Why the stamp was issued:  The 1988 Antarctic Explorers block was issued as a companion to the 1986 Arctic Explorers (US #2220-23).  The block was issued one month prior to Admiral Richard Byrd's 100th birthday.  

 

About the stamp design:  Artist Dennis Lyall, who designed the Arctic Explorers block, also designed this block in a similar style.  Each stamp has a head-and-shoulders portrait with an illustration and map of the discovery route.  The stamps in the block were arranged in chronological order with the earliest explorer in the top left and the most recent explorer in the bottom right.

 

Lyall based his portrait of Nathaniel Palmer on a painting by Samuel Waldo from the Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington, Connecticut, Palmer’s hometown.  The image of his ship, Hero, was based on a line drawing by John Leavitt from the same museum. 

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for the Antarctic Explorers block was held at the Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium of the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC.  In addition to celebrating the issue of the stamps, the ceremony also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Geographic Society.

 

Unusual fact about this stamp:  Errors of the Antarctic Explorers block have been found imperforate and missing the black ink.

 

History the stamp represents:  On November 17, 1820, Nathaniel Palmer and his crew became the first Americans to see Antarctica. 

 

Born in 1799 in Stonington, Connecticut, Palmer had a life-long love of the sea. As a child, he played in his father’s shipyard and began working on his first ship at just 14 years old.

 

Palmer’s hometown of Stonington was a major sealing port. At that time, sealskins were a popular trade item with China. Palmer quickly established himself as a skilled and daring seal hunter during his frequent travels to South America. By the time Palmer turned 21, he had received his first command – captaining the 47-foot-long sloop Hero.

 

By 1820, the traditional sealing spots off the coasts of South America and the Falkland Islands were barren, leading explorers to search further south. That November, Palmer joined an expedition to the South Shetland Islands. When they found no seals there, Palmer forged ahead, taking advantage of his small boat that could easily navigate the islands.

 

On November 17, Palmer sailed south from Deception Island and saw “land not yet laid down on my chart.” Palmer and his men had found Antarctica. Two other explorers had seen the land earlier that year – Edward Bransfield and William Smith of Ireland and England respectively. But Palmer was the first American. The spot he sighted was later named Palmer Land in his honor. The following year, Palmer returned to the area and joined in the discovery of the nearby South Orkney Islands archipelago.

 

Palmer continued his successful sealing career until he embarked on a new career, sailing express freight around the world. During his decades at sea, Palmer saw first-hand the strengths and weaknesses of the day’s ships. He proposed and designed his own improvements, earning him a credit as co-developer of the clipper ship.

 

In his later years, Palmer settled in Stonington, where he owned clipper ships that others sailed for him. His legacy in the Antarctic continues today with the Palmer Archipelago, Palmer Station, the clipper ship N.B. Palmer, and the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. Additionally, Hero Bay in the South Shetland Islands is named after his ship.