1990 25c East Coast Lighthouses: Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

# 2471 - 1990 25c East Coast Lighthouses: Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

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US #2471
1990 Cape Hatteras

  • From a set of five stamps picturing Lighthouses
  • Celebrates the 200th anniversary of US Lighthouse Service
  • First stamps in Lighthouse series

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set:  Lighthouse series
Value:   25¢, First-Class mail rate
First Day of Issue:  April 26, 1990
First Day City:  Washington, DC
Quantity Issued:  7,500,000
Printed by:  Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method:  Lithographed and Engraved
Format:  Booklets of 20 (4 panes of 5)
Perforations:  10

Why the stamp was issued:  The Lighthouse booklet stamps were similar to previous topical booklets featuring five designs with the same theme.  The stamps were issued in honor the bicentennial of the Lighthouse Service.

About the stamp design:  Howard Koslow painted the images for the Lighthouse stamps.  He used photos he had taken of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for reference. 

About the printing process:  While most of the stamp was printed using offset lithography, the “25 USA” is printed with intaglio engraving.

First Day City:  The Lighthouse stamps were issued at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Unusual fact about this stamp:  Shortly after the stamps were released, there were reports of stamps missing the denomination and the “USA.”  Some of these stamps were mailed before customers realized the printing error, and others were resold as individual stamps and complete booklets.

About the Lighthouse Series

On April 26, 1990, the USPS issued the first booklet in its Lighthouse stamp series.

Beginning in 1986, the USPS began issuing topical booklets of five stamps each.   Past topics had included fish, locomotives, classic cars, and steamboats.  In April 1990, the set of lighthouse stamps would be the first of two such topical booklets issued that year.

Lighthouses had been featured on stamps in the past, but some lighthouse enthusiasts were calling for more.  In 1987, James W. Hyland III, chairman of the Lighthouse Preservation Society, submitted a list of 10 lighthouses he thought should be honored on stamps to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.  Initially, the committee supported his idea and proposed issuing 10 stamps in two panes honoring all of the lighthouses.  However, the USPS felt that would make for too many stamps, so they opted to just issue five, though a sixth would be pictured on the booklet cover.  Two of the six lighthouses had been on stamps before, Cape Hatteras and Sandy Hook.

The stamp designs were first unveiled on August 4, 1989, at the Customs House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  August 4th was the anniversary of the creation of the Revenue Marine (later the Revenue Cutter Service).  The stamps would be issued in 1990 to mark the 200th anniversary.

The stamps were issued on April 26, 1990, in Washington, D.C.  Less than two weeks after they were issued, some booklets were discovered without the white intaglio ink for “USA” and the denomination.  Some of these error books sold for over $500 each.

Five years later, the USPS issued a second booklet featuring lighthouses.  They included two lighthouses from the list submitted in 1990, but all of the lighthouses in this set were ones found along the Great Lakes.  Both of these sets proved quite popular, so the USPS continued issuing stamps honoring lighthouses from different areas of the country every few years, with the final issue coming in 2013.


History the stamp represents: 

Cape Hatteras is situated on Hatteras Island in the Outer banks of North Carolina.  It is considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses of America.  It was constructed to guard ships through the Diamond Shoals, where ocean storms forced many ships aground. 
The first lighthouse was constructed on Cape Hatteras in 1802.  It was destroyed during the Civil War.  The replacement was completed in 1870 and became the tallest brick lighthouse tower in the world.
Over time, the ocean eroded the land in front of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  During the Great Depression, work crews built protective barriers around its base.  These held the ocean at bay until 1999, when the sea again ate away at the shoreline.  The lighthouse was moved further inland, where it is now protected from being washed away.

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US #2471
1990 Cape Hatteras

  • From a set of five stamps picturing Lighthouses
  • Celebrates the 200th anniversary of US Lighthouse Service
  • First stamps in Lighthouse series

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set:  Lighthouse series
Value:   25¢, First-Class mail rate
First Day of Issue:  April 26, 1990
First Day City:  Washington, DC
Quantity Issued:  7,500,000
Printed by:  Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method:  Lithographed and Engraved
Format:  Booklets of 20 (4 panes of 5)
Perforations:  10

Why the stamp was issued:  The Lighthouse booklet stamps were similar to previous topical booklets featuring five designs with the same theme.  The stamps were issued in honor the bicentennial of the Lighthouse Service.

About the stamp design:  Howard Koslow painted the images for the Lighthouse stamps.  He used photos he had taken of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for reference. 

About the printing process:  While most of the stamp was printed using offset lithography, the “25 USA” is printed with intaglio engraving.

First Day City:  The Lighthouse stamps were issued at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Unusual fact about this stamp:  Shortly after the stamps were released, there were reports of stamps missing the denomination and the “USA.”  Some of these stamps were mailed before customers realized the printing error, and others were resold as individual stamps and complete booklets.

About the Lighthouse Series

On April 26, 1990, the USPS issued the first booklet in its Lighthouse stamp series.

Beginning in 1986, the USPS began issuing topical booklets of five stamps each.   Past topics had included fish, locomotives, classic cars, and steamboats.  In April 1990, the set of lighthouse stamps would be the first of two such topical booklets issued that year.

Lighthouses had been featured on stamps in the past, but some lighthouse enthusiasts were calling for more.  In 1987, James W. Hyland III, chairman of the Lighthouse Preservation Society, submitted a list of 10 lighthouses he thought should be honored on stamps to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.  Initially, the committee supported his idea and proposed issuing 10 stamps in two panes honoring all of the lighthouses.  However, the USPS felt that would make for too many stamps, so they opted to just issue five, though a sixth would be pictured on the booklet cover.  Two of the six lighthouses had been on stamps before, Cape Hatteras and Sandy Hook.

The stamp designs were first unveiled on August 4, 1989, at the Customs House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  August 4th was the anniversary of the creation of the Revenue Marine (later the Revenue Cutter Service).  The stamps would be issued in 1990 to mark the 200th anniversary.

The stamps were issued on April 26, 1990, in Washington, D.C.  Less than two weeks after they were issued, some booklets were discovered without the white intaglio ink for “USA” and the denomination.  Some of these error books sold for over $500 each.

Five years later, the USPS issued a second booklet featuring lighthouses.  They included two lighthouses from the list submitted in 1990, but all of the lighthouses in this set were ones found along the Great Lakes.  Both of these sets proved quite popular, so the USPS continued issuing stamps honoring lighthouses from different areas of the country every few years, with the final issue coming in 2013.


History the stamp represents: 

Cape Hatteras is situated on Hatteras Island in the Outer banks of North Carolina.  It is considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses of America.  It was constructed to guard ships through the Diamond Shoals, where ocean storms forced many ships aground. 
The first lighthouse was constructed on Cape Hatteras in 1802.  It was destroyed during the Civil War.  The replacement was completed in 1870 and became the tallest brick lighthouse tower in the world.
Over time, the ocean eroded the land in front of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  During the Great Depression, work crews built protective barriers around its base.  These held the ocean at bay until 1999, when the sea again ate away at the shoreline.  The lighthouse was moved further inland, where it is now protected from being washed away.