2 1/2¢ Bunker Hill Monument
Issue Date: June 17, 1959
City: Boston, MA
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10½
Color: Gray blue
U.S. #1034 pictures the Bunker Hill Monument and the flag flown by Massachusetts at the beginning of the American Revolution.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
This historic battle is actually misnamed. The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought between British forces under General William Howe and New England militiamen under General Israel Putnam and Colonel William Prescott on June 17, 1775. When the Americans received intelligence that the British intended to capture certain strategic heights outside Boston, General Artemus Ward ordered the fortification of Bunker Hill. Inexplicably, the forces under his command took position on nearby Breed’s Hill. After several hours of bloody fighting the Americans were dislodged. But the British paid a terrible price: 228 were dead and 826 were wounded – 42 percent of their total strength.
The Liberty Series
Issued to replace the 1938 Presidential series, this patriotic set of stamps honors guardians of freedom throughout U.S. history. Eighteenth century America is represented by Revolutionary War heroes and statesmen such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Henry, Jay, and Revere.
Leaders of the 19th century including Monroe, Lincoln, Lee, Harrison, and Susan B. Anthony make an appearance. The 20th century is represented by Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and General Pershing.
The Liberty Series also features famous locations important to America’s democratic history, such as Bunker Hill, Independence Hall, and the Alamo.
“Wet” versus “Dry” Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing began an experiment in 1954. In previous “wet” printings, the paper had a moisture content of 15 to 35 percent. In the experimental “dry” printings, the paper had a moisture content of 5 to 10 percent. This process required stiffer, thicker paper, special inks, and greater pressure to force the paper through the plates.
Stamps produced by dry printing can be distinguished by whiter paper and higher surface sheen. The stamps feel thicker and the designs are more pronounced than on wet printings. So the dry printing experiment was a success, and all U.S. postage stamps have been printed by this method since the late 1950s.