15¢ John Jay
Issue Date: December 12, 1958
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10½
Color: Rose lake
The image of John Jay used on U.S. #1046 is based on a painting by Gilbert Stuart.
John Jay (1745-1829)
Born in New York City, John Jay graduated from King’s College (now Columbia University). He served as a New York delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, and was president of the Continental Congress from December 1778 to September 1779. At that time, he became the U.S. minister to Spain. In 1783, Jay played a key role in negotiating the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution. He then became the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
In 1789, President George Washington appointed Jay the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. While serving as chief justice, Jay went to Great Britain and negotiated the Jay Treaty, which was signed in 1794. This treaty settled many of the disputes between the U.S and Great Britain. Jay resigned from the Supreme Court, and in 1795 he was elected governor of New York. He served two terms, and retired in 1801.
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.