1959 4¢ 49-Star U.S. Flag
Issue Date: July 4, 1959
City: Auburn, New York
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Color: Ocher, dark blue, and deep carmine
U.S. #1132 was issued on July 4, 1959 – the day the U.S. flag with 49 stars debuted. The addition of Alaska as the 49th state prompted the design change. By federal law, stars representing new states are officially added to the U.S. flag on the Fourth of July following the admission of those states.
The stamp was issued in Auburn, New York. Auburn was selected because it was the hometown of William H. Seward, who arranged the purchase of Alaska as President Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State.
Seward completed the purchase from Russia on March 30, 1867, for $7.2 million. The purchase increased the size of the United States by 586,412 square miles – or twice the size of Texas. At the time, the purchase was called “Seward’s Folly,” “Seward’s Icebox,” and Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.”