1960-61 4¢ Benjamin Franklin
American Credo Series
Issue Date: March 31, 1960
City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Color: Olive bister and green
U.S. #1140 was issued in Philadelphia, where Ben Franklin made his home as one of America’s Founding Fathers. The stamp shares one of the sayings for which Franklin became famous, taken from his pamphlet, Poor Richard’s Almanack.
The Post Office Department released a new series of stamps in 1960 that shared well-known principles said in a few words by some of America’s early leaders. The first stamp, featuring George Washington, appeared in January 1960, with five more issued over the next year. The stamps were designed to resemble colonial currency. Also, symbols that relate to the statement are used in the designs, as well as a likeness of the author’s signature.
The individual principles were chosen by one hundred distinguished Americans. The selected quotes came from Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, Abraham Lincoln, and Patrick Henry.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)
Benjamin Franklin was born the son of a soap and candle maker. As a youth, Franklin learned these trades, but found them unsatisfactory. So he became an apprentice to his brother Richard, a printer, at the age of 12. During this apprenticeship, Franklin started what he considered his primary, life-long occupation, printing. He also wrote many articles that were submitted and published under the pseudonym, “Mrs. Silence Dogood.” These writings demonstrated his unique wit, humor, and insight.
From 1733 to 1758, Franklin published Poor Richard’s Almanack. He wrote the almanac under the name of Richard Saunders, an imaginary astronomer. Poor Richard’s Almanack included astrological information, jokes, poems, and weather predictions.
One of the greatest features of the almanac were Richard’s proverbs, which reflected Franklin’s philosophies of thrift, hard work, and simple living. One of these sayings is featured on the Franklin “Credo” stamp above. Other well-known Franklin sayings are: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” “God helps them that help themselves.” “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”