U.S. #1373a Tagging Omitted
6¢ California Settlement
Issue Date: July 16, 1969
City: San Diego, CA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
Color: Orange, red, black and light blue
A dual-purpose issue, this stamp marks the 200th anniversary of the settlement of California as well as the bicentennial of the city of San Diego.
In 1796, the Otter became the first American sailing vessel to reach California’s coast from the East. Many other ships soon began making this profitable voyage. In 1826, trapper Jedediah Strong Smith became the first American explorer to reach California by land. Many trappers and explorers soon followed in his footsteps. The first group of American settlers reached California in 1841. A schoolteacher, John Bidwell, and a wagon master and land speculator, John Bartleson, led these people. Wagon trains of settlers soon followed. So many American settlers poured into California that the United States offered to buy the land, but Mexico refused to sell.
Military explorer John C. Frémont led surveying parties into California from 1844 to 1846. The Mexicans saw these expeditions as a threat. In March 1846, the Mexicans ordered Frémont to leave the area. Instead, he stood his ground, raising the U.S. flag over Hawk’s Peak, located about 25 miles from Monterey. Frémont began building a fort, but when Mexican troops came to the area, Frémont withdrew. On May 13, 1846, the U.S. and Mexico went to war.
In June 1846, California settlers, led by frontiersman Ezekiel Merritt, captured the Mexican fort at Sonoma. This fort served as Mexico’s headquarters for all of northern California. The settlers captured the fort and raised a homemade flag with a star, grizzly bear, and the words California Republic. This event became known as the Bear Flag Revolt.
The Bear Flag Revolt was not a significant military action. Regular U.S. armed forces completed the real military conquest of California. Frémont, Commodore Robert F. Stockton, and General Stephen W. Kearny led U.S. troops. After the war, Mexico surrendered California in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. California then became part of the U.S.
Now you can own this stamp with rare tagging omitted. Did you know a stamp missing its phosphorescent tagging is considered by many to be similar to a missing color error? The good news is that unlike some error stamps, untagged error stamps are affordable.
What is Phosphorescent Tagging and Why is it Important?
Tagging of U.S. stamps was introduced in 1963 with airmail stamp #C64a. It helps the U.S. Post Office use automation to move the mail at a lower cost. A virtually invisible phosphorescent material is applied either to stamp ink or paper, or to stamps after printing. This “taggant” causes each one to glow in shades of green (red on older airmails) for a moment after exposure to short-wave ultraviolet (UV) light. The afterglow makes it possible for facing-canceling machines to locate the stamp on the mail piece, and properly position it for automated cancellation and sorting.
Some stamps have been printed with and without tagging intentionally, but when tagging is omitted by accident, we collectors are treated to a scarce modern color error. Our stamp experts examined thousands of stamps to find these just for you. Now you can easily give your error collection a boost or explore this fascinating new area of collecting. Quantities are limited, so order your untagged error stamp right away.
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