10¢ 50-Star and 13-Star Flags
1973-74 Regular Issue Coil Stamp
Issue Date: December 8, 1973
City: San Francisco, California
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Multicolor Huck Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
Color: Red and blue
The two crossed flags show the current 5-star flag and the 13-star flag of the Revolutionary era. Contrary to popular belief, when the first flag was created there was no specified arrangement for the 13 stars. Although it is most commonly seen with all 13 stars in a circle, some had 12 stars encircling the 13th. However, all carried 13 stripes. As new states came into the Union, a star and stripe were added to the flag for each one. By 1817, the flag had 20 stars and 20 stripes. Congress felt this looked too cluttered and decided to keep just 13 stripes and add only a star for each new state. In 1960, the fiftieth star was added for Hawaii, giving us the flag we still use today.
This design was also issued in sheet format (U.S. #1509).