1976 13¢ New Hampshire
State Flags Issue
Issue Date: February 23, 1976
City: Washington, DC
Quantity: 8,720,100 panes of 50
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
Issued as part of the ongoing Bicentennial celebration, the 13¢ State Flags pane was a first in U.S. history. This was the first time a pane with 50 face-different stamps was issued. Each state is represented by its official flag, with the stamps arranged on the sheet in the same order each state was admitted into the Union.
New Hampshire State Flag
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was a thriving center for shipbuilding by the time of the American Revolution. When the Continental Congress decided to create a Navy, the first three ships were built on John Langdon’s shipyard on an island in Portsmouth Bay.
In 1776, the crew at Langdon’s shipyard laid the keel for the USS Raleigh, the first warship of the U.S. Navy. Two months later, the vessel was launched into immediate action against England. After two years of service, the Raleigh ran aground and was seized by the British, a painful loss to New Hampshire and the young nation.
Langdon’s shipyard didn’t stay in New Hampshire long, either. The facility is still in Portsmouth Bay, but in 1820 the island became part of Kittery, Maine, as the new state entered the Union. That was long after the New Hampshire legislature voted in 1784 to make the Raleigh and the shipyard on the island the focus of its state seal.
The topics shown on the seal weren’t the only things to move beyond New Hampshire’s control. Artists often altered the image, adding people or casks of rum. The state finally put an end to the artistic license in 1909, with a law that formalized the design.
The Bicentennial Series
The U.S. Bicentennial was a series of celebrations during the mid-1970s that commemorated the historic events leading to America’s independence from Great Britain. The official events began on April 1, 1975, when the American Freedom Train departed Delaware to begin a 21-month, 25,338-mile tour of the 48 contiguous states. For more than a year, a wave of patriotism swept the nation as elaborate firework displays lit up skies across the U.S., an international fleet of tall-mast sailing ships gathered in New York City and Boston, and Queen Elizabeth made a state visit. The celebration culminated on July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The U.S.P.S. issued 113 commemorative stamps over a six-year period in honor of the U.S. bicentennial, beginning with the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission Emblem stamp (U.S. #1432). As a group, the Bicentennial Series chronicles one of our nation’s most important chapters, and remembers the events and patriots who made the U.S. a world model for liberty.