1976 13¢ New Mexico
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 Mexico State Flag
The Zia Indians of New Mexico view the number four as very important in their culture. There are four points of the compass, four seasons, four parts to the day (morning, noon, evening, night). They believe that one’s life is divided into four stages – childhood, youth, middle age, and old age. And a person has four sacred obligations to maintain – a strong body, clear mind, pure spirit, and devotion to the welfare of others.
When New Mexico became a state in 1912, the first state flag was a blue field with a small U.S. flag in the top-left corner. The state seal was in the bottom-right corner, with “New Mexico” running from the top-left to bottom-right corners. But a better alternative was soon offered.
In 1920, the Daughters of the American Revolution suggested a design to better represent New Mexico’s unique heritage. They proposed using an ancient symbol for the sun found on a Zia Pueblo water jar in the late 19th century. The resulting flag has a circle that represents the unending cycles of love and life connecting the four points of the sun. The Spanish heritage in the region is acknowledged by using the traditional family colors of Queen Isabella of Spain – red for the design, set on a yellow background.
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.