Series of 1902-03 10¢ Webster
Issue Date: February 5, 1903
Quantity issued: 260,010,574 (estimate)
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Method: Flat plate
Watermark: Double line
Color: Pale red brown
A fitting tribute to one of America’s most prominent lawyers, orators, and statesmen, the central portrait is flanked by lateral fasces (bundles of rods containing an axe which were carried before Roman judges to signify their authority).
Daniel Webster was born in Salisbury (now Franklin), New Hampshire. He attended Dartmouth College and studied law in Boston. Webster became one of the most important lawyers of his time. He is well remembered for his arguments before the Supreme Court in the case of Dartmouth College v. Woodward.
Webster served New Hampshire as a United States Congressman and Senator. In Congress, he further enhanced his reputation as one of the nation’s greatest orators. He served as Secretary of State under three presidents – William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore.
Webster gained his greatest fame as a supporter of a strong national government. His words, such as “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!” served as inspiration to Union soldiers during the American Civil War.
Series of 1902-03
In 1902, the Postmaster General commissioned an entirely new series of general issues. Until this time, the current regular issues had been in use since 1890 with relatively few changes.
The ornate new designs, however, were not the only addition to the 1902 series. The 13-cent denomination was added, and two new faces were introduced – Benjamin Harrison and Admiral David Farragut. For the first time in postal history, an American woman was honored.
A slight change was also made in the format. Each stamp in this series bears the inscription, “Series 1902.” This caused some concern abroad, as many European philatelists wondered whether the U.S. was planning on issuing new stamps each year. Many of the stamps, however, did not even reach post offices until 1903, and the next general issues were not produced until 1908.