2012 45¢ USS Constitution
War of 1812
The War of 1812 had just begun when the USS Constitution won a victory against a warship of the seemingly invincible Royal Navy.
The British sent the HMS Guerriere with a squadron of ships in the summer of 1812 to blockade U.S. shores. The U.S. Navy’s 44-gun frigate, the Constitution, encountered the ships in July. The American vessel was able to escape, despite being outnumbered.
On August 19, U.S. Captain Isaac Hull spotted the Guerriere returning to port for repairs. As the ships exchanged cannon fire, a sailor noticed the cannonballs bounced off the thick oak hull of the Constitution. He proclaimed, “Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!” After that, the ship was known as “Old Ironsides.”
The Guerriere lost all three masts, and was forced to surrender. Captain Hull ordered the 200 British prisoners on board the Constitution, then sunk the British ship. When the victorious boat returned to Boston Harbor, it was met with cheers.
The Old Ironsides’ triumph uplifted morale at a time when British forces were defeating Americans on other fronts. The victory became a symbol of a formidable new U.S. naval power and our young nation’s determination to remain independent.
The USS Constitution stamp features an 1803 painting of the ship by Michele Felice Corné.
Value: 45¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: August 18, 2012
First Day City: Boston, MA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die Cut 10¾ X 10½
This issue marks the third time the Constitution has appeared on U.S. postage. It was previous featured on U.S. #951 in honor of the ship’s 150th anniversary as well as a 1985 stamped envelope, U.S. #U609.