U.S. # 4791
2013 46¢ Portland Head, Maine
New England Coastal Lighthouses
A 1787 shipwreck off the coast of the busy city of Portland, Maine, prompted the government to fund a lighthouse marking the entrance to the harbor. In 1790, the Federal government took over construction, and two local masons completed the tower the following year. President Washington insisted on using local stones collected from nearby fields and shores to save money. Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette dedicated the Portland Head Lighthouse upon its completion.
The first keeper, selected by the President, received no salary, but had the right to fish and farm on the property, as well as live in the keeper’s house. Two years later, the keeper began receiving a salary of $160 a year.
Almost a century later, the Strout family began maintaining the lamps and fog bell at Portland Head. They faithfully kept the lighthouse for 59 years. On Christmas Eve in 1886, the British ship Annie C. Maguire ran aground on the rocks near the point. The Strouts helped all aboard the ship make it safely to land. Later, rocks near the site of the wreck were painted “Annie C. Maguire, shipwrecked here, Christmas Eve 1886.” Maintaining this inscription is still one of many duties of the lighthouse keeper.
Howard E. Paine and Greg Breeding used Howard Koslow’s original painting for the Portland Head Lighthouse stamp. Koslow’s paintings, based on modern photographs, have been used for all of the lighthouse stamps since the series began in 1990. His art has appeared on a number of other U.S. stamps since 1971.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: July 13, 2013
First Day City: Portland, ME
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Method: Lithograph printing in sheets of 120 in 6 panes of 20
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11 x 10 ¾
Quantity Printed: 16,200,000 stamps
Portland Head, as well as the other four lighthouses honored on the 2013 stamps, is one of the oldest in the U.S. and is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Other issues in the Lighthouse series include:
1990 Lighthouses (U.S. #2470-74)
1995 Great Lakes Lighthouses (U.S. #2969-73)
2003 Southeastern Lighthouses (U.S. #3787-91)
2007 Pacific Lighthouses (U.S. #4146-50)
2009 Gulf Coast Lighthouses (U.S. #4409-13)