U.S. # 4793
2013 46¢ Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
New England Coastal Lighthouses
Boston Harbor is home to the first lighthouse built in North America. Constructed before the American Revolution in the colonies’ commercial center, Boston Harbor witnessed the birth and growth of a new nation.
Construction of the lighthouse was financed by a tax of 1¢ per ton for all ships entering or leaving the harbor. The light in the new stone tower on Little Brewster Island in the harbor was first lit in 1716.
The first keeper, George Worthylake, lived in an adjoining house with his family and a slave. Worthylake was returning home from a trip to Boston in 1718 when his boat capsized and he drowned. A 12-year-old Benjamin Franklin wrote a poem, “The Lighthouse Tragedy,” telling about the event, and then sold it on the streets of Boston.
During the Revolution, Minutemen sailed to the island, removed the lantern, and set fire to the tower. The British destroyed the remnants of the lighthouse when they were forced out of Boston. It was rebuilt as the new country grew, and has lit Boston’s harbor ever since.
This lighthouse is the only station in the U.S. that still has an official keeper, maintaining the lamps in a tradition that dates back almost three centuries.
Howard E. Paine and Greg Breeding used Howard Koslow’s original painting for the Boston Harbor 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: Boston, MA
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
Boston Harbor, 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)