2019 55¢ Transcontinental Railroad – Golden Spike
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: May 10, 2019
First Day City: Promontory Summit, UT
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 18
Quantity Printed: 50,400,000
On May 10, 1869, the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad was officially finished. The "Golden Spike" ceremony took place at Promontory Summit, Utah, and joined the eastern and western tracks together. No one knows for sure how many people came to witness the event, but some estimates say there were up to 3,000
Since the Transcontinental Railroad took six years to build, it was only fitting that the joining of the two sections be celebrated with a grand ceremony. David Hewes, a contractor from San Francisco, suggested completing the railroad with a final golden spike. The Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads thought the idea was perfect and the ceremonial spike was forged by the William T. Garrett Foundary in San Francisco. The spike was engraved with the names of each railroad officer, the directors, and the date of the ceremony.
The date of the joining ceremony was originally set for May 8. However, a damaged bridge delayed Union Pacific No. 119 by two days. Finally, on May 10, the golden spike was carefully driven into a laurel tie with a special silver-plated maul (hammer). Telegraph operators sent messages simulating the blows so all Americans could celebrate the historic moment that the East and West were connected at last.