1926 Sesquicentennial Expo
2¢ Liberty Bell
Issue Date: May 10, 1926
First City: Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC
Issue Quantity: 307,731,900
U.S. #627 was issued to commemorate the 1926 Sesquicentennial Expo, which was a world’s fair held in Philadelphia. The event celebrated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the 50th anniversary of the 1876 Centennial Exposition. A centerpiece of the expo was an 80-foot replica of the Liberty Bell, which was covered with 26,000 light bulbs.
The Liberty Bell
In 1752, the Colonial province of Pennsylvania paid about $300 to have a bell cast in England. This bell bore the Biblical inscription “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof ” (Leviticus 25:10). The bell broke while ringing shortly after its arrival, and so it was recast from the same metal in Philadelphia in 1753.
The Old State House Bell, as it came to be known, was rung July 8, 1776, to announce the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It was rung on the anniversary of this event every year until 1835. That year, the bell broke while being rung for the funeral of John Marshall, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1839, abolitionists began to refer to the bell as the “Liberty Bell,” and the name has been popular ever since. The Liberty Bell was housed in Independence Hall from 1753 until January 1, 1976, when it was moved to a special pavilion behind Independence Hall in preparation for the Bicentennial. It is now permanently housed there. No longer rung, the bell is sometimes ceremonially tapped.