Series of 1931 15¢ Statute of Liberty
Issue Date: August 27, 1931
First City: Washington, D.C.
Quantity Issued: Unknown
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforation: 11 x 10 ½
U.S. #696 is one of the high-value Series of 1931 stamps printed on Rotary Press. Previously, high-value stamps had been printed on flat plate presses. A letter from Alvin Hall, Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, noted that the cost to produce the stamps would drop from 11.7¢ to 6.7¢ per thousand stamps. That meant a likely savings of over $20,000 – an important factor in the Great Depression.
Liberty Enlightening the World
U.S. #696 marked the second time the Statue of Liberty had been represented on a stamp, with the first one produced in 1925. The Statue of Liberty is a magnificent copper sculpture given to the United States by France in 1884. On October 28, 1886, the statue was dedicated. Its complete name is Liberty Enlightening the World. This majestic symbol of the United States, representing freedom for immigrants coming to America as well as the bond of freedom shared between the United States and France, stands above Liberty Island at the entrance to New York Harbor in Upper New York Bay.
The people of France donated the money to build the statue, and the people of America raised the funds to build its base. The French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi designed the statue and chose its location. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer who later built the Eiffel Tower in Paris, designed the statue’s framework. The statue stands 301 feet and 1 inch high from foundation to torch.
In the early 1980s, a program was started to make major repairs and improvements to the statue. This effort concluded in 1986 – the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty’s dedication in the U.S. A popular tourist attraction, the statue attracts about 2 million visitors each year.