This Day in History… September 7, 1797

First USS Constellation Launched 

U.S. #3869 honors the second Constellation, built in 1854 with some materials salvaged from the original ship.

Ordered by a Congressional Act in 1794, the first American ship to be christened the Constellation was launched on September 7, 1797.

Designed by naval constructors Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, the Constellation was the first ship commissioned into the United States Navy and the first put to sea. As such, it received the most esteemed name – Constellation, in honor of the ring of white stars against a blue background that was once featured on the American flag.

The Constellation was quickly pressed into service the following year, convoying merchantmen before traveling to the West Indies to protect American commerce in the Quasi War against France. The ship first saw battle on February 9, 1799 in the waters near Nevis. There it captured France’s fastest ship – the L’Insurgente – making it the first U.S. boat to capture an enemy vessel. Over the next few months, the Constellation seized two more French privateers. Amazed by its ability to travel 13 knots while sailing under nearly an acre of canvas sails, French sailors nicknamed it the “Yankee Racehorse.”

Continue reading

Posted in Sept. 2015, This Day in History | 15 Comments

This Day in History… September 6, 1757

Birth of Marquis de Lafayette – “Hero of Two Worlds” 

U.S. #1010 – George Washington had such an impact on Lafayette that he named one of his children after him.

On September 6, 1757, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette was born in Chavaniac, in Haute Loire, France to a wealthy family.

Born into one of France’s oldest families, with ancestors who’d fought alongside Joan of Arc, Lafayette developed an early hunger for military glory. Orphaned at a young age, he became one of the richest people in France, but had no interest in court life.

Continue reading

Posted in Sept. 2015, This Day in History | 12 Comments

This Day in History… September 5, 1997

World Bids Farewell to Mother Teresa 

U.S. #4475 – Mother Teresa bought her sari (outfit) for just $1.

After decades of serving the poor in the harshest conditions, Mother Teresa passed away on September 5, 1997.

Mother Theresa was born Agnes Bojaxbiu in what is today Macedonia. When she was 18 years old, she left her home country in Southeastern Europe to join the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin, Ireland. This was her first journey to a distant land with customs and a language that were new to her.

In 1928, she took the name Sister Mary Teresa and began her service to others. She was sent to Calcutta, India, where she taught for many years, eventually becoming headmistress of St. Teresa’s School. She enjoyed the time she spent teaching but felt that she should be doing more. Mother Theresa believed she was “to give up even Loreto where I was very happy and to go out in the streets.” In order to answer her calling, this dedicated woman once again left the security of what she knew to travel to the unknown.

Continue reading

Posted in Sept. 2015, This Day in History | 5 Comments

This Day in History… September 4, 1886

Geronimo Surrenders, Ending Major Indian Wars 

U.S. #2869m

After nearly 30 years fighting the Americans and Mexicans that invaded his home, Geronimo surrendered on September 4, 1886.

Born in 1829, Geronimo was known to his Apache people as Goyaalé, or, “the one who yawns.” In the 1850s, a group of Mexican soldiers attacked his village while he was in a nearby town trading. Geronimo returned home to find his mother, wife, and children among those killed that day. From then on, Geronimo and his followers killed any Mexicans they crossed paths with out of revenge. Continue reading

Posted in Sept. 2015, This Day in History | 16 Comments

This Day in History… September 3, 1783

Treaty of Paris Ends Revolutionary War 

U.S. #2052

After more than eight years of fighting, the American Revolutionary War came to and end on September 3, 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

Two years earlier, the British suffered a disastrous defeat at Yorktown, leading to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and capture of over 7,000 of his men. This loss dramatically lowered British support for the war, leading that nation’s Prime Minister to resign the following spring. That April, the House of Commons voted to end the war in America and agreed to enter into peace talks.

Continue reading

Posted in Sept. 2015, This Day in History | 9 Comments

America’s First Inverts

119b copy

The rare #119b – Click for a high-res view!

Nearly 150 years ago, officials unveiled a revolutionary stamp series produced by the National Bank Note Company. For the first time in American postal history, designs other than portraits of national leaders were pictured on a U.S. stamp. The Pictorial Series also featured the first bi-color U.S. stamps.

The public was underwhelmed by the stamps and criticized the designs as being frivolous.  But 19th-century collectors soon found a reason to love them…

Bi-color printing was done in two steps. The central design (vignette) was printed first. The stamp sheet was then placed back on the flat press and the frame was added. In a few cases, human error led to the sheet being placed on the press backwards. The result – the first inverted stamps in U.S. history! Continue reading

Posted in General Stamp Collecting, Neat Stamp Stories, U.S. Stamp Series and Sets | 1 Comment