Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2013

New England Beacons Honored on Postage Stamps

By Timothy Harrison


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The New England Coastal Lighthouses postage ...

The sixth issuance in the popular U.S. Postal Service’s lighthouse series of postage stamps was released simultaneously at five different lighthouse ceremonies throughout New England on July 13.

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The official unveiling of the New England Coastal ...

The five new postage stamps feature images of Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Boston Harbor Lighthouse in Boston, Massachusetts; Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle, New Hampshire; Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, Rhode Island; and New London Harbor Lighthouse in New London, Connecticut.

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First Day of Issue postmarked envelopes are ...

A number of dignitaries, including representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard and even a Rear Admiral, were at the unveiling ceremonies at each location, however the most notable lighthouse people were, Wayne Wheeler, president of the United States Lighthouse Society, who was at the Portland Head Lighthouse ceremony; and Sally Snowman, keeper of the Boston Harbor Lighthouse, who was at the Boston ceremony, which was held on the mainland and not actually at the lighthouse.

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With the exception of Portland Head Lighthouse, this was the first time that the lighthouses in this series of postage stamps had appeared on U.S. Postage Stamps. On April 24, 1981, Portland Head Lighthouse was previously featured on an 18-cent stamp that was part of the Postal Service’s “From Sea to Shining Sea” series of stamps and on the 37-cent “Greetings from Maine” postage stamp issued in 2003 as part of a series of stamps honoring all 50 states.

The ceremonies at the five locations were well attended, but nothing can compare to the thousands of people who turned out for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Postage Stamps ceremonies that were held in 1995 in Cheboygan, Michigan.

Although the New England Coastal Lighthouse Postage Stamps are “Forever” stamps, which means that they can be used even if the postage rates go up, there was a limited printing of the stamps and many post office locations sold out of them quickly. Sally Snowman, the last official lighthouse keeper in the United States, said that she was going to save her postage stamps and use them in 2016 for the 300th Anniversary of the Boston Harbor Lighthouse Station.

If you can’t find the lighthouse stamps locally, you will need to order them on-line from the United States Postal Service, but you’ll want to hurry before they are sold out.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2013 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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