By Janet Klug
In the United States, we celebrate the Fourth of July as a national holiday that marks the time, in 1776, when a few British colonies declared their independence from the mother country. The 1869 24¢ Declaration of Independence stamp (Scott 120) shown in Figure 1 commemorates the event.
A revolution ensued, and now, 232 years later, we celebrate with picnics, parades, flags and fireworks.
American independence and patriotic themes have long been popular on U.S. stamps. The U.S. Postal Service does a great job of waving the flag.
A new Flags of Our Nation series of commemorative coil stamps began on Flag Day, June 14. The 42¢ Arizona Flag stamp is shown in Figure 2.
These stamps should begin appearing on everyday mail. The colorful and changing designs may succeed in attracting new collectors to our great hobby.
You can document an entire Fourth of July parade using U.S. stamps. Lead off with an Uncle Sam stamp. There are several from which to chose: his red, white and blue top hat on the 1998 nondenominated (33¢) Uncle Sam's Hat stamp (Scott 3260) shown in Figure 3; the 1998 22¢ Uncle Sam definitive stamp (3259) shown in Figure 4; or the 32¢ Uncle Sam Wants You Recruiting Poster stamp (3183i) shown in Figure 5 from the 1910s Celebrate the Century pane, also issued in 1998.
Add a good old-fashioned marching band playing a rousing John Philip Sousa march. That one is covered, too — see the 1997 32¢ Stars and Stripes Forever stamp (Scott 3153) shown in Figure 6.
You will probably be watching the parade from your front porch, upon which you have hung a flag that waves in the warm summer breeze, just like the one on the 1995 32¢ Flag Over Porch stamp (Scott 2897) shown in Figure 7.
One or more of the military veterans organizations probably will be marching in the parade, as will some of the local Scout troops. A 4¢ Boy Scouts of America stamp (Scott 1145), issued in 1960, is shown in Figure 8.
One veterans organization that you will not see represented in current Independence Day parades is the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization for Union veterans of the Civil War.
A fixture of Fourth of July parades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Grand Army of the Republic held its last encampment Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, 1949. The 3¢ stamp issued that year, shown in Figure 9, commemorated this event.
Albert Woolson, the last Union veteran, died on Aug. 2, 1956, at the age of 109.
Just keep adding stamps you already have in your collection to your virtual stamp parade until you are satisfied. You can have your Fourth of July parade without standing in the hot sun. Then end the day with some fireworks stamps.
The United States is not the only country that has celebrated its independence on its stamps.
Ghana became an independent nation in 1957, notable because it was the first former African colony to achieve independence (discounting Ethiopia's temporary conquest by and liberation from Italy).
The nation now known as Ghana traces its colonial influences to the 15th century with the arrival of the Portuguese, who maintained their hold on the area for more than a century.
Danish traders, the Dutch West Indies Co., and the British African Company of Merchants in turn exploited the human resources of what was known as the Gold Coast of West Africa. In the 18th century more than 4 million slaves were taken from West Africa to the Americas.
Great Britain outlawed slave trading throughout the British Empire in 1807, and the United States outlawed the importation of slaves in 1808, but international slave trading continued from other sources and between other countries.
During the period between the two world wars, colonial Africans achieved small measures of autonomy and representation on legislative councils. There was a strong anti-colonial movement in the Gold Coast at the end of World War II. After a decade of struggle, strikes and demonstrations, the new nation of Ghana achieved its independence in 1957.
Twelve Gold Coast regular issue stamps were overprinted "Ghana Independence 6th March 1957" to mark the event. The ½-penny stamp from the set (Ghana Scott 5) is shown in Figure 10.
At the same time, Ghana issued a set of four new stamps featuring a portrait of Kwame Nkrumah, who was the first prime minister and later first president of Ghana.
In 1960, Ghana issued a set of stamps to celebrate the third anniversary of its independence. The 3-pesewa stamp (Scott 72) shown in Figure 11 features a display of fireworks, a universal way to celebrate independence.
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke reports on a new Charlie Brown computer-vended postage stamp that is sold only through post office self-service kiosks.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.