1990 25¢ East Coast Lighthouses
US #2470-74 was issued on this day in 1990.

On April 26, 1990, the USPS issued the first booklet in its Lighthouse stamp series.

Beginning in 1986, the USPS began issuing topical booklets of five stamps each. Past topics had included fish, locomotives, classic cars, and steamboats. In April 1990, the set of lighthouse stamps would be the first of two such topical booklets issued that year.

1990 25¢ East Coast Lighthouses Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover
US #2470-74 – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

Lighthouses had been featured on stamps in the past, but some lighthouse enthusiasts were calling for more. In 1987, James W. Hyland III, chairman of the Lighthouse Preservation Society, submitted a list of 10 lighthouses he thought should be honored on stamps to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee. Initially, the committee supported his idea and proposed issuing 10 stamps in two panes honoring all of the lighthouses. However, the USPS felt that would make for too many stamps. So instead, they opted to just issue five, though a sixth would be pictured on the booklet cover. Two of the six lighthouses had been on stamps before, Cape Hatteras and Sandy Hook.

1995 32¢ Great Lakes Lighthouses
US #2969-73 – 1995 Great Lakes Lighthouses

The stamp designs were first unveiled on August 4, 1989, at the Customs House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Massachusetts. August 4th was the anniversary of the creation of the Revenue Marine (later the Revenue Cutter Service). The stamps would be issued in 1990 to mark the 200th anniversary.

2003 37¢ Southeastern Lighthouses
US #3787-91 – 2003 Southeastern Lighthouses

The stamps were issued on April 26, 1990, in Washington, DC. Less than two weeks after they were issued, some booklets were discovered without the white intaglio ink for “USA” and the denomination. Some of these error books sold for over $500 each.

1990 25¢ Lighthouses, white ("USA 25") omitted
US #2474b – Lighthouses error pane with white intaglio omitted

Five years later, the USPS issued a second booklet featuring lighthouses. They included two lighthouses from the list submitted in 1990, but all of the lighthouses in this set were ones found along the Great Lakes. Both of these sets proved quite popular, so the USPS continued issuing stamps honoring lighthouses from different areas of the country every few years, with the final issue coming in 2021.

2007 41¢ Pacific Lighthouses
US #4146-50 – 2007 Pacific Lighthouses
2009 44¢ Gulf Coast Lighthouses
US #4409-13 – 2009 Gulf Coast Lighthouses
2013 46¢ New England Coastal Lighthouses
US #4791-95 – 2013 New England Lighthouses
2021 55¢ Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses
US #5621-25 – 2021 Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses, the final issue in the series
1990-2021 Lighthouses, set of 35 stamps
US #2470/5625 – Get the complete set of 35 Lighthouse stamps in on convenient order. 
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7 Comments

  1. While I’m not a fanatic, lighthouses are beautiful and a reminder of a different time. The Fresnel lenses used to magnify the light are works of art and in some cases all that is saved if a lighthouse is torn down. Many are in museums and are quite valuable.

  2. You omitted the fact that the late great Howard Koslow designed these first five Lighthiuses, as well the later ines!

  3. I loved these series. Wish they would have continued these. Maybe they could do a series of Fresnel lights or lightships.

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