This stamp issuance pays tribute to the U.S. Merchant Marine, the modern name for the maritime fleet that has played this vital role. The four-stamp design on this pane features types of vessels that have formed an important part of this history: clipper ships, auxiliary steamships, Liberty ships, and container ships. The stamps go on sale on 28tJuly.Illustrator Dennis Lyall of Norwalk, CT, created the stamps under the art direction of Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA.
Clipper Ships:Clipper ships, ushered in by the California Gold Rush of 1849 and noted for their streamlined shape and majestic cloud of square-rigged sails, set numerous speed records for their time.
Auxiliary Steamships:Auxiliary steamships—steam-powered ships with back-up sailing rigs— were the ocean liners of their day, competing in the 1850s with clipper and other sailing ships for transatlantic mail and passenger service.
Liberty Ships:During World War II, the United States built more than 2,700 Liberty ships, plain but sturdy cargo vessels that sustained the Allied forces with a steady supply of food and war material.
Container Ships:Container ships, pioneered in the 1950s, are the lifeblood of today’s global economy, carrying nearly all the world’s manufactured goods across the oceans and exemplifying the modern merchant marine.