Breast Cancer Research Semipostal Stamp to be Reissued in 2014
The Breast Cancer Research semipostal stamp, originally issued in 1998, is being reissued in 2014.Mandated by Congress in 1997 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the 1998 Breast Cancer Researchstamp was the first semipostal issued by the U.S. Postal Service.Semipostals are stamps sold at a surcharge to raise money for a particular cause.
Net proceeds from the surcharge for the Breast Cancer Research stamp are donated to the National Institutes of Health and the Medical Research Program of the Department of Defense. To date, the stamp has raised more than $78 million for breast cancer research.
The War of 1812:Fort Mchenry
The War of 1812, sometimes called “the forgotten conflict,” was a two-and-a-half-year confrontation with Great Britain that brought the United States to the verge of bankruptcy and disunion. With this 2014 issuance, the U.S. Postal Service® continues its commemoration of the bicentennial of a war that ultimately helped forge our national identity and gave us our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The stamp’s subject for the third year of the war is the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, in September 1814. Using mixed media, stamp artist Greg Harlin, a specialist in historical paintings, depicts the battle from the vantage point of a group of soldiers manning a cannon in defense of Fort McHenry. The stamp art also gives prominence to “the rockets’ red glare” that Maryland native Francis Scott Key wrote about in “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
A portrait by Rembrandt Peale of the fort’s commander, George Armistead, appears on the reverse of the stamp sheet (courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society). The selvage engraving on the front of the sheet is a black and white version of a painting by Percy Moran depicting Key aboard the ship from which he witnessed the battle. The stamp sheet includes verso text and selvage text.
For some 25 hours beginning on the morning of September 13, a squadron of the Royal Navy fired more than 1,500 rounds of shells and rockets at Fort McHenry, which was designed to protect Baltimore from attacks by sea. Key witnessed this massive display of firepower from the deck of an American flag-of-truce vessel, where he had just completed negotiations with the British for the release of an American prisoner.
On the morning of September 14, Key realized the bombardment had been a failure when he saw the British squadron withdrawing downriver. He was moved to write “The Defence of Fort McHenry” to the tune of an old English song, and it quickly gained wider recognition under the title “The Star-Spangled Banner.”