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American Bicentennial Issue: Lafayette

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13-cent Marquis de Lafayette single

The 13-cent Lafayette commemorative stamp (Scott 1716) was first available on June 13, 1977, in Charleston, South Carolina. The stamp commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Marquis de Lafayette's landing on the coast of South Carolina. Bradbury Thompson designed the stamp.

The blue, black, and red stamp was printed on the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) Giori press as sheets of 160 subjects, tagged, perforated 11, and distributed as panes of forty (eight across and five down). Mr. Zip, “MAIL EARLY IN THE DAY,” electric eye markings, and a plate number in each corner are printed in the selvage.

Marie Jean Paul Joseph Roche Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, was born in Auvergne, France, on September 6, 1757, into a very distinguished French family. In 1777, though King Louis XVI refused to officially sanction his efforts, Lafayette traveled to America to support the American Revolution. He had consulted with the Baron De Kalb, who had similar intentions. De Kalb introduced him to Silas Deane, who gave Lafayette a letter of introduction to Congress in which he alluded to the great dignity and influence of Lafayette's family and requested for Lafayette a major general's commission. Lafayette then proceeded secretly and at his own expense to fit out a vessel at Bordeaux. When his plan became known at court and an order for his arrest was issued, he sailed to Pasage, Spain, to complete the arrangements.

He set sail from Pasage, April 26, 1777, taking with him De Kalb and eleven other officers, and landed on June 14 at Georgetown, South Carolina. He then proceeded to Charleston. After a journey of more than a month on horseback, he arrived in Philadelphia, where Congress was in session. Lafayette initially met with a rather cold reception, but after he had declared his wish to serve as a volunteer and at his own expense, Congress appointed him major general.


  • Scott 2005 Specialized Catalogue of U.S. Stamps and Covers
  • marquisdelafayette.net (aqccessed May 16, 2006)

Doug D'Avino

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