Telling the Story of a Nation

250th Anniversary of Franklin's Birth

3-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp
The 3-cent 250th Anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth stamp was issued January 17, 1956.

The 250th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth commemorative stamp features painter Benjamin West's portrait "Franklin Taking Electricity from the Sky.” This work depicts the story of the Founding Father looking toward the sky as he attempts to draw an electric current using a key. He is dressed in black and surrounded by putti (small babies). According to remarks by Assistant Postmaster General Robertson, the work is a very dramatic depiction. He also noted that there is a special authenticity to it as the artist and his subject knew each other.

Benjamin West was a pioneer in the American art world. He was one of the first Americans to achieve fame internationally and today is commonly known for his history paintings. He went abroad to Italy where he studied classical art, and eventually moved to London. While there, West influenced American artists Charles Peale, Gilbert Stewart and John Trumbull.

10-cent Benjamin West stamp
The 10-cent Benjamin West stamp was issued February 10, 1975.