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1985 100th Anniversary Of The Statue Of Liberty's Arrival In New York

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Posted 05/22/2020   8:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Bluejay to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
In 1985, the USPS issued a stamp (Scott US 2147) in commemoration of the Statue of Liberty and its designer-sculptor Auguste Bartholdi. The stamp was issued in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the statue's arrival in the US.

The statue - formally known as Liberty Enlightening the World - was originally constructed in Paris, then taken apart, crated and delivered to the US for reconstruction. The 214 wooden crates containing the 350 pieces of the statue arrived in New York City on June 17, 1885 aboard the French steamer Isère.

The crates sat largely undisturbed for more than nine months while construction on its base and pedestal was completed. Work on reassembling the Statue began in April 1886. It was dedicated on October 28th on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor; today, the island is known as Liberty Island. The 100th anniversary of its 1886 dedication was the primary focus of the Statue's centennial anniversary celebrations (the subject of a future post!), but the 1885-1985 anniversary was also worthy of acknowledgement and commemoration.

(Image from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, vol. 60 (1885 June 27); image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division;

The June 20, 1985 edition of the Postal Bulletin,) included the following description of the stamp's design. (I'm a bit amused by the wording used to describe the use of a computer and graphics/layout software in the creation of the design.)

"The Bartholdi stamp was designed electronically by Howard Paine of Washington, D.C. It features a portrait of the sculptor taken from a painting by Jose Frappa, which hangs in the Musee Bartholdi in Colmar, France, and a water-color painting by James Dean of Annandale, Virginia, depicting the Statue as seen across New York's harbor. The Frappa painting of Bartholdi, the painting by Dean and the type for the lettering were placed in a computer memory of an electronic scanning machine and merged to form a single image. Several elements were altered until the desired picture had been achieved."

The stamp is often referred to as the "Bartholdi stamp" (as seen in the Bulletin text above) and Bartholdi certainly is presented in a place of prominence in the foreground of the stamp's design, but 1985 was not a key anniversary milestone in the life of Bartholdi. He was born in 1834, died in 1904 and was married in 1876 - none of the years makes for a typical anniversary milestone in 1985 (151st, 81st and 109th anniversaries, respectively). As the Statue's designer, however, recognizing Bartholdi was an imperative and why not use the US arrival date of his beat-known and most important creation as the basis for a commemorative stamp?!

In this post, I present the two FDCs produced by Fleetwood for the stamp. On one, the cachet and story focus on Bartholdi, on the other the Statue itself is the focus. Each of the covers was postmarked in New York City on July 18, 1985 - the official location and date of the stamp's first day of issue.


In future additions to this post, I will present the Fleetwood Maximum Card for the stamp, a philatelic-numismatic cover (PNC) featuring the Bartholdi stamp and a commemorative medal made from metal recovered from the Statue during its restoration and a special cover developed by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation as a fundraiser for its work restoring the Statue and the staging of its centennial commemoration.

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Edited by Bluejay - 05/22/2020 8:21 pm

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Posted 05/23/2020   10:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bluejay to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Following up on the two Fleetwood FDCs presented above, shown here is the Fleetwood Maximum Card for the 1985 US Bartholdi stamp.

The card features a portrait of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi in the foreground, a close-up view of the head of Miss Liberty behind him and stylized elements of the US flag in the background. The artwork was created by illustrator and fine artist Shannon Stirnweiss; Shannon created the original paintings for dozens of Fleetwood First Day Covers / Maximum Cards.

The stamp/card was postmarked on July 18, 1985 in New York City, the first day of issue.

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