The hallmark of the Liberty Series, the 3-cent issue paid the domestic first-class rate from its day of issuance on June 24, 1954, until July 31, 1958. The stamp was issued in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the first American Congress, held on June 24, 1754, at which Benjamin Franklin presented the first plan of federal union. His plan was read to the Congress and adopted.
The stamp's design portrays the Statue of Liberty against a background which features a graduated tone effect to create a halo. The halo accents the statue's natural beauty. The stamp was also issued in booklet and coil form. It was issued in booklet form on June 30, 1954, and in coil form on July 20, 1954.
Used to meet the prevailing first-class letter rate, the 3-cent Liberty was a companion to the 8-cent Liberty, issued ten weeks earlier. The 10-cent Liberty met the international letter rate.
Charles R. Checkering designed the stamp, which was engraved by Bureau engravers Richard D. Bower and George L. Huber.
Inscribed on the base of the statue is the poem written by Emma Lazarus, which, in part, reads:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”