A young American patriot, Nathan Hale (1755-1776) was executed as a spy by the British in New York during the American Revolution. Hale is perhaps best remembered for the last words attributed to him, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” A half-cent stamp, the first half-cent stamp in U.S. history, was required by new postal rates established in 1925. Hale was selected to appear on that stamp by Postmaster General Harry New. Since no images of Hale are known, the stamp's designer, Clair Aubrey Huston, based his work on a photograph of a clay model of a statue of Hale located on the campus of Yale University, which Hale attended as a student.
John Eissler engraved the Hale stamp's vignette. E.M. Hale engraved the frame and lettering, and J.C. Benzing engraved the scrolls and ribbon. E.M. Weeks engraved the numerals. The stamp was first printed on the flat plate press in 1925, and was subsequently printed on the Stickney rotary press.