Issued in 1901, the 1-cent Fast Lake Navigation stamp was the first denomination of the Pan-American Exposition Issue. It was also the first 1-cent stamp printed in more than one color (green and black). Not until the American kestrel of the Flora and Fauna of the Series of 1991 was another multicolored 1-cent stamp issued. The engraved design featured the steamer ‘City of Alpena’.
The 917-ton CITY OF ALPENA steamer, built 1880 and owned by the D. & C. S. N. Co., collided with the Tecumseh on May 2, 1887. Its home port was Detroit, and the collision occurred on Lake Huron. Neither ship sank.
The six stamps of the Pan-American Issue were the first multicolored stamps since the 1869 Pictorial Issue. Like that issue, the first three denominations of the Pan American produced inverts.
This 1-cent stamp typically paid the one-cent card rate or, when used in combination with other denominations, it paid the large weight and foreign destination rates. One of the most recognizable U.S. stamps of the twentieth century, it was printed in large numbers, and it is consequently very affordable for beginning stamp collectors. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 91,401,500 1-cent Fast Lake Navigation stamps.