Arago: 5-cent Monroe

5-cent Monroe

The likeness of James Monroe (1758-1831), the nation's fifth president, appears on the 5-cent Liberty Series stamp. The vignette was inspired by a portrait by Rembrandt Peale displayed at James Monroe Law Office and Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is the building in which James Monroe practiced law.

The stamp was issued on December 2, 1954, at Fredericksburg, Virginia. On December 2, 1823, President James Monroe announced the Monroe Doctrine in his annual address to Congress. It declared that the Americas were to be free from colonization and interference from Europe. Beginning on August 1, 1958, five cents paid the two-ounce rate on surface letters to Europe. This meant that a two-ounce letter to Europe was franked with both Miss Liberty and President Monroe, proclaiming, "Do not interfere with us!"

One of the most outstanding events of the first day ceremony was the release of three hundred carrier pigeons under the direction of William Pennington, the man in charge of the pigeons of the Signal Corps during WW II. The birds carried first day covers and delivered them to state capitals within a five hundred-mile range, arriving before the regular mails.

The stamp was designed by Charles R. Chickering.


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