The Prominent Americans Issues features an image of Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) on the 7-cent stamp. In a 1978 tribute, the U.S. Postal Service described Franklin as “a printer, newspaper publisher, and author of Poor Richard’s Almanack. He founded or helped to establish the first American hospital, subscription library, volunteer fire and paid police departments, the American Philosophical Society, and the University of Pennsylvania. He was a scientist and inventor (lightning rod, bifocals, and the stove that bears his name). He was a patriot and public servant. He served as a member of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence, and was the first Postmaster General (of the British colonies). As a diplomat, he negotiated the treaty of alliance with France and the peace treaty with Great Britain. He was unquestionably the best known and most admired man in colonial America and one of the greatest figures of the eighteenth century.”
After George Washington, Benjamin Franklin has been the most honored American on U.S. postage stamps.
The 7-cent bright blue Franklin stamp was issued in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 20, 1972. The stamp was produced as a sheet stamp printed from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 10.5 x 11 perforations. Bill Hyde designed the stamp based on an oil painting by David Martin. The style of the “7C” is taken from Poor Richard’s Almanack. T.F. Kronen engraved the vignette, and Howard F. Sharpless engraved the lettering.
The 7-cent Franklin stamp initially paid the seven-cent domestic postcard rate that went in effect September 14, 1975, and lasted only three months, changing to nine cents on December 31. Two Franklin stamps could pay several fourteen-cent rates, including the domestic air postcard, third-class single piece per two ounce and, later, the foreign surface postcard rate. Three Franklin stamps at various times could pay the twenty-one cent foreign airmail letter rate and, later, the foreign air postcard and surface postcard rates.