1centbalboaContinuing our series of articles on U.S. stamp issues of 1913 is the 1¢ Panama Pacific Stamp -Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. Part of a series of four stamps issued that year in preparation for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Expo, it celebrates the 400th anniversary of the year Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean.

On September 1, 1513, Balboa departed with about ninety of his troops and Indian guides from the Atlantic port city of San Blas, in what is now Panama. Taking a generally southern route in search of a “great sea” the natives had talked about, they reached the southern shore of the isthmus on September 13, claiming the “South Sea” – what is now the Pacific Ocean – and all its adjacent lands for Spain. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to enjoy his fame for long, five years later, Balboa was accused of high treason by a jealous rival, and beheaded.

The stamp was issued in the green of the other 1¢ stamps of the era. First Day: 1/1/13. The vignette on this stamp was engraved by J. Eissler, and the frame by E. M. Hall. This stamp would have paid the postcard rate in 1913. Over three hundred million of these stamps in the twelve perforation format (“perf 12”) were produced by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. (Source: Michel Casper)