Continuing our articles on the 1913 commemorative Panama-Pacific Expo stamp series is the 5-cent stamp showing the “Golden Gate” – the entry way to the San Francisco Bay. The 3rd stamp in this series was part of a set to commemorate both the discovery of the Pacific Ocean in 1513 and the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. It was also to promote the Panama-Pacific Exposition that would take place in 1915. The 5-cent “Golden Gate” stamp was an appropriate symbol of all of these events.
The 5-cent stamp is a beautiful dark blue, bearing the design of L.C. Schofield. The Golden Gate Bridge is not seen in the stamp, of course, because construction didn’t start on the bridge until 1933. A five-cent stamp at the time would have paid for international first class mail. Statistics show that 29 million stamps were printed of this issue.
“The first recorded observation of the strait occurred nearly two hundred years later than the earliest European explorations of the coast. In 1769 Sgt. José Francisco Ortega, the leader of a scouting party sent north along the peninsula of present-day San Francisco, reported that he could proceed no further because of the strait. On 5 August 1775 Juan de Ayala and the crew of his ship San Carlos became the first Europeans known to have passed through the strait, anchoring in a cove behind Angel Island, now named in Ayala’s honour. Until the 1840s, the strait was called the “Boca del Puerto de San Francisco” (“Mouth of the Port of San Francisco”). On 1 July 1846, before the discovery of gold in California, the entrance acquired a new name. In his memoirs, John C. Frémont wrote, “To this Gate I gave the name of “Chrysopylae”, or “Golden Gate”; for the same reasons that the harbor of Byzantium was called Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn.”“
History of the Bay: