NEWBURYPORT — Officials representing the post office and the Coast Guard recently gathered to celebrate the release of a stamp that has been created to honor lighthouses in New England.
Local postmaster Paul Bolas unveiled a poster of the Boston Harbor Lighthouse on a recent Saturday morning that represents the New England Coastal Lighthouse forever stamp.
He said it represents many such lighthouses in New England, and that the stamp was created by federal authorities to mark the value of the lighthouse over the years to mariners.
“About 83 million stamps were produced this past summer and they have been popular with collectors,” said Bolas, who is a collector himself. “We have some left but they are going fast.”
Barbara Kezer, who heads the Friends of the Plum Island Light, took part in the unveiling.
Also participating was retired Rear Adm. Daniel May, whose career has included leadership of projects in which lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast were rebuilt or, in some cases, moved.
May recently retired to Newburyport after a career that took him and his family to many ports of call.
The officials noted that lighthouses played a key role in helping sea captains determine their course as they neared land. A strong beacon was especially helpful for those who approached the harbor in Newburyport, which has a narrow entry via the Merrimack River.
The Custom House Maritime Museum hosts an exhibit that presents a retrospective of lighthouses in this region. It also offers photos that show ships that were unable to find safe entry. Some were destroyed and/or lost along the coastline.
The stamp the post office is offering, though depicting the lighthouse in Boston, is symbolic of many such institutions in New England.