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Rhode Island begins lighthouse series

Rhode Island introduced the first of a four-year lighthouse series with their 1999 duck stamp.

The stamp pictures the lighthouse at Point Judith. Since 1810, Point Judith light has been warning those who sail the stretch known as the "graveyard of the Atlantic." The now granite-block tower reaches 65 feet above the water and shines a 16-mile Ďalertí every 15 seconds.

The stamp design, by Keith Mueller, features a pair of common eiders in flight off the coast with the lighthouse in the background.

There were several other changes to the Rhode Island program in 1999.

The 1999 stamps are now rouletted rather than perforated, and individual stamps are no longer serially numbered. The hunter stamps are now issued in panes of 10, 2x5, and each pane is numbered. It is necessary to collect the hunter stamps in horizontal pairs, as this is the only way to tell the difference from the collector type, other than the straight edge, which can be easily manufactured. The space between stamps on the hunter type is 6mm larger than on the collector type sheets of 30.

A special printed Governors Edition stamp was not issued, however the Governor has hand-signed a small number of mint stamps. Rhode Island's stamp program began in 1989, and they have the dubious distinction of being the only state to produce a Governor's Edition for every year of the program since. In a cleverly worded announcement, Rhode Island has stated; "GOVERNOR'S STAMPS - NO EDITION. This year a regular mint stamp will be hand-signed by the Governor." The "non-governor" Governor's Edition stamps will sell for $97.50 each.

The common eider breeds from central Labrador to southern Maine and winters from Newfoundland south to Massachusetts. Wintering populations are found along the Rhode Island coast with numbers varying depending on the amount of mussels and sea urchins available.

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