Stamps and Coins of South Carolina

The United States Postal Service and the United States Mint have issued numerous commemorative postage stamps and coins that honor various aspects of South Carolina’s heritage.

From pivotal moments in American history to iconic symbols and influential figures, these philatelic and numismatic tributes serve as enduring reminders of the state’s contributions to the nation.

The postage stamps, ranging from the Charleston Sesquicentennial in 1930 to the Poinsettia Day stamp in 2013, vividly depict significant events, landmarks, and cultural elements that define South Carolina. Each stamp meticulously crafted with vibrant colors and intricate details, encapsulates the essence of the state’s rich history and cultural identity. Similarly, the coins, such as the South Carolina State Quarter released in 2000 and the America the Beautiful Quarter series featuring notable figures like Septima Clark, offer tangible connections to South Carolina’s past, celebrating its role in shaping the fabric of American society. As a collector, these stamps and coins not only hold intrinsic value but also serve as cherished mementos of South Carolina’s enduring legacy.

Postage Stamps

USPS 683

Charleston Sesquicentennial (1930)
Commemorating the 250th anniversary of Charleston’s founding, this 2¢ print in a carmine-rose color features Governor Joseph West next to Kiawah leader Chief Shadoo.

West established the English colony of Charles Towne in 1670 on the shore of the Ashley River in what is now West Ashley
Chief Shadoo was the leader of the Kiawah tribe who later advised the colonists to explore the peninsula of what is now Downtown Charleston, which the English established in 1680.
Flanking the center photo are the two staple crops of the era: rice and indigo.

USPS 1010

Arrival of Lafayette in America (1952)
Commemorating the arrival in 1777 of Marquis de Lafayette, an aristocratic French military officer who played a significant role in the American Revolution. This blue stamp bears the image of Lafayette flanked by the modern flags of the United States and of France.

Lafayette arrived in South Carolina in 1777, later joining the Continental Army under General Washington and contributed to the defense of Charleston.

USPS 1178

Fort Sumter Centennial (1961)
This green-printed stamp pays tribute to the defense of Fort Sumter against Confederate secessionists in 1861.

This event marked the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War, and the stamp’s design features a U.S. Army soldier operating a cannon that had been turned to fire upon the insurrectionist forces at Fort Johnson on James Island.
While the valorous soldiers ultimately yielded to the Confederates, they left with their flag and weapons intact.

USPS 1345

The Flag of Fort Moultrie (1968)
Designed in 1775 by Colonel William Moultrie, the Liberty Flag featured a white crescent moon on a backdrop of indigo.

The flag symbolized the successful defense of Sullivan’s Island against the British fleet in June 1776. During the battle, the flag was shot down, but Sergeant William Jasper courageously hoisted it again, rallying the troops.

This event cemented the flag’s status as a symbol of liberty, with the design later being incorporated into the state flag of South Carolina with its crescent moon above a palmetto tree.

USPS 1407

South Carolina Tricentennial (1970)
Celebrating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Charles Town and the colony of South Carolina, this stamp’s design captures the state’s economic and historical development.

Depicted on a backdrop of pinewood, the stamp features line drawings of several icons of the state: St. Michael’s Church in Historic Charleston, the yellow jessamine state flower, the state flag, the sailing ship Carolina, a palmetto tree, a pair of colonists, the South Carolina State House, a cotton boll, and a barrel of tea leaves.

USPS 1640

U.S. Bicentennial State Flag (1976)

The Postal Service celebrated the 1976 American Bicentennial with a full pane of the nation’s fifty state flags. South Carolina’s iconic flag is a field of blue with a palmetto tree and crescent moon in white over a dark blue field, both symbolizing the defense of Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island against the British Navy.

Colonel William Moultrie designed the original crescent moon Liberty Flag, which was flew atop the fort that was fortified against naval bombardment with logs of palmetto trees.


Francis Marion (1982)
This postal card commemorates Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, a Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina. His guerrilla warfare tactics played a crucial role in resisting British forces during the American Revolution.

In addition to his contributions to shaping South Carolina’s history and the broader struggle for independence, Marion served in the South Carolina Senate and was a delegate to the state constitutional convention.

USPS 1992

State Bird and Flower (1982)

As part of the State Birds and Flowers series, this print showcases South Carolina’s Carolina Wren and Carolina Jessamine in a watercolor design.

The Carolina Jessamine, adopted as the state flower in 1924, blooms beautiful yellow, fragrant flowers heralding spring.
The Carolina Wren boasts a distinctive appearance and melodious song. Together, these elements symbolize the state’s natural charm.

USPS 2343

South Carolina Statehood (1987)
The Bicentenary Statehood Series commemorated the signing of the Constitution by representatives of the first 13 Colonies. The stamps were issued in the 200th year after each state approved the Constitution, issued in the order each colony became a state. 

The lithograph print released to honor South Carolina’s 1788 ratification of the US Constitution features three palmettos surrounded by sea oats.

USPS 2363

The Best Friend of Charleston (1987)
Issued as part of a commemoration series for steam locomotives in the United States, this 22¢ print features The Best Friend of Charleston.

As the first steam locomotive to operate in the United States for the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company this locomotive pioneered steam-powered rail travel in the United States. Its inaugural run out of Charleston on December 25, 1830 marked the beginning of a new era in transportation. 

USPS 2768

Porgy & Bess (1993)
As part of the Legends of American Music Series, the USPS released a series commemorating four 1930s Broadway musicals: Show BoatOklahoma!, My Fair Lady, and this print in honor of George Gershwin’s iconic folk opera Porgy and Bess

This 29¢ stamp features a vibrant design showcasing the characters Porgy, Bess, and Crown against a backdrop of Catfish Row – reminiscent of the actual Cabbage Row on Church Street in Historic Charleston

USPS 3735

Greetings from South Carolina (2002)
In 2002 the USPS released the Greetings from America series in a nod to the spirit of travel within the United States. Each stamp features scenery to signify popular attractions in the state with vibrant artistry and blocky titles, in a throwback to postcards in the 1930s-40s. 

For the South Carolina print in the series, the lower image is a beach scene –possibly Isle of Palms or Folly Beach – with an upper image depicting the pastel homes of Rainbow Row (which should be noted are no longer actually waterfront).

USPS 3789

Morris Island Lighthouse (2003)
As a set of the larger Lighthouse Series the USPS released a five-stamp strip commemorating lighthouses of the Southeast, including this print of the historic Morris Island Lighthouse at Folly Beach.

Built in 1876, the lighthouse served as a vital navigational aid for ships entering Charleston Harbor. The stamp’s vivid illustration captures the lighthouse against a backdrop of blue sky and sea, showcasing its iconic stature and maritime significance.

The Morris Island lighthouse was abandoned in 1962 as it became completely surrounded by water. 
Today the preservation group Save The Light serves to protect the Morris Island Lighthouse in perpetuity.

USPS 4320

State Flag of South Carolina (2011)
Issued in the Flags of Our Nation series this forever stamp celebrates South Carolina’s state flag alongside a depiction of a marshfront boat dock.

Colonel Moultrie designed the flag in 1775 using the blue from his soldiers’ uniforms and the crescent emblem worn on their caps. Moultrie and his men successfully thwarted British invasion at the fort on Sullivan’s Island that was fortified with palmetto logs. In honor of their heroism in that defense, a palmetto tree was added to create the state flag of South Carolina.

USPS 4377

Edgar Allen Poe (2009)
This 42¢ stamp commemorates the influential American writer Edgar Allan Poe, who in the 1820s served a brief military stint at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island.

Poe’s experiences on the island influenced his later literary works and was a setting for stories such as The Gold-Bug, which included detailed descriptions of the Lowcountry barrier island.

Today Poe is honored on Sullivan’s Island with three street names: Poe Avenue, Gold Bug Avenue, and Raven Drive, as well as a small spit named Gold Bug Island beneath the Ben Sawyer Bridge.

USPS 4522

Fort Sumter Sesquicentennial (2011)
Following the 1961 centennial stamp commemorating the same event, this sesquicentennial print depicting the Battle of Fort Sumter features an evocative illustration of the fort during its bombardment from Confederate secessionists.

The stamp’s design is rendered in rich colors and intricate detail to capture the solemnity and significance of the event that marked the beginning of the American Civil War, with careful attention to historical accuracy.

USPS 4816

Poinsettia Day (2013)
Honoring the introduction of the poinsettia plant to the United States by Charleston native Joel Roberts Poinsett, this forever stamp features the vivid red leaves of the poinsettia.

As a floral that has become synonymous with the Christmas holiday season, this print of the poinsettia was released during the 2013 holiday season.

The plant Euphorbia pulcherrima is indigenous to Mexico where it was first cultivated by Aztecs. Joel Poinsett was the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in the 1820s when he came across the plant that locals called the Christmas Eve plant. He sent samples back to his home in Charleston, where its cultivation became explosively popular for its vibrant winter blooms.


State Quarter (2000)
The U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program launched in 1999, honoring each state with a unique quarter design.
South Carolina’s quarter was released in 2000, proudly bearing our nickname “The Palmetto State” within the geographical  outline, above a star marking the capital of Columbia.

The design features our state’s bird, flower, and tree: a Carolina Wren perched on a vine of the Yellow Jessamine, opposite a Palmetto tree.

America the Beautiful Quarter (2016)
The America the Beautiful Quarters program celebrates the nation’s rich history and natural wonders through stunning coin designs. The South Carolina quarter showcases a significant scene in South Carolina’s role during the American Revolution: the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

The coin’s depiction captures a soldier defiantly carrying a tattered Moultrie Flag, with the logs of palmetto trees underfoot. In the background is the fleet of the invading British Navy which were successfully thwarted by Colonel Moultrie’s militia.

American Innovation Dollar (2020)
The US Mint developed the American Innovation $1 Coin Program to commemorate visionaries who shaped the path and progress of the nation.

The reverse side of the South Carolina Dollar honors the life and legacy of Septima Poinsette Clark, an inspiring hero of the civil rights movement in the 1950s.
Clark was a pioneering educator and activist who empowered African Americans to fight for their rights through education and voter registration. The coin’s design captures Clark’s determined spirit, serving as a testament to her lasting impact on equality and social justice.

Dr. Martin Luther King in 1959 stated “The hope of the future rests upon… women of integrity, honesty, and courage like Septima P. Clark.”