The four new Seashells postcard rate stamps will debut nationwide January 28. The first-day postmark will read San Diego, California. The issue date was first announced in the December 22 Postal Bulletin and it is unknown if a ceremony will take place for the stamps.
The stamps will be issued in a pane of 20 and in a coil of 100.
Here is some additional information on the stamp issue from the U.S. Postal Service:
Four new postcard stamps celebrate the wonder of seashells. Each stamp depicts one iconic shell found in North American waters: the alphabet cone, the Pacific calico scallop, the zebra nerite, and the Queen conch, commonly known as the pink conch. The highly stylized stamp art expresses a lighthearted, artistic view of shells. The horizontal swaths of white and blue in the background suggest waves washing the shells onto a beach. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps. Sergio Baradat created the stamp art.
Christmas seals are not postage stamps. They are what is known in the hobby as cinderellas — items that look like postage stamps, but aren’t valid for postage. Christmas seals have a familiar look and interesting history, so they are used and collected much like Christmas stamps. In fact, the Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society (www.seal-society.org) is an affiliate of the American Philatelic Society.
Christmas seals are often placed on mail during the Christmas season. The sale of the stamps is raises money and awareness for various charitable programs. Initially they were associated with lung diseases such as tuberculosis, but now have grown internationally to include various aspects of child welfare.
In 1904, Danish postal clerk Einar Holbøll developed the idea of adding an extra charitable stamp or label on holiday Christmas mail. Holbøll’s idea eventually was approved by the Danish postmaster and the king of Denmark, and in 1904 the world’s first Christmas seal was issued, bearing the likeness of the Danish queen and the word “Julen,” the Danish word for Christmas. More than 4 million seals were sold in Denmark in the first year alone.
The new United States U.S. Flag forever stamp will debut January 27 nationwide. The first-day ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. during the Southeastern Stamp Expo show at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast in Norcross, Georgia.
Here is the USPS media advisory on the stamp:
U.S. Flag Forever Stamp To be Dedicated at Atlanta Area Stamp Show
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are major events in today’s Russia and was the same in the former Soviet Union when religion was essentially banned under Communist rule. Christmas holiday traditions were transferred to new year celebrations.
The Soviet Union started producing annual new year stamps in the early 1960s. The first such stamp included a label with “Happy New Year” inscribed in colorful, flowing script. It was a very soft and warm design compared to many of the heavy, industrial-style designs of the typical stamp from the Soviet Union.
Several new year stamps thereafter included images of snowflakes, the Kremlin’s famous Spasskaya (also Spasski) Tower and rockets — yes, let’s of rockets! It’s not unusual to find spaceflight imagery on Soviet New Year issues, some stamps and many cards. James G. Reichman wrote a whole book on it called Soviet New Year’s Issues Related to Spaceflight (2013) and noted 468 items depicting spaceflight on Soviet postal items, many of them special postal cards.
As the political climate changed in the 1990s, Russia started including more Christmas images on its new year’s stamps, including Grandfather Frost (looking a LOT like Santa Claus) and his sleigh, decorated Christmas trees and brightly wrapped presents.
The Marshall Islands will issue a sheet of 10 stamps featuring tropical flowers at the AmeriStamp Expo stamp show in Reno, Nevada.
The first-day ceremony is scheduled for March 3, the first day of the show, at a time to be announced at the Reno Sparks Convention Center.
The stamps depicted are (top row, from left): plumeria, hibiscus, primrose willow, annona muricata, and globe amaranth; (bottom row, from left) arrowleaf elephants ear, field pumpkin, Asiatic pennywort, fire on the mountain, and Polynesian arrowroot.
The show will feature approximately 50 dealers, a dozen societies, 40 meetings and seminars, and exhibits, including the annual World Series of Philately single-frame competition.