New U.S. Celebration Stamps Feature Floral Designs

Celebration Boutonniere
Celebration Boutonniere

The U.S. Postal Service will formally issue a pair of similarly designed stamps — a first-class Celebration Boutonniere and a 2-ounce Celebration Corsage — May 2 in St. Louis, Missouri.

A formal ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the Shoenberg Theater at the 79-acre Missouri Botanical Garden, which is home to several themed gardens and is a popular location for wedding ceremonies and formal photography.

Celebration Corsage
Celebration Corsage

A few years ago this stamp pair might have been called Wedding stamps, but the U.S. Postal Service rebranded this occasional issue as Celebration stamps with the 2015 Vintage Tulips stamps.

Wedding stamps — issued in pairs to accommodate both the 2-ounce rate for traditional invitations and regular first-class rates for RSVPs — were first issued in 2006 with the 39-cent and 63-cent Doves stamps (Scott 3998–99). Subsequent stamp pairs designated as Wedding stamps have included such iconic images as cakes, flowers, hearts, rings, and roses.

Like Wedding stamps of the past, though, the new double release includes a 2-ounce stamp (Celebration Corsage) that can accommodate the weight of heavy wedding invitations, plus a regular 1-ounce Forever first-class stamp (Celebration Boutonniere) that pays the rate for RSVPs. In addition, the Postal Service notes, the 2-ounce stamp can pay the rate for other types of invitations and other celebrations, oversize greeting cards, and mailings such as small gifts.

The stamp art features a photograph of an arrangement of ranunculus, with floral accents of succulents, astrantia, berzelia, and clubmoss greenery. The ribbon wrapping the stems harmonizes with the colors and textures of the plant material.

The boutonniere and corsage shown were arranged by floral designer Carol Caggiano and photographed by Renée Comet. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps.

Changeable Ink Can Make Moon
Appear on U.S. Eclipse Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service will issue on June 20 a forever stamp noting this year’s total solar eclipse using a special kind of ink that will make an image of the moon appear beneath your thumb.

The stamp, printed in panes of 16, will be released in anticipation of the August 21 total eclipse of the sun that will track diagonally across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, the Postal Service said today in a news release. It’s the first such eclipse appearing over the United States mainland since 1979.

Thermochromic ink is being used on a U.S. stamp for the first time, the Postal Service said in a news release. As sold, an image of the eclipse appears in the center of the stamp. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the moon. The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools.

Thermochromic inks are vulnerable to UV light and should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible to preserve this special effect. To help ensure longevity, the Postal Service will be offering a special envelope to hold and protect the stamp pane for a nominal fee.

The stamp images are photographs taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak, who is known as Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, Arizona. The photo of total eclipsed moon on the stamp was taken March 29, 2006 in Jalu, Libya.

Tens of millions of people in the United States hope to view the rare event. The eclipse will travel a narrow path across the entire country for the first time since 1918. The path will run west to east from Oregon to South Carolina and will include portions of 14 states.

The first-day-of-issue ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) June 20 at the Art Museum of the University of Wyoming in Laramie. The university is celebrating the summer solstice on that day. Prior to the event, visitors are encouraged to arrive at 11:30 a.m. to witness a unique architectural feature where a single beam of sunlight shines on a silver dollar embedded in the floor, which occurs at noon on the summer solstice in the UW Art Museum’s Rotunda Gallery.

Continue reading “Changeable Ink Can Make Moon
Appear on U.S. Eclipse Stamp”

National Park Week 2017
Philatelic Reflections

As National Park Week in America concludes Sunday, many stamp collectors have reflected on the parks that have been so beautifully portrayed over the years on U.S. stamps.

Yellowstone National Park commemorative forever stamp issued in June 2016.

From Mike DePaz: The National Park Stamps from 2016 actually made me go to Yellowstone. I always wanted to see the buffaloes roaming free.

Bandalier National Monument commemorative forever stamp issued in June 2016.

From Melanie G. Rogers: The Bandalier National Monument stamp issued last year is special to me. I have visited that site.

10-cent Great Smoky Mountains commemorative stamp from 1934.

From Jeff Stage: The Great Smoky Mountains of 1934 always seemed pretty majestic to me. I easily remembered the stamp when I finally was able to visit there at the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.

Message in a bottle sent on the first day of issue for the 94-cent U.S. Virgin Islands airmail stamp issued in May 2008.

From Jay Bigalke: In May 2008, I traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the St. John’s USVI airmail stamp (Scott C145). I wasn’t going to pass the opportunity up for creating cool souvenirs and I went all out. Taking advantage of the first-class parcel rate, I sent a message in a bottle to about 30 individuals complete with a drink umbrella, a rolled up message, and other island inspired decorations. Each bottle was franked with two of the new 94-cent stamps and received a first-day cancellation. The bottles then traveled through the mailstream to get to their destinations.

Latin American Food Fest on
New U.S. Commemorative Stamps

Mouth-watering foods with influences from Latin America and the Caribbean appear on six new forever stamps to be released in a formal first-day ceremony at 5:45 p.m. local time April 20 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Delicioso self-adhesive first-class forever stamps (currently 49 cents), sold in double-sided panes of 20 (convertible booklet format), feature bright and playful illustrations of tamales, flan, sancocho, empanadas, chile relleno, and ceviche. The booklet pane includes four of the tamales and flan designs and three of each of the other designs.

The dedication ceremony is being held in conjunction with Salud y Sabor and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The event is a free evening of food, art and entertainment aimed at providing families with an opportunity to connect around nutrition, cooking, healthy lifestyles and culture.

The names of the six dishes appear in a festive font above each mouthwatering image. Each illustration was created by applying multiple layers of acrylic paint to textured boards, using sandpaper to reveal the hidden layers and give the designs a worn, vintage look.

Artist John Parra designed the stamp artwork under the direction of Antonio Alcalá.

National Park Week 2017 and Stamps

This week, April 15–23, is National Park Week in America! Many parks have been featured on United States stamps throughout the years.

We are encouraging you to share a description of your favorite National Park related stamp issue in the comments part of the blog below and we’ll recap some of the favorites, and include a few of our own, near the end of this week.