Martin Luther King Jr. on Worldwide Stamps

Today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the 32nd annual federal holiday first honoring the slain civil rights leader, who has appeared on more than 100 stamps worldwide.

King (January 15, 1929–April 4, 1968) was a prime force in the civil rights who was awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977) and Congressional Gold Medal (2004).

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983 and first celebrated in 1986. It is annually on the third Monday of January to coincide with actually birthday — January 15 — of the slain civil rights leader. King has been honored on two U.S. stamps and as image is used as the central focal point on a 10-stamp pane dedicated to the civil rights movement.

King was first honored on a U.S. stamp as the second subject of the then-new Black Heritage series (Scott 1771). His stamp, a year after a Harriet Tubman commemorative, was issued January 13, 1979.

King and his “I Have a Dream Speech” are honored on the top-left stamp (Scott 3188a) of the 15-stamp Celebrate the Century 1960s pane of 15, issued September 17, 1999. The dynamic speech — delivered August 28, 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. — is considered a masterpiece by many. Like the U.S., in 1999, Belgium included an image of King with text from the speech in the background (Scott 1779f).

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Canada 150 Celebration Starts With Year of the Rooster Stamp

This year marks Canada’s 150th celebration and the nation started honoring the anniversary with its first stamp issue, the Year of the Rooster stamps issued on January 9. “Canada 150” appears in the tagging on the stamp issue. Collectors should pay attention closely to future Canadian stamp issues this year because the sesquicentennial will be incorporated somehow into future releases.

Here is Canada Post’s press release on the new stamp issue:

Canada Post welcomes Lunar New Year with stamp issue
Year of the Rooster stamps shine with gold accents

OTTAWA – Canada Post will greet the Year of the Rooster with a two-stamp issue, the ninth in its most recent series honoring the Lunar New Year. A Permanent™ domestic-rate stamp featuring a rooster image, with its chest proudly puffed out, is paired with an international-rate stamp offering a close-cropped profile view of the rooster’s stately face. Both images are created from lines of gold foil.

“Canada Post is proud to celebrate the vibrant and festive occasion that is the Lunar New Year, which is marked by Canadians of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other East Asian heritage,” says Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. “The annual unveiling of this stamp issue has become a much-anticipated event, with the artistry of the series praised by both collectors and mailers.”

Designed by Paprika, a firm in Montréal, the stamps include several features:
•    The pane of 25 domestic-rate stamps includes four Chinese blessings, presented in calligraphy by Albert Ng.
•    While all 2017 stamps include elements that point to Canada’s sesquicentennial, this issue’s reference is two-fold. “Canada 150” appears dropped out of the tagging that surrounds the stamps, an effect visible only under a black light. However, on the uncut press sheet and pane of 25 domestic stamps, a gold foil sesquicentennial logo is visible to the naked eye.
•    The international-rate official first day cover (OFDC), which also features a traditional Chinese blessing, is unsealed to enable the Chinese New Year tradition of giving money in a red envelope.

The Year of the Rooster arrives on January 28, 2017, and runs until February 15, 2018. Those born under this sign are honest, courageous and confident. Marked for success, they achieve their goals through a combination of wit, charm and hard work.

Both the domestic and international rate stamps are self-adhesive and measure 32 mm x 32 mm. The domestic stamp is available in booklets of 10 and panes of 25, and the international stamp in booklets of 10. The issue also includes a gummed souvenir sheet of both stamps, a gummed transitional souvenir sheet featuring both the 2016 Year of the Monkey and 2017 Year of the Rooster international stamps, an uncut press sheet and Official First Day Covers for both stamp denominations.

USPS Postage Rate Increase January 22

The United States Postal Service will increase postage rates starting January 22. Most noticeably the 1-ounce first-class letter rate will increase 2 cents to 49 cents. The international letter, additional ounce, and postcard rates will remain the same. For other rate increase details visit the USPS website.

The flat rate envelope for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express will increase to $6.65 and $23.75, respectively. Two new stamps for that rate will be issued in panes of four. Both of those stamps, will be issued Sunday, January 22 in Kansas City, Missouri. No ceremony is planned for either of the actual locations in Hilo, Hawaii or St. Louis, Missouri.

Here are the USPS details on the $6.65 Lili’uokalani Gardens Priority Mail stamp and the $23.75 Gateway Arch Priority Mail Express stamp:

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Barn Swallow Envelopes Takes Flight in Reno at AmeriStamp Show

The United States will issue Barn Swallow forever stamped envelopes (single design) March 3 in Reno, Nevada and nationwide. The American Philatelic Society will host a first-day-of-issue ceremony at 11 a.m. at the AmeriStamp Expo show at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, 4590 S. Virginia Street.

The envelope will be issued in different sizes.

Barn Swallow Stamped Envelope
Barn Swallow Stamped Envelope

Here are additional details about the envelope from the U.S. Postal Service:

The Postal Service celebrates a favorite backyard bird on this Barn Swallow stamped envelope. It features a large illustration of a barn swallow perching and a smaller illustration above it, showing the bird in flight.

The barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) originally nested in caves. As man-made structures began to dot the North American landscape, barn swallows adapted by building their mud nests under the eaves of barns, houses and bridges. Barn swallows are acrobatic flyers, and a single bird can catch and consume thousands of insects in one day.

Art director William J. Gicker designed the stamp with original art by Matthew Frey.

Kennedy Stamp to Debut February 20

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

The United States John F. Kennedy commemorative forever stamp will be issued February 20 at 10 a.m. at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

Because the event takes place on Presidents Day, the stamp will debut nationwide the next day, February 21.

An image of the full sheet of 12 stamps was also revealed.

Here is the January 9 USPS press release on the event and the stamp issue:

JFK Forever Stamp to be Dedicated on Presidents Day
February 20 Ceremony at Presidential Library

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service will commemorate the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth by dedicating a Forever stamp in his honor at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

The 10 a.m. February 20 Presidents Day ceremony, free and open to the public, will kick off the 6th Annual Presidents Day Family Festival. There is a fee to enter the library and museum to attend the festival. Children 17 years old and under are free.

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