Love Flourishes on New U.S. Forever Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service today celebrated love of all kinds with the dedication of the Love Flourishes forever stamp during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the Creativation conference held at the Phoenix, Arizona Convention Center. The conference, sponsored by the Association For Creative Industries, is a trade show for all aspects of the arts-and-crafts business.

Love Flourishes is the latest stamp in the popular Love series, which began 45 years ago. The stamp is being sold in panes of 20.

The stamp art features a fanciful garden of colorful flowers surrounding the word “Love” written in cursive script. Hand-painted by artist Anna Bond, the flower garden includes stylized roses, peonies and dahlias in pink, coral and yellow, with pale blue-green berries and fold fronds and leaves.

Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with Bond’s original art.

Lena Horne and Mister Rogers Among 10 New Stamps Scheduled for First Quarter

The U.S. Postal Service has released issue dates and cities for 10 stamps to be issued in the first quarter of 2018. All are single-stamp issues with the exception of the 10-stamp Bioluminescent Life issue.

The year’s first stamp will be the Year of the Dog Lunar New Year forever stamp scheduled for a January 11 release in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other stamps (all are first-class forever stamps unless noted), first-day dates and locations are:

Love Flourishes, which is part of the ongoing Love series, January 18, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Byodo-In Temple, a popular tourist attraction in Hawaii, $6.70 Priority Mail, January 21, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a national park in Michigan, American Landmarks series, $24.70 Priority Mail Express, January 21, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Meyer Lemons, ongoing Fruits definitive, 2 cents, January 19, in Kenner, Louisiana, the first day of the Crescent City Stamp Club’s two-day Winter Stamp Fest and Postcard Show.

Lena Horne, part of the Black Heritage series, January 30, New York City.

U.S. Flag, February 9, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The date coincides with the first day of the three-day American Stamp Dealers Association Winter Postage Stamp Show.

Bioluminescent Life, 10 stamps, February 22 in Fort Pierce, Florida, home of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

Illinois Statehood, March 5, in Springfield, Illinois, the state capital.

Mister Rogers, children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers (1928–2003), March 23, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Celebrating Lunar New Year Stamp Series Continues with Year of the Dog

The U.S. Postal Service kicks off its 2018 stamp program in January with a Lunar New Year forever stamp celebrating the Year of the Dog.

The stamp will be formally issued January 11 at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Year of the Dog begins February 16 and ends February 4, 2019.

This is the 11th of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series, which features primary art from illustrator Kam Mak, a Hong Kong-born artist who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn.

The stamps in the current series, designed by Ethel Kessler, also incorporate elements from a previous Lunar New Year series: Clarence Lee’s intricate cut-paper design of a dog, and the Chinese character for “dog,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun. Those elements graced U.S. Lunar New Year stamps issued found in stamps issued from 1992 through 2004.

The Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year for many Asian communities around the world and is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage.

The U.S. Postal Service introduced its Celebrating Lunar New Year series, with stamps featuring artwork from Mak, in 2008. The series will continue through 2019 with a stamp for the Year of the Boar. Year of the Dog is being issued as a souvenir sheet of 12 self-adhesive Forever stamps.

The Year of the Dog illustration, originally created using oil paints on panel, depicts an arrangement of lucky bamboo (Dracaena braunii). To the right is a lozenge-shaped piece of red paper with the Chinese character “fu,” meaning good fortune, rendered in calligraphy — a common decoration on doors and entryways during Lunar New Year festivities.

Previous Years of the Dog started in January or February of 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2006.

USPS Releases “Sneak Peek” of 2018 New Issues

Yesterday, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) offered a sneak peek of their planned new issues for 2018. In a press release including images of the issues announced, the USPS highlighted “a portion of its 2018 stamp program.”

The new issues include Forever stamp designs honoring Mister Rogers, Lena Horne, John Lennon and Sally Ride. Additional stamps will include:

– American landscapes to commemorate the song, “America the Beautiful”;

– Frozen treats that depict various popsicles and frozen confections;

– Four designs celebrating the role of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education;

– a celebration of Illinois statehood;

– the American sacrifices in World War I, and;

– much more including bioluminescent creatures, magic tricks and mythical dragons.

No issuance dates or other detailed information was released and the Postal Service did state that the designs and details are subject to change until the actual release of the stamps.

You can find even more information about the announcement, including stamp images on the APS Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/american.philatelic.society

You can also ready the full release from the U.S. Postal Service at: http://bit.ly/2AAync9

Smithsonian National Postal Museum Holds Holiday Card Workshop

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Postal Museum was bustling with visitors Saturday as the museum held its annual holiday card workshop.

Visitors of all ages attended the event, at which they could design their own holiday greeting cards.

NPM Attendees

As visitors entered the museum atrium, they started by choosing two pieces of cardstock, one large and one small. They then moved to embellish their cards with stickers, twine, and other materials available at the various craft stations. Visitors could sit at the tables in the atrium to assemble their cards with glue, scissors and other materials.

The museum’s Post Office was open for visitors to mail their cards affixed with the museum’s special postmark.

The museum also provided a photo booth for visitors to share their photos on social media using the hashtag #nationalpostalmuseum.

Sponge Bob MailboxIn addition to the card making, visitors had the opportunity to write holiday messages to families at The Children’s Inn, an organization that provides housing and support for families with children receiving care at the National Institutes of Health. Visitors wrote messages on Spongebob-themed postcards and deposited them in a special Spongebob-themed mailbox. Director of Education Matthew White said he saw both parents children deposit postcards.

Referring to the Spongebob postcards, Public Programs Manager Motoko Hioki noted in an email, “The letter writing set up is still there in the museum atrium…if anyone wants to participate in the letter writing, they are welcome to do so at the museum until Thursday, December 14th.”

The Postal Museum holds several public events throughout the year, including another card workshop around Valentine’s Day. Volunteer Coordinator Maggie Sigle said the museum also does letter writing campaigns around Veterans Day for Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages and letters to U.S. troops and first responders.

Hioki, who organizes the museum’s public events, detailed their Wine and Design program, available as a once-a-month happy hour event. At these programs, people can come to the museum after hours and complete various postal-related arts and crafts. The events typically occur once a month.

Hioki was instrumental in starting the Wine and Design program at the museum. “People don’t write letters anymore,” she said. “Encouraging people to write is something important to me.”

The Postal Museum continues to provide educational activities for the general public to learn more about stamps, postal history, and the stamp collecting hobby. It is open seven days a week, from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.

 by Tasos Kalfas, @TasosKalfasWRGW

All photos courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution National Postal Museum