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

Alzheimer’s Semipostal Will Be Issued November 30

The U.S. Postal Service will issue its next semipostal – the Alzheimer’s stamp – November 30 at the Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center Atrium, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, in Baltimore, Maryland.

The stamp, priced at 60 cents, will be available nationwide that day. The price includes the first-class single-piece postage rate in effect at the time of purchase plus an amount to fund Alzheimer’s research. By law, revenue from sales of the Alzheimer’s semipostal — minus the postage paid and the reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred by the Postal Service — will be distributed to the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2008 42-cent Alzheimer’s Awareness stampIf the stamp looks familiar, you’re correct. The artwork is an illustration that first appeared on the 2008 42-cent Alzheimer’s Awareness stamp. It shows an older woman in profile with a caring hand on her shoulder with the suggestion of sunlight behind her and clouds in front of and below her. On the 2008 stamp, she was facing left; the artwork for this stamp shows her facing right to help differentiate between the two stamps.

Stamp artist Matt Mahurin, of Topanga Canyon, California, created the stamp with the direction of art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland.

President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; today, that number has soared to nearly 5.4 million.

The first-day event will be free admission and open to the public, though an RSVP is required to attend the ceremony. Those interested can RSVP at usps.com/alzheimers.

Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan J. Brennan will dedicate the stamp. In attendance will be Kathy Siggins of Mount Airy, Maryland, who followed the discretionary semipostal program criteria for submitting the stamp suggestion. Siggins’ husband succumbed to the disease in 1999.

Customers may pre-order the stamps at usps.com/shop in early November for delivery shortly after the Nov. 30 issuance.

Semipostal Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service has issued four previous semipostals, starting with the Breast Cancer Research in 1998, which was reissued in 2014. Subsequent semipostals have been the Heroes of 2001 (2002), Stop Family Violence (2003) and Save Vanishing Species (2011).

The Semipostal Authorization Act grants the U.S. Postal Service discretionary authority to issue and sell semipostal fundraising stamps to advance such causes as it considers to be ‘‘in the national public interest and appropriate.’’ Under the program, the Postal Service intends to issue five semipostal fundraising stamps over a 10-year period, with each stamp to be sold for no more than two years.

The Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp will be followed by a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) semipostal in 2019. The next three discretionary semipostal stamps have not yet been determined.

Under the Act, the Postal Service will consider proposals for future semipostals until May 20, 2023.