Global Rate Poinsettia stamp

2018 Global PoinsettiaOn July 24, the U.S. Postal Service announced that a new Global Rate Poinsettia stamp would be among the numerous holiday-related issues to be released this year, as noted in a July 25 APS blog post (Festivals and Flowers Usher in Second Quartet of 2018 US Holiday Stamps).

The USPS has announced August 27 as the nationwide date of issue for what it now terms its “Blossoming Poinsettia” stamp. As with all Global Forever stamps, this stamp will have a postage value equivalent to the price of the single-piece First-Class Mail International 1-ounce machineable letter in effect at the time of use (currently $1.15). These stamps also can be used on domestic mail.

The circular stamp features an image of a poinsettia from above, displaying the beauty of its green leaves, red bracts and yellow flowers. As much a part of December’s holiday season as evergreens and mistletoe. poinsettias are sold in the U.S. by the tens of millions each year.

The art director for this stamp was William J. Gicker. Greg Breeding designed the stamp with an existing photograph by Betsy Pettet.

1964 Poinsettia StampPoinsettias first blossomed on US postage 54 years ago, with a 5-cent green, carmine and black Christmas stamp in 1964 (Scott 1256). Since then, they have been showcased on a Season’s Greetings stamp in 1985 (Scott 2166), and on a host of Forever-rate (46-cent) booklet stamps released October 10-11, 2013 (Scott 4815-16, 4821).

Customers have 120 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail by affixing the stamps to envelopes they choose, addressing the envelopes to themselves or others and placing them in larger stamped envelopes addressed to:

FDOI – Global Poinsettia Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by December 26, 2018.

PMG Brennan to Dedicate New Sparkling Santa Stamps

USPS Holiday Stamps 2018A se-tenant issue of four “Sparkling Holidays” Forever-rate stamps depicting classic images of Santa Claus painted by famed commercial artist Haddon Sundblom was announced and featured June 26 on the APS Blog (“US Postal Service to issue Iconic Santa Stamps“). These four stamps will be issued October 11 in an 11:15 a.m. dedication ceremony by U.S. Postmaster General and CEO Megan Brennan at The Inn at Christmas Place, 119 Christmas Tree Lane, in Pigeon Ford, TN  37868.

One of Sundblom’s iconic close-ups of Santa’s face appears on each of the four stamps, details from larger paintings created by the artist and originally used in Coca-Cola Co. ads from the 1940s through the early 1960s. Sundblom is the man credited with refining the modern image of Santa Claus. A previously unannounced matching souvenir sheet includes a semi-jumbo stamp as part of a wider scene of one of Sundblom’s paintings chosen for the stamp booklet. In it, Santa is depicted standing by a fireplace holding a book that lists good boys and girls, reading a note among the three Christmas stockings hanging there.

A quatrefoil design element surrounded by a metallic gold background encloses the scene. The use of gold metallic ink, the flow of the type, and the organic shape of the border are intended to harken back to the graphic style of the first half of the 20th century. Art director Greg Breeding designed the souvenir sheet and the stamps.

Holiday Souvenir SheetSparkling Holidays Stamps, sold in books of 20, and the single-stamp- Sparkling Holidays souvenir sheet will be available for pre-order online starting Sept. 14 at The Postal Store at usps.com. The souvenir sheet will only be sold through usps.com or by calling 1-800-STAMP24.

WWI Stamp Dedication Ceremony in K.C.

by Steven J. Bahnsen

With an American Legion band playing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,”  the U.S. Postal Service dedicated the World War I Forever stamp on July 26.  The theme of the stamp  ─ Turning the Tide ─ commemorates the centennial of America’s involvement in the Great War.

A crowd of 150 took part in the dedication ceremony in the large auditorium of the National World War I Museum and Monument, which overlooks downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  The Fort Riley (Kansas) Doughboy Honor Guard presented the colors before the singing of the National Anthem.

Lora Vogt, Curator of Education at the museum, was the Master of Ceremonies. One of her comments hit home with stamp collectors in the audience: she likes self-adhesive stamps(as do those at many organizations that conduct mass mailings), and she thanked the USPS for issuing them.

The principal speaker at the ceremony was USPS Executive Vice President and General Counsel Thomas J. Marshall. Other speakers included Dr. Matthew Naylor, President of the National World War I Museum; Quartermaster General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Quartermaster General Debra Anderson  National Postal Museum Curator Lynn Heidelbaugh; and Dr. Richard Faulkner, Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Joining these people onstage for the stamp unveiling was Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.

All who attended received a handsome program with a first day cancel on the outer envelope, along with a stamp pin to wear. As the American Legion Band’s wind ensemble concluded with “Kansas City”,  people went into the lobby for autographs.

The official unveiling of the new World War I Turning the Tide commemorative.

The Kansas City post office set up separate tables for stamp sales and first day pictorial postmarks.  No.  6¾  envelopes with color first day cancels were on sale as well, created at the nearby Philatelic Fulfillment Center, the so-called “Kansas City Caves.” While no commercial stamp  dealers  could sell cacheted envelopes,  the Gladstone (Missouri) Stamp Club had a table promoting its August 24-25 show.

The WWI stamp dedication was a well-executed event on everyone’s part. It was a pleasure to attend.

A U.S. doughboy fires a massive howitzer on this first day pictorial postmark on covers given out July 26 at the World War I Forever stamp dedication ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri.

Feature Image: The 1st Infantry Division’s Commanding General’s Color Guard in WWI doughboy uniforms presented the colors before the dedication. (Image courtesy Capt. Ed Alvarado, 19th Public Affairs Detachment.)

Make V-ROOOOM! For Iconic Toys on Stamps

A half-century ago in 1968, a Mattel toy innovator, a car designer and a rocket scientist combined to create a fast and furious fantasy cars that became famous as Hot Wheels. This year, to mark their 50th anniversary, the U.S. Postal Service will uncage 20 Forever stamps showcasing some of the most outrageous Hot Wheels cars for fans and racers of all ages.

A self-adhesive pane of 20 stamps in diagonal rows showcase photographer Len Rizzi’s images of 10 Hot Wheels cars — two of each design — speeding along a bright orange track. Each displays the name of the vehicle, “USA” and “Forever,” with the Hot Wheels logo in the top corner of the pane, and the 50th anniversary logo on the back of the pane.

The miniature Hot Wheels depicted are: Purple Passion (1990); Rocket-Bye-Baby (1971); Rigor Motor (1994); Rodger Dodger (1974); Mach Speeder (2018); The Twin Mill (1969); Bone Shaker (2006); HW40 (2008); Deora II (2000); and The Sharkruiser (1987).

Greg Breeding designed the stamps and was the typographer, and William J. Gicker was the project’s art director. The stamps will be dedicated during a first-day-of-issue ceremony Saturday, September 29, at the Goodguys 26th Summit Racing Lone Star Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas. Followers of the U.S. Postal Service’s Facebook page can view the ceremony live at facebook.com/USPS.

Scooby-Doo Stamp Ceremony held in Bloomington, Minnesota

By Steven J. Bahnsen

Scooby-Doo First Day Ceremony ProgramThe U.S. Postal Service used a very large venue – The Mall of America – to host the first-day dedication ceremony for its Scooby-Doo forever commemorative stamp. The big event was held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 14. A crowd of about 100 people gathered for the event near the Sears store inside the megamall in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Scooby-Doo is a cartoon character seen on television since 1969 and direct-to-video movies. The stamp was created in conjunction with two partners – Warner Bros. Consumer Products, which owns the right to the cartoon character and the Scooby-Doo Doo Good project, a social awareness and action campaign for youth led by Generation On. There is no mention of the campaign on the stamp, but the selvage of the 12-stamp pane includes the campaign logo.

The first-day event was well planned and organized. Everyone got a program with a stamp cancelled on the envelope, but there were none to spare.

Postal operations were top notch.  Stamp sales and cancellations were conducted at different tables. The clerks were quite experienced, friendly and knew what they were doing and envelopes with the color first-day postmark on the stamp were available for sale.

The dedication ceremony was a fast-paced one lasting less than 15 minutes. Reporters Kiya Edwards, of television station KARE, Minneapolis, was the master of ceremonies. The Minnesota National Guard presented the colors. Postal employee Cheryl Reko sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The principal speaker was Gary C. Reblin, Postal Service vice president of product innovation in Washington, D.C. Josh Hackbarth, vice president of franchise management and marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products offered his greetings and thanks for the stamp.

Scooby-Doo himself next came on stage and joined everyone else to unveil the stamp to the delight of the crowd.

All of this went off without a hitch as everyone had a good time.