Say it with a Stamp!

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tabby
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I know, I know ... the USPS is in dire financial straits, is a stressful employer, and they often provide lackadaisical service. BUT ... they issue some wonderful stamps! I’m not a stamp collector but I love history and I love graphics so the newest issuance of stamps is always of interest to me. Sometimes I appreciate their artistic beauty, sometimes I’m very pleased at their choice of honoree, sometimes I give a short raspberry at their choice & scratch my head in consternation, and sometimes I have to look online to see who the heck this person is and then walk away with a new & often better perspective.

I don’t collect stamps as such but I’ve been known to pull the corner off of an envelope to save one that particularly appeals to me. There are little bits of stamped envelope corners in various drawers throughout the house!

I’m going to post the new 2013 Forever stamps here as they’re issued and I’m going to start with the last 3 issuances of 2012. This post isn’t just about USA stamps, so feel free to add any from other nations!



1) The Holy Family: I was so happy to see them veer from the usual Madonna & Child religious stamp for the Christmas season. They issued variations on that theme for many years running and they all started to look alike to me.

The post office write-up says: The Holy Family stamp celebrates Christmas with a scene from the Nativity story that reminds us of the joys of the season: family, togetherness, and the birth of the baby Jesus. It continues the U.S. Postal Service's tradition of issuing beautiful and timeless Christmas stamps and will be a treasured addition to cards and letters sent during this season of goodwill and sharing.

Reenactments and commemorations of this episode are enduring traditions. Medieval mystery plays — dramas based on biblical stories that were performed in towns across Europe from the 14th to 16th centuries — featured the Flight into Egypt as part of their Nativity cycle. Christmas pageants today reenact the Holy Family's flight, with portrayals ranging from simple children's plays to elaborate live nativity scenes. Other celebrations include the Feast of the Holy Family, observed by the Roman Catholic Church during the Christmas season, and the Coptic Orthodox Church's Feast of the Escape of the Holy Family to Egypt, commemorated each year in June.

Legends about the Flight into Egypt have inspired artists from Raphael to Rembrandt to imagine and illustrate the Holy Family's journey. Their flight has been rendered in other forms as well: stained glass windows, frescoes, sculptures, wall hangings, and woodcarvings, among others.

The escape of the Holy Family is also commemorated in music, with compositions such as the 19th-century work The Childhood of Jesus by Hector Berlioz, or the traditional Irish carol “The Flight into Egypt.” Composer John Harbison won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his work for chorus and orchestra, Flight into Egypt, Sacred Ricercar.

Working together, art director William J. Gicker, designer Greg Breeding, and artist Nancy Stahl created an evocative new image of the Holy Family. The stamp illustration shows Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky.”



2) Santa and Sleigh: Their secular Christmas stamps are usually favorites of mine with colorful designs and a spirit of joy & happiness. This years were great as always!

The post office says: "These cheerful Santa and Sleigh stamps portray Santa Claus flying through the air in his sleigh. With a cargo of toys and gifts produced in his workshop by elves, he lands on the rooftop of house after house and slides down the chimney to leave presents for girls and boys of all ages.

Santa's annual journey is joyfully captured in this block of four holiday stamps, with two rows of two stamps each presenting a “classic” image of Santa and his reindeer circling around snow-covered rooftops.

Though his roots go much further back, the modern Santa Claus, the giver of gifts, captured the American imagination in the Revolutionary War era. At that time, understandably critical of English traditions, people looked to the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas for cultural cues and seasonal inspiration. Since then, Santa has become more popular, and is today beloved by millions of children who write him letters, track his progress on the Internet, and leave him milk and cookies as tokens of their esteem.

To their cards and letters and yours, these stamps will add a dash of holiday merriment. Double-check your mailing list so you don't forget anyone nice!

And to help make sure Santa visits children who might not otherwise have any gifts to open at Christmas, join “Operation Santa.” Here's how it works: Register at any participating U.S. Post Office and read letters to Santa from participating boys and girls. Select a letter and provide gifts for the writer! Operation Santa observes its 100th anniversary in 2012. Although USPS began receiving letters addressed to Santa more than 100 years ago, it was in 1912 that Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters. This program became known as Operation Santa. Today, hundreds of thousands of elves across the country are helping Santa make his rounds!

Artist Paul Rogers worked with art director Howard Paine to create this block of four holiday stamps. These computer-generated images were originally drawn in pencil on paper."



3) Lady Bird Johnson: Yay! This gracious woman who is responsible for so much natural beauty along our nations byways and highways is long overdue a stamp!

The post office says: "The sheet features six stamps, a new stamp which reproduces the official White House portrait of the First Lady painted in 1968, and adaptations of five stamps issued in the 1960s that encouraged participation in the President and Mrs. Johnson's campaign, “Plant for a More Beautiful America.” Also included is a quote from Mrs. Johnson reflecting her belief that the environment is our common ground and a black-and-white image of the First Lady taken from a family photograph shot in 1963 by Yoichi Okamoto.

The five engraved stamps originally issued in 1966 and 1969 have been adapted for printing in offset lithography. The top stamp reads “Plant for more Beautiful Streets” and shows a row of blooming crab apple trees along a paved suburban road. The second from the top offers encouragement to “Plant for more Beautiful Parks,” with an image of a field of daffodils along the Potomac River with the Washington Monument in the background. “Plant for a more Beautiful America,” the center stamp, depicts the Jefferson Memorial in the background seen through branches of flowering cherry blossoms. The fourth stamp is a scene of yellow and blue wildflowers along a highway with the caption, “Plant for more Beautiful Highways.” The last stamp, which reads “Plant for more Beautiful Cities,” shows plantings of pink and red azaleas and white tulips with the U.S. Capitol in the distance.

Mrs. Johnson championed the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, often referred to as “Lady Bird's Bill.” She remained committed to highway beautification after leaving the White House, supporting legislation that allocated federal funds for landscaping projects using native plants, flowers, and trees along the nation's highways. After returning to Texas, Mrs. Johnson continued her work for environmental and conservation causes. She led a campaign in her adopted hometown of Austin to create a trail by the city's lake. The lake, beloved by city residents, was renamed in her honor after her death, something she was too modest to allow during her lifetime.

Mrs. Johnson's most lasting legacy was the creation of the National Wildflower Research Center. Founded on her 70th birthday, the center—now the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center—continues to be a national leader in research, education, and projects that encourage the use of wildflowers and native plants. She maintained an active and direct involvement with the center, giving it her considerable time, talent, and treasure until her death.

Fulfilling her deep personal beliefs, Mrs. Johnson strove throughout her life to “keep the beauty of the landscape as we remember it in our youth...and to leave this splendor for our grandchildren.” She inspired generations to see that one person, at any age, can make a difference and that young people and the environment hold our greatest hopes for tomorrow.

Prepress artist Paloma Alcalá adapted the original engraved stamps that featured art by Walter D. Richards (four stamps, issued in 1969) and Gyo Fujikawa (center stamp, issued in 1966). Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the sheet."
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tabby
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The first new stamp to be issued in 2013 ...

and the winner is ...







The Emancipation Proclamation: Definitely stamp worthy and I'm surprised they waited this long!

The USPS says: "With the 2013 Emancipation Proclamation (Forever®) stamp, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln signed on January 1, 1863.

Lincoln's proclamation, issued nearly two years into the Civil War, declared that all slaves in the rebel states of the Confederacy “are, and henceforward shall be free.” In addition, the document authorized the recruitment of black soldiers into the Union army. Their courage in battle and contributions to the Union's ultimate victory greatly influenced the nation to adopt the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, outlawing slavery forever.

“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free,” Lincoln wrote in a message to Congress one month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation. A nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” at last began the journey toward true liberty and justice for all.

Art director Antonio Alcalá worked with graphic designer Gail Anderson of New York City to produce the stamp. To evoke the look of broadsides from the Civil War era, they employed Hatch Show Print of Nashville, Tennessee, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America.

The Emancipation Proclamation stamp is one of a civil rights set being issued in 2013. The Postal Service is issuing two other stamps in 2013 to commemorate significant anniversaries in the struggle for African-American civil rights. One of them celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks; the other has not been unveiled at the time of this writing. "
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Lady J
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Post by Lady J »

I do like the idea of 'forever' stamps! Saves you a few pennies every time the postage goes up!

I liked the Santa and his reindeer stamp!
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Post by Patsy Warnick »

stamps are a work of art.

Patsy
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Post by Snooz »

Agree about the forever stamp, I've got Christmas stamps of different denominations scattered around that I'll never use because the price has gone up several times since I've bought them... that and I just don't bother mailing cards out anymore. I'd hate to see the postal service closed.

Love the Lady Bird collection, those are lovely.
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Kaleidoscope Flowers

What's not to like about floral stamps? These do remind me a little of a kaleidoscope but moreso of the old Spirograph drawing kits. Anyone else remember those? I could & did spend hours on them! These designs also remind me of some quilt patterns.



The USPS says: "Spring flowers, state flowers, wildflowers — these are but a few of the many botanical subjects on stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Flowers are among the most popular subjects for collectors and the stamp-buying public. In a modern twist on a perennial favorite, the Kaleidoscope Flowers stamps combine the allure of flowers with the impact of modern computer graphics.

The set of four stamps depict the same contemporary flower drawing, with each stamp featuring one of four different color combinations: red and blue, green and purple, orange and violet, or pink and green. Some of the color combinations create the illusion that patterns recede or come forward, giving the stamps a dramatic visual appeal. The lines and curves of the drawing are reminiscent of a kaleidoscope flower—familiar, yet at the same time utterly distinctive.

Designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, Kaleidoscope Flowers features the work of graphic artists Petra and Nicole Kapitza."
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Post by halfway »

I like the stamps that talk about "Liberty". :)
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Year of the Snake

I like it even though the firecrackers resemble a cluster of sausages hanging in a butcher shop! We used to call it Chinese New Year but any more I only see it referred to as Lunar New Year. That must be the preferred term these days.

The USPS says: "Welcoming the New Year with a bang, the U.S. Postal Service 2013 Year of the Snake (Forever®) stamp features a bundle of firecrackers colored red for luck. The Year of the Snake stamp is sixth of twelve stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year Series. The Year of the Snake begins on February 10, 2013, and ends on January 30, 2014.

Across many cultures, in the United States as elsewhere, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various ways, often with parades and parties. Firecrackers are traditionally used to scare off evil spirits and welcome this time of renewed hope for the future. Lucky foods are eaten—kumquats, for example (issued in 2011)—and given as gifts. Festive lanterns, colored red for luck (issued in 2008), are common decorations at Lunar New Year celebrations, where they are frequently hung in rows.

Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps—Clarence Lee's intricate paper-cut design of a snake and the Chinese character for “Snake,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun—art director Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience."
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Just in time for Valentine's Day! This is a little different from their usual Love stamps and I really like this one. I didn't know that about the color blue being the color of love in bygone times as described below!

The USPS says: "Evoking the romance of a bygone era, the U.S. Postal Service 2013 Sealed with Love (Forever®) stamp expresses the joy and beauty of handwritten love letters.

The stamp art depicts an envelope fastened with an elegant wax seal. The seal, in shades of red, is a small heart enclosed inside a larger heart, both surrounded by a graceful filigree circle. The exquisite delicacy of the stamp art invites us to send our own love letters, a romantic gesture that never goes out of style.

The Victorians were ardent letter writers and believed that there was a proper way to compose letters, particularly love letters. Etiquette manuals aided Victorian romantics in penning appropriate letters to their beloveds. While these books reflected the Victorian obsession with propriety, the senders still wished to make their feelings known, and there was a precise etiquette for using sealing wax. Although today red is the color most associated with passion, in the mid-1800s, blue was the color of love, with wax of various shades denoting the degree of emotion felt by the sender.

Graphic designer Louise Fili worked with art director Derry Noyes on this stamp. Jessica Hische was the illustrator."
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I think this is a good likeness of Mrs. Parks. She's a perfect example of how one simple act can inspire a tidal wave of action!

The USPS says: The U.S. Postal Service 2013 Rosa Parks (Forever®) stamp honors the life of this extraordinary American activist who became an iconic figure in the civil rights movement. In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks courageously refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man, defying the discriminatory laws of the time.

The stamp art, a gouache painting on illustration board, is a portrait of Parks emphasizing her quiet strength. A 1950s photograph served as the basis for the stamp portrait.

The response to Parks's arrest was a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted for more than a year and became an international cause célèbre. In 1956, in a related case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that segregating Montgomery buses was unconstitutional.

Soon after the boycott ended, Parks moved to Detroit, Michigan. She joined the 1963 march on Washington and returned to Alabama in 1965 to join the march from Selma to Montgomery. The many honors Parks received in her lifetime include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1966), the Spingarn Medal (1979), and the Congressional Gold Medal (1999). Upon her death in 2005, she became the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC.

Artist Thomas Blackshear II created an original painting for the stamp, which was designed by art director Derry Noyes.
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Muscle cars! Any current or former muscle car owners here? I don't know enough about them to have any suggestions for some that should have been included or exempted from this list. :driving:

The USPS says: "With the issuance of the Muscle Cars (Forever®) stamps, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates five iconic automobiles: the 1966 Pontiac GTO, the 1967 Shelby GT-500, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, the 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda, and the 1970 Chevelle SS. Each of these cars represents the adventurous spirit of the muscle-car era. Fast, powerful, and eye-catching, muscle cars roared their way onto America's roads in the 1960s. Typically equipped with big, powerful engines, the five high-performance vehicles depicted on the stamps represent the era's adventurous spirit.

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Designed to dominate the racetrack, the outrageously styled 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was powered by a standard 440-cubic-inch, 375-horsepower Magnum engine. A limited number of Daytonas came equipped with a 426-cubic-inch Hemi, a race-inspired engine. The car also featured multiple additions designed to boost aerodynamics, including a nearly two-foot tall, rear-mounted wing. Other signature touches included thick body stripes containing the word “DAYTONA.” The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was distinctive and rare; only 503 were produced.

1966 Pontiac GTO

Available as a hardtop, coupe, or convertible, the GTO—which was propelled by a 335-horsepower, V8 engine—could really move. “The Goat,” as the GTO was known, ushered in the American muscle-car era in the mid-1960s. In tests, it went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds. The distinctive car featured curvy Coke-bottle styling and a split grille. Initially offered simply as an option on the Tempest LeMans, the GTO became its own model in 1966. That model year, sales of the GTO peaked.

1967 Shelby GT-500

Manufacturer and former racecar driver Carroll Shelby's version of the Ford Mustang was powered by a 428-cubic-inch, 355-horsepower Police Interceptor engine. The car also featured a rear spoiler and dealer-installed LeMans stripes as an option. The Shelby GT-500 was both striking and rare; only 2,048 were built. A customized or original version of the 1967 Shelby GT-500 has appeared in contemporary movies and magazines, rekindling American pop culture's fascination with the model.

1970 Chevelle SS

With features like optional twin racing stripes and a black grille, the Chevelle SS looked fierce. The car featured a 396-cubic-inch engine, but an optional 454-cubic-inch engine really gave the model credibility among muscle car enthusiasts. Two versions of the 454 engine were available: the 360-horsepower LS-5 and the 450-horsepower LS-6. For its power, the latter has become legendary among car buffs. Available as a coupe or a convertible, the Chevelle SS featured emblems on the grille and the rear bumper.

1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda

The Hemi 'Cuda, the performance-oriented alter-ego of the standard 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, oozed power. The car's 426-cubic-inch Hemi engine was a 425-horsepower beast. The Hemi 'Cuda was “our angriest, slipperiest-looking body shell wrapped around ol' King Kong hisself,” one Plymouth advertisement bellowed. The Hemi 'Cuda's styling was an extension of the car's bold ethos. It was available in several eye-popping color choices, such as Lemon Twist, Lime Light, and Vitamin C. Fewer than 700 Hemi 'Cudas were produced.

Artist Tom Fritz based his artwork on photographs of the cars. Fritz said he used bright-colored oil paints on hardboard to try to “capture the emotive quality of the vehicles.” Growing up in Southern California, Fritz became familiar with the power of muscle cars. The paintings, Fritz added, are “a projection of my memories of the vehicles.”

Muscle Cars is the third issuance in the America on the Move series. The stamps were designed by art director Carl T. Herrman. The first issuance in the series, 50s Sporty Cars (2005), was followed by 50s Fins and Chrome (2008)."
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Modern Art in America 1913-1931

The USPS says: "the U.S. Postal Service commemorates a dozen modern artists and their works, 100 years after the groundbreaking Armory Show opened in New York in 1913. The dozen masterpieces reproduced in the stamp art were created between 1912 and 1931.

Stuart Davis's vibrant depictions of contemporary commercial objects made him an important precursor of the later Pop artists. His oil-on-canvas painting, House and Street (1931), presents two views of a street in New York, forcing the viewer to be in two places at once.

Charles Demuth, a leading watercolorist of his era, created his “poster portraits” of friends such as the poet William Carlos Williams, the subject of the work I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928), in oil, graphite, ink, and gold leaf on paperboard.

Aaron Douglas was the most important visual artist to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. The gouache-on-paper painting, The Prodigal Son (1927), was created in a modernist style that has been described as “Afro-Cubism.”

Arthur Dove was one of modern art's earliest abstract painters and was probably the first American artist to paint a totally abstract canvas. Dove was interested in attempting to duplicate sound as colors and shapes. The oil-on-canvas painting, Fog Horns (1929), suggests the peal of foghorns at sea.

Marcel Duchamp, an important forerunner of the Pop art and conceptual art movements, outraged and disturbed many viewers by irreverently flouting artistic convention. His oil-on-canvas painting, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), was the most talked-about work at the Armory Show of 1913.

Marsden Hartley was one of America's greatest modernist painters. His oil-on-canvas work, Painting, Number 5 (1914-15), is an abstract composite portrait of Karl von Freyburg, a young German officer who was killed in World War I.

John Marin was the preeminent watercolorist of his era. He transformed the medium by experimenting with abstraction, such as in his watercolor-on-paper painting, Sunset, Maine Coast (1919).

Gerald Murphy produced only about a dozen works in less than ten years as a practicing artist, yet today he is recognized as a significant painter whose work prefigured the Pop art of the 1960s. The oil-on-canvas painting, Razor (1924), typifies Murphy's work in its detailed depiction of commonplace objects.

Georgia O'Keeffe was one of the foremost painters of the 20th century. Widely known for her close-up flower paintings, O'Keeffe also famously painted urban and desert landscapes, including this oil-on-canvas painting, Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie's II (1930).

Man Ray was associated with some of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century—chief among them Dadaism and Surrealism—and is best known for his photography. His gelatin-silver print, Noire et Blanche (1926), is from a series of photographs juxtaposing a woman's face with a Baule mask (or a replica) from West Africa.

Charles Sheeler explored the balance between abstraction and realism in his photographs and paintings, which often depicted aspects of the mechanized modern world. By titling this oil-on-canvas painting American Landscape (1930), Sheeler explored the relationship between rural traditions and his modern subject matter.

Joseph Stella, America's first Futurist painter, is remembered for his multiple images of the Brooklyn Bridge and other iconic New York scenes. The oil-on-canvas painting, Brooklyn Bridge (1919-1920) has been read as a comment on the tension between technological achievement and the spiritual dimension implicit in any human endeavor.

The stamp sheet also includes a quote by Marcel Duchamp and verso text that identifies each work of art and briefly tells something about each artist. Art director Derry Noyes worked on the stamp sheet with designer Margaret Bauer."
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Patriotic Star

The USPS says: "With this illustration of a red, white, and blue striped Patriotic Star, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates American patriotism. The star is one of the nation's quintessential symbols, a shining reminder of our indomitable spirit. “When I go out of doors in the summer night, and see how high the stars are,” wrote 19th-century philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, “I am persuaded that there is time enough, here or somewhere, for all that I must do.”

The 2013 Patriotic Star, which is designed to look like it is crafted from striped ribbon, is the latest issuance featuring a star. The Patriotic Star stamp features a red, white, and blue five-pointed star on a white background. The star on the stamp is actually two stars — a smaller one inside a larger one. Both have five points, like the stars on the American flag.

Created digitally by artist Nancy Stahl, the star is designed to look like it is crafted from striped ribbon. Greg Breeding served as the art director on the project."
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La Florida

The USPS says: "The U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 500th anniversary of the naming of Florida with the release of the La Florida (Forever®) stamps that celebrate the state's floral abundance. During the Easter season of 1513, Spanish explorers first visited the state we now know as Florida. They named the land “La Florida” for Pascua Florida (“Feast of the Flowers”), Spain's Easter celebration, and for the verdant display of vegetation that they could see from their ship.

The four se tenant stamps contain a cascade of blossoms that evokes the feeling of a tropical garden. Each stamp shows a particular variety of flower: red and pink hibiscus; yellow cannas; morning glories in white, red, and shades of purple; and white and purple passionflowers. The stamp pane includes on the selvage an imagined scene of explorers traveling in a small boat along a river or channel surrounded by tropical foliage.

Flowers are a perennial favorite with collectors and the stamp-buying public, and La Florida's exquisite blossoms will be an elegant addition to the U.S. Postal Service's tradition of producing appealing and beautiful floral stamp art.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp, with floral art by Steve Buchanan."
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Vintage Seed Packets

The USPS says: "Flowers are among the most popular subjects on stamps, and the U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of beautiful issuances with Vintage Seed Packets (Forever®).

From hand-tinted lithographs in the early 1800s to modern photography, images of floral perfection have adorned the covers of flower seed packets for more than a hundred years. The stamp art features ten photographs of antique seed packets (printed between 1910 to 1920), cropped to highlight their beautiful floral detail.

Each of the ten stamps depicts the colorful blossoms of one kind of flower-cosmos, digitalis, pinks, primrose, calendula, aster, linum, alyssum, phlox, and zinnia. Above each illustration is the name of the flower in bold capital letters.

Art director Antonio Alcalé designed the stamp booklet."
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Where Dreams Blossom

The USPS says: "As universal symbols of love and happiness, flowers are often the centerpiece of our most sacred ceremonies and cheerful occasions. With a splash of color and a beautiful bouquet, the Where Dreams Blossom (Forever®) stamp adds a fun and contemporary flair to all kinds of correspondence.

With a stylized bouquet of flowers similar to the design of the 2013 two-ounce Yes, I Do wedding stamp, Where Dreams Blossom (Forever®) is perfect for any occasion or use, including save-the-date notices, response cards, and thank-you notes. It can also be used for cards and letters sent to celebrate other joyous moments and to deliver comfort and encouragement. As an unknown author observed, “Hopes are planted in friendship's garden where dreams blossom into priceless treasures.”

The stamp artwork was designed by Michael Osborne under the direction of Ethel Kessler."
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A Flag for All Seasons

The USPS says: "From the heights of sunny summer to the snowy depths of winter, Old Glory proudly waves—thanks to laws and traditions that encourage respect for our vital national symbol. Guidelines for the display and treatment of the American flag hark back to the National Flag Code adopted in 1923 at the National Flag Conference and amended a year later. A federal law in 1942 further provided specific rules for using and displaying the flag.

Each of these four A Flag For All Seasons (Forever®) stamps shows an American flag, viewed from below, flying from a pole at full staff against a background of trees that evoke one of the four seasons of the year.

Federal law states that the American flag should be displayed every day of the year, but especially on federal and state holidays, the “birthdays” of states, and other days according to presidential proclamation. As long as a flag is a durable, all-weather flag, it may be displayed outdoors throughout the year, regardless of the weather.

The stamp art, gouache on illustration board, is the work of Laura Stutzman, who used her personal photographs of the flag as art reference. The art director was Phil Jordan."
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Lydia Mendoza

The USPS says: "The U.S. Postal Service Lydia Mendoza (Forever®) stamp honors the life of one of the first and greatest stars of Tejano music. Lydia Mendoza (1916-2007) is seen strumming her 12-string guitar on this lively stamp, one of several that inaugurates the Music Icons series.

This square stamp captures the look of a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve, down to a slight weathering away of the colors. The stamp art features a black-and-white publicity photo of Mendoza taken in the 1950s. The flag of Texas, Mendoza's home state, is splashed across the photo, its vertical blue bar and horizontal red stripe providing the stamp's only color.

Nicknamed La Alondra de la Frontera, the Lark of the Border, Lydia Mendoza performed the Spanish-language music of the Texas-Mexico borderlands and beyond. She is best known for her solo performances, her soulful voice accompanied only by the playing of her 12-string guitar. Mendoza recorded more than a thousand songs in a career that spanned seven decades. Through her music, she gave a voice not only to the poor and working-class people of the border, but also to Latinos throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Born into a musical family, Mendoza first performed with her mother, father, and sister in stores and restaurants. After winning a singing contest on the radio, she recorded several solo cuts for Bluebird Records in 1934, including “Mal Hombre” or “Evil Man,” which went on to become her biggest hit.

Neal Ashby and Patrick Donohue designed the stamp, working with art director Antonio Alcalá."
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The Civil War: 1863

The USPS says: "The Civil War (1861-1865), the most profound conflict in American history, claimed the lives of more than 620,000 soldiers and brought vast changes to the country. In 2013, the Postal Service continues its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war by issuing this souvenir sheet of The Civil War: 1863 (Forever®) stamps featuring two stamp designs.

One stamp depicts the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle of the war, while the other depicts the Battle of Vicksburg, a complex Union campaign to gain control of the Mississippi River.

Art director Phil Jordan created the stamps using iconic images of the battles. The Battle of Gettysburg stamp is a reproduction of an 1887 chromolithograph by Thure de Thulstrup (1848-1930), a Swedish-born artist who became an illustrator for Harper's Weekly after the Civil War. Thulstrup's work was one of a series of popular prints commissioned in the 1880s by Boston publisher Louis Prang & Co. to commemorate the Civil War.

The Battle of Vicksburg stamp is a reproduction of an 1863 lithograph by Currier & Ives titled “Admiral Porter's Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg, April 16th, 1863.”

The background image on the souvenir sheet is a photograph taken by Mathew Brady shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg of captured Confederate soldiers, who reportedly posed for Brady on Seminary Ridge.

The souvenir sheet includes comments on the war by Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, Rufus R. Dawes (a Union soldier), and William Tunnard (a Confederate soldier). It also includes some of the lyrics of “Lorena,” a popular Civil War song by Henry D. L. Webster and Joseph P. Webster."
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Johnny Cash

The USPS says: "Johnny Cash (1932-2003) is best remembered internationally as a country music artist, but we feel his influence just about everywhere—from rock and folk to blues and gospel. The Johnny Cash (Forever®) stamp is being issued this year as part of the exciting new Music Icons stamp series.

Resembling the appearance of a 45 rpm record sleeve, the square stamp features a photograph taken by Frank Bez during the photo session for Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash (1963). In the photo, Cash stares out at the viewer through a veil of shadow, his brooding expression fitting for an artist known to so many people simply as “the Man in Black.”

Cash found inspiration for his music in the stories of outlaws and laborers, and in his own life experience. A child of the Depression, he grew up in rural Arkansas, and the culture of that time and place—especially the Bible and gospel and country music—remained with him all his life. Themes of redemption, loneliness, love, loss, and death colored his music with a gritty realism that differed markedly from other socially conscious popular music. “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die,” he sings famously in “Folsom Prison Blues.”

By the 1960s, Cash had become one of the top names in country music, with a string of hits that included “Cry, Cry, Cry,” “I Walk the Line,” and the Grammy award-winning “A Boy Named Sue.” Though his popularity waned in the 1970s and 1980s, Cash made a remarkable resurgence in the 1990s, culminating in several more Grammy awards. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

Greg Breeding served as art director and designer for the stamp."
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West Virginia Statehood

The USPS says: "With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates 150 years of West Virginia statehood. Admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, West Virginia is one of only two new states created during the war and the only one created by separation from a Confederate state. Located entirely within the Appalachian Highlands, West Virginia is now known as the Mountain State. Its official motto reflects the realities of topography as well as its individualistic spirit: montani semper liberi, “mountaineers are always free.”

The stamp features a photograph by West Virginia photographer Roger Spencer showing an early morning view looking east from the Highland Scenic Highway (Route 150) in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, within Monongahela National Forest.

Today, nearly 1.9 million people call West Virginia home. With coal as the state's most abundant natural resource, around 30,000 West Virginians work in the coal-mining industry, helping to produce more than one-tenth of the country's supply, and the natural gas and oil industries, while less visible, are essential. In keeping with the current state slogan, “Wild and Wonderful,” tourism is also vital to the West Virginia economy, with mountains and rugged wilderness drawing visitors from across the country and around the world for hunting, fishing, skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting.

The photograph on this stamp was taken in October 2008. Greg Breeding served as art director."
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New England Coastal Lighthouses

The USPS says: "There's something about lighthouses. They fascinate us; they enchant us; they draw us in. Utilitarian yet majestic, these structures possess a beauty and romance that reach far beyond their practical natures. Recognizing our love affair with these lonely sentinels, the U.S. Postal Service has released the New England Coastal Lighthouses (Forever®) series of stamps celebrating our nation's lighthouses.

New England Coastal Lighthouses, the sixth in the series, features five lighthouses:

* Portland Head (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

* Portsmouth Harbor (New Castle, New Hampshire)

* Point Judith, (Narragansett, Rhode Island)

* New London Harbor (New London, Connecticut)

* Boston Harbor (Boston, Massachusetts).

Each stamp shows a close-up view of one of the five lighthouses that captures not only the down-to-earth aspect of the tower but also the mysterious qualities that compel us to come closer.

The five lighthouses are among the oldest in the U.S., and each is on the National Register of Historic Places. Boston Harbor Light is also a National Historic Landmark.

Howard Koslow created original paintings for New England Coastal Lighthouses stamp art—and for the entire Lighthouses series. Howard E. Paine and Greg Breeding were the art directors."
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Eid

The USPS says: "Featuring calligraphy from the 2011 Eid stamp with a new green background, this 2013 Eid Forever® stamp issuance commemorates the two most important festivals—or eids—in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. On these days, Muslims wish each other Eid mubarak, the phrase shown in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp. Eid mubarak translates literally as “blessed festival” and can be paraphrased “May your religious holiday be blessed.” This phrase can be applied to both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

In 2013, Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated on August 8, and Eid al-Adha will be celebrated on October 15. (These dates, which are based on geographical location and predicted sightings of the moon, are preliminary and may vary slightly as each festival approaches.)

The U.S. Postal Service issued its first Eid stamp, with gold calligraphy against a blue background, on September 1, 2001. A new Eid stamp with gold calligraphy against a reddish background debuted on August 12, 2011. All Eid stamps to date have featured the work of world-renowned calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya. The art director for this stamp was Phil Jordan.
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Made in America

The USPS says: "The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes,” social activist Helen Keller wrote in 1908, “but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” The Made in America: Building a Nation Forever® stamps honor the courageous workers who helped build our country.

This issuance features five different panes, each with the same 12 stamps, but anchored by different selvage photos. Three of the selvage images and eleven of the black and white stamp images were taken by photographer Lewis Hine, a chronicler of early 20th-century industry.

The panes are designed in three rows of four stamps. In the top row are an airplane maker, a derrick man on the Empire State Building, a millinery apprentice, and a man on a hoisting ball on the Empire State Building. In the middle row are a linotyper in a publishing house, a welder on the Empire State Building, a coal miner, and riveters on the Empire State Building. (The coal miner stamp is the only one of the 12 that does not feature a Hine photograph. The image is from the Kansas State Historical Society.) In the bottom row are a powerhouse mechanic, a railroad track walker, a textile worker, and a man guiding a beam on the Empire State Building.

On the selvage, Hine's images include two Empire State Building iron workers and a General Electric worker measuring the bearings in a casting. The fourth selvage photograph is the same image of the coal miner that appears in the stamp pane. The final selvage photograph, taken by Margaret Bourke-White, depicts a female welder.

Derry Noyes was t"he project's art director and designer."
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Althea Gibson

The USPS says: "The Althea Gibson Forever® is the 36th stamp in the Black Heritage series. It honors Althea Gibson (1927-2003), a pioneering tennis player who became the first black Wimbledon champion. The tall, lean Gibson was fast, had a long reach, and relied on a booming serve and precise volleys. She blazed a trail for a future generation of African-American players, such as Arthur Ashe and sisters Venus and Serena Williams.

The oil-on-wood painting featured on the stamp is based on a photograph—taken at Wimbledon—of Gibson bending down to hit a low volley. The first black tennis player to win one of the four major singles tournaments, Gibson helped integrate her sport at the height of the civil rights movement. She twice won Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships (now known as the U.S. Open) and became the top-ranked player in the world.

Designed by Derry Noyes, the stamp features the artwork of Kadir Nelson."
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[LEFT]The 1963 March on Washington

The USPS says: [/LEFT] "With this 2013 stamp, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 50th anniversary of the August 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The highlight of the event — in which some 250,000 people participated — was the powerful “I Have a Dream” speech that Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The stamp art shows marchers against the background of the Washington Monument, with placards calling for equal rights and jobs for all. Using broad strokes and painting in oil on gessoed illustration board, the artist conveys an impressionistic effect of the historic occasion. The 1963 March on Washington stamp is the last of three stamps being issued in 2013 in a civil rights set. The first in the set commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the second commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks. An inspiring word appears in large type in the selvage of each sheet: “Freedom,” for the Emancipation Proclamation; “Courage,” for Rosa Parks; “Equality,” for The 1963 March on Washington.

The March on Washington was a milestone in the civil rights movement. King called it “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” Bayard Rustin, the main organizer of the event, observed, “What made the march was that black people voted that day with their feet.” It gave African Americans “an identity which is a part of the national struggle in this country for the extension of democracy.”

Less than a year after the march, Congress passed and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which desegregated public institutions and outlawed job discrimination. Soon thereafter the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided for federal oversight of voting rights in the South, became the law of the land.

Art director Antonio Alcalá worked with illustrator Greg Manchess to produce this important commemorative stamp."
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The War of 1812: Battle of Lake Erie



The USPS says: "With the The War of 1812: Battle of Lake Erie Forever® issuance, the U.S. Postal Service continues its commemoration of the bicentennial of a war that ultimately helped forge our national identity and gave us our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." The War of 1812, sometimes called "the forgotten conflict," was a two-and-a-half-year confrontation with Great Britain that brought the United States to the verge of bankruptcy and disunion."

The stamp's subject for the second year of the war is the Battle of Lake Erie, which took place on September 10, 1813. The design is William Henry Powell's famous painting, Battle of Lake Erie. The oil-on-canvas painting, completed in 1873, was commissioned by the U.S. Congress and placed at the head of the east stairway in the Senate wing of the Capitol. It depicts Oliver Hazard Perry in the small boat he used to transfer from his ruined flagship, the Lawrence, to the Niagara.

To evoke the times, the color and texture of a contemporary map of the war is used for the stamp sheet's background. A 19th-century engraving of Perry by William G. Jackman (after John Wesley Jarvis) appears in the margin of the verso text.

After boarding and taking command of the Niagara, Perry attacked and demolished the British ships Detroit and Queen Charlotte. He then penned one of the most memorable phrases of the war in a report to General William Henry Harrison: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Perry's triumph gave the U.S. control of Lake Erie and allowed the army to recover ground lost early in the war. The British and their Indian allies abandoned their outposts on the Detroit frontier and retreated up the Thames River deeper into Upper Canada. General Harrison pursued them and won the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813, less than a month after Perry's remarkable victory.

Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp."
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Will an Inverted Jenny Turn the Stamp World Upside Down Again? | Collectors Weekly
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Ray Charles

The USPS says: "The U.S. Postal Service® proudly honors inspiring musician Ray Charles with a stamp, one of several that inaugurates the Music Icons series. This extraordinary composer, singer, and pianist, blind since childhood, went beyond category, blending blues, gospel, country, jazz, and soul music in a unique and highly influential pop music style. His many hits included “I've Got a Woman,” “Georgia on My Mind,” and “I Can't Stop Loving You.”

The stamp art features an image of Charles, taken later in his career, by photographer Yves Carrère. The stamp sheet was designed to evoke the appearance of a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the sheet includes the stamps and the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of the sleeve. A larger version of the photograph featured on the stamp and the logo for the Music Icons series appear on the reverse side.

Looking back over the course of his long career, there seemed to be little Charles couldn't do. His work spanned almost the entire breadth of American music and brought him 17 Grammy Awards, plus an award for lifetime achievement in 1987. Countless other prizes include the Polar Music Prize in 1998; the National Medal of Arts, awarded in 1993; and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986. That same year, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ray Charles performed for seven presidents: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the stamp sheet with designer Neal Ashby."
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Hanukkah

The USPS says: "Celebrated by Jewish people around the world, Hanukkah, the joyous Festival of Lights, spans eight nights and days of remembrance and ritual.

Central to the celebration is the hanukiah, a nine-branched menorah used only at Hanukkah. Eight of its branches represent each of the eight nights and days of Hanukkah, and the ninth, the shamash or “the servant,” is used to light the other candles. The stamp, first issued in 2013, is a photograph of a contemporary forged-iron hanukiah created by Vermont blacksmith Steven Bronstein. Nine lighted white beeswax candles top each of the branches. The word “Hanukkah” is spelled out across the top of the stamp in yellow letters.

Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for “dedication.” Tradition relates how a miracle took place during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated. The sacramental oil, thought to be enough for only one day, burned for eight days. The miracle of the oil is at the heart of the ritual of the lighting of the hanukiah.

The celebration of Hanukkah begins on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, a date that falls in late November or December. In 2014, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 16.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp. George E. Brown was the photographer."
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Medal of Honor: World War II

The USPS says: "The Medal of Honor: World War II Forever® stamp features the nation's highest award for valor in combat. It is presented “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.” In January 2012, the U.S. Postal Service invited the last living recipients of the award from World War II to join in honoring the extraordinary courage of every individual who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the war. All the men pictured here agreed to participate in this momentous event. Sadly, Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Vernon McGarity died before the stamps could be issued, as did Nicholas Oresko, who died after the stamps were printed. Their photographs are still included, as they remain among the last representatives of a remarkable group whose courage and devotion we honor with this issuance.

Historic photos of the men surround two Forever® stamps on the first page of a new type of issuance, the prestige folio. One stamp features a photograph of the Navy version of the Medal of Honor; the other stamp features a photograph of the Army version of the award. The two center pages list the names of all the recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II. The remaining 18 stamps are found on the back page.

More than 16 million people served with the American armed forces during World War II, but only 464 were chosen to receive the Medal of Honor. The road to receiving this medal is a long one. Each recipient's actions are reviewed by a lengthy chain of command, starting with their superiors and ending with the Secretary of Defense and the President. More than half the men who received the Medal of Honor for their actions during World War II were killed in action.

Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps and the new format, working with photographs of the medals by Richard Frasier."
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Flying the ‘Freak’ Flag: Documentary Will Reveal Why You Should Care About Stamps | Collectors Weekly
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I have been a fan of stamp collecting for years. My Uncle gave me his stamp collection when I was about 10, and then asked for it back when my cousin was born.

My cousin became far more enthusiastic about stamps than I ever was, so now, when I am traveling, I gather stamps and send them to him.
“Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential.”
- J Biden
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LarsMac;1439170 wrote: I have been a fan of stamp collecting for years. My Uncle gave me his stamp collection when I was about 10, and then asked for it back when my cousin was born.

My cousin became far more enthusiastic about stamps than I ever was, so now, when I am traveling, I gather stamps and send them to him.


Nice, LarsMac! They're like miniature & artful reflections of history/culture. I'm sure you run across some interesting ones!
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Kwanzaa

The USPS says: "With bright colors and a new stylized design, the U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of celebrating Kwanzaa. This annual non-religious holiday, which takes place over seven days from December 26 to January 1, brings family community, and culture together for many African Americans.

The stamp art features a man, woman, and child dressed in traditional, African-inspired clothing joined together in a unifying embrace. Their intertwined arms form a circle around seven candles, known as the mishumaa saba—a centerpiece of the Kwanzaa table. An open book symbolizes the holiday's emphasis on knowledge and cultural history. The design is cast in the holiday's primary colors of red, black, and green.

Created in 1966 by activist and scholar Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa draws on African traditions, deriving its name from the phrase “first fruits” in Swahili, a widely spoken African language. It has its origins in first harvest celebrations that occurred across the African continent in ancient and modern times. Karenga sought to synthesize and reinvent these tribal traditions as a contemporary celebration of African-American culture.

Artist R. Gregory Christie worked with art director Antonio Alcalá, who designed the stamp."
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Virgin & Child by Jan Gossaert

The USPS says: "Five centuries ago, Jan Gossaert helped bring the genius of the Italian Renaissance to northern Europe. Today, his devotional paintings, rich in symbolism, still vividly evoke the traditions of Christmas.

The new Virgin & Child by Jan Gossaert Forever® Christmas stamp features Gossaert's 1531 painting Virgin and Child. Draped in purple and blue, the Virgin Mary supports her own head by leaning on one of her hands, an unusual pose that art historians see as a sign of sadness and contemplation. In her other hand, a curly-haired infant Jesus draped in white holds a bunch of red currants, which scholars believe are meant to foreshadow his future suffering.

Gossaert's painting is currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Richard Sheaff was the art director and designer for this stamp."
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Gingerbread Houses

The USPS says: "Four new, cheerful holiday stamps capture the delicious tradition and childlike nostalgia of making gingerbread houses. Stumbling across a magical cottage made of cake and candy, Hansel and Gretel knew just how special gingerbread houses could be—but no witches will jump out of these confectionery domiciles. Instead, the Gingerbread Houses stamps will add a touch of whimsy to your holiday mail.

These stamps feature four different gingerbread houses set against a bright blue background. Made with gingerbread and royal icing, each house has sugary fruit slices for shingles, peppermint sticks for support beams, and round, candy-coated chocolate for doorknobs and holly berries, and yet each is unique.

Sally Andersen-Bruce photographed the houses, created by baker Teresa Layman. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps."
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Year of the Horse

The USPS says: "Around the world, a new year is welcomed with noise! Chinese drums, with drumsticks painted red for luck, highlight the U.S. Postal Service's 2014 Year of the Horse stamp, seventh in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Horse begins on January 31, 2014, and ends on February 18, 2015.

Across many cultures, in the United States as elsewhere, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various ways, often with parades and parties. Firecrackers are traditionally used to scare off evil spirits and welcome this time of renewed hope for the future. Lucky foods are eaten?kumquats, for example (issued in 2011) — and given as gifts. Festive lanterns, colored red for luck (issued in 2008), are common decorations at Lunar New Year celebrations, where they are frequently hung in rows.

Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps — Clarence Lee's intricate paper-cut design of a horse and the Chinese character for “Horse,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun — art director Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience. "
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Pennsylvania man says hunch helped him land sheet of rare 'corrected' 1918 stamps | Fox News
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Cut Paper Heart

The USPS says: "This fanciful stamp takes its inspiration from the folk traditions of papercutting. Its digital illustration depicts a large white heart enclosing a smaller pink heart with a saw-toothed edge along its left-hand side. Surrounding the central hearts are pink swirls, with smaller hearts imbedded in the design and a ragged-edge motif that echoes the edging on the small pink heart. The hearts and swirls are contained within a red square that has “pinked” edges, as if cut with pinking shears. A white border frames the entire design.

The stamp art is reminiscent of liebesbriefe — ornately cut and painted love letters that are a form of scherenschnitte, the papercutting tradition brought to America in the 18th and 19th centuries by German immigrants. Not intended only for February 14, these early precursors to valentines carried declarations of love and sometimes proposals of marriage. The stamp art is a stunning digital interpretation of these traditional love-letter decorations.

Like the liebesbriefe, the Cut Paper Heart stamps are not just for use on Valentine's Day, but say “love” all year round.

Designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, the stamp features an illustration by Q. Cassetti."
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The Star-Spangled Banner

The USPS says: "The Star-Spangled Banner Stamps feature a treasured American icon ever since Francis Scott Key celebrated the sight of an American flag still flying over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

This stamp commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner with a photograph of the flag that flies over Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore. This flag is a replica of the one that inspired Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” after Fort McHenry withstood the British attack of September 13-14, 1814.

Photographer Gary Clark took the picture of the flag against a backdrop of fireworks during an annual celebration of Defenders' Day. Defenders' Day, according to the National Park Service, is “Baltimore's oldest holiday commemorating the bombardment of Fort McHenry and the writing of 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'” Clark said it was a challenge to get the fireworks and the flag in the same shot and that “the wind picked up quite a bit that night.” Art director Phil Jordan designed the stamp."
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Shirley Chisholm

The USPS says: “Unbought and Unbossed.” That was the slogan of maverick politician Shirley Chisholm, who shattered barriers, spoke her mind, stood up for the disadvantaged, and in 1968 became the first black woman ever elected to Congress.

The Shirley Chisolm Stamp is the 37th stamp in the Black Heritage series features a painting of Chisholm by artist Robert Shetterly. The compelling portrait is taken from a series of paintings titled “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp.

After her election to Congress, Chisholm scored another historic first in 1972 when she declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President. She later wrote of her unsuccessful bid, “The next time a woman runs, or a black, or a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is 'not ready' to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start...I ran because somebody had to do it first.”
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Ferns

The USPS says: "Five new Ferns Forever® stamps from the U.S. Postal Service celebrate the beauty - and popularity - of ferns.

A favorite with gardeners and florists, ferns range from tiny moss-like plants to giants as tall as trees. The ferns featured on the stamps are five of the approximately 380 different species found in North America.

Each of the five stamps depicts a close-up photograph of a different species of fern. The shapes and textures of the fronds stand out against a stark white background, highlighting the placement of the leaflets along each fern's stem. The name of each fern - autumn fern, Goldie's wood fern, soft shield fern, Fortune's holly fern, or painted fern - is placed vertically in capital letters along one edge of the stamp.

Art director Phil Jordan created the stamp art by choosing five images from among dozens of existing pictures by photographer Cindy Dyer. After Dyer isolated the fronds in her photos, providing a white background, Jordan tightened the focus on each to fit within the stamp borders. He rotated some of the fronds to provide visual interest and oriented them in relation to one another to form a unified whole."
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Winter Flowers

The USPS says: "With the Winter Flowers Stamps, the U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of issuing stamps that present beautiful, floral-themed art.

Each of these four stamps depicts a close-up view of one plant—(clockwise from upper left) amaryllis, cyclamen, Christmas cactus, or paperwhite—with detailed and colorful renderings of its blossom and foliage.

These winter-blooming flowers are popular potted plants, especially during the holidays when people enjoy them as gifts or as festive decorations. Just as these flowers brighten our dark winter days, these stamps will add a decorative and cheerful note to all your correspondence.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the Winter Flowers stamps, which feature art by William Low."
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Charlton Heston

The USPS says: "With his chiseled jaw, compelling baritone voice, and muscular physique, Charlton Heston (1923–2008) seemed perfectly at home leading a cast of thousands. The 18th stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series salutes an actor who portrayed presidents and prophets, Moses and Michelangelo. Known for tackling heroic roles in epic blockbusters, Heston made more than 70 films in a career that spanned seven decades.

This stamp features a color portrait based on a photograph taken by the actor’s wife, Lydia Clarke Heston. An image of Heston from the 1959 movie Ben-Hur decorates the selvage. Originally shot in black and white, the photograph was later hand-tinted, and shows Heston in his costume from the monumental chariot racing scene, one of the most famous action sequences ever filmed. Heston won a best actor Oscar for playing the title character, Judah Ben-Hur, a Judean prince who rebels against Roman occupation during the time of Christ.

Director Cecil B. DeMille tapped Heston for one of the biggest parts of his career: Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956). A Biblical extravaganza that tells the story of Exodus, this sprawling epic featured a cast of thousands, eye-popping special effects, and a Charlton Heston who could convincingly raise a rod over his head and part the Red Sea. Heston lent his heroic presence to other larger-than-life roles in the 1960s, including Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy and John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told. He broke new ground in 1968's Planet of the Apes, making a foray into science fiction as a time-traveling astronaut trapped on a planet ruled by English-speaking apes.

Designed by art director Greg Breeding, the stamp was illustrated by noted movie artist Drew Struzan."

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