If you like to put something pretty, creative or unique on your envelopes, this has been a banner year for stamps. From the transformative Total Solar Eclipse stamp to the newly released Protect Pollinators or Sharks Forever stamps, the U.S. Postal Service has a Forever stamp for you.
My personal preferences for stamps include nature, animals, art, and literature. Fortunately, many of stamps issued this year, or yet to be issued in 2017, fit in at least one of these categories, and often more than one.
Following four years of drought in California, our yard was bereft of the usual honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies that visit us every day. These wondrous creatures, that spread the pollen that sustains life, had gone missing. This year, following an overly abundant rainy season, the flowering shrubs and fruit trees once again are thriving, and in turn, the beautiful butterflies and bees have returned.
We live within walking distance of an urban farm and a lustrous community garden, both of which include honeybee hives and beekeepers. Recently, a delicious jar of honey was gifted to us by beekeeper Fernando. What a delight it is to see bees thriving in an urban environment. Either of these two farms very likely could be the source of our visiting honeybees.
On Aug. 2, the U.S. Postal Service released the new Protect Pollinators stamps. The stamps feature the monarch butterfly and the western honeybee. Although my jar of honey is unlikely to last through the month, the stamps will be available well into the future.
According to the USPS, “monarchs can flutter thousands of miles in one of nature’s most wondrous migrations, a multigenerational round-trip that can cross southern Canada, the north-south breadth of the contiguous United States, and deep into Mexico, where they rest for the winter before returning north.”
Honeybees, on the other hand, “are far and away the continent’s most vital pollinators, servicing almond, citrus, peach, apple and cherry tree blossoms, plus the blossoms of berries, melons, cucumbers, onions and pumpkins, to name just a few.”
There are so many lovely stamps to pick from, this banner year for stamps. How does one choose from among them?
Andrew Wyeth fans will be happy to find Andrew Wyeth Forever stamps commemorating the Centennial of his birth. These stamps were released on July 12 at the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadd’s Ford, PA. Each of the twelve stamps features an image from a Wyeth painting, including “Christina’s World” (1948), “Sailor’s Valentine” (1985), “North Light” (1984), “My Studio” (1974), among others.
The occasion of the upcoming solar eclipse has inspired a most unusual stamp. Printed with thermodynamic ink, the image on the Total Solar Eclipse stamp will change when rubbed from the blacked out sun to a detailed photo of the moon. For those of us not likely to be in the path of the full solar eclipse on Aug. 21, when the sun will be totally obscured by the moon, the stamp will serve as a reminder that a total eclipse will not occur again until Oct. 7, 2135.
Feeling grumpy? Perhaps the Disney Villains Forever stamps will suit your purposes. The ten classic images from Walt Disney Studio’s Ink and Paint Department include such scoundrels as the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), Captain Hook (Peter Pan), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Cruella De Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians), and Scar (The Lion King), and others.
Great white sharks are often spotted in the San Francisco Bay, as far out as the Farallon Islands or as close as the Golden Gate. They roam up and down the coast of California. According to National Geographic, in “California, the chances of a surfer being bitten by a great white shark are one in 17 million.” This number seems low, because from time to time, there have been shark attacks on divers and surfers in the Bay Area.
Great whites are only one of five species of sharks depicted on the USPS’s new Sharks Forever, released on July 25. The stamps also include images of mako, thresher, hammerhead and whale sharks. According to U.S. Postal Service Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President Jeffrey Williamson, “As apex predators, sharks keep other marine life in balance, and by doing so, they play a critical role in regulating our largest ecosystem — the oceans.”
These are just a few of the many stamps issued in 2017. There are stamps supporting social justice; stamps for foodies; Christmas stamps; floral stamps; and more. Coming up: don’t miss award-winning illustrator Ezra Jack Keats’ (1916 -1983) Forever stamp, The Snowy Day.
Can’t find what you want at your local post office? Order stamps online at the USPS Store. And for the latest on new stamps, visit the USPS Newsroom. Many stamp releases are accompanied by events that are open to the public. It’s a banner year for stamps!
NASA. Solar Eclipse
National Geographic. Great White Shark Research
United States Postal Service. News
Wikipedia. Farllon Islands.