For those of us who write and mail letters, consider the art of the stamp. Gone are the days of simply buying a roll of one hundred flag stamps. Today, there are many options of Forever First Class stamps to coordinate with the mood or theme of your letter or note.
Perhaps you are a lover of modern art. If so, you will enjoy the recent issue of stamps highlighting the abstract art of Ellsworth Kelley. A set of 20 of the new stamps feature ten beautiful paintings.
“Ellsworth Kelly honed his artistic voice as a soldier during World War II when he created camouflage patterns and designed posters for the U.S. government,” said USPS Marketing Vice President Steve Monteith at a dedication ceremony held on May 31 in Spencertown, New York. The works of Ellsworth Kelly, which include printmaking and sculpture as well of painting, have been exhibited in museums throughout the world, including permanent collections of New York’s MoMA, the Blanton Museum in Austin, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and others.
The recent 75th anniversary commemoration of the Western Allies’ invasion of Normandy during World War II is a timely reminder of the costs of war. This past spring, I had the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor, site of the Japanese bombing attack on Dec. 6, 1941 that sank the USS Arizona, killed nearly 2,400 people, and brought the U.S. into the war.
The USS Missouri was part of the war effort. The battleship was built in Brooklyn’s New York Navy Yard, and was commissioned on June 11, 1944. The USPS issued a stamp featuring the USS Missouri on June 11, the 75th anniversary of the commissioning of the “Might Mo” at the Pearl Harbor memorial site. The art of the stamp was designed by USPS art director Greg Breeding, and features a digital illustration created by Dan Cosgrove.
Another pending date of note is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and man’s first steps on the moon. The USPS is launching two new Forever stamps to mark the occasion. One stamp, according to USPS contact Roy Betts, “features Neil Armstrong’s iconic photograph of Buzz Aldrin in his spacesuit on the surface of the Moon. The other stamp, a photograph of the moon taken in 2010 by Gregory H. Revera from his home in Madison, AL, shows the landing site of the lunar module, Eagle, in the Sea of Tranquility.” The stamps were designed by USPS Art Director Antonio Alcalá.
The first day of issue of the new Moon Landing/Astronaut stamps will be on July 19 at 11 a.m. at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island, Florida. Among others, the event will be attended by Russell L. (Rusty) Schweickart, NASA scientist and former astronaut who flew on Apollo 9.
My own personal stamp preferences lean toward nature. Some of my favorites over time have been birds, lighthouses, and beautiful flower stamps. This year’s selections do not disappoint!
America’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Forever stamps were issued in Bend, Oregon on May 21 at Tumalo State Park. The pane of 12 stamps includes the Feather, Merced, and Snake Rivers, among others. According to the USPS, “America’s wild and scenic rivers are those deemed remarkable for values including fish and wildlife, geology, recreation and cultural or historical significance. These special streams are allowed to flow freely through natural settings without man-made alterations.” Each image of these beautiful rivers was captured by a noted photographer, including Michael Melford, Tim Palmer, and Bob Wick.
Another upcoming stamp that appeals to me is Frogs, to be issued on July 9 at the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center in Boise, Idaho. According to the USPS, more than 90 species of frog live in the U.S. This booklet of 20 will feature four frogs indigenous to the US, including the tiny Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla); the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens); the American green tree frog (Hyla cinerea); and the squirrel tree frog (Hyla squirella.
Other recent Forever stamp releases include Sesame Street, honoring the 50th anniversary of the iconic children’s educational show (June 22); a stamp saluting former President George H.W. Bush on what would have been his 95th birthday (June 12); a set of three stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (May 10); 1950s tennis champ Little Mo (April 23); and others.
Each of the many stamp images selected and issued each year has a common thread: the art of the stamp, that has been thoughtfully selected and professionally designed. Forever stamps retain their value, but are not available forever. So if these stamps appeal to you, it is best to purchase these mini works of art now!
United States Department of Agriculture. New Stamp Series Recognizes Americas Wild and Scenic Rivers.
United States Postal Service. Ellsworth Kelly stamps.
United States Postal Service. Newsroom.
USS Missouri Memorial. Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii
Wikipedia. Apollo 11
Wikipedia. Rusty Schweickart