Saving Lives, One Stamp at a Time

We all know that stamps can be beautiful, historic, and fun to choose and collect. But did you know that a special kind of stamp known as a semipostal allows you to lend a helping hand every time you mail a letter?

Semipostals are stamps that sell for a few pennies more than the going rate for First-Class postage. Those few extra cents are given to a good cause . . . and just like the pennies you might toss in a jar at the end of a day, they can quickly add up!

 

As you may know if you’ve spotted it in your mail lately, the Breast Cancer Research semipostal stamp is still for sale and going strong today. Click the image for details.
As you may know if you’ve spotted it in your mail lately, the Breast Cancer Research semipostal stamp is still for sale and going strong today. Click the image for details.

The Breast Cancer Research stamp currently sells for 55 cents, which is 9 cents more than the cost of a regular First-Class stamp. During the month of September 2013 alone, the stamp raised more than $99,000. Since it was introduced, it has raised an amazing $77,628,062 for breast cancer research. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Show your support and get your stamps today!The first semipostal stamp ever issued by the U.S. Postal Service was the Breast Cancer Research stamp, which was dedicated in a ceremony at the White House on July 29, 1998. The colorful design, illustrated with rainbow hues of green, blue, yellow, and orange, features a simple line drawing of a mythological goddess of the hunt reaching behind her back to draw an arrow from her quiver. The words “Fund the Fight, Find a Cure” highlight the stamp’s purpose. The stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler, who is a breast cancer survivor.

The Beauty of Snowflakes

This winter, you might find in your mailbox envelopes adorned with the new Snowflakes stamps (which are designed for bulk mailers). The lovely stamps feature photographs of real snowflakes by scientist Kenneth Libbrecht.

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How did Libbrecht photograph these snowflakes?

With a little help from a mix of high- and low-tech equipment. Working outdoors, he used a paintbrush to transfer fallen snowflakes from a cardboard collecting surface to a glass slide that was inserted into a high-resolution microscope. He snapped his photographs with a digital camera attached to the microscope.

It sounds complicated, but Libbrecht explains that though expensive, it is possible to set up your own snowflake photography studio. If thats too much for you, you can still become an expert snowflake watcher this winter. All it takes it some optical gear, which Libbrecht describes on his website and, of course, snow. Watch this Snow Safari video to learn more about snowflake watching. Libbrechts snowflake gallerywill help identify the snowflakes you see.

Although the Snowflakes stamps are available only to bulk mailers, USPS has many other beautiful stamps for use at the holidays and throughout the year. Buy stamps at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Deer Stamped Card Prances Into Hearts & Mailboxes Today

Nature and animal lovers alike will be enamored with the new Deer Forever® stamped card, perfect for writing short personal notes, business communications, or just whatever strikes your fancy.

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U.S. Postal Service Northern Virginia District Marketing Manager Kimberley Timberlake dedicated the Forever stamped card earlier today at the Middleburg Post Office. “We think our customers will find these beautifully designed postcards perfect for sending quick notes to loved ones and friends,” said Timberlake. We think so, too!

If you missed the First Day of Issue Ceremony this morning, dont worry. You can still obtain the official First Day of Issue postmark. Just purchase the new stamped cards at your local Post Office, online at usps.com/stamps, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. Address the stamped cards to yourself or others and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Deer Stamped Card
Postmaster
113 W. Washington Street
Middleburg, VA 20117-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, USPS will return the stamped cards through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark if requests are for less than 50. There is a 5-cent charge per postmark for orders exceeding 50. All orders must be postmarked by May 8.

The 37-cent stamped card (33-cent postage plus a 4-cent surcharge) is available as individual postcards or as a 74-cent double-reply product consisting of two stamped cards.

A Civil War & Stamps Kind of Summer

Last year we began a series commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, joining others across the country in paying tribute to the American experience during the tumultuous years from 1861 to 1865. So far, we’ve issued two souvenir sheets—each with two stamp designs.

Civil War: 1862; issued April 24, 2012
Civil War: 1862; issued April 24, 2012

For 2011, one stamp depicts the beginning of the war in April 1861 at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, while the other depicts the first major battle of the war three months later at Bull Run, near Manassas, Virginia. For 2012, one stamp depicts the Battle of New Orleans, the first significant achievement of the U.S. Navy in the war, while the other depicts the Battle of Antietam, which marked the bloodiest day of the war.

Now, we know that summer is fast coming to a close, but we also know that many of you will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks. So we’ve put together a guide of must-see Civil War exhibits for the Civil War buffs and stamp enthusiasts among you.

At the top of the list must surely be “Abraham Lincoln Certified Plate Proofs” at the National Postal Museum. The exhibit features 11 certified plate proofs for postage stamps honoring Abraham Lincoln that were issued from 1894 to 1959. Certified plate proofs are the last printed proof of the plate before printing the stamps. The permanent exhibit is on display in the Philatelic Gallery on the museum’s lower level.

Two other exhibits at the National Postal Museum may also interest you. “Mail Call”tells the history of military mail and includes Civil War letters, while “Binding the Nation” traces the history of mail service in America, including the Southern Postal Administration of the Civil War. Next September, the museum will open the William H. Gass Stamp Gallery, which will include a display of Civil War stamps and mail.

The National Portrait Gallery has several interesting exhibits. “American Origins, 1600–1900” devotes three galleries to the Civil War and includes a group of modern prints produced from photographer Matthew Brady’s negatives. Brady is the focus of a second exhibit, “Matthew Brady’s Photographs of Union Generals.” Also at the museum is “The Confederate Sketches of Adalbert Volck.” A German immigrant, Volck created art that revealed the Confederate mindset.

Other exhibits in town include “Civil War, The Price of Freedom: Americans at War,”at the National Museum of American History, which offers a military history of America, and “Civil War” at the American Art Museum, which includes work by Winslow Homer and others.

Have you seen one of these exhibits? Leave a comment or share a picture with us on Twitter (@USPSstamps). And please let us know about exhibits related to the Civil War and/or stamps that are in your area. We may just check them out!

Major League Baseball All-Stars Knock it Out of the Park

Todays the day! We are pleased to announce that the new Major League Baseball All-Stars (Forever®) stamps are now available nationwide!

 

The First Day of Issue ceremony for the set of four Forever® stamps honoring baseball greats Ted Williams, Larry Doby, Joe DiMaggio, and Willie Stargell, will begin at 10 a.m. in the Grandstand Theater at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Cooperstown, New York. We hope to see you there!

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And dont forget, DiMaggio, Doby, Stargell, and Williams fans: special dedication ceremonies will be held tomorrow, July 21, for each individual player in the city where he made it big.

The dedication of New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggios sheet of stamps will take place at the Bronx Post Office, 558 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m.

At 10:00 a.m., Cleveland Indian Larry Dobys sheet of stamps will be dedicated at the Jerry Maloy Negro League Conference at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, 24 Public Square (near Progressive Field, home of the Indians), Cleveland, Ohio.

Willie Stargell fans can watch the official dedication of the Pittsburgh Pitrates sheet of stamps before the 7:05 p.m. Pirates/Marlins game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williamss sheet of stamps will be officially dedicated before the 1:35 p.m. Red Sox/Blue Jays game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.

Will you be joining us as we celebrate some of the games best players?

Selenas Spirit Lives On

Selena-Forever-single-v5 For many, Selena Quintanilla-Perez—known to fans simply as Selena—embodies the heart and soul of Latin music. A charismatic entertainer with a rich and emotional vocal style, she helped transform and popularize Tejano music by integrating techno-hip-hop beats and disco-influenced dance movements with a captivating stage presence. Her inclusion in the Latin Music Legends set of commemorative stamps this year speaks to the importance of her role in Mexican-American culture.

Even 16 years after her tragic death, Selena still wins awards for her music. The Billboard Mexican Music Awards last week honored her with the title of Digital Download Artist of the Year.

Selena fans are no strangers to posthumous praise for the Queen of Tejano. Her album Dreaming of You, which was released shortly after her death in 1995, reached number one on the Billboard 200 that year. In 1999, Billboard Magazinecalled Selena the best selling Latin artist of the decade.

Perhaps one of the most loved Spanish-language singer/songwriters to cross over to English-speaking American audiences, Selena broke down barriers with her enormous success. The effects of her legacy on Latin music in America are certainly still felt today.

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Latin Music Legends Digital Color Postmark Keepsake

Tributes to Selenas work have included a biographical documentary, a popular film made of her life starring Jennifer Lopez, and a memorial and museum in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, her legacy continues through the work of the Selena Foundation. Based in Corpus Christi, the non-profit organization was established in May 1995 to help children in crisis.

The Latin Music Legends stamps, created by artist Rafael López, are still available for purchase in Post Offices nationwide and online at the Postal Store.