Poinsettia Stamp Now Available

[From guest contributor Carol]

The Poinsettia Forever® stamp is available now! This morning, the stamp will be released officially at the ASDA National Postage Stamp Show in New York City.

The stamp art is so realistic that you can almost feel the texture of the leaves. There is a good reason for that—artist William Low used a live plant as his model. Low started with a lush, full poinsettia bought at its peak growth. He placed it in the perfect location in his studio to allow the light to accentuate the plant’s vivid color.

When he began by working from the live model, he took several photographs so that he would have a reference point for when the plant was past its prime. This was especially helpful with the flowers, which are not, as many people believe, the bright red leaves—called bracts—but rather the small, modest cup-shaped structures in the center.

For the Poinsettia stamp, Low used a pressure sensitive screen on which he “painted” his brushstrokes using a stylus, adding dabs of color and weaving layers of texture into the digital painting as he filled in the details. (If you’d like to learn more about Low’s artistic process, check out this fascinating video on his website.)

While painting a perfectly detailed poinsettia might be extremely difficult, you can still make your own poinsettia art. Design poinsettia place cards for your holiday parties or learn how to make felt poinsettias for decorations. If you are adept with a sewing machine, make beautiful embroidered organza poinsettias to embellish packages, candlesticks, wreaths. Kids love crafts, too, so help them make poinsettia ornaments for the tree, create beautiful paper poinsettias, or paint poinsettias using their own hand prints!

Don’t forget that the beautiful Poinsettia stamps will brighten and decorate all your cards and letters this holiday season. Buy the stamps at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

The Beauty of Snowflakes

[By guest contributor Carol]

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.

Strip of 5How 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 that’s 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. Libbrecht’s snowflake gallery will 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.

Celebrate the Holidays with New Stamps

It’s only October, but the holidays are right around the corner. The Postal Service has an exciting lineup of holiday stamps that will be available soon. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the things we have in store.

The Poinsettia Forever® stamp will be released this Thursday, October 10, at the ASDA National Postage Stamp Show in New York City. The vibrant issuance depicts the rich red and deep green leaves surrounding the flower.

poinsettiaOn Friday, October 11, two more holiday stamps will be released at the ASDA stamp show. One is the Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert Forever® stamp, which features Gossaert’s 1531 painting Virgin and Child.
VirginandChildStampThe other is the Holy Family Forever® stamp, which features an illustration showing Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky.
Holy FamilyThe Global Forever®: Evergreen Wreath stamp will be released on October 24. This international rate stamp offers a single price for any First-Class Mail International® 1-ounce letter to any country in the world.
EvergreenWreath-Forever-Single-BGv1And that’s not all. New issuances slated to be released later this fall include new Hanukkah and Kwanzaa Forever® stamps, in addition to the awesome new Gingerbread Houses Forever® stamps. Check back soon for more details! GingerbreadHousesmaller

Postal Service Releases Very Limited Edition ‘Right Side Up’ Inverted Jenny

The 2013 Inverted Jenny issuance features a new version of perhaps the most famous error in the history of U.S. stamps: a 1918 misprint that mistakenly showed a biplane flying wrong side up.

Collectors be on alert: this week, the Postal Service announced it has printed 100 additional sheets of stamps of the recently issued Inverted Jenny stamp — but with the plane flying right side up.

0-0_USPS13STA045dThese very limited edition stamps were circulated with the recent issue of the most famous “misprinted” stamp. Customers who have recently purchased the new Inverted Jenny stamp could have a very limited edition of the famous stamp.

1-0_USPS13STA045eUnique to this stamp issuance, all sheets were individually wrapped in a sealed envelope to recreate the excitement of finding an Inverted Jenny when opening the envelope and to avoid the possibility of discovering a corrected Jenny prior to purchase.

Individuals purchasing “corrected Jenny sheets” will find a congratulatory note inside the wrapping asking them to call a phone number to receive a certificate of acknowledgement signed by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

The idea for creating the “misprinted misprint,” came to light after the Postmaster General mentioned the stamp to customer groups shortly after it was previewed in January.

“Our customers were enthusiastic about printing a new version of the most publicized stamp error in U.S. history as a great way to spur interest in stamp collecting,” said Donahoe. “Some jokingly commented that we should be careful to avoid repeating the same mistake of nearly a century ago. That was the impetus behind this initiative. What better way to interest a younger generation in stamp collecting?”

Just days after the Postal Service issued the new $2 version of the most publicized stamp error in U.S. history — the 24-cent 1918 Curtiss Jenny airmail stamp depicting a biplane flying upside down — Glenn Watson of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, purchased the new $2 version with the biplane flying right side up.

“I’ve been collecting U.S. and Canadian stamps for more than 50 years,” said Watson, who ordered his Inverted Jenny stamp sheet through the Postal Store on eBay. “By far this was a total surprise, and I can now relate to how stamp collector William Robey felt when he purchased the original sheet of 100 Inverted Jennys in 1918. Clearly this right-side-up version will be the treasure of my collection. I hope this stamp will encourage younger generations to get involved in this educational hobby.”

Order a new Inverted Jenny today! The stamp is available online at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices around the country.

Johnny Cash Waxes Poetic About the Things He Loved

Technology may evolve every day, but some things never change. So even if you get your Johnny Cash tunes via digital download instead of on vinyl, this musical pioneer—honored with a stamp in this year’s new Music Icon series—sounds as powerful as ever.

DCP Keepsake

This handsome collectible package includes a sheet of 16 Johnny Cash stamps and a stamped envelope bearing a First Day of Issue color postmark. Click the image for details.

One thing you might be missing with digital music, however, is liner notes, the text that used to be printed on the paper record sleeves, or “liners,” that protected a vinyl album from dust. When Johnny Cash created American Recordings, released in 1994, he wrote a set of musings for the liner notes that covered everything from veggie burgers to Elvis. One paragraph listed all his favorite song topics. Just reading it is enough to bring Cash’s signature gravelly voice to mind!

I love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.

Speaking of courtship and marriage, Cash said he proposed to June Carter more than 30 times before she finally said “yes.”

The Johnny Cash Forever® stamp, which was issued on June 5, 2013, is currently available online at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide. Add some to your collection today!