Purple Martin for 2012

USPS celebrates a beloved bird with the issuance of the Purple Martin Stamped Envelope on January 23. The purple martin (Progne subis) is the largest swallow in North America.

Designed by art director William J. Gicker, this stamped envelope features an illustration of a purple martin. The highly realistic stamp art by Matthew Frey is based on photographs. The art includes a large illustration of a purple martin perching and a smaller illustration showing the bird in flight.

The Purple Martin Stamped Envelope is being issued as a Forever® stamped envelope. As with Forever® stamps, the value of the postage on Forever® stamped envelopes is always equal to the value of the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.

Glacier National Park Honored in 2012

How beautiful is this?! The Glacier National Park stamp will be issued in 2012 as part of the Scenic American Landscapes series. The gorgeous photograph on the stamp was taken at Logan Pass, with peaks of the Northern Rocky Mountains in the background. In the foreground, melting snowbanks reveal a lush meadow dusted with wildflowers. Ethel Kessler art directed this stamp using a photograph by Michael Melford. The stamp will be issued on Jan. 19 at the international rate for Canada and Mexico.

Wedding Cake Stamp Reprinted for 2012

Sure to add a touch of beauty and romance to wedding correspondence, the Wedding Cake stamp, first introduced in 2009, is a timeless addition to the U.S. Postal Service’s Weddings series. Often the centerpiece of a wedding reception, the cake has been a wedding tradition for many generations. This two-ounce stamp features a photograph of a three-tier wedding cake topped with white flowers, their green stems and leaves a delightful contrast to the cake’s creamy white frosting. The stamp is a perfect addition to a wedding invitation or other mailing such as oversize cards or small gifts that require extra postage.

Pastry chef Peter Brett created and designed the cake, which was photographed by Renée Comet. The stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler.

The stamp will be issued on January 20 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Aflutter for 2012: Baltimore Checkerspot

Happy Boxing Day! We have another small gift for you. In 2012, we are going to issue the second butterfly stamp intended for large greeting card envelopes that require additional postage. This one features a stylized image of the Baltimore Checkerspot, the state insect of Maryland. Artist Tom Engeman created his design on a computer, using images of preserved butterflies as a starting point. He has designed numerous stamps for the U.S. Postal Service, including the Forever® stamp with the Liberty Bell design, 60 stamps for the Flags of Our Nation series, and the previous First-Class Surcharge Rate stamp featuring a butterfly: the 2010 Monarch.

The Baltimore Checkerspot stamp will be available January 20.

More New Stamps for 2012: Dogs at Work

In today’s world, dogs can be more than just best friends. This set of stamps depicts four hard-working canines: a guide dog assisting a woman who is blind, a tracking dog on the trail of a scent, a therapy dog visiting an elderly woman in her home, and a search and rescue dog standing in a field, ready to tackle the next assignment.

Using his own photographs as reference, artist John M. Thompson created an original acrylic painting for each of the stamps. The guide dog depicted on the stamp is a black Labrador retriever, the tracking dog is a yellow Labrador retriever, the therapy dog is a Welsh springer spaniel, and the search and rescue dog is a German shepherd. Art director Howard E. Paine designed the stamps, which will be issued in 2012 at the two-ounce rate.