USPS to Take Part in Alcatraz’s 78th Anniversary Celebration

Later this week, USPS will once again participate in the commemoration of the opening of U.S. Penitentiary Alcatraz, which marks its 78th anniversary this year. A special commemorative postmark was created to honor the anniversary, and on Saturday, August 11, Postal Service employees will cancel letters and postcards in the Alcatraz gift shop from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For those who cannot make it to Alcatraz Island for the event, but would still like a postcard or letter with the Alcatraz special pictorial postmark, stop by the Rincon Post Office, 180 Steuart St., San Francisco. The commemorative postmark will be available until September 14, 2012.

Every year in August, the National Park Service hosts activities to commemorate the anniversary of the penitentiary opening. Many of the former residents of Alcatraz are scheduled to be on Alcatraz Island in honor of this special 78th anniversary event. For more information about the anniversary event visit

According to author Jerry Lewis Champion Jr., the discovery of Alcatraz is related to the Postal Service. The San Carlos, a Spanish packet ship, discovered the Island of Alcatraz on August 5, 1775. The primary function of packet ships was the transport of mail. The Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala named the Island, La Isla de los Alcatraces, which translates to “island of the pelicans.”  Later the name was shortened and altered to the current name of Alcatraz.

The first U.S. Post Office opened on Alcatraz Island on March 6, 1874. At the time, Alcatraz was a U.S. Army reservation known as the “Post at Alcatraz,” which had been established in 1850. The Army post closed in 1933, and on January 1, 1934, Alcatraz became a U.S. federal penitentiary. The island Post Office developed a rubber stamp that featured a cartoon-like pelican with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. That theme has been reproduced for the 78th anniversary cancellation. When the prison closed in 1963, the Alcatraz Post Office also closed.

Celebrate Your Love of the Game with Major League Baseball First Day Covers

The long-awaited Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps are almost here and we’ve got just the thing to add to your collection, whether it’s baseball or stamp-related!

With the Major League Baseball First Day Covers, you can capture a moment in history and commemorate the athletic talent and determination of four of the sport’s best players. This wonderful collector’s item includes four envelopes, each with a stamp from the Major League Baseball All-Stars pane and a specially designed postmark of a silhouetted baseball player hitting a ball out of the park. The postmark also includes the date and location of issuance. This piece of philatelic history is a perfect way to celebrate your love of the national pastime—it makes a great gift, too!

The Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps will be issued tomorrow, July 20, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, but you can pre-order your First Day Covers today!

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

Experience the Magic of Mail a Smile First Day of Issue Ceremony Again and Again

If you weren’t able to make it to the Mail a Smile (Forever®) First Day of Issue ceremony at Disney World on Friday—or watch it on our live feed—you can catch all the action you missed! Watch the entire dedication and be taken away on a magical journey.


You can still purchase Mail a Smile , including a standard cancellation with the date and location of the stamp issuance, and  to add to your collection. They make great gifts, too!

North Pole Postmark

Once again this year, the U.S. Postal Service is offering North Pole postmarks on holiday mail.

To receive the North Pole postmark on your holiday cards, you should:

  • Purchase stamps at any post office.
  • Affix the stamps to envelopes of your choice.
  • Address the sealed envelopes, with the cards enclosed, to those on your mailing list.
  • Mail them in a larger envelope, box, Priority Mail®, or Express Mail® package to:

ANCHORAGE, AK 99530-9998

Requests must be received in Anchorage by Dec. 10 in order to ensure delivery by Christmas. The Postal Service receives hundreds of thousands of requests each year for North Pole postmarks from around the world. The service is provided at no cost. Each card or letter must have the correct amount of postage and be addressed.

Many communities around the country have local programs set up to respond to letters to Santa Claus. In North Pole, Alaska, requests may be sent to – 1 Santa Claus Lane, North Pole, AK 99705-9901. Check with your local post office or call 1-800-ASK-USPS.