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Thread: Say it with a Stamp!

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    Say it with a Stamp!

    I know, I know ... the USPS is in dire financial straits, is a stressful employer, and they often provide lackadaisical service. BUT ... they issue some wonderful stamps! I’m not a stamp collector but I love history and I love graphics so the newest issuance of stamps is always of interest to me. Sometimes I appreciate their artistic beauty, sometimes I’m very pleased at their choice of honoree, sometimes I give a short raspberry at their choice & scratch my head in consternation, and sometimes I have to look online to see who the heck this person is and then walk away with a new & often better perspective.

    I don’t collect stamps as such but I’ve been known to pull the corner off of an envelope to save one that particularly appeals to me. There are little bits of stamped envelope corners in various drawers throughout the house!


    I’m going to post the new 2013 Forever stamps here as they’re issued and I’m going to start with the last 3 issuances of 2012. This post isn’t just about USA stamps, so feel free to add any from other nations!



    1) The Holy Family: I was so happy to see them veer from the usual Madonna & Child religious stamp for the Christmas season. They issued variations on that theme for many years running and they all started to look alike to me.

    The post office write-up says:
    The Holy Family stamp celebrates Christmas with a scene from the Nativity story that reminds us of the joys of the season: family, togetherness, and the birth of the baby Jesus. It continues the U.S. Postal Service's tradition of issuing beautiful and timeless Christmas stamps and will be a treasured addition to cards and letters sent during this season of goodwill and sharing.

    Reenactments and commemorations of this episode are enduring traditions. Medieval mystery plays — dramas based on biblical stories that were performed in towns across Europe from the 14th to 16th centuries — featured the Flight into Egypt as part of their Nativity cycle. Christmas pageants today reenact the Holy Family's flight, with portrayals ranging from simple children's plays to elaborate live nativity scenes. Other celebrations include the Feast of the Holy Family, observed by the Roman Catholic Church during the Christmas season, and the Coptic Orthodox Church's Feast of the Escape of the Holy Family to Egypt, commemorated each year in June.

    Legends about the Flight into Egypt have inspired artists from Raphael to Rembrandt to imagine and illustrate the Holy Family's journey. Their flight has been rendered in other forms as well: stained glass windows, frescoes, sculptures, wall hangings, and woodcarvings, among others.

    The escape of the Holy Family is also commemorated in music, with compositions such as the 19th-century work The Childhood of Jesus by Hector Berlioz, or the traditional Irish carol “The Flight into Egypt.” Composer John Harbison won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his work for chorus and orchestra, Flight into Egypt, Sacred Ricercar.

    Working together, art director William J. Gicker, designer Greg Breeding, and artist Nancy Stahl created an evocative new image of the Holy Family. The stamp illustration shows Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky.”



    2) Santa and Sleigh: Their secular Christmas stamps are usually favorites of mine with colorful designs and a spirit of joy & happiness. This years were great as always!

    The post office says:
    "These cheerful Santa and Sleigh stamps portray Santa Claus flying through the air in his sleigh. With a cargo of toys and gifts produced in his workshop by elves, he lands on the rooftop of house after house and slides down the chimney to leave presents for girls and boys of all ages.

    Santa's annual journey is joyfully captured in this block of four holiday stamps, with two rows of two stamps each presenting a “classic” image of Santa and his reindeer circling around snow-covered rooftops.

    Though his roots go much further back, the modern Santa Claus, the giver of gifts, captured the American imagination in the Revolutionary War era. At that time, understandably critical of English traditions, people looked to the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas for cultural cues and seasonal inspiration. Since then, Santa has become more popular, and is today beloved by millions of children who write him letters, track his progress on the Internet, and leave him milk and cookies as tokens of their esteem.

    To their cards and letters and yours, these stamps will add a dash of holiday merriment. Double-check your mailing list so you don't forget anyone nice!

    And to help make sure Santa visits children who might not otherwise have any gifts to open at Christmas, join “Operation Santa.” Here's how it works: Register at any participating U.S. Post Office and read letters to Santa from participating boys and girls. Select a letter and provide gifts for the writer! Operation Santa observes its 100th anniversary in 2012. Although USPS began receiving letters addressed to Santa more than 100 years ago, it was in 1912 that Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters. This program became known as Operation Santa. Today, hundreds of thousands of elves across the country are helping Santa make his rounds!

    Artist Paul Rogers worked with art director Howard Paine to create this block of four holiday stamps. These computer-generated images were originally drawn in pencil on paper."



    3) Lady Bird Johnson: Yay! This gracious woman who is responsible for so much natural beauty along our nations byways and highways is long overdue a stamp!

    The post office says:
    "The sheet features six stamps, a new stamp which reproduces the official White House portrait of the First Lady painted in 1968, and adaptations of five stamps issued in the 1960s that encouraged participation in the President and Mrs. Johnson's campaign, “Plant for a More Beautiful America.” Also included is a quote from Mrs. Johnson reflecting her belief that the environment is our common ground and a black-and-white image of the First Lady taken from a family photograph shot in 1963 by Yoichi Okamoto.

    The five engraved stamps originally issued in 1966 and 1969 have been adapted for printing in offset lithography. The top stamp reads “Plant for more Beautiful Streets” and shows a row of blooming crab apple trees along a paved suburban road. The second from the top offers encouragement to “Plant for more Beautiful Parks,” with an image of a field of daffodils along the Potomac River with the Washington Monument in the background. “Plant for a more Beautiful America,” the center stamp, depicts the Jefferson Memorial in the background seen through branches of flowering cherry blossoms. The fourth stamp is a scene of yellow and blue wildflowers along a highway with the caption, “Plant for more Beautiful Highways.” The last stamp, which reads “Plant for more Beautiful Cities,” shows plantings of pink and red azaleas and white tulips with the U.S. Capitol in the distance.

    Mrs. Johnson championed the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, often referred to as “Lady Bird's Bill.” She remained committed to highway beautification after leaving the White House, supporting legislation that allocated federal funds for landscaping projects using native plants, flowers, and trees along the nation's highways. After returning to Texas, Mrs. Johnson continued her work for environmental and conservation causes. She led a campaign in her adopted hometown of Austin to create a trail by the city's lake. The lake, beloved by city residents, was renamed in her honor after her death, something she was too modest to allow during her lifetime.

    Mrs. Johnson's most lasting legacy was the creation of the National Wildflower Research Center. Founded on her 70th birthday, the center—now the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center—continues to be a national leader in research, education, and projects that encourage the use of wildflowers and native plants. She maintained an active and direct involvement with the center, giving it her considerable time, talent, and treasure until her death.

    Fulfilling her deep personal beliefs, Mrs. Johnson strove throughout her life to “keep the beauty of the landscape as we remember it in our youth...and to leave this splendor for our grandchildren.” She inspired generations to see that one person, at any age, can make a difference and that young people and the environment hold our greatest hopes for tomorrow.

    Prepress artist Paloma Alcalá adapted the original engraved stamps that featured art by Walter D. Richards (four stamps, issued in 1969) and Gyo Fujikawa (center stamp, issued in 1966). Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the sheet."

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!

    The first new stamp to be issued in 2013 ...

    and the winner is ...




    The Emancipation Proclamation: Definitely stamp worthy and I'm surprised they waited this long!

    The USPS says:
    "With the 2013 Emancipation Proclamation (Forever®) stamp, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln signed on January 1, 1863.

    Lincoln's proclamation, issued nearly two years into the Civil War, declared that all slaves in the rebel states of the Confederacy “are, and henceforward shall be free.” In addition, the document authorized the recruitment of black soldiers into the Union army. Their courage in battle and contributions to the Union's ultimate victory greatly influenced the nation to adopt the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, outlawing slavery forever.

    “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free,” Lincoln wrote in a message to Congress one month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation. A nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” at last began the journey toward true liberty and justice for all.

    Art director Antonio Alcalá worked with graphic designer Gail Anderson of New York City to produce the stamp. To evoke the look of broadsides from the Civil War era, they employed Hatch Show Print of Nashville, Tennessee, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America.

    The Emancipation Proclamation stamp is one of a civil rights set being issued in 2013. The Postal Service is issuing two other stamps in 2013 to commemorate significant anniversaries in the struggle for African-American civil rights. One of them celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Parks; the other has not been unveiled at the time of this writing. "

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!

    I do like the idea of 'forever' stamps! Saves you a few pennies every time the postage goes up!

    I liked the Santa and his reindeer stamp!

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!

    stamps are a work of art.

    Patsy

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!

    Agree about the forever stamp, I've got Christmas stamps of different denominations scattered around that I'll never use because the price has gone up several times since I've bought them... that and I just don't bother mailing cards out anymore. I'd hate to see the postal service closed.

    Love the Lady Bird collection, those are lovely.

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!



    Kaleidoscope Flowers

    What's not to like about floral stamps? These do remind me a little of a kaleidoscope but moreso of the old Spirograph drawing kits. Anyone else remember those? I could & did spend hours on them! These designs also remind me of some quilt patterns.

    The USPS says:
    "Spring flowers, state flowers, wildflowers — these are but a few of the many botanical subjects on stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Flowers are among the most popular subjects for collectors and the stamp-buying public. In a modern twist on a perennial favorite, the Kaleidoscope Flowers stamps combine the allure of flowers with the impact of modern computer graphics.

    The set of four stamps depict the same contemporary flower drawing, with each stamp featuring one of four different color combinations: red and blue, green and purple, orange and violet, or pink and green. Some of the color combinations create the illusion that patterns recede or come forward, giving the stamps a dramatic visual appeal. The lines and curves of the drawing are reminiscent of a kaleidoscope flower—familiar, yet at the same time utterly distinctive.

    Designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, Kaleidoscope Flowers features the work of graphic artists Petra and Nicole Kapitza."

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!

    I like the stamps that talk about "Liberty".

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!



    Year of the Snake

    I like it even though the firecrackers resemble a cluster of sausages hanging in a butcher shop! We used to call it Chinese New Year but any more I only see it referred to as Lunar New Year. That must be the preferred term these days.

    The USPS says:
    "Welcoming the New Year with a bang, the U.S. Postal Service 2013 Year of the Snake (Forever®) stamp features a bundle of firecrackers colored red for luck. The Year of the Snake stamp is sixth of twelve stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year Series. The Year of the Snake begins on February 10, 2013, and ends on January 30, 2014.

    Across many cultures, in the United States as elsewhere, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various ways, often with parades and parties. Firecrackers are traditionally used to scare off evil spirits and welcome this time of renewed hope for the future. Lucky foods are eaten—kumquats, for example (issued in 2011)—and given as gifts. Festive lanterns, colored red for luck (issued in 2008), are common decorations at Lunar New Year celebrations, where they are frequently hung in rows.

    Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps—Clarence Lee's intricate paper-cut design of a snake and the Chinese character for “Snake,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun—art director Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience."

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!



    Just in time for Valentine's Day! This is a little different from their usual Love stamps and I really like this one. I didn't know that about the color blue being the color of love in bygone times as described below!

    The USPS says:
    "Evoking the romance of a bygone era, the U.S. Postal Service 2013 Sealed with Love (Forever®) stamp expresses the joy and beauty of handwritten love letters.

    The stamp art depicts an envelope fastened with an elegant wax seal. The seal, in shades of red, is a small heart enclosed inside a larger heart, both surrounded by a graceful filigree circle. The exquisite delicacy of the stamp art invites us to send our own love letters, a romantic gesture that never goes out of style.

    The Victorians were ardent letter writers and believed that there was a proper way to compose letters, particularly love letters. Etiquette manuals aided Victorian romantics in penning appropriate letters to their beloveds. While these books reflected the Victorian obsession with propriety, the senders still wished to make their feelings known, and there was a precise etiquette for using sealing wax. Although today red is the color most associated with passion, in the mid-1800s, blue was the color of love, with wax of various shades denoting the degree of emotion felt by the sender.

    Graphic designer Louise Fili worked with art director Derry Noyes on this stamp. Jessica Hische was the illustrator."

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    Re: Say it with a Stamp!

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    I think this is a good likeness of Mrs. Parks. She's a perfect example of how one simple act can inspire a tidal wave of action!


    The USPS says: The U.S. Postal Service 2013 Rosa Parks (Forever®) stamp honors the life of this extraordinary American activist who became an iconic figure in the civil rights movement. In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks courageously refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man, defying the discriminatory laws of the time.

    The stamp art, a gouache painting on illustration board, is a portrait of Parks emphasizing her quiet strength. A 1950s photograph served as the basis for the stamp portrait.

    The response to Parks's arrest was a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted for more than a year and became an international cause célèbre. In 1956, in a related case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that segregating Montgomery buses was unconstitutional.

    Soon after the boycott ended, Parks moved to Detroit, Michigan. She joined the 1963 march on Washington and returned to Alabama in 1965 to join the march from Selma to Montgomery. The many honors Parks received in her lifetime include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1966), the Spingarn Medal (1979), and the Congressional Gold Medal (1999). Upon her death in 2005, she became the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC.

    Artist Thomas Blackshear II created an original painting for the stamp, which was designed by art director Derry Noyes.

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