Eight Vintage Circus Posters stamps May 5 in Sarasota, Fla.

The United States Postal Service will issue eight Vintage Circus Posters stamps on May 5, but the artwork has not yet been revealed. This 1966 5¢ Circus stamp was issued to mark the 100th anniversary of John Ringling’s birth.

By Jay Bigalke

The United States Postal Service will issue eight commemorative forever stamps May 5 showing vintage circus posters.

USPS officials initially indicated there were 16 different designs, but that information appears to be incorrect.

The designs for the stamps have not been revealed and might be kept under wraps until the ceremony. It is possible, though, that single stamps from the pane will be shown earlier.

“With this issuance the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the large, colorful pieces of early 20th-century circus poster art that showcased eye-catching imagery of stunts, performers, and animals,” stated the Postal Service.

The first-day ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in front of Ca’ d’Zan at Ringling, at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Fla.

Technical details for the Vintage Circus Posters stamp set describe two different non-standard stamp sizes being used. The horizontal stamps measure 2 inches across by 1.46 inches down and the vertical stamps measure 1.12 inches by 1.46 inches.

The pane selvage uses an image of the entrance to a circus. Notable circus photographer Edward J. Kelty took the picture in 1937. Verso text on the back of the stamp pane will include the history and purpose of circus posters.

The stamps were designed by Jennifer Arnold working with USPS art director Greg Breeding.

Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products printed 60 million Vintage Circus Posters stamps.

Press sheets, both with and without die cuts, are available for the Vintage Circus Posters stamp issue. Each press sheet consists of six panes and sells for $47.04. A total of 2,500 press sheets of each type were printed.

This will be the fourth U.S. stamp issue with a circus theme.

A 5¢ stamp in 1966 marked the 100th anniversary of John Ringling’s birth (Scott 1309). In 1990, a 5¢ Circus Wagon coil stamp was issued as part of the Transportation definitive series (2452).

A block of four 29¢ Circus stamps was issued in 1993 (Scott 2750-2753).

Technical details for the Vintage Circus Posters stamps are provided in the box nearby.

Nondenominated (49¢) Vintage Circus Posters forever stamps

FIRST DAY— May 5, 2014; city— Sarasota, Fla.; and nationwide.

DESIGN: designer and typographer— Jennifer Arnold; art director— Greg Breeding; modeler— Donald Woo.

PRINTING: process— offset, microprint “USPS”; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black; paper— phosphor tagged overall; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 60 million stamps; format— pane of 16, from 96-subject cylinders; size— 1.85 inches by 1.32 inches (horizontal stamp image); 0.98 inches by 1.32 inches (vertical stamp image), 2 inches by 1.46 inches (horizontal stamp overall), 1.12 inches by 1.46 inches (vertical stamp overall), 7.75 inches by 9.25 inches (pane); plate numbers— none; marginal markings— “©2014 USPS,” USPS logo, plate position diagram, bar code 472100, promotional text, verso text (back); USPS item No.— 472100.

First-day cancel ordering information

Standard ordering instructions apply. Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Vintage Circus Posters Stamps, Postmaster, 1661 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34230-9998. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by July 4.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted set of eight first-day covers for the Vintage Circus Posters stamps is item No. 472116 at $7.44.

Published 4/10/2014 3:35 PM