The United States Postal Service issued a new flag-themed forever stamp Jan. 28 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner.
No ceremony is planned, but an Independence, Mo., first-day postmark is available.
The stamp design features a modern nighttime photograph by Gary Clark of fireworks over Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore.
The stamp was issued in double-sided panes of 20 and coils of 100. Ashton Potter produced both formats. CCL Label also produced coils of 100.
USPS spokesman Roy Betts told Linn’s that an “ATM format is not currently needed nor scheduled.”
Other contractors will print this same stamp design, and those varieties are scheduled for March.
It might take a while for local post offices to stock the new stamps. An announcement in the Jan. 23 issue of the USPS Postal Bulletin indicated that there would be no automatic distribution of the new stamps to post offices.
Post offices that want to carry the stamps must specifically request them from their designated stamp distribution office.
Collectors who want to obtain the new stamps soon after the issue date can order them through the USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services division by telephoning 800-782-6724 and using the item numbers assigned to each variety, as provided in the technical details box on this page.
First-day cancel information for the new Star-Spangled Banner forever stamps also appears on page 12.
After the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that later became the national anthem. The National Park Service’s website for the monument says: “After 25 hours of continuous bombing, the British decided to leave since they were unable to destroy the fort as they had hoped. Realizing that the British had ceased the attack, Key looked toward the fort to see if the flag was still there. To his relief, the flag was still flying! Quickly, he wrote down the words to a poem which was soon handed out as a handbill under the title Defence of Fort McHenry. Later, the words were set to music, and renamed The Star Spangled Banner. It became a popular patriotic song. It was not until March 3, 1931, however, that it became our national anthem.”
Key is honored on a 1948 3¢ stamp (Scott 962).
Nondenominated (49¢) Star-Spangled Banner stamp; double-sided pane of 20 and coils of 100
FIRST DAY— Jan. 28, 2014; city— Independence, Mo., and nationwide.
DESIGN: existing photograph— Gary Clark; designer, art director and typographer— Phil Jordan, Falls Church, Va.
Double-sided pane of 20 format
DESIGN: modeler— Joseph P. Sheeran.
PRINTING: process— offset, microprinted “USPS”; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Mueller Martini A76; inks— black, cyan, magenta, yellow; paper— nonphosphored type II, tagged; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 1 billion stamps; format— double-sided pane of 20, from 1,040-subject cylinders; size— 0.73 inches by 0.84 inches (image); 0.87 inches by 0.98 inches (overall); 5.52 inches by 1.96 inches (pane); plate numbers— “P” followed by four single digits; marginal markings— header “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Twenty First-Class Forever Stamps,” “©2013 USPS,” bar code, plate numbers; USPS item No.— 689004 (double-sided pane of 20).
Coil of 100 by Ashton Potter
DESIGN: modeler— Joseph P. Sheeran.
PRINTING: process— offset, microprinted “USPS”; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Mueller Martini A76; inks— black, cyan, magenta, yellow; paper— nonphosphored type III, tagged; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 1.5 billion stamps; format— coil of 100, from 744-subject cylinders; size— 0.73 inches by 0.84 inches (image); 0.87 inches by 0.98 inches (overall); plate numbers— “P” followed by four single digits, every 31st stamp; marginal markings— none; USPS item No.— 789904 (Ashton Potter coil).
Coil of 100 by CCL Label Inc.
DESIGN: engraver— WRE; modeler— CCL Label Inc.
PRINTING: process— gravure; printer and processor— CCL Label Inc., Clinton, S.C.; press— Dia Nippon Kiko; inks— yellow, magenta, cyan, black, Pantone Matching System 665 purple; paper— nonphosphored, type III, overall tagged; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 1.5 billion stamps; format— coil of 100, from 480-subject cylinders; size— 0.73 inches by 0.84 inches (image); 0.87 inches by 0.98 inches (overall); plate numbers— “C” followed by five single digits, every 21st stamp; marginal markings— none; USPS item No.— 789903 (CCL Label coil).
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 Star-Spangled Banner Stamp, Independence Station, 301 W. Lexington Ave., Independence, MO 64050-9998. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by April 2.
The Postal Service’s first-day cover for the Star-Spangled Banner stamp is item No. 689016 for the booklet stamp and 789916 for either coil stamp, at 93¢ each.