Continuing its annual tradition of issuing Christmas stamps, the United States Postal Service will debut its Christmas Magi special forever stamp Nov. 19 in Washington, D.C.
The stamp will be issued in a double-sided pane of 20 (convertible booklet format).
The first-day ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1525 H St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Louis Guiliano of the Postal Service board of governors will serve as the dedicating official.
The Christmas Magi stamp is described by the Postal Service as picturing “the tale of three visitors from the east who came bearing gifts for Jesus.”
The Magi are often referred to as the wise men, or three kings. In the Bible, the story of the Magi is found in chapter 2 of the gospel of Matthew.
The stamp art depicts silhouettes of the three Magi atop camels on a small hill. A large star representing the star of Bethlehem appears at upper left in the evening sky.
The word “Christmas” is inscribed in large gold lettering at lower left, and the margin surrounding the design is also printed in gold.
USPS art director Greg Breeding designed the Christmas Magi stamp using an illustration by artist Nancy Stahl.
Stahl previously created the artwork for the similar Holy Family special forever stamp (Scott 4711, 4813) issued in 2012 as a double-sided pane of 20 and in 2013 as a pane of 20.
Banknote Corporation of America, under contract with Sennett Security Products, printed an initial quantity of 200 million Christmas Magi stamps in double-sided panes of 20.
Press sheets, both with and without die cuts, were produced in a quantity of 1,000 of each type. The sheet consists of eight panes of 20 stamps and sells for $78.40.
Technical specifications and first-day cancel ordering information for the Christmas Magi stamp are presented below.
Nondenominated (49¢) Christmas Magi forever stamp
FIRST DAY— Nov. 19, 2014; city— Washington, D.C., and nationwide.
DESIGN: artist— Nancy Stahl, New York, N.Y.; designer, art director and typographer— Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, Va.; modeler— Donald Woo.
PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— Pantone Matching System 8520 gold, cyan, magenta, yellow, black; paper— phosphor tagged, overall; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 200 million stamps; format— double-sided pane of 20 (convertible booklet format), from 160-subject cylinders; size— 0.77 inches by 1.05 inches (image); 0.91 inches by 1.19 inches (overall); 5.74 inches by 2.38 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “S” followed by five single digits; marginal markings— plate numbers, “©2014 USPS,” USPS logo, barcode; USPS item No.— 689704.
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 Christmas Magi Stamp, USPS Special Events, Box 92282, Washington, DC 20090-2282. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by Jan. 18.
The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Christmas Magi forever stamp is item No. 689716 at 93¢.