US Stamps

By Jay Bigalke and Michael Baadke

USPS reveals preliminary image of limited Circus souvenir sheet

September 25, 2014 04:00 PM

  • The mint three-stamp Circus souvenir sheet from the United States Postal Service will be available only with the purchase of The 2014 Stamp Yearbook. This book will sell for $64.95.

  • The $1 Clown stamp and the two 50¢ Circus Wagon stamp in the new sheet reuse the basic designs of these two stamps previously issued in 2014 and 1992.

  • Preliminary artwork for the cover of The 2014 Stamp Yearbook as shown on the USPS website in September. One of the stamps in the preliminary image, the 91¢ Ralph Ellison stamp, is not expected to be included with the yearbook purchase.

The United States Postal Service has revealed the design for the three-stamp Circus souvenir sheet that will be available in mint condition only with the purchase of The 2014 Stamp Yearbook, a USPS publication.

Postal Service officials caution that the souvenir sheet design is preliminary and subject to change.

The book is scheduled to go on sale in December. Pre-orders started Sept. 1. The book sells for $64.95 and is USPS item No. 991400.

The Circus souvenir sheet with three stamps — a $1 Clown stamp and two 50¢ Circus Wagon stamps — will be offered canceled on USPS first-day covers, according to Postal Service officials, but the mint sheet will be included with the yearbook purchase only, and will not be otherwise sold as a separate item.

The two 50¢ Circus Wagon stamps are intaglio printed and reuse the basic design of the 1992 5¢ Circus Wagon coil stamp (Scott 2452) issued as part of the Transportation Coil series.

The design of the $1 Clown stamp is very similar to the Barnum and Bailey Clown Poster forever stamp (Scott 4898) issued May 5 as part of the Vintage Circus Posters stamp set.

Comparing the newly revealed preliminary design of the $1 stamp with the issued forever stamp, one significant difference is the addition of text across the top of the design that reads, “Ringling Bros World’s Greatest Shows Combined with the.”

That new text leads into text that appears on both stamps: “Barnum and Bailey Greatest Show on Earth.”

The $1 stamp has a new “$1 USA” inscription in white at lower left. The forever stamp has “USA Forever” reading up from the lower right corner.

The souvenir sheet will have a die-cut selvage and decorative metallic ink border.

Along with the Circus souvenir sheet, the book will include 2014 stamps that previously were sold through the Postal Service.

“There are 15 stamp issues, 90 stamps, with a face value just under $45,” according to USPS spokeswoman Leisha Palmore-Drummond.

The face value of the 90 stamps totals $44.63. When subtracting that value from the yearbook selling price, $20.32 is left for the expense of the book and the stamp mounts.

The yearbook typically consists of illustrated descriptions of the stamps issued throughout the year, and includes the commemorative stamps with stamp mounts.

Full panes of the following issues are to be included with the new yearbook: Vintage Circus Posters (16 stamps), Civil War: 1864 (12 stamps), War of 1812: Fort McHenry (20 stamps), and an “as-yet unannounced” pane of 20.

Multiple stamps will be included for the Wilt Chamberlain issue (2), Celebrity Chefs (5), Medal of Honor: Korean War (2), and Farmers Markets (4).

Single stamps will be included for the Shirley Chisholm, Harvey Milk, Charlton Heston, Janis Joplin, Nevada Statehood and Year of the Horse issues.

Also included is the three-stamp souvenir sheet.

Not all of the 2014 stamps are included in the yearbook. Packets of what the Postal Service calls “mail use” stamps, which collectors identify as definitives and special stamps, will be offered separately.