By Michael Baadke
The United States Postal Service is going into space in 2016, with four new forever stamps commemorating Star Trek on its 50th anniversary, and another set celebrating the planets of our solar system and the recent New Horizons flyby of Pluto.
Another space-theme issue will be a new global forever stamp picturing the moon.
On Dec. 29, USPS acting director of Stamp Services Mary-Anne Penner conducted a press conference online to review the agency’s planned stamp subjects for 2016. She introduced more than 20 new subjects that will appear on stamps during the year.
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Included among these are new high-denomination Priority Mail and Priority Express Mail stamps that will be issued Jan. 17.
Her first revelation was a Legends of Hollywood stamp honoring child film star Shirley Temple, who grew up to be Shirley Temple Black, a prominent diplomat who served as ambassador to Ghana, and later to Czechoslovakia, and a U.S. representative to the United Nations.
Shirley Temple Black died at age 85 on Feb. 10, 2014.
The waiting period for honoring individuals on U.S. postage stamps, formerly 10 years after death, then reduced to five years, is no longer observed by the Postal Service.
Here are the details of what will be issued in the coming year. Penner began by introducing the commemorative stamps for 2016. They are presented here roughly in the order in which they are expected to be released over the course of the year. Most stamps were introduced with no specific issue date provided. All are nondenominated forever stamps unless otherwise noted.
Shirley Temple. The Legends of Hollywood stamp for 2016 will show the young film star in a portrait based upon her starring role in the 1935 film Curly Top. The stamp will be issued in a pane of 20, with a selvage image from her 1934 short feature, Managed Money.
Eid Greetings. A new stamp with a horizontal orientation continues the theme of gold calligraphy against a solid color background for the Eid forever stamps. The purple stamp celebrates the Eid festivals taking place in July and September and celebrated in the Muslim community. To the right of the script is the symbol of an olive branch, representing hospitality, according to Penner.
Views of Our Planets. A pane of 16 stamps with eight different full color designs picturing Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune against black backgrounds.
Pluto — Explored! A four-stamp souvenir sheet with two different designs, including a photo of Pluto, the distant dwarf planet recently explored during a flyby of the NASA New Horizons spacecraft. The second stamp shows the spacecraft itself.
World Stamp Show-NY 2016. “Basically a mirror image of what we had before,” Penner said, with two panes of 12 showing designs similar to the forever stamps issued in 2015 in red and blue. Those earlier stamps were arranged checkerboard in a pane of 20. The new stamps flip the color scheme by reversing the colors, so that the red stamp has red ink where the previous stamp was white, and white color where the previous stamp was red, and following suit with the blue stamp. These stamps will also be issued in separate panes of 12 that will only be sold together, Penner said, though she couldn’t describe exactly how the issues will be kept together.
Soda Fountain Favorites. A set of five stamps will be issued in a booklet of 20, Penner said, with stamps depicting a double-scoop ice cream cone, an egg cream, a banana split, a root beer float, and a hot fudge sundae. The Banana Split stamp is twice as wide as the other four stamps in preliminary art shown by Penner.
Star Trek. A set of four stamps will mark the 50th anniversary of the debut of the original Star Trek television series. The designs show the starship Enterprise within the Starfleet insignia, the silhouette of a crewman caught in a transporter beam, the Enterprise shown from above, and the Vulcan hand salute often used by one of the show’s leading characters, Mr. Spock, framing a view of the Enterprise in orbit around a planet.
Jack-o’-lanterns. Four different stamps showing smiling faces on carved pumpkins, the first stamps from the Postal Service specifically honoring Halloween.
Pick-up Trucks. Four different stamps in a booklet of 20 showing a 1938 International Harvester D-2, a 1953 Chevrolet, a 1948 Ford F-1, and a 1965 Ford F-100.
Nativity. An image of the Holy Family silhouetted against a dawn sky, with the word “Christmas” lettered below the scene.
Madonna and Child. A second stamp with a “Christmas” inscription, this one showing a 15th century Florentine portrait of Madonna and Child.
Hanukkah. A horizontal stamp with the image of a lit menorah shown in the window of a home, with snow-covered branches visible in the background. The word “Hanukkah” reads up along the left side of the design.
Kwanzaa. A new vertical design by artist Synthia Saint James, who created the first U.S. Kwanzaa stamp issued in 1997 (Scott 3175). The colorful image on this new stamp shows a woman with a selection of fruits and other harvest items. The stamp marks the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa, Penner noted.
Penner pointed out that contemporary Christmas stamps are also planned, but designs for those issues have not been finalized.
She then moved onto what she described as “mail use” stamps, often referred to as definitive stamps by collectors.
Columbia River Gorge. The $22.95 Priority Mail Express stamp features a design by artist Dan Cosgrove.
La Cueva Del Indio, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. This $6.45 stamp will fulfill the new rate for Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes. This stamp and the Columbia River Gorge stamp will be issued without ceremony on Jan. 17 in Washington, D.C.
La Cueva Del Indio stamped envelope. A $6.45 Priority Mail flat-rate stamped envelope.
U.S. Flag. A new vertical definitive will show a photograph of a full U.S. flag on a flagpole against a blue sky with clouds.
Red Pears. A 10¢ stamp showing artwork depicting two red pears against a white background. To be issued in January with no ceremony.
Albemarle Pippin Apples. A 1¢ stamp showing artwork of apples on a branch; format and issue date unknown.
Grapes. A 5¢ stamp showing artwork of two bunches of grapes on the vine with leaves; format and issue date unknown.
Moon. A single global forever stamp to be issued in a pane of 10, showing a photograph of the moon in a round stamp with a dark blue outer border.
Star Quilts. Two presorted first-class stamps showing quilt patters known as the Lone Star design. The patterns featured on the stamps were made by Amish quilt makers, according to Penner.
The three fruit-themed lower denomination stamps show very similar design styles, indicating that a new definitive series for these stamps in about to begin. Lower denomination stamps have been represented primarily by the American Design series since the 5¢ Toleware Coffeepot stamp was issued May 31, 2002 (Scott 3612).
The stamps described by Penner in her Dec. 29 presentation are in addition to a handful of 2016 stamps previously revealed by the Postal Service in August and reported by Linn’s Stamp News.