US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

USPS announces joint issue with Japan in April

February 20, 2015 01:45 PM

  • Two United States forever stamps showing dogwood blossoms and cherry blossoms will be part of a joint stamp issue with Japan taking place April 10.

  • A social awareness forever stamp on the subject of missing children will be issued in May. The design shows forget-me-nots.

  • The Civil War series will end with stamps marking the 1865 Battle of Five Forks in Virginia and the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.

  • A forever stamp celebrating the upcoming Special Olympics in Los Angeles will be issued in April or May.

  • Three Medal of Honor stamps will be issued May 25 in a folded pane of 24 stamps (prestige folio format), with a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The United States and Japan will participate in a joint stamp issue April 10 to commemorate the 1915 gift of dogwood trees sent to Japan by President William Howard Taft.

The two U.S. forever stamps will show flowering dogwood blossoms on one and cherry blossoms on the other. The Cherry Blossoms stamp shows the Lincoln Memorial, while the Dogwood Blossoms stamp features the U.S. Capitol.

Taft’s gift was in response to Japan’s gift three years earlier of 3,000 cherry trees, which were planted in Washington, D.C.

Acting Director of USPS Stamp Services Cindy Tackett told reporters in a Feb. 13 telephone conference that each nation will issue the stamps in a pane of 12, with all stamps denominated in their own respective currency.

The U.S. stamps will be forever stamps. Ten stamps (five of each U.S. design) will be included in the pane, along with two additional forever stamps using the design of the two Japanese stamps.

Japan also will issue a pane of 12 stamps, with 10 showing the Japanese designs and two showing the two U.S. designs, all denominated in Japanese currency.

The new joint issue stamps resemble the two Cherry Blossom Centennial forever stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service March 24, 2012 (Scott 4651-4652), and the illustrations were created by the same artist, Paul Rogers.

The Postal Service is referring to this issue as Gifts of Friendship.

Missing Children

A new single social awareness stamp on the subject of missing children will be issued in May, Tackett said.

May 25 is observed as National Missing Children’s Day in the United States, and International Missing Children’s Day around the world, but the date of issue for the new stamp has not been determined.

The stamp design has a white background and shows a group of forget-me-not flower blossoms at left, and a single flower separated from the group at right.

The words “Forget-Me-Not” are inscribed across the top, and “Help Find Missing Children” is lettered near the bottom of the design.

Tackett acknowledged that the Postal Service is revisiting the missing children subject that was noted previously with the release of the 39¢ Amber Alert social awareness stamp in 2006 (Scott 4031).


On March 27 the Postal Service will issue a new variety of the Ferns coil forever stamps from 2014 (Scott 4874-4878).

The five designs of the Ferns issue will be offered in self-adhesive coils of 3,000 and 10,000.

According to Joe Brockert of USPS Stamp Services, the new stamps are offset-printed by Sennett Security Products.

The 2014 issue was gravure-printed by CCL Label.

No first-day ceremony is planned.

Civil War

Tackett revealed the designs for the two stamps that will conclude the Civil War commemorative series that began April 12, 2011, with two forever stamps marking the Battle of Fort Sumter and the First Battle of Bull Run (Scott 4522-4523).

Additional pairs of stamps in the series were issued in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The new forever stamps commemorate the 1865 Battle of Five Forks in Virginia, and the 1865 surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.

Tackett said that the stamps will be issued in an 11 a.m. ceremony April 9 in Appomattox, Va.

“Art director Phil Jordan selected historic paintings for the stamp designs,” the Postal Service noted. “The Battle of Five Forks stamp is a reproduction of a painting, circa 1885, by French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux. The Appomattox Court House stamp is a reproduction of the 1895 painting Peace in Union by Thomas Nast, depicting Robert E. Lee’s surrender.”

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Special Olympics

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games will take place in Los Angeles beginning July 25, and the Postal Service will issue a commemorative forever stamp for the Special Olympics in advance of the games.

It is the first time the World Summer Games have been held in the United States in 16 years.

“The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” according to the website of the Games.

The design by Greg Breeding features the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles logo, showcasing the colors of flags from participating countries.

“The logo’s celebratory figure represents the courage, determination and joy of our athletes,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of the 2015 Games.

“Placing the iconic image inside the circle represents acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.”

Medal of Honor

The third issue in a series of Medal of Honor stamps, commemorating Medal of Honor recipients from the war in Vietnam, will be introduced with a first-day ceremony May 25 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, according to Tackett.

The folded pane of 24 stamps, described as a prestige folio by the Postal Service, will be similar to the previous two Medal of Honor issues in this series for World War II (Scott 4822-4823) and the Korean War (Scott 4822a and 4823a).

This issue will differ, however, by offering three different stamps, adding a commemorative for the Medal of Honor designated for those serving in the Air Force.

The previous issues consisted of two different stamps only, for the Army and Navy (including Marine Corps) medals.

This format consists of a large sheet folded in half to form four separate pages. When folded, the pane design is 8½ inches wide by 7½ inches tall, according to the Postal Service.

The front and back of the folded pane will display photographs of 48 living recipients who agreed to be part of the Medal of Honor Vietnam War issuance.

The photographs on these pages surround a group of 12 forever stamps (24 total), consisting of the three different designs.

An interior page contains selvage text and a key to the individuals pictured, followed by a page with an alphabetical listing of those living individuals who agreed to be included, and of the deceased Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War.

Art director Antonio Alcala designed the prestige folio and the stamps, working with photographs of the medals by Richard Frasier.

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