US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Forever Hearts pair share love with lettering

January 01, 2015 08:17 PM

  • The United States Postal Service will issue two Love stamps in a single pane of 20 on Jan. 22.

  • Artist Jessica Hische previously illustrated the U.S. Love stamps issued in 2012 (Love Ribbons) and 2013 (Sealed with Love).

Love really is forever, judging by a pair of new United States stamps being issued Jan. 22.

The two stamps designed and illustrated by Jessica Hische each show the word “forever” spelled out with ornamental letters decoratively arranged into a heart-shaped pattern.

The letters are each embellished with curling lines to fill out the shape of the heart.

Along the bottom of each stamp is the smaller unadorned inscription “USA” followed once again by “FOREVER.”

One stamp has white lettering against a red background, and the other stamp is reversed, with red lettering on a white background.

The two stamps, of course, are forever stamps fulfilling the current 49¢ postage rate for domestic letter mail, but the forever heart design is intended to convey emotion more than postage value.

Also credited with the stamp design is U.S. Postal Service art director Antonio Alcala.

The Forever Hearts stamps are gravure-printed and will be issued in a single pane of 20 that arranges the two designs in a checkerboard pattern across the pane.

A first-day ceremony is planned for Richmond, Va., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, but ceremony details and a starting time were not immediately available from the Postal Service.

This is the third U.S. Love stamp design for Hische, a freelance illustrator and letterer based in San Francisco, Calif.

The 2012 Love Ribbons forever stamp shows her illustration of the word “Love” spelled out with curling ribbon (Scott 4626). Hische also illustrated the 2013 Sealed with Love forever stamp; her design conveys an envelope flap closed with a red wax seal containing a heart set within a circle of delicate curling ornamentation (4741).

For the new stamps, the Postal Service said: “Artist Jessica Hische created the lettering that forms the heart, first drawing her designs by hand and then finishing the stamp art digitally. The red and white color scheme works well with other colors and adds a timeless feel to the design, which resembles filigree.”

The stamp pair is being issued roughly three weeks before Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) so mailers will have an opportunity to use the new stamps on any cards they might like to send.

The Postal Service suggests the stamps are also appropriate for wedding invitations, baby announcements, anniversary cards, party invitations, “or any occasion that calls for a classic, timeless stamp.”

The Postal Service is also creating two varieties of six-pane (120-stamp) press sheets in quantities of 1,000 each: one with the die cuts that normally separate individual stamps, and one without die cuts.

A standard black first-day postmark with circular datestamps and black killer bars will be offered. The text on a digital color postmark, available on a blank white envelope sold by the Postal Service, resembles the lettering in the stamp, but it spells out the word “Hearts” in red. The word “forever” appears in smaller black letters, and four tiny hearts are included as part of the pattern (two red and two black).

Technical details and first-day cancel ordering information for the Forever Hearts stamps can be found in the box below.

Nondenominated (49¢) FOREVER HEARTS forever stamps

FIRST DAY— Jan. 22, 2015; city— Richmond, Va., and nationwide.

DESIGN: illustration, designer, typographer Jessica Hische, San Francisco, Calif.; designer, typographer and art director— Antonio Alcala, Alexandria, Va.; modeler— CCL Label Inc.; engraver— WRE; series— Love.

PRINTING: process— gravure; printer and processor— CCL Label Inc., Clinton, S.C.; press— Dia Nippon Kiko; inks— red, silver; paper— nonphosphored type III, block tagging; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 200 million stamps; format— pane of 20, from 120-subject cylinders; size— 0.77 inches by 1.05 inches (image); 0.91 inches by 1.19 inches (overall); 5.5 inches by 5.75 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “C” followed by two single digits; marginal markings— plate numbers in four corners (front); “©2014 USPS,” USPS logo, bar code 588500; USPS item No.— 588504.

First-day cancel ordering information

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 Love: Forever Hearts Stamps, Postmaster, Richmond Post Office, 1801 Brook Road, Richmond, VA 64121-9014. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by March 23.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted set of two first-day covers for the Forever Hearts stamps is USPS item No. 588516 at $1.86. USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2015 U.S. Stamp Program.