By Michael Baadke
The new Fanciful Flowers stamped postal card from the United States Postal Service is the latest to feature a nature design by Ohio-based artist Cathie Bleck.
The imprinted stamp shows the orange blossoms and green stems of a flower resembling a bellflower. A bee hovers over the blooms, and “USA FOREVER” is printed reading up the right side of the illustration.
The card is being issued July 31 in Clackamas, Ore., the site of the American Topical Association’s 66th annual National Topical Stamp Show.
The show is taking place July 31-Aug. 2 at the Monarch Hotel and Conference Center, 12566 SE 93rd Ave., in Clackamas, a Portland suburb.
Additional information about the show can be found on the ATA website.
A 9 a.m. first-day ceremony for the new postal card is scheduled at the show, in the conference center’s Sandy and Willamette rooms, according to the ATA website.
The Fanciful Flowers postal card will be made available in three formats: as a single postal card, as a paid reply postal card (two cards joined together), and as a sheet of 40 single cards (for machine printing).
Though the postage value is 35¢ (the postcard rate that went into effect May 31), the single card sells for 39¢, which incorporates a 4¢ added charge for the card itself.
The reply card sells for 78¢, and the sheet of 40 will cost $15.60.
The postal cards are all offset printed by Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. of Williamsville, N.Y. However, the three varieties are printed on three different presses, so specialist collectors might be able to spot some variations among the different cards.
The Fanciful Flowers postal card is the fourth U.S. postal card with an imprinted stamp design by artist Cathie Bleck.
The first, in 2007, was the 26¢ Pineapple postal card (Scott UX488). The Deer forever postal card followed in 2013 (UX644), and the Tree forever postal card was issued in 2014 (UX645).
The Postal Service notes, “From her studio in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Bleck creates designs with razor-sharp tools, carving delicate, fluid lines on ink-coated scratchboard that has a clay surface. She uses this richly textured scratchboard technique to depict various story tales that frequently involve nature and seem to imply a range of human experiences and emotions.”
Bleck designed the 2007 Earth Day poster and has had her illustrations featured in numerous publications, including Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The New Republic.
She received a 2005 gold medal from the Society of Illustrators.
Technical details and first-day cancel ordering information for the Fanciful Flowers forever postal card are given below.
Nondenominated (35¢) Fanciful Flowers forever postal card, reply card, sheet of 40
FIRST DAY— July 31, 2015; city— Clackamas, Ore., and nationwide.
DESIGN: artist— Cathie Bleck, Cleveland Heights, Ohio; designer, art director and typographer— Ethel Kessler, Bethesda, Md.; modeler— Joseph Sheeran.
Single postal card
PRINTING: process— offset; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Stevens Vari-size Security Press; paper— nonphosphored type III, block tagged; inks— black, cyan, magenta, yellow; quantity— 3.12 million cards; plate size— 18 cards per revolution; size— 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches (overall individual postal card); marginal markings— “©2015 USPS,” recycling logo; USPS item No.— 222100.
Paid reply postal card
PRINTING: printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Mueller Martini A76; quantity— 96,000 double-reply cards; plate size— 12 cards per revolution; size— 5.5 inches by 7 inches (overall individual reply card); marginal markings— “©2015 USPS,” recycling logo; USPS item No.— 228100.
Sheet of 40
PRINTING: printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Heidelberg Speedmaster; quantity— 2,500 sheets of 40; plate size— 40 cards per revolution; size— 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches (overall individual postal card from sheet); marginal markings— “©2015 USPS,” recycling logo; USPS item No.— 228400.
First-day cancel ordering information
Standard ordering instructions apply. Collectors are encouraged to purchase their own postal cards, which cost 39¢ each (single cards) or 78¢ (reply card). The cards should be addressed for return and placed in an envelope addressed to Fanciful Flowers Stamped Card, Marketing Manager, Portland District Marketing, Box 4029, Portland, OR 97208-4029. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by Sept. 29.
The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day covers for the Fanciful Flowers postal card are item 222116 at 51¢ for the single postal card, and item 228116 at 90¢ for the double-reply card.
More from Linns.com: