By Michael Baadke
Sixteen national parks from across the United States are featured in a new stamp pane being issued June 2.
A first-day ceremony for the set will take place at 11 a.m. during World Stamp Show-NY 2016 at the Javits Center in New York City. Postmaster General Megan Brennan is scheduled to be the U.S. Postal Service’s dedicating official at the ceremony, which is free and open to the public.
“These stamps celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and depict the beauty and diversity of these national treasures,” said Brennan. “They serve as an inspiration for Americans to visit, learn and to write cherished memories of their trips to these incredible wonders.”
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The nondenominated (47¢) forever stamps commemorate the establishment of the National Park Service, the result of an act signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
The stamp designs show full-color photographs or paintings of scenes from each park represented. Many of the designs bear some resemblance to the popular Scenic American Landscapes airmail stamps issued between 1999 and 2012 (Scott C133-C150). Several stamps from that earlier set also picture photographic images from national parks.
The Postal Service began revealing the individual stamp designs one a day beginning April 4 and extending over a three-week period. Linn’s pictured the individual stamps online and in the issues of April 24, May 2, May 9 and May 16.
The parks featured on the 16 stamps, beginning at top left on the pane, are Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska; Mount Rainier National Park, Washington; Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Vermont; Acadia National Park, Maine; Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; Assateague Island National Seashore, Virginia and Maryland; San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, California; Arches National Park, Utah; Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota; Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Washington, D.C.; Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico; Everglades National Park, Florida; Haleakala National Park, Hawaii; Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico; and Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida and Mississippi.
The stamp for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park shows a painting by Albert Bierstadt titled Scenery in the Grand Tetons, acknowledging Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The painting hangs in the study in the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller Mansion.
The image at the center of the stamp pane, rendered in light brown, shows the El Capitan rock formation at Yosemite National Park in California, in a detail from the 1934 1¢ green Yosemite stamp (Scott 740).
Text printed across the illustration states, “Our national parks tell distinctly American stories. Whether they inspire you to marvel at grand vistas, travel along scenic waterways and winding paths, or visit historic buildings and homes, discovery and exploration await.” Additional text is printed on the back of the pane.
The stamps and pane were designed by USPS art director Ethel Kessler. The stamps are arranged in two sizes on the pane, with six smaller vertical stamps measuring 0.91 inches by 1.19 inches (the same size as stamps on most double-sided panes of 20, convertible booklet format), and 10 larger horizontal stamps measuring 1.82 inches by 1.19 inches (a little larger than a typical commemorative, such as the Lunar New Year issue).
The Postal Service has received a large print run of 100 million National Parks commemorative stamps from contract printer Banknote Corporation of America.
A die-cut press sheet of the National Parks issue will be offered for $67.68. Each sheet (of 3,000 made) will consist of nine panes (144 stamps).
Technical details for the National Parks stamps, including photographer and artist credits, appear below, along with first-day cancel ordering information.
FIRST DAY— June 2, 2016; city— New York, N.Y., and nationwide.
DESIGN: photographers— David Muench (Acadia), Tom Till (Arches), Tim Fitzharris (Assateague), Richard McGuire (Carlsbad), Paul Marcellini (Everglades), Tom Bean (Glacier Bay), John Funderburk (Gulf Islands), Kevin Ebi (Haleakala), Cindy Dyer (Kenilworth), Matt Dieterich (Mount Rainier), Tim Campbell (San Francisco Maritime), QT Luong (Theodore Roosevelt), Art Wolfe (Yellowstone); artists— Helmuth Naumer Sr. (Bandlier), Thomas Moran (Grand Canyon), Albert Bierstadt (Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller); designer, art director and typographer— Ethel Kessler, Bethesda, Md.; modelers— Michelle Finn and Sandra Lane.
PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black, Pantone Matching System 4575 gold, PMS 4495 gold; paper— phosphor tagged, block tagging; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 100 million stamps; format— pane of 16 from 144-subject cylinders; size— 1.68 inches by 1.05 inches, 0.77 inches by 1.05 inches (image); 1.82 inches by 1.19 inches, 0.91 inches by 1.19 inches (overall); 7.25 inches by 7.25 inches (full pane); 21.75 inches by 21.75 inches (press sheet); plate numbers— none; marginal markings— “National Parks,” informational text (stamp side); “©2016 USPS,” USPS logo, bar code 560600 in two locations, promotional text, verso text (back side); USPS item No.— 560604.
Standard ordering instructions apply. 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 National Parks Stamps, Special Events Coordinator, 380 W. 33rd St., New York, NY 10199-9998.
Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by Aug. 2.
The Postal Service’s set of 16 uncacheted first-day covers for the National Parks stamps is item 560616 at $14.56. USPS item numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2016 U.S. Stamp Program.