US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Two U.S. stamps are making an unusual Sunday debut

January 22, 2017 02:00 PM

  • The $6.65 Liliuokalani Gardens Priority Mail stamp and $23.75 Gateway Arch stamp are being issued Jan. 22 without any ceremonies. A local ceremony for the Liliuokalani Gardens stamp will take place Jan. 23 in Hilo, Hawaii.

By Michael Baadke

With the Jan. 22 increase in postage rates comes a pair of new stamps for expedited mail services, including one that sets the record for the highest-denomination regular-issue postage stamp ever issued by the United States.

In an unusual move, the new stamps are being issued Jan. 22, a Sunday, which is the date of the postage rate increase.

The new costly stamp is the $23.75 Gateway Arch stamp, fulfilling the postage rate for Priority Mail Express flat-rate envelopes. It will be issued at the same time as the $6.65 Liliuokalani Gardens stamps for Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes.

The stamps are replacing the now-obsolete $22.95 Columbia River Gorge (Scott 5041) and $6.45 La Cueva del Indio (5040) stamps issued almost exactly one year ago. Those 2016 stamps are still valid for postage, of course, but require the addition of extra postage if used for the expedited flat-rate envelope service.

The two new stamps are both being issued in Kansas City, Mo., instead of St. Louis, Mo., and Hilo, Hawaii, where the Gateway Arch monument and the Liliuokalani Gardens are respectively located.

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The Sunday issue date presents a significant challenge for first-day cover collectors who prefer a first-day cancel from the location pictured on the stamp, rather than the underground warehouse from which the stamps are distributed.

There are no first-day ceremonies planned for the new stamps.

The Postal Service notes that a ceremony for the Liliuokalani Gardens stamp will take place Monday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m., at the Shoroan Tea House at Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo.

Hilo Postmaster Alton Uyetake, Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe, and Friends of the Liliuokalani Gardens President K.T. Cannon-Eger will participate in the ceremony to unveil an enlargement of the stamp, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

“While this is not a first-day-of-issue ceremony,” the USPS press release explained, “stamp sales and cancellations will take place.”

The new stamps continue the American Landmarks stamp series, which began in 2008 with stamps depicting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and Hoover Dam on the Arizona-Nevada border. The artist for all of the stamps in the series is Dan Cosgrove.

With the addition of the two new stamps, the series depicts 18 different natural or man-made sights from a dozen or so states and Puerto Rico. Here is a full list:

Each stamp in the series has fulfilled the rate in effect at the time for either the Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express (previously known as Express Mail) flat-rate envelopes. Because these rates have increased over time, the face value of each newly issued expedited mail stamp has also climbed. A 5¢ drop in the Priority Mail rate in 2010 provided the only exception.

According to the Postal Service technical details, the new stamps will be the first in this series to be issued in panes of four. The American Landmarks stamps were issued in panes of 20 from 2008 though 2011. In 2012, the $5.15 Priority Mail rate stamp was issued in panes of 20, and the $18.95 Express Mail stamp was issued in panes of 10. Since then, both the Priority Mail stamp and the Express Mail stamp have been issued in panes of 10.

Digital color postmarks have been prepared for both of the new stamps.

The Gateway Arch postmark shows the St. Louis skyline with the Arch prominent in the foreground. The Liliuokalani Garden postmark shows the red wooden shelter on a stone bridge depicted on the stamp.

“Built on land donated by Queen Lili‘uokalani (1838–1917), the last Hawaiian monarch to govern the islands, the gardens were dedicated in 1917 and named in her honor,” the Postal Service notes.

The Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, was completed in 1965, and is administered by the National Park Service.

Technical details and FDC ordering information for the new stamps can be found in the boxes on this page.

$23.75 Gateway Arch Priority Mail Express stamp

FIRST DAY— Jan. 22, 2017; city— Kansas City, Mo., and nationwide.

DESIGN: artist and typographer— Dan Cosgrove, Chicago, Ill.; designer and art director— Greg Breeding, Washington, D.C.; modeler— Joseph Sheeran.

PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Stevens variable-size security press; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black; paper— nonphosphored type III, block tagging; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 3 million stamps; format— pane of four; size— 1.42 inches by 1.085 inches (image); 1.56 inches by 1.225 inches (overall); 4.12 inches by 3.45 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “P” followed by four single digits; marginal markings— plate numbers (stamp side); “©2016 USPS,” plate position diagram, USPS logo, four bar codes, promotional text (back side); USPS item No.— 111300.

First-day cancel ordering information

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 FDOI-Gateway Arch Stamp, USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, 8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64144-9900.

Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by March 22.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Gateway Arch stamp is USPS item No. 111316 at $24.19. USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2017 U.S. Stamp Program.

$6.65 Liliuokalani Gardens Priority Mail stamp

FIRST DAY— Jan. 22, 2017; city— Kansas City, Mo., and nationwide.

DESIGN: artist and typographer— Dan Cosgrove, Chicago, Ill.; designer and art director— Greg Breeding, Washington, D.C.; modeler— Joseph Sheeran.

PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Stevens variable-size security press; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black; paper— nonphosphored type III, block tagging; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 12 million stamps; format— pane of four; size— 1.42 inches by 1.085 inches (image); 1.56 inches by 1.225 inches (overall); 4.12 inches by 3.45 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “P” followed by four single digits; marginal markings— plate numbers (stamp side); “©2016 USPS,” plate position diagram, USPS logo, four bar codes, promotional text (back side); USPS item No.— 119900.

First-day cancel ordering information

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 FDOI-Liliuokalani Gardens Stamp, USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, 8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64144-9900.

Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by March 22.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Liliuokalani Gardens stamp is USPS item No. 119916 at $7.09. USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2017 U.S. Stamp Program