Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty reports on the long-distance space travels of the 1991 United States Pluto Not Yet Explored stamp and on two foreign stamps that have achieved Guinness world records.
Full video transcript:
Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for July 25, 2016.
What is the farthest a postage stamp has ever traveled? It is more than 3 billion miles ̶ or 3 billion 262 million 723 thousand and 132 miles to be more precise ̶ according to the Guinness World Records.
And this record, which was confirmed July 18, goes to the United States Postal Service’s 29¢ Pluto Not Yet Explored stamp, part of the 1991 Space Exploration set.
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This stamp’s journey began a decade ago in 2006 when it was affixed to the New Horizons spacecraft, destined to explore Pluto and beyond, and launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The historic landmark of farthest distance traveled by a postage stamp was reached more than nine years later on July 14, 2015, when the spacecraft made its closest approach to Pluto.
The stamp’s journey is not yet finished, though, New Horizons has another billion miles to go to explore the Kuiper Belt at the edge of our solar system.
And, if you are wondering why a stamp is traveling in space, it is because its inscription “PLUTO Not Yet Explored” did not go unnoticed. Alan Stern, the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, has described this stamp and its inscription as a call to arms and a rallying cry for the mission to explore Pluto.
Stern and others associated with the New Horizons mission were on hand when the Postal Service issued its new Pluto – Explored forever stamps May 31 at a first-day ceremony held at World Stamp Show-New York. Stern said at the ceremony, “ … these new stamps recognize that Pluto has indeed been explored by the New Horizons spacecraft and revealed to be a complex and fascinating world.”
Several other stamp entries can be found on the Guinness World Records website, including two relatively recent stamps.
On March 8, 2014, Belgium issued a postage stamp with the most words on it. This International Women’s Day commemorative includes 606 complete words forming an image of a woman’s face. The text, which is in four languages, is from the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Liechtenstein Post achieved its world record in 2012 for the fastest-printed stamp. It took only 57 minutes and 50 seconds to print and release a souvenir sheet on Aug. 16, the opening day of the principality’s national stamp exhibition in 2012.
For Linn’s Stamp News and Scott catalogs, I’m Denise McCarty.