United States stamp artist Clarence Lee has died at age 79, according to a Jan. 30 report by Gregg K. Kakesako in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Lee, who headed his own graphic design firm in Honolulu, created the cut-paper animal designs that appeared on the first Lunar New Year stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service from 1992 through 2006. Lee developed 12 different designs representing the 12 animals of the traditional Chinese calendar.
Each design was used on a new stamp from 1992 to 2004, and all 12 designs were offered in panes issued in 2005 and 2006.
In 2008 the Postal Service began a new series of Lunar New Year stamps with artwork by Kam Mak, but the new stamps issued annually since then also include a small version of Lee's cut-paper animal.
A Linn's Stamp News article published in the Feb. 2 issue provides details of the New Year forever stamps scheduled for Feb. 7, and mentions the inclusion of Lee's animal design.
Lee's designs are also incorporated into the digital color postmark that appears on recent Lunar New Year first-day covers marketed by the Postal Service.
Information about Lee's U.S. stamp designs appears on the Clarence Lee Design & Associates website.
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