By Michael Baadke
The United States Postal Service has created a new vended postage label with a Holiday Cookies design. The nondenominated (49¢) forever postage label is offered through the self-service kiosks found in selected U.S. post offices.
Linn’s readers Len Nadybal and Tom McFarland provided details about the new label’s availability.
Nadybal told Linn’s that he learned the labels were made available to post offices on Oct. 10, and that the first reported sale date is Oct. 17.
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The vignette design shows several decorated holiday cookies, including some shaped like stars, Christmas trees and a snowman.
The image is an enlarged detail from the Deck the Halls Christmas stamp, which was issued Oct. 5 in New York City as part of a set of four Christmas Carols forever stamps.
The postage stamp, with artwork by Steve McCracken of Winchester, Va., shows a little more of the cookies on one-quarter of a round plate at the lower right corner, with the words “fa la la la la, la la la la” lettered around the edge of the plate. A section of a string of Christmas lights is seen at upper left against a dark blue background.
The forever postage label vended from the kiosk has just a close-up from the cookies illustration at right. At left is a matrix (two-dimensional) bar code, a string of 15 characters (the letter C followed by 14 digits on the two examples examined by Linn’s) and the printed word “FOREVER.”
Nadybal notes that the character string includes the date of purchase in four digits as the month and date. In the example pictured here, that is 10 19 for a stamp purchased Oct. 19.
Computer-vended labels with a holiday theme and forever denomination have been produced each year since 2012, when a mailbox filled with wrapped packages served as the theme (Scott CVP99). The label designs have corresponded to previously issued postage stamp designs each year.
The 2016 holiday label (Scott CVP100) shows a wreath in a window vignette adapted from one of the four Holiday Window Views forever stamps issued Oct. 6, 2016 (5143-5148), with artwork by William Low.
In recent years, the stamps with holiday themes have been removed from sale around the end of the year, when they are replaced with a United States Flag design (Scott CVP91) first issued in 2014.
Not all post offices have the self-service kiosk that dispenses the vended postage, and those that do might not have the Holiday Cookies design available.
Collectors interested in obtaining the new Holiday Cookies vended postage stamps can look online for a post office location that has the self-service kiosk installed.
Visit tools.usps.com and look for the Quick Tools link at upper left. Click the link and select Find USPS Locations from the choices that appear.
On the next screen, under Location Types, click the down arrow and select Self-Service Kiosks from the drop-down menu, enter a city and state (or ZIP code), select a distance radius for your search, and click on the search button.
Computer-vended postage stamps are listed in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.