By Michael Baadke
A 2¢ coil showing an illustration of a Meyer lemon is the seventh stamp in the United States Fruit definitive series.
The self-adhesive coil of 10,000 will be issued Jan. 19 in Kenner, La., a western suburb of New Orleans. It will go on sale nationwide that day.
The Crescent City Stamp Club is holding its 2018 Winter Stamp Fest and Postcard Show in Kenner on Jan. 19 and 20, at the Doubletree New Orleans Airport Hotel, 2150 Veterans Memorial Highway.
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The show’s organizers are planning a Friday first-day ceremony for the new stamp at 11 a.m. The ceremony participants will include Linn’s editor-in-chief Jay Bigalke as master of ceremonies, and keynote speaker Benjamin Xavier Becnel Sr., one of the largest citrus growers in Louisiana.
The show is taking place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, with 15 participating dealers, free appraisals, exhibits and free admission.
Although the Meyer Lemon coil stamp is manufactured in coils of 10,000, collectors should be able to purchase a smaller quantity for their collections from the Postal Service.
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services, which facilitates retail stamp sales online, by mail and by telephone, plans to offer a strip of 500 stamps at face value of $10, plus its standard shipping fee.
It is expected that the smaller quantity will be available only after the stamp is issued, and only by telephone or mail ordering as USPS item No. 760415.
Collectors can call 800-782-6724 for ordering information and additional details.
The Meyer Lemon stamp design is new to the ongoing Fruit definitive series, which began almost exactly two years ago on Jan. 17, 2016, when the 10¢ Red Pears stamp was issued in a coil of 10,000 (Scott 5039).
Other stamps have been issued depicting apples, grapes and strawberries, in various coils or in panes of 20.
The Fruit series is slowly replacing stamps from the American Design definitive series that debuted in 2002 with the 5¢ Toleware Coffeepot coil (Scott 3612). That earlier series produced some 20 major varieties of lower-denomination stamps with six different designs.
The seven stamps in the Fruit series (including the new 2¢ coil) have all featured what the Postal Service describes as “existing” artwork by John Burgoyne.
The illustration for the 2¢ coil is a detail from a print depicting eight different fruits. The print, titled Exotic Citrus, is published by the John Burgoyne studio.
Burgoyne’s illustration features a whole Meyer lemon and two wedges of cut fruit.
The illustration was created with ink and watercolor, according to the Postal Service. USPS art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.
Along with the seven stamps in the Fruit definitive series, Burgoyne also illustrated a set of four 33¢ Apples stamps issued Jan. 17, 2013, in a pane of 20 (Scott 4727-4730). The same four designs were also issued as coil stamps in a roll of 100 (4731-4734).
The four Apple varieties on this earlier issue depict the Baldwin, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Northern Spy varieties. The 33¢ denomination fulfilled the postcard rate at the time.
Amy Scattergood, food editor for the Los Angeles Times, once described the Meyer lemon as “plump, smooth-skinned, colored an unmistakable dark yellow — canary yellow, the color of egg yolks or the sun at noon,” and added, “they’re sweeter than other lemons, with an intoxicating aroma that has hints of honey and thyme.”
The Martha Stewart website says that the Meyer lemon is “less acidic than regular lemons, with thinner peels and a more floral scent.”
Collectors planning to submit covers for first-day cancels are reminded that each cover must be franked with the current first-class letter rate, which will be 50¢ on Jan. 21.