US Stamps

2021 federal duck stamp pictures lesser scaup drake

Jun 25, 2021, 9 AM
The federal duck stamp to be issued June 25 features artist Richard Clifton’s acrylic painting of a lesser scaup drake. Clifton’s artwork was selected as the winner of the 2020 federal duck stamp art contest that was held online Sept. 25-26, 2020.

By Charles Snee

Delaware artist Richard Clifton’s acrylic painting of a single lesser scaup drake is featured on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s federal duck stamp that will be issued June 25 in Spanish Fort, Ala.

Suzanne Fellows, chief of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Duck Stamp Office, told Linn’s Stamp News that an in-person first-day ceremony is not planned.

As the first day of issue gets closer, collectors can find additional details online.

The U.S. migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp, commonly known as the federal duck stamp, is issued annually by the Fish and Wildlife Service to serve as a permit for waterfowl hunting, and as a collectible for fans of wildlife art and conservation efforts.

Although not valid for postage, duck stamps are sold by the U.S. Postal Service at post offices (in single-stamp panes only) and through its Stamp Fulfillment Services division in Kansas City, Mo. They are also available at selected national wildlife refuges and sporting goods retailers and from Amplex Corporation.

Similar to last year, the new 2021 stamps are offset printed by Ashton Potter USA Ltd., in two self-adhesive formats: a pane of one and a pane of 20.

“Federal Duck Stamps are conservation revenue stamps; 98 percent of the purchase price goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat and purchase conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Wetlands acquired with Duck Stamp dollars help purify water, aid in flood control, reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities,” according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal duck stamp also serves as “a free pass into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said.

The artwork for each federal duck stamp has been chosen annually in a juried competition since 1949. The contest originally took place in Washington, D.C., but it is now held at a different location each year.

Artwork entered into the contest is judged by a panel of experts from different fields, and a winner is selected following a series of voting tabulations.

Of 138 entries submitted to the competition held online Sept. 25-26, 2020, seven entries (including Clifton’s) made it to the final round of judging. Eligible species for the 2020 duck stamp contest were the gadwall, brant, cinnamon teal, lesser scaup and red-breasted merganser.

Clifton also took top honors in the 2006 contest, when his painting of a pair of ring-necked ducks was selected to appear on the 2007 $15 duck stamp (Scott RW74).

On the June 25 issue date, a new junior duck stamp also will go on sale. The $5 stamp will picture a pair of hooded mergansers painted by 18-year-old artist Margaret McMullen of Kansas.

Funds raised from sales of the junior duck stamp are used to educate youngsters about wildlife and wetlands conservation and outdoor recreation.

Both the federal duck stamp and the junior duck stamp are listed under Hunting Permit Stamps in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. The federal duck stamps are also listed in Vol. 1A of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

Since the duck stamp program was established in 1934, sales of the federal duck stamp to hunters, bird-watchers, outdoor enthusiasts and collectors have raised more than $1 billion to conserve over 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife and provide countless opportunities for hunting and other wildlife-oriented recreation on public lands in the United States.

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