US Stamps

Ansel Adams stamps first-day and dedication events

Jun 11, 2024, 8 AM

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

The new Ansel Adams forever stamps issued May 15 resonated with me, probably because I have always had a soft spot for black-and-white photography.

When the May 15 first-day ceremony for the stamps was announced, I knew I wanted to be there. So I booked a trip to California to be in Yosemite Valley for what turned out to be a warm, sunshine-filled day. The setting for the ceremony was beautiful with the historic Yosemite post office nearby and Yosemite Falls in the background. Nearby you can see the waterfalls in the photo I took at the unveiling of the 16 Ansel Adams stamps.

More than 300 people made the journey to Yosemite to attend the stamp event, and my biggest surprise was when the post office opened at 8:30 a.m., there was already a line of about 15 people waiting to purchase the new stamps.

“I think he would love it,” Matthew Adams, Ansel Adams’ grandson, said about the stamp issue. “He would absolutely be honored by it.”

Matthew also told Linn’s that grandparents Ansel and Virginia would mail him cards for birthdays when he was a child.

He also shared this parting thought: “I think he would really want people to do everything they could to protect the environment so that these places can be enjoyed for hundreds of years.”

Regional postal officials in Colorado also decided to have a dedication for the new stamps in Aspen. The reason for the dedication was that the lower left stamp on the pane of 16 shows the iconic Maroon Bells landscape in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The photograph nearby shows the dedication ceremony held in front of the Aspen post office on May 23.

After the dedication, late in the afternoon, I made the multi-hour journey to Maroon Bells as the mountainous location isn’t that close to downtown Aspen.

I took a pane of the stamps with me and photographed it with the majestic peaks in the background. As philatelist and now Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee member Graham Beck might call it on his social media posts, the experience was a bit of “extreme philately.”

At Maroon Bells, it was snowing lightly, which was neat, but for May 23, quite bizarre. The drive to Aurora, Colo., was largely snowy in the higher elevations.

The organizers of the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show May 24-26 in Aurora had expressed an interest in also doing a dedication ceremony for the stamps, and I was happy to assist.

The ceremony at the show on May 24 went well. The keynote speaker was Maggie Gaddis, executive director of the Colorado Native Plant Society. The second stamp from the left of the bottom row on the Ansel Adams pane depicts aspens in Colorado’s Dolores River Canyon.

Ceremony programs and pictorial postmarks were available for the Aspen and Aurora stamp events. All of the events so far for these stamps have proven to be excellent outreach for promoting stamp collecting and Linn’s.

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