US Stamps

Flying the flag sideways

Apr 10, 2023, 1 PM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Linn’s reader Jim Havlena of Fort Bragg, Calif., noticed on his incoming mail that several mailers had placed the 2022 United States Flags forever stamps sideways, as shown nearby.

That stamp was issued Jan. 9, 2022, in various formats (Scott 5654-5659). The second image above shows a coil stamp (5656) in the correct position.

Havlena said of the cover: “As you can see, the stamp is affixed 90-degrees from its normal expected upright position. I have seen this 90-degree situation before. My unscientific guess is that somewhere between one of eight or ten covers have this stamp placed in the 90-degree position. Is it possible that the design of this flag stamp is confusing folks?”

While the answer would not count for much in the scheme of things, I am reminded of how flags are often displayed outside hotels sticking out from the buildings rather than on upright flag poles.

From that perspective, I can discern how some would see the flags on the stamp as being in the sideways position.

Here is how the USPS saw the design and described it in an announcement of the stamps: “The stamp art is a painting of three flags in a circular formation, reminiscent of the 50 flags encircling the Washington Monument. The artist used three separate photographs of the same flag taken seconds apart as reference and stitched together the images into a single composition.”

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