US Stamps

United States 2019 stamp program includes stamps for Woodstock and USS Missouri

Nov 26, 2018, 4 PM

By Denise McCarty

The United States Postal Service will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival and the 75th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Missouri on stamps to be issued in 2019.

The Postal Service announced the subjects for its 2019 stamps on Nov. 20.

Mary-Anne Penner, the U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services executive director, said: “The miniature works of art illustrated in the 2019 stamp program offer something for everyone’s interest about American history and culture. From legendary poet Walt Whitman to the entertainment genius of Gregory Hines to the majestic beauty of our Wild and Scenic Rivers, this program is diverse and wide ranging and tells America’s story on stamps.”

The U.S. Postal Service’s press release listed the following 19 subjects for stamps to be issued in 2019. One postal stationery item also was announced. Unless otherwise stated, the stamps are forever stamps.

Hearts Blossom. A new stamp in the Love series features USPS art director Antonio Alcala’s design with the word “Love” in cursive script and 12 colorful hearts. The Postal Service reports that the design expresses “love’s joyful, bountiful nature,” and that the color palette (red, purple, orange and pink) “is intended to create a happy and positive feeling.”

Year of the Boar. The 12th and final stamp in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series that began in 2008 depicts pink peach blossoms on a branch based on a painting by Kam Mak. The Year of the Boar starts on Feb. 5, 2019, and ends Jan. 24, 2020.

Gregory Hines. The 42nd stamp in the Black Heritage series honors dancer, actor, singer, dancer Gregory Hines (1946–2003). The Postal Service said: “Hines developed the entertainment traditions of tap into an art form for a younger generation and is credited with renewing interest in tap during the 1990s.”

Designed by art director Derry Noyes, the stamp shows a 1988 photograph of Hines by Jack Mitchell.

Cactus Flowers. A booklet of 20 stamps (10 designs) will show John P. Schaefer’s photographs of the following cacti: Opuntia engelmannii, Rebutia minuscula, Echinocereus dasyacanthus, Echinocereus poselgeri, Echinocereus coccineus, Pelecyphora aselliformis, Parodia microsperma, Echinocactus horizonthalonius, Thelocactus heterochromus and Parodia scopa. Each stamp design is included twice in this booklet, designed by art director Ethel Kessler.

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Alabama Statehood. The 22nd state, Alabama, was admitted into the union on Dec. 14, 1819. The new stamp commemorating this bicentennial shows a photograph by Alabama photographer Joe Miller of sunset in Cheaha State Park, including a view of Talladega National Forest, which surrounds the park.

Greg Breeding designed the stamp using Miller’s photograph. The art director is William J. Gicker.

Marvin Gaye. The Music Icon series continues with a stamp honoring Marvin Gaye (1939-1984). Known as both the “Prince of Soul” and the “Prince of Motown,” Gaye was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

According to the Postal Service, the stamp design features a portrait of Gaye inspired by historic photographs. As with other stamps in this series, the stamp pane is designed to resemble a vintage 45rpm record sleeve. Art director Noyes designed the stamp pane with original art by Kadir Nelson.

USS Missouri. America’s last battleship, the USS Missouri 7 (BB-63) was commissioned June 11, 1944. The stamp commemorating the 75th anniversary depicts the ship in its “disruptive camouflage” period of 1941-45.

The Postal Service describes the artwork as a “digital illustration by Dan Cosgrove.” Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp. 

On Sept. 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered aboard USS Missouri, ending World War II. In addition to WWII, the ship saw combat in the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm.

Post Office Murals. A pane of 10 stamps shows five different murals (two of each design) created during the era of the Great Depression “designed to add a touch of beauty to Post Office walls and help boost the morale of Americans,” according to the Postal Service.

The Postal Service also reports that the town or city and state in which the work of art is located is printed underneath each mural on the designs. The murals pictured are Kiowas Moving Camp (1936) Anadarko, Okla.; Mountains and Yucca (1937) Deming, N.M.; Antelope (1939) Florence, Colo.; Sugarloaf Mountain (1940) Rockville, Md.; and Air Mail (1941) Piggott, Ark. Art director Alcala designed the stamps.

The U.S. Flag. Alcala also took the photograph that will appear on a new definitive stamp celebrating the American flag. According to the Postal Service, the photo shows “one of several [flags] on the flagpoles near the end of Chicago’s Navy Pier, waving in a May breeze.”

Wild and Scenic Rivers. A pane of 12 stamps showcases the nation’s rivers or river segments that have been designated within the Wild and Scenic Rivers System: the Merced, Owyhee, Koyukuk, Niobrara, Snake, Flathead, Missouri, Skagit, Deschutes, Tlikakila, Ontonagon and Clarion rivers.

Noyes designed the pane, using photographs of the rivers by Michael Melford, Tim Palmer, and Bob Wick (Bureau of Land Management photographer).

Walt Whitman. The 32nd stamp in the Literary Arts series commemorates the 200th birth anniversary of poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892). The stamp is for the 3-ounce rate and will include the words “Three Ounce” on the right side of the design.

The portrait of Whitman shown on the stamp is based on a photograph taken by Frank Pearsall in 1869. The Postal Service describes the hermit thrush on a lilac bush background as recalling “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln written by Whitman soon after Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865.”

The artwork on the stamp is by Sam Weber, and art director Breeding designed the stamp.

Frogs. Four stamps in a booklet of 20 feature the Pacific tree frog, the northern leopard frog, the American green tree frog and the squirrel tree frog. The digital illustrations of these North American frogs by artist Nancy Stahl are in shades of green and brown. Art director Gicker designed the stamps.

State and County Fairs. Four se-tenant (side-by-side) stamps depict a panorama of activities typical of state and country fairs. Mike Ryan designed the stamps, which feature original art by Mick Wiggins; Breeding was the art director.

According to the Postal Service, the stamps (starting on the left) show farmers unloading produce behind a white fence, a child sitting on the fence and holding a chicken, a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, fairgoers admiring the livestock, other visitors holding balloons as they head toward a sweets stand, and children buying treats from the stand.

Woodstock. The most famous rock festival of the 1960s, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held Aug. 15-18, 1969, in the small farming community of Bethel, N.Y. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, art director Alcala designed a stamp featuring the dove and the words “3 Days of Peace and Music” from Arnold Skolnick’s 1969 promotional poster.

Winter Berries. Artist Steve Buchanan worked with art director Alcala to create four stamps illustrating the winterberry (Ilex verticillata), juniper berry (Juniperus communis), beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and soapberry (Sapindus saponaria). The stamps will be produced in booklets of 20.

Joshua Tree. The $7.35 Priority Mail stamp in the American Landmarks series captures “the desolate beauty of the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) and its distinct desert environment,” according to the Postal Service. As with previous stamps in this series, the artwork is by Cosgrove. Art director Breeding designed the stamp.

Bethesda Fountain. The $25.50 Priority Mail Express stamp in the American Landmarks series depicts Cosgrove’s autumn scene of the Bethesda Fountain in New York City’s Central Park. The fountain, also called Angel of the Waters, was designed by Emma Stebbins in 1868 and dedicated in 1873, according to Art director Breeding also designed this stamp.

Coral Reefs. Four postcard-rate stamps display the beauty and coral reefs. The stylized artwork by Tyler Land depicts a different type of stony coral and associated reef fish on each stamp: elkhorn coral and French angelfish, brain coral and a spotted moray eel, staghorn coral and blue-striped grunts, and pillar coral with a coney grouper and neon gobies. Art director Kessler designed the stamps.

California Dogface. A Butterfly stamp originally announced as part of the 2017 stamp program but never issued is included now with the 2019 program. The stylized design of the seventh stamp in this series depicts the California dogface (Zerene eurydice), named for markings on the male butterfly that resemble a poodle head in profile.

The stamp pays the nonmachinable surcharge, and it is for use on irregularly sized envelopes, such as square greeting cards, invitations or announcements. Tom Engeman, who has illustrated all of the stamps in the series, created the artwork. Noyes is the designer.

U.S. Flag stamp envelope. A new stamped envelope features artwork by Kit Hinrichs evoking “a rich sense of history even as it presents a recognizable icon in a fresh, contemporary way,” according to the Postal Service. Kessler served as art director.

Additional stamps to come. Although it wasn’t included as part of the Nov. 20 announcement, the Postal Service also has reported that it will issue a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) semipostal stamp in 2019.

The Postal Service described its announcement as revealing several of the new stamps scheduled to be issued next year. More stamps likely will be added.