New U.S. Garden Beauty set continues floral offerings
By Michael Baadke
The Garden Beauty set of 10 stamps is the latest United States issue to celebrate the popularity and beauty of flowers.
Processed as a double-sided pane of 20 (with 12 stamps on one side, and eight stamps and a label on the other side), the new nondenominated (55¢) forever stamps have a Feb. 23 issue date.
The 10 different designs by U.S. Postal Service art director Ethel Kessler were created using photographs by Allen Rokach.
The photographer’s website describes him as “an expert in location photography best known for his photographs of flowers, gardens and landscapes.”
For 14 years he was staff photographer and director of photography at the New York Botanical Garden. He was also senior photographer for Southern Living magazine for 10 years.
Rokach’s photography was previously featured on the U.S. American Gardens forever stamps issued May 13, 2020, in a pane of 20 (Scott 5461-5470).
The flowers appearing on the new stamps, as described by the Postal Service, are a pink flowering dogwood, orange and yellow tulip, an allium (ornamental onion), a pink moth orchid with mottled petals, a magenta dahlia, a yellow moth orchid with a pink center, a pink and white sacred lotus, a pink and white Asiatic lily, a rose pink and white tulip, and a yellow and pink American lotus.
Besides a tiny 2021 year date near the upper left corner, the only inscription shown on each stamp is FOREVER USA in dropout white lettering reading up from the lower left corner.
USPS contractor Banknote Corporation of America printed the stamps using offset lithography.
This is the third year in a row that the Postal Service has issued a double-sided pane of 20 flower stamps with 10 different designs.
The double-sided pane, described as a booklet by the Postal Service, is often purchased by mailers because of its convenient size.
The Garden Beauty set was preceded by the Wild Orchids set of 2020 (Scott 5445-5454), and the Cactus Flowers set of 2019 (5350-5359).
A set of four Flowers from the Garden stamps was issued in a double-sided pane of 20 in 2017 (Scott 5237-5240), and 10 Botanical Art stamps were issued in a double-sided pane of 20 in 2016 (5041-5051).
Flower stamps are popular with mailers, and the subject is vying with the American flag as a common theme on U.S. postage.
The two pictorial first-day cancels for the Garden Beauty forever stamps also display a floral theme. The black cancel features dogwood blossoms on a branch, and the color cancel shows both an allium (also known as the ornamental onion) and a tulip.
These postmarks appear on first-day covers marketed by the Postal Service. Collectors can obtain the black cancel at no charge on their own prepared covers.
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