US Stamps

Special Olympics stamp marks upcoming Los Angeles Games

Apr 29, 2021, 11 PM


From July 25 to Aug. 2, the Special Olympics World Games are taking place in Los Angeles, Calif., with the participation of 7,000 athletes representing 177 countries.

The United States Postal Service is commemorating the upcoming international event with a new nondenominated (49¢) forever stamp that will be issued May 9 in Irvine, Calif.

The stamp will go on sale nationwide on the same day.

The first-day ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. (Pacific Time) at Irvine High School, 4321 Walnut Ave., as part of the Special Olympics regional games taking place at the school that day.

The stamp design by Greg Breeding features the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles logo, showcasing the colors of flags from participating countries.

“The logo’s celebratory figure represents the courage, determination and joy of our athletes,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of the 2015 Games.

“Placing the iconic image inside the circle represents acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.”

The logo is set against a gradient orange background that becomes lighter near the top of the stamp.

White dropout lettering below the logo reads, “Special Olympics, World Games, Los Angeles 2015.” The bottom line of text, in red, reads, “Forever/USA.”

The offset-printed stamps are being issued in panes of 20 that have a header across the top reading “Special Olympics World Games” in two different shades of orange on a white background.

The stamps will also be sold in two varieties of uncut press sheets of 80 stamps. The Postal Service will offer 500 press sheets with die cuts separating the stamps, and 1,000 press sheets without die cuts. The cost for each variety is $39.20, which is the face value of the stamps.

“The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” according to the website of the Games.

Like the international Olympic Games, the Special Olympics are held every two years, alternating Summer Games and Winter Games.

The Special Olympics grew from the efforts of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy, who sponsored a summer day camp for children with intellectual disabilities in the 1960s. Supported by the Kennedy Foundation, the program led to the creation of Special Olympics and the first International Special Olympics Summer Games, held July 29, 1968, in Chicago.

The Los Angeles games beginning in July will be the first time the World Summer Games have been held in the United States in 16 years.

The most recent World Summer Games were in Athens, Greece, in 2011. The Games were last held in the United States in 1999, in Raleigh, N.C.

The new stamp is the fifth U.S. issue to celebrate the Special Olympics over the course of 36 years.

The first was a 15¢ letter-rate stamp (Scott 1588) issued Aug. 9, 1979, in Brockport, N.Y., during the International Special Olympic Games held there Aug. 8-13. The stamp, showing a Special Olympics athlete proudly displaying a medal, was designed Jeff Cornell and issued in panes of 50.

Cornell also designed the 1985 22¢ stamp (Scott 2142), which commemorated that year’s Winter Special Olympics in Provo, Utah. The stamp was issued March 25, 1985, on the opening day of the Games, in Park City, Utah.

The Special Olympics marked its 20th anniversary in 1998, and was one of 15 subjects included in the Celebrate the Century pane commemorating the decade of the 1990s. The stamp pane was issued May 2, 2000. The design of the 33¢ Celebrate the Century stamp (Scott 3191i) shows a photograph of the Special Olympics medal.

The first Special Olympics meeting to take place outside the United States was held June 21-29, 2003, in Dublin, Ireland. An 80¢ stamp, fulfilling what was then the letter rate for international letter mail, was issued Feb. 13, 2003 (Scott 3771). Designed by Lance Hidy, the stamp shows a medal-wearing athlete with arms raised, clasping the hands of athletes on either side of him.

All four of the stamps previously issued include the logo of the Special Olympics somewhere in the design. The new stamp uses the logo specific to the Los Angeles Games instead of the traditional Special Olympics symbol.

Technical specifications and first-day cancel ordering information for the Special Olympics forever stamp are presented below.

Nondenominated (49¢) Special Olympics forever stamp

FIRST DAY— May 9, 2015; city— Irvine, Calif., and nationwide.

DESIGN: designer, art director and typographer— Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, Va.

PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black, Pantone Matching System 1495 orange, PMS 7579 orange; paper— phosphor tagged, block; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 50 million stamps; format— pane of 20, from 80-subject cylinders; size— 0.84 inches by 1.42 inches (image); 0.98 inches by 1.56 inches (overall); 6.38 inches by 9.13 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “S” followed by six single digits; marginal markings— “Special Olympics World Games,” plate numbers in two corners (stamp side); “©2015 USPS,” USPS logo, plate position diagram, bar code 472800 in upper right and lower left corners, promotional text, Special Olympics information (back side); USPS item No.— 472804.

First-day cancel ordering information

Standard ordering instructions apply. Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Special Olympics World Games Stamp, Postmaster, 15642 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA 92619-9998.

Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by July 8.

The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Special Olympics stamp is item 472816 at 93¢. USPS order numbers for stamps and FDCs also appear in Linn’s 2015 U.S. Stamp Program.

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