Tulips, sunflowers decorate two new U.S. stamps March 24
By Charles Snee
On March 24, in two cities separated by almost 2,000 miles, the United States Postal Service will issue two stamps featuring colorful arrangements of flowers.
The nondenominated (58¢) Tulips stamp will be issued in Mount Vernon, Wash., and Lawrence, Kan., will serve as the first-day city for the nondenominated (78¢) Sunflower Bouquet stamps.
Both stamps will be issued without an official first-day ceremony, the Postal Service said.
The stamps are intended primarily as wedding invitation postage but are valid for any postal use.
Veteran U.S. stamp designer Ethel Kessler based her designs of both stamps on existing digital photographs by Harold Davis of Berkeley, Calif.
The Tulips stamp is inscribed “FOREVER” at the bottom to indicate that it will always be good for domestic first-class letters weighing 1 ounce or less.
“TWO OUNCE” is lettered in two lines in the bottom left corner of the Sunflower Bouquet stamp. This inscription means the stamp will satisfy the 2-ounce letter rate (currently 78¢) regardless of future rate increases.
The Tulips stamp “features a luminous, almost ethereal assortment of overlapping tulips in red, orange, yellow, purple, and white against a bright white background,” according to the Postal Service.
“Similar in design to the 2-ounce Sunflower Bouquet stamp, also issued in 2022, this Forever stamp can be used on RSVP envelopes often enclosed with wedding invitations.”
The Tulips stamp is also ideal for important announcements, party invitations and thank-you notes, the Postal Service said.
The Sunflower Bouquet 2-ounce rate stamp shows “a still life image of several orange-and-yellow sunflowers intermingled with irises, dahlias, echinacea (coneflowers), and other small red, purple, white, and pink flowers against a white background,” according to the Postal Service.
Mailings that require extra postage — such as small gifts, oversized greeting cards and invitations to birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other notable celebrations — are ideal for the Sunflower Bouquet stamp.
When seen together, the two stamps “form a natural pair,” the USPS said.
Tulips and sunflowers are no strangers to U.S. stamps. Both have appeared on different issues over the years.
For example, a single tulip against a yellow background appears on the F-rate (29¢) stamps (Scott 2517-2520) and 29¢ stamps (2524-2527) issued in 1991 following the rate increase that moved the postage cost for a first-class letter from 25¢ to 29¢.
A pair of tulips is featured on one of the five 29¢ Garden Flowers stamps (Scott 2762) issued May 15, 1993, in a booklet pane of five (2764a).
A sunflower and a cluster of sunflower seeds are illustrated on one of the five 2006 39¢ Crops of the Americas stamps (Scott 4005, 4010 and 4016) that were issued in coil (4003-4007) and booklet (4008-4012 and 4013-4017) formats.
A sunflower in full bloom takes up most of the design of a 42¢ booklet stamp (Scott 4347) issued Aug. 15, 2008.
The Postal Service has published designs for four pictorial first-day cancels for the two new stamps, one in black and one in color for each stamp.
Collector-submitted envelopes for first-day covers will receive a traditional black four-bar cancel with the words “FIRST DAY OF ISSUE” centered between the bars.
Full color pictorial first-day cancels found on covers marketed by the Postal Service and others prepared by some cachetmakers will feature the same arrangements of flowers as seen on the stamps.
Up to 50 black postmarks can be requested on collector-supplied envelopes at no cost. Digital color postmark requests require a fee of 50¢ per postmark with a minimum order of 10. Two test envelopes must be included as well.
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