U.S. Christmas stamp to arrive Sept. 22 at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
By Charles Snee
On Sept. 22, the United States Postal Service will issue its new Christmas forever stamp at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
The nondenominated (60¢) Christmas: Virgin and Child stamp features a photograph of Virgin and Child, a 16th-century oil-on-panel painting of Mary and the infant Jesus by a Florentine artist known as the Master of the Scandicci Lamentation.
“The painting depicts the Virgin Mary gazing downward at the infant Christ, one of her arms holding him protectively at his waist, the other tenderly touching his arm, while the Christ child turns his head to look out of the frame to the left,” the Postal Service said.
Jenny Utterback, the Postal Service’s vice president for organizational development, will act as dedicating official at the first-day ceremony, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. Eastern Time at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., in Boston.
A registration form for the free ceremony is available online. According to the USPS, each registrant may invite only one other person because a limited number of tickets will be issued.
In anticipation of the busy Christmas mailing season, the Postal Service ordered a print run of 200 million Virgin and Child stamps in double-sided panes of 20 (10 million panes).
The Postal Service refers to this format as a booklet because selvage strips on both sides of the pane can be peeled from the backing paper to facilitate folding into a compact size that is easily carried in a purse or wallet.
Nonetheless, collectors prefer to leave the selvage strips on double-sided panes intact to make it easier to mount the pane in an album.
Greg Breeding served as both designer and art director for the Virgin and Child stamp. Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. printed the stamp using offset lithography on nonphosphored paper with block tagging.
Virgin and Child is part of the Robert Dawson Evans collection at the Museum of Fine Arts.
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