USPS announces 2022 U.S. stamp program
By Charles Snee
The United States Postal Service has announced 20 subjects that will appear on 63 stamps in 2022. Descriptions and images of the stamps were revealed in a Nov. 1 press release.
Among the new stamps are additions to the popular Lunar New Year, Black Heritage, Distinguished Americans and Music Icons series.
Other well-known subjects to be honored on next year’s stamps include the U.S. flag, love, flowers and elephants.
The 50th anniversary of Title IX will be recognized with four stamps. Title IX is the 1972 federal law that banned discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive funding from the federal government.
A Distinguished Americans issue will honor Katharine Graham, the former publisher of the Washington Post.
Sculptor Edmonia Lewis is set to appear on the 45th Black Heritage stamp, while charismatic folk singer Pete Seeger will be celebrated on the 10th stamp in the Music Icons series.
Four stamps will feature women’s rowing, and 16 stamps will pay tribute to national marine sanctuaries. The marine theme continues with a single stamp commemorating marine biologist Eugenie Clark.
Iconic automobiles popularly known as pony cars will be celebrated on a set of five stamps.
Artwork by George Morrison, an acclaimed modernist artist, is to appear on five stamps, and 10 stamps will pay tribute to the mighty Mississippi River.
A single stamp will be issued to honor the achievements and service of women cryptologists during World War II.
“The new 2022 stamps are miniature works of art, designed to be educational and appeal to collectors and pen pals around the world,” said USPS Stamp Services director William Gicker.
“As always, the program offers a variety of subjects celebrating American culture and history. The vivid colors and unique designs of this year’s selections will add a special touch of beauty on your envelopes.”
Following are the details of the 19 issues unveiled so far, based in part on the Postal Service’s descriptions. Unless otherwise noted, the stamps are nondenominated forever stamps, which are expected to remain unchanged in 2022 from the current 58¢ rate.
Lunar New Year — Year of the Tiger. The third issue in the Postal Service’s planned series of 12 features a decorated three-dimensional mask showing the head of a colorful tiger. The artwork is by Camille Chew, whose decorative animal masks also appear on the 2020 Year of the Rat and 2021 Year of the Ox stamps (Scott 5428 and 5556, respectively).
According to the Postal Service, Chew’s tiger mask “is a contemporary take on the long tradition of paper-cut folk art crafts created during this auspicious time of year.”
Feb. 1, 2022, marks the beginning of the Year of the Tiger.
Blueberries. A cluster of four blueberries and leaves, from a pen, ink and watercolor illustration by John Burgoyne, is pictured on a 4¢ definitive (regular-issue) stamp that will be issued in panes of 20 and coil rolls of 3,000 and 10,000.
The stamp will join the other stamps in the low-denomination Fruits definitive series that also picture Burgoyne’s illustrations of Albemarle Pippin apples (Scott 5037), Meyer lemons (5256), strawberries (5201), Pinot Noir grapes (5038, 5177) and red pears (5039, 5178).
U.S. Flags. A trio of U.S. flags waving in a stiff breeze is shown on a definitive the USPS plans to issue in panes of 20, booklets of 20 and rolls of 100, 3,000 and 10,000 coil stamps. The artwork is based on a painting by Laura Stutzman, “who used three photographs of the same flag taken seconds apart as reference and stitched together the images into a single composition,” the Postal Service said.
Love. A pair of Love stamps showcase the joy of flowers and feature artwork by Bailey Sullivan that is inspired by old European folk art. Sullivan’s digital illustrations include stylized flower blooms against a powder blue or coral background.
“Twisting vines, which hold small multi-petaled flowers, form abstract heart shapes,” according to the Postal Service. The letters of the word “LOVE” are spaced between the vine branches.
Edmonia Lewis. Original artwork by Alex Bostic, a casein-on-wood portrait, is shown on the 45th stamp in the popular Black Heritage series that honors sculptor Edmonia Lewis (circa 1844-1907). Bostic’s portrait is based on a photograph of Lewis taken in Boston sometime between 1864 and 1871, the USPS said.
“Lewis challenged social barriers and assumptions about artists in mid-19th century America,” the USPS said.
According to the Smithsonian American Art Museum (www.americanart.si.edu), “most of Lewis’s sculptures have not survived. Portrait busts of abolitionists and patrons such as Anna Quincy Waterston, and subjects depicting her dual African-American and Native American ancestry were her specialty.”
Wire sculptures by Ruth Asawa are pictured on 10 commemorative forever stamps issued in 2020 (Scott 5504-5513).
Butterfly Garden Flowers. A pair of stamps intended for use on mass mailings by nonprofit organizations picture scabiosa and cosmos, flowers that are often irresistible to butterflies.
The USPS explains how artist Rigel Stuhmiller created the images on the stamps: “Inspired by block-printed textile and pattern design, the artist hand-carved the images into linoleum blocks. After inking the blocks, she pressed them onto paper, scanned the images and added color digitally.”
The image of the stamps shown here suggests they will be issued as coil stamps, but the USPS has not announced the format.
Mountain Flora. Four stamps showcase a purple pasqueflower, an orange red wood lily, a bright yellow alpine buttercup and a dark pink Woods’ rose, according to the Postal Service. The artwork is based on hand-drawn illustrations of mountain flowers by Lili Arnold.
The USPS plans to issue the Mountain Flora stamps in booklets of 20 and coil rolls of 3,000 and 10,000.
Title IX. Four stamps pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a landmark 1972 civil rights law that forbids discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs that receive federal funding.
“Applied at educational institutions over a wide range of programs, its most visible impact has been on school athletics,” the Postal Service said.
Artist Melinda Beck designed the stamps, which picture a dark blue silhouette of one of four female athletes: a runner, swimmer, gymnast and soccer player. Yellow laurel branches meant to symbolize victory are seen on the athletes’ hair and on the swimmer’s cap.
Sunflower Bouquet. A single forever stamp for the 2-ounce domestic first-class letter rate (currently 78¢) features Harold Davis’ digital photo of a bouquet of sunflowers, along with irises and other small flowers. The stamp is intended for use on somewhat heavier mailings such as wedding invitations, large greeting cards and other mailings that required postage beyond the 58¢ for a 1-ounce letter.
Tulips. This attractive stamp highlights a vibrant array of tulips in red, orange, yellow, purple and white against a white background. Like the Sunflower Bouquet stamp, the Tulips stamp also features a digital photo by Davis.
“Similar in design to the 2-ounce Sunflower Bouquet stamp, this stamp can be used on RSVP envelopes often enclosed with wedding invitations,” according to the USPS.
Katharine Graham. The 17th Distinguished Americans stamp celebrates Katharine Graham (1917-2001), the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. Lynn Staley’s oil portrait of Graham is based on a photo taken in the 1970s, “during the peak of her influence as owner and president of The Washington Post Co., where she was also publisher of its flagship newspaper,” the USPS said.
Pete Seeger. Legendary activist and charismatic folk singer Pete Seeger (1919-2014) takes center stage on the 10th issue (13th stamp overall) in the popular Music Icons series. Dan Seeger took the early 1960s color-tinted photo of his father that appears on the stamp.
The Postal Service notes that one side of the Pete Seeger pane “includes 16 stamps and the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of the sleeve. A larger version of the stamp art photo-graph appears on the reverse side.”
Women’s Rowing. Four stamps in two se-tenant (side-by-side) pairs celebrate the sport of women’s rowing. The stamps feature Nancy Stahl’s “stylized illustration of five eight-person rowing teams competing or practicing,” the Postal Service said.
The stamps are to be issued in a pane of 20 containing five staggered rows of four stamps each, according to the USPS. This description suggests that the Women’s Rowing pane will be arranged in a manner similar to the pane of 2018 Hot Wheels Toy Cars stamps (Scott 5321-5330).
Eugenie Clark. Affectionately known as the “Shark Lady,” pioneering marine biologist Eugenie Clark (1922-2015) is commemorated on a stamp featuring a digital collage by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya that incorporates a photo of Clark and a lemon shark. The stylized blue elements in the background suggest an undersea image.
According to the USPS, Clark “spent her career working tirelessly to change public perception about sharks as well as to preserve marine environments around the world.”
National Marine Sanctuaries. The 50th anniversary of the establishment of the National Marine Sanctuary System is honored on a pane of 16 different stamps. Each stamp pictures a photo from one of the sanctuaries in the system. A map of the system is printed on the back of the pane, the USPS said.
These precious habitats “have protected areas with special ecological, cultural and historical significance,” the USPS announced.
Animals shown on the stamps include a balloon fish, red-footed boobies, humpback whale, elkhorn coral, Hawaiian monk seal, queen angelfish, sea otter, Atlantic sea nettle, California sea lions and sand tiger shark.
Pony Cars. Five iconic automobiles, referred to as pony cars by enthusiasts, are pictured on these new stamps: 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302, 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT and 1969 AMC Javelin SST.
The bold, vivid images on the stamps are based on original oil-on-panel paintings by artist Tom Fritz.
“Over the past six decades, pony cars have become a uniquely American obsession, bringing a youthful spirit to the automotive world,” the Postal Service said.
Elephants. One of the world’s most recognizable land animals is shown on a single forever stamp to be issued in booklets of 20. Artist Raphael Lopez created the charming and playful graphic illustration of a tusked elephant nuzzling a young calf with its trunk. Also shown in Lopez’s art are a pair of stylized plants and an orange sun.
George Morrison. Five stamps illustrate works by George Morrison (1919-2000), an Ojibwe landscape painter from Minnesota who was a seminal presence in Native American modernism. He is best known for his vibrantly colored abstract landscapes and massive collages made of wood.
According to the USPS, Morrison “challenged prevailing ideas of what Native American art should be, arguing that an artist’s identity can exist independently from the nature of the art he creates.”
The stamps are to be issued in a pane of 20 with wide selvage that shows a photo of Morrison in his home studio, the USPS said.
Mighty Mississippi. Sometimes called America’s backbone, the Mississippi River is being celebrated with 10 stamps showing photographs that each represent a different state along the river’s 2,340-mile length that stretches from Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
The stamps are to be issued in a pane of 20, the back of which will show “a map of the central United States, detailing the river and its major tributaries,” according to the Postal Service.
Women Cryptologists of World War II. The single commemorative shows Antonio Alcala’s artwork that features a blurred image of a WWII-era WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) poster “with an overlay of characters from the ‘Purple’ code,” according to the USPS.
The codename Purple refers to an encryption machine used by the Japanese Foreign Office from February 1939 to the end of the war. The Purple code was broken in September 1940.
“In the pane selvage, seemingly random letters can be deciphered to reveal some key words. The reverse side of the pane discloses the cipher needed to read the words,” the Postal Service said.
USPS art directors credited for the announced 2022 stamps are Antonio Alcala (Year of the Tiger, Edmonia Lewis, Butterfly Garden Flowers, Pete Seeger, Eugenie Clark, George Morrison, Women Cryptologists of World War II), Ethel Kessler (U.S. Flags, Mountain Flora, Sunflower Bouquet, Tulips, Women’s Rowing, Mighty Mississippi), Derry Noyes (Blueberries, Title IX, Katharine Graham, Elephants), and Greg Breeding (Love, National Marine Sanctuaries, Pony Cars).
“This is a partial list of the 2022 stamp program,” the USPS said, “with more to be announced in the weeks and months ahead. All stamp designs are preliminary and subject to change.”
This information updates a previous story about the announced 2022 stamps.
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