USPS to issue 40¢ Red Fox stamp Jan. 5 in Fox, Ark., without ceremony
By Charles Snee
In an apparent case of philatelic matchmaking, the United States Postal Service will issue a 40¢ definitive (regular-issue) stamp picturing a red fox on Jan. 5 in Fox, Ark.
An official first-day ceremony is not being held for the new stamp, according to the Postal Service.
“The stamp art features a pencil-and-watercolor illustration of the face of a red fox from preexisting artwork by wildlife illustrator Dugald Stermer,” the Postal Service said.
The common name “RED FOX” is printed in widely spaced letters beneath the animal, and its scientific name “Vulpes vulpes” appears in very small letters between the fox’s ears.
The stamp’s denomination and “USA” are printed at the bottom, and a “2023” year date appears in the top right corner. All design elements are set on a white background.
USPS art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp.
Stermer (1936-2011) was an acclaimed illustrator in San Francisco and former art director of the political magazine Ramparts. As a freelance artist, he later created illustrations for numerous publications and also designed the medals for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
“He rendered his subjects in such rich color and intricate detail, they appeared nearly alive,” Stephanie Lee wrote in a remembrance of Stermer in the San Francisco Gate after the artist’s death in 2011.
Stermer’s illustration of a brush rabbit appears on a nondenominated (20¢) additional-ounce-rate stamp issued Jan. 24, 2021, in panes of 20 (Scott 5544) and coil rolls of 100 (5545).
The 40¢ Red Fox stamp was printed by Banknote Corporation of America in panes of 20 in a quantity of 15 million stamps and coil rolls of 3,000 and 10,000 in quantities of 15 million and 75 million stamps, respectively.
Strips of 500 from both rolls will also be available for purchase. Plate number strips of 25 will not be sold because the 40¢ Red Fox stamp is not a regular first-class stamp, the USPS said.
The stamp is “intended for use by bulk mailers for items such as circulars, newsletters, and catalogs,” the USPS said.
“It can also be used by customers who enjoy placing a variety of stamps on their envelopes and packages.”
In his Washington Postal Scene column in the Nov. 14 issue of Linn’s, Bill McAllister explained that the Red Fox stamp “is the product of a lobbying campaign by bulk mailers who convinced postal executives that the new stamp could boost first-class mail volume.”
“Mailers say they get higher returns from mail that has stamps than with envelopes bearing a printed stamp indicium or postage meter, and they are expecting the same results from envelopes bearing the 40¢ Red Fox in combination with other stamps,” McAllister said.
A red fox has appeared on a few other U.S. stamps.
A block of eight 13¢ stamps (Scott 1757) issued June 10, 1978, for the Capex ’78 exhibition in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, includes one stamp (1757g) picturing a red fox glancing back toward the viewer.
In 1998, the Postal Service issued a $1 stamp (Scott 3036) depicting a closely cropped image of a red fox resting on a tree limb. The illustration is based on …
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