Japan’s Sheep Completes Scarf

japan_sheep_comparisonTending to its knitting paid off for Japan Post.

Its lunar new year stamp (left) a dozen years ago showed a fluffy sheep knitting a scarf.

This year’s lunar new year stamp (right) shows the same sheep wearing the scarf.

The Associated Press reports it’s traditional in Japan to send New Year’s greetings on postcards. Many Japanese send hundreds of them, to friends, colleagues and relatives. Although most stores and businesses are closed January 1st, Japan Post employees will be hard at work to get all the cards delivered.

Chess (Israel, 2015)

This stamp will be issued February 10th.

[from Israel Post
isr_chessChess is one of the most prevalent games in the world. It is thought to have been invented in India in the 6th century CE and was popular among the Arab nations and in Persia. The game reached Europe around the 10th century, and the modern rules of the game were established there in the 15th century. Since then, this version of the game has spread throughout the world.

Chess is mentioned in the Kuzari, written by medieval Spanish philosopher and poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, as well as in writings by Rashi and Maimonides, and Abraham ibn Ezra even dedicated one of his poems to the game. Chess was mentioned many times in our literary sources for a good reason: this game has been extremely popular among Jews, who have also had significant achievements in this field. Four of the 16 World Champions were Jewish and three others were half-Jewish. Many other Jewish players were (and still are) at the international pinnacle of the game. Jewish excellence in chess is so prominent that the game has been called “the national Jewish game”.

This tradition has continued in Israel, and Israeli chess masters have achieved more than sportsmen in any other field: the Israeli national team is among the top-ranked in the world, with its highest achievements being second place at the Chess Olympic Games in Dresden in 2008 and third place at the Khanty-Mansiysk Games in Russia in 2010. The national team won second place at the European Championships in 2003 and 2005.

Israeli chess Grandmaster Boris Gelfand challenged then World Champion Viswanathan Anand for the World Chess Championship in 2012. Although the match ended in a draw, Gelfand lost by a minimal margin in the rapid tiebreaker games and had to settle for the title of World Championship runner-up.

Israeli women have also recorded a number of substantial achievements, among them winning the Women’s Chess Olympic Games in Haifa 1976 (which was boycotted by the strong Eastern- European countries). In 1978, Grandmaster Alla Kushnir-Stein fell just short of competing for the world title when she was beaten in the final round of the contenders’ competition by Maia Chiburdanidze of the USSR.

Thanks to these achievements and many more, Israel was granted the opportunity to host a number of important events: the Chess Olympic Games in 1964 (Tel-Aviv) and 1976 (Haifa), the European National Championship (Haifa, 1989), the World Youth Chess Championship (Jerusalem, 1967), the Team World Cup (Beer Sheva, 2005) and more.

Israel’s integration into the international chess arena began even before the establishment of the State. In fact, the first sports delegation to participate in an international competition under the flag of Eretz Israel was the delegation to the Warsaw Chess Olympic Games in 1935, which was comprised solely of members of the Jewish Yishuv. The first official sports meeting between Israel and any of the Arab countries took place at the Chess Olympic Games in Varna (1962), when Israel’s national chess team beat the Tunisian team with the score of 3:1.

This stamp is being issued to mark the European Individual Chess Championship 2015 which will be held in Jerusalem. The design reflects the connection between chess and Judaism and Israel, as well as chess’ status as Israel’s national sport and its number one representative sport.

Winter Flowers (Israel, 2015)

These stamps will be issued February 10th.

[from Israel Post]
isr_winterflowersMost of Israel’s wild flowers bloom in spring, the soil is moist from the winter rains and temperatures are warm.

However, some of Israel’s wild flowers bloom much earlier during the growth season. Such are the well known Sternbergia and Autumn Crocus (Colchicum) which bloom in fall; and quite a number of flowers bloom at the height of winter, when the weather is cold and rainy. Most autumn flowers are sparse or bloom in small patches, while the early winter flowers normally form spectacular blooming carpets. Their short growth season enables them to bloom several weeks after the first rains of the season in mid-winter. The early blooming helps these flowers avoid competition for resources – water and soil nutrients, light, and especially pollination services (mostly by insects such as bees and beetles), as opposed to spring blooming flowers.

Early blooming is typical to relatively arid areas such as sandy areas of the Coastal Plain, and the Northern Negev, where the soil dries early, so early blooming is an advantage.

Coast False-Chamomile (Anthemis leucanthemifolia)
This semi-recumbent annual plant forms spectacular blooming carpets on the coastal sand fields as early as January. Unlike other species of False-Chamomile of Israel, it has succulent leaves which are wedge-shaped, and not pinnate; and the inflorescences are relatively large and dense.

The False-Chamomile species belong to the Daisy family, which is characterized by its flower-like inflorescences. It has many white flowers which look like petals, arranged in the outer circle of the inflorescence and numerous yellow flowers in the center which resemble stamens. The inflorescence appears to pollinating insects to be a flower (as it does to humans).

The Coast False-Chamomile is endemic to the coastal plains of Israel and Southern Lebanon, and grows nowhere else in the world.

Dyer’s Alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria)
This recumbent perennial plant is covered with rough bristles, as are many other plants belonging to the Borage family. During much of the year the Alkanet is a dull looking plant, but in winter and early spring it displays a profusion of bright blue flowers.

The root coat of Dyer’s Alkanet is red and was used in the past to produce a red dye. When rubbed on paper, it dyes the paper bright red. The plant’s scientific name stems from this: Alkanna is the Latin form of the Arabic word “Al- Hinna” – the general term for yellow-red dyes produced from plants. The word tinctoria means “of the dyers”.

Crown Anemone (Anemone coronaria)
Everyone in Israel knows the Crown Anemone, one of Israel’s most beautiful wild flowers. The Hebrew name “Kalanit” is derived from the same source as the word for bride – “Kala”. Crown Anemones bloom from early winter through the end of spring, forming magnificent flowering carpets.

The red variety of the Crown Anemone grows through much of the country, while the multicolored variety, in colors ranging from white to deep purple through all shades of pink and blue, grows mainly in the north. The multi-colored variety is sensitive to lime, and thus is rare in lime-rich soils. It is abundant mainly in the basaltic soils of the eastern Galilee and the Golan, and in the deep soils of the northern valleys. The red variety which grows through much of the country is drought-hardy and creates blazing flowering fields in the south.

—Hagar Leschner
Collection Manager of the National Herbarium, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Year of Light/Chemistry Nobel (Israel, 2015)

This stamp will be issued February 10th.

[from Israel Post]
The International Year of Light 2015:
Nobel Prize 2013 – Computational Chemistry, Rhodopsin

isr_lightyearThis stamp marks two events that have much in common.

The first is the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry that was jointly awarded to Martin Karplus (Harvard University), Michael Levitt (Stanford University) and Arieh Warshel (University of Southern California) for the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems. The prize recognized their revolutionary contributions during the years 1968–1976, which created the new field of computational molecular biophysics and provided new approaches and techniques for understanding complex biological molecules. Their approach changed the way we think about proteins and defined a new area of science, which has influenced and inspired many other fields.

The second event is the International Year of Light 2015, which was declared by the United Nations to celebrate the light sciences, light-based technologies and their importance to humankind.

The Israeli component of this Nobel Prize is significant. Michael Levitt, born in 1947 in Pretoria, South Africa, holds both British and Israeli citizenship. Arieh Warshel, born in 1940 in Kibbutz Sde-Nahum, Israel is a citizen of both the USA and Israel. Martin Karplus, born in Vienna in1930 to an Austrian Jewish family, fled with his family from the Nazi occupation to the USA in 1938. A substantial portion of the honored work was undertaken at the Weizmann Institute of Science when Warshel and Levitt were independent scientists and even earlier when both worked as students under the supervision of Shneior Lifson (1914-2001). Martin Karplus also conducted some of his research during a sabbatical year he spent working with the Lifson research group. It was a happy coincidence that the Nobel Prize committee recognized this group effort very close to what would have been Shneior Lifson’s 100th birthday.

One of the most impressive achievements of these Nobel laureates’ work is the molecular dynamics simulations of biological processes, such as enzymatic reactions, electron transfer reactions and ion transport in proteins. These simulations provide a computerized description of the actual events that occur in nature. One of the earliest and most significant examples of this strategy is the deciphering of the precise molecular events that occur during the process of vision. Arieh Warshel was the key researcher who described the role played by the protein Rhodopsin, which is the biological pigment in retina cells.

— Ehud Keinan
Professor of Chemistry at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
President of the Israel Chemical Society
Editor-in-Chief of the Israel Journal of Chemistry
Chairman of the Advisory Council, High School Chemistry Education, Ministry of Education

Description of the Stamp and the First Day Cover
The right side of the stamp features the protein Rhodopsin, which is a bundle of seven helices connected to each other by peptide loops. This protein, which is embedded within the cell membrane, binds retinal, a small light-sensitive molecule shown as a group of grey spheres that represent atoms. The left side of the stamp exhibits the Schrödinger equation, which is the most fundamental tool of quantum mechanics. Nobel Prize laureate Erwin Schrödinger formulated this equation in 1925 as a way to describe various states of atoms and molecules, opening the door for the science of theoretical and computational chemistry and physics.

The stamp tab features the logo of the International Year of Light as well as a schematic representation of the two major types of light-sensitive cells in the human retina: the rods (in yellow) and the cones (in blue, green and red). The rods are responsible for black-and-white vision and the cones are responsible for color vision. The human eye contains three types of cone cells, which discern red, green or blue light. All of the retinal cells translate the light stimulus to chemical changes and electrical impulses, which are transmitted to the vision centers in the brain via the optic nerves.

The First Day Cover shows two equations. The top row displays the Newton equation whereas the other three rows exhibit the Force Field U, which is the total potential energy of a molecule. Arieh Warshel and Shneior Lifson originally developed this equation in the late 1960’s to study the stability of small molecules. Levitt and Warshel used this equation to study large biomolecules. Karplus used it to study the dynamics of proteins by solving the Newton equation.

Ariel Sharon (Israel, 2015)

This stamp will be issued January 27th.

[from Israel Post
isr_sharonMajor General Ariel Sharon, 11th Prime Minister of the State of Israel, was born in Kfar Malal on February 26, 1928 and joined the Haganah at age 14. In May 1948, while serving as a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade during the War of Independence, Sharon was severely wounded in the Battle of Latrun as he led the offensive that attempted to open the way to the besieged city of Jerusalem.

In August 1953, Ariel Sharon established Unit 101 and served as its commander. This elite unit worked against Palestinian terrorism behind enemy lines. Although Unit 101 only operated for five months and consisted of no more than 50 combat soldiers, it dramatically altered the IDF’s capabilities and achievements. The fighting spirit that Sharon brought to the unit became the IDF’s winning offensive combat doctrine and the basis for the establishment of the military’s special forces units.

In January 1954, he was made Commander of the Paratroopers Battalion, which became a brigade under his command, and implemented virtually all of the IDF’s retaliation operations. In the 1956 Suez War, Paratroopers Battalion 890 parachuted into Egypt near the Mitla Pass. Under Sharon’s command, the rest of the brigade traversed more than 200 kms inside Egyptian territory, capturing Egyptian posts along the way, and eventually met up with the battalion that had parachuted.

In 1966, Sharon was promoted to the rank of major general. During the Six Day War he commanded Division 38, which broke through Egypt’s key fortified line in the Sinai. At the end of the war Sharon was appointed as Commander of the Sinai.

In December 1969, Sharon was appointed as Commander of the Southern Command. One of the most difficult tasks assigned to him was to rid the Gaza strip of terrorism. It took seven months of intense activity, but from February 1972 onward, the area was quiet for ten years.

In July 1973, Ariel Sharon left the military and within a short period of time founded the Likud political party. During the Yom Kippur War, on the night of October 15-16 1973, the reserve division he commanded crossed the Suez Canal and led the way to victory over the Egyptians.

After the war Sharon was promoted to the position of Reserve Corps Commander.

At the behest of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Sharon was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Military Affairs Advisor in 1975. He filled this post until 1976.

In 1977, Sharon was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Shlomzion party, which he founded, and was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture and Chairman of the Ministers’ Committee on Settlement Affairs in Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s first government. Within the framework of this position he established more than 100 towns in the Golan, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, the Negev and the Arava.

In June 1981, he was appointed as the Minister of Defense in Begin’s second government. A year later Israel entered into the Lebanon War. Within a week the IDF reached the Beirut-Damascus road, thwarted the terrorists and the Syrian army posts where the terrorists hid, removing the threat of rockets toward northern Israel. The expulsion of 15,000 men from Beirut, 9,000 terrorists and over 6,000 Syrian soldiers began eleven weeks after the glory of the operation. The reign of PLO terror in Lebanon was wiped out and the towns of northern Israel enjoyed years of quiet. In February 1983 Sharon was forced to resign his position as Minster of Defense following the massacre of Muslims by Christian Phalanges in the Sabra and Shatila neighborhoods of Beirut.

Later Sharon served as Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister of Housing Construction and Minister of National Infrastructure. In 1988 he was also appointed to the position of Foreign Minister. In February 2001, he was elected Prime Minister for the first time by a large margin. Sharon led the fight against rampant terrorism, Operation Defensive Shield and construction of the separation fence. After his second overwhelming election victory in January 2003, he initiated the plan for unilateral disengagement from Gaza. As Prime Minister, Sharon enjoyed great public support. Terrorism had been eradicated, the economy was growing and Israel gained international prestige.

On January 4, 2006 Sharon suffered a stroke and never regained consciousness.

On January 11, 2014 Ariel Sharon passed away and was buried on a hillside near his home in Havat Shikmim.

The portrait of Ariel Sharon featured on the stamp is based on a photograph by Saar Yaacov, GPO.

Israel-Philippines Joint Issue: Holocaust (2015)

This stamp will be issued January 27th.

[from Israel Post
Israel-Philippines Joint Issue, The Philippine Rescue of Jews from the Holocaust

isr_philippinesThe relations between Israel and the Philippines are founded upon two events that were morally and politically significant for the Israeli and Philippine peoples.

The first event was the decision made by Manuel L. Quezon, the President of the Philippines at the time, to open his country’s gates to Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria on the eve of WWII, which stood in stark contrast to the conduct of the “enlightened” nations during that period.

The second event was that the Philippines was the only Asian country to vote in favor of Israel at the United Nations on November 29, 1947 during the historic decision that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and the recognition thereof by the family of nations.

This friendly relationship is also related to the fact that Israel is the Holy Land and the land of the Bible, which greatly affects the Philippino people. According to a study conducted by the Anti-defamation League, the Philippines is one of the only countries in the world that has virtually no anti-Semitism, a fact that is in line with the two countries’ joint history.

Israel has a significant Filipino population, whose contribution to the welfare for incurable patients and the disabled is greatly appreciated. Against the background of this appreciation, a Filipino nursing worker won Israel’s “X-Factor” competition in 2014, creating waves of support for Israel as an open and tolerant society.

In support of their special relationship, Israel was the first country to provide aid to the Philippines in late 2014 as it was faced with disaster in the wake of the strongest typhoon in history and the Philippines’ gratitude was felt throughout Filipino society. Israel and the Philippines cooperate in the realm of infrastructural development, mainly in the field of agriculture. Some 3,000 people participated in educational training programs in various fields in Israel, run by Mashav – the Center for International Cooperation, and thousands of Filipino agriculture students have come to Israel in recent years to participate in a year-long training program.

The Philippines’ rapid development makes it a promising partner for diverse economic cooperation to the benefit of our two Nations.

— Effie Ben Matityau
Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines

The Open Doors Monument is located at the center of the Memorial Garden in the city of Rishon LeZion. It was dedicated in 2007 and marks the assistance the Philippines provided to Jewish refugees during WWII.

In the late 1930’s most countries of the world closed their doors to Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazi regime. During this difficult period Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon agreed to issue 10,000 immigrant visas to European Jews. Some 1,300 Jews utilized these visas to immigrate to the Philippines. Many of them worked in the cigarette factory founded by the Freidar family in Manila and lived in blocs that President Quezon had built especially for them.

The monument, created by Philippine artist Mr. Jun Yee, consists of three doors in graded sizes symbolizing the courage and humanity of the Filipino people in welcoming the Jewish refugees. The triangular shape of the open doors represents the triangle on the Philippine flag and the triangles that comprise the Star of David. This integration of triangles is a symbol of the close friendly ties that exist between the Philippine Republic and the State of Israel.

The concrete floor below each door features an impression of a pair of feet crossing the threshold into the open door. These footprints belong to George Levinstein, a Jewish refugee who arrived in the Philippines in 1939, Max Weissler, who arrived in the Philippines in 1941 at age 11 and Dorilis Goffer, a 10-year old Filipino Israeli girl who is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Her footprints represent the continued friendship between the two countries.

Sine Waves: Catching Up With Foxcatcher

by Richard L. Sine

RLSWhile I have a thing against name dropping, the recent release of the movie “Foxcatcher” prompted a couple of philatelic memories that just didn’t appear to make the final cut of the film. During my time at the American Philatelic Society as editor of The American Philatelist, I twice accompanied the late Horace Harrison (founder of the APS Insurance Plan) to solicit a donation to the society from du Pont. We failed in our mission, but the experience was memorable.

John du Pont, within philately, is best known as a previous owner of the 1¢ British Guiana.

The visits were in about 1982-3, and I fully admit to a little lack of memory as to the date. The current film is involved with the situation where du Pont shot a U.S. Olympic wrestler. When that happened, du Pont was hosting Olympic wrestlers at his estate, named Foxcatcher. At the time Horace and I visited, he was sponsoring a national-level swimming team, aptly named the Foxcatchers.

Soon after we arrived the first time, I mentioned that my three children were competitive swimmers. Our host then took us on a tour of the Olympic-sized swimming pool adjacent to the residence.

Inside the home, we were taken to his library, which actually was a safe, complete with what appeared to be a foot-thick door. The library was much longer than it was wide.

Aside: remember that the du Pont company was started following the founder’s invention of dynamite. As you entered the library, you quickly “noticed” – in the far right corner – a gleaming gold Gatling gun. If that wouldn’t quickly cause you to pause, you had no emotions at all.

Du Pont apologized on our first visit for not having the British Guiana for us to see, but noted something to the effect that it could only be removed from the safety deposit box with proper security. Instead, he gave us an autographed photo of the stamp. Yes, you read that correctly.

British_Guiana_13On our second visit, he again apologized for not having the British Guiana (left) for us to fondle … and, instead, let Horace and me inspect a U.S. 1869 24¢ invert on cover. Read the end of the previous sentence again before you go to your catalog for an idea of current value.

We tried both visits to engage our host in “philatelic” discussion, but to little avail. I was certain that he was not trying to deflect any sort of fundraising effort, but rather just not philatelic as such. Rather, his interest in the hobby was much more along the lines of an acquirer. He certainly knew what he had, but just didn’t appear to exhibit the passion that I saw over the years in so many other collectors. Pity.

To me, the passion is critical. It is that passion that drives one collector to have as much enjoyment with an album of current and recent U.S. stamps as does another collector who has a world-class collection based on the printing varieties and usages of a single classic stamp.

Stamped Envelope Reprints (2015 U.S.)

Updated March 2nd: Scott is not assigning new catalogue numbers to these two stamped envelope reprints, because the only difference between these new versions and the 2013 ones is the emblem on the back. That “is not sufficient for a separate minor listing.”
The previously-assigned numbers for the Bank Swallow envelope were:

U680 38x35mm small imprint (#6¾ envelopes)
U681 41x38mm large imprint (#9 & #10 envelopes)

The previously-assigned number for the Folk Art envelope was U682.

Bank Swallow and Folk Art Eagle envelopes reprints will be issued on January 12th, without a first-day event. The previous printer, Cascade Envelope, has been bought out by Rolland,  so there is a new marking on the back of the new stocks, for the “Forestry Stewardship Counsel.” There are no changes to the indicia for these issues. env_recycThe Bank Swallow envelope was previously issued March 1, 2013. bankswallowThe Folk Art Eagle envelope was first issued on August 9, 2013.folk-art-envelope-scratchAccording to the January 8th Postal Bulletin, these will be issued as both pressure-sensitive and water-soluble gum on the flaps, in three sizes, window and plain. That’s 12 varieties of each envelope.

Stars & Stripes Presorted Coil (2015 U.S.)

Updated January 21:

starsstripespresortOn February 27, 2015, in Grapevine, TX, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue a non-denominated, presorted standard rate (10-cent value) Stars and Stripes stamp in three designs, in pressure-sensitive adhesive coils of 3,000 (Item 783100) and 10,000 (Item 783200) stamps.

The stamps will go on sale nationwide February 27, 2015.

This year, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates a symbol of national pride with the Stars and Stripes issuance. The design of the three presorted standard stamps, which together form elements of a waving flag, puts a contemporary spin on an American classic. The stamps feature wavy red and white stripes, a blue field, and five-pointed stars. Along the bottom of each stamp are the words “USA Presorted Standard.” Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps illustrated by Nancy Stahl.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark:
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store® website at http://www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

starsstripespresortStars and Stripes Stamps
Grapevine Main Post Office
1251 William D. Tate Avenue
Grapevine, TX 76051-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service™ will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers have to pay five cents each. All orders must be postmarked by April 28, 2015.

There is one philatelic product for this stamp issue:

  • 783216 First-Day Cover set of 3, $3.00

Technical Specifications:

starsstripespresortIssue: Stars and Stripes Stamps
Item Number: 783100
Denomination & Type of Issue: Presorted Standard, Nondenominated Definitive (10-cent value)
Format: Coil of 3,000 (3 designs)
Series: N/A
Issue Date & City: February 27, 2015, Grapevine, TX 76051
Art Director: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Designer: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Typographer: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Artist: Nancy Stahl, New York, NY
Modeler: Donald Woo
Manufacturing Process: Offset
Printer: Banknote Corporation of America/SSP
Printed at: Browns Summit, NC
Press Type: Alprinta 74
Stamps per Coil: 3,000
Print Quantity: 60,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Nonphosphored, Type III
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive adhesive
Processed at: Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit, NC
Colors: PMS 186, PMS 570, PMS 662
Stamp Orientation: Vertical
Image Area (w x h): 0.73 x 0.84 in./18.54 x 21.34 mm
Stamp Size (w x h): 0.87 x 0.98 in./22.10 x 24.89 mm
Plate Size: 540 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers: “S” followed by three (3) single digits
Coil Number Frequency: Plate numbers every 27th stamp below stamp image

Technical Specifications:

starsstripespresortIssue: Stars and Stripes Stamps
Item Number: 783200
Denomination & Type of Issue: Presorted Standard, Nondenominated Definitive (10-cent value)
Format: Coil of 10,000 (3 designs)
Series: N/A
Issue Date & City: February 27, 2015, Grapevine, TX 76051
Art Director: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Designer: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Typographer: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Artist: Nancy Stahl, New York, NY
Modeler: Donald Woo
Manufacturing Process: Offset
Printer: Banknote Corporation of America/SSP
Printed at: Browns Summit, NC
Press Type: Alprinta 74
Stamps per Coil: 10,000
Print Quantity: 1,000,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Nonphosphored, Type III
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive adhesive
Processed at: Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit, NC
Colors: PMS 186, PMS 570, PMS 662
Stamp Orientation: Vertical
Image Area (w x h): 0.73 x 0.84 in./18.54 x 21.34 mm
Stamp Size (w x h): 0.87 x 0.98 in./22.10 x 24.89 mm
Plate Size: 540 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers: “S” followed by three (3) single digits
Coil Number Frequency: Plate numbers every 27th stamp below stamp image

Announced December 23rd and in the January 8th Postal Bulletin. From the USPS:

starsstripespresort“This year, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates a symbol of national pride with the Stars and Stripes issuance. The design of the three Presorted Standard stamps, which together form elements of a waving flag, puts a contemporary spin on an American classic. The stamps feature wavy red and white stripes, a blue field, and five-pointed stars. Along the bottom of each stamp are the words “USA Presorted Standard.” Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps illustrated by Nancy Stahl.”

2015 Update: December 23, 2014

Special dedication at 1 pm at the AJ Hermitage in Nashville same day for War of 1812 Battle of New Orleans stamp (January 8).

Wrap-up product for War of 1812 – four panes, plus a card with an exclusive DCP, certificate, numbered and signed by Art Director Greg Breeding, limited to 3,000,  plus book about the stamps and the War. Hope to take preorders starting Jan. 1, but won’t be available until Feb. 1. $59.95 (face value of stamps is $39.20). This DCP will not be available separately to FDC servicers. “The War of 1812 Limited Edition Collector’s Set.”

Also jan. 12, Bank Swallow and Folk Art Eagle envelopes reprints. Cascade Envelope has been bought out by Rolland [corrected]  so new marking on the back of the new stocks. “FSC Mixed Paper.” No event. Indicia won’t change.

Love Forever Hearts – confirmed Jan. 22 in Richmond at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, goes with the theme of “Virginia is for Lovers.”

$2 Patriotic Waves – still at Southeastern, first-day city is now confirmed as Norcross  30071.

February 7th, in SF, Year of the Ram.

February TBD and location TBD, Black Heritage, Robert Robinson Taylor.

Vintage Rose/Tulip, still February 14 in Riverside, CA. 1¢ Bobcat still Feb. 21 in Mesa.

Addition: Stars & Stripes presorted standard coil with three designs, in a PSA coils of 3,000 and 10,000, February 27th, at Grapevine Texas, at Texpex   76051

Water Lilies: confirmed for March 20th, Cleveland 44130. @Garfield Perry Stamp Show

From Me To You: probably late March, no date or location confirmed.

Addition: Martin Ramirez, late March, around 30-31st, in NYC. The Gallery tie-in.

No updates on Summer Harvest and Coast Guard.