Soakable U.S. Stamps?

It’s something many collectors want. So we put the question to Mary-Anne Penner, acting director of the U.S. Postal Service’s Stamp Services department. Hear her answer here.

Transcript:

“Yes, they’re possible. Are we going to go completely to a soakable stamp? I’m going to tell you know, because the cost is expensive. But I have reached out to both printers and we’re going to see what we can do. You know, maybe we can do one edition a year. Let’s see what happens. You know, you’ve got to give me some time. I need to get true facts; I don’t want to rush into anything, and I want to see what other people are doing, I mean, other countries.”

APS Update – Notes from the Meeting

by Lloyd A. de Vries

This didn’t come up until the Q&A of the General Membership Meeting on Saturday, August 22, 2015, surprisingly, but I think it’s the information most people want first: The American Philatelic Society currently has just over 31,000 members, with approximately 29,500 of them in the U.S. In the past year, the APS has a net loss of 440 paid memberships; including Life Members, the APS has lost 560 members.

I thought Scott English, the new Executive Director, did a nice job introducing the APS staffers present in the room and the show; he seemed to know something about each of them, even though he’s only been on the job since August 10th.

APS president Steve Reinhard notes that there have been quite a few major personnel changes in the past year: English, Jay Bigalke as American Philatelist editor, Megan Orient as Director of Shows and Exhibitions. He thanked Ken Martin for his many years of service and noted that Ken is now Chief Operating Officer. That got a solid round of applause from the members.

Reinhard announced that the American Philatelic Center is finally on the way to completion of the American Philatelic Research Library facility.

He announced that the Stamps Teach program is successful, and has received a $25,000 matching grant. What wasn’t mentioned is that the Director of Education position has been vacant for several months.

He finished by announcing that he was not running for re-election as president (as previously reported here in The Virtual Stamp Club), adding that “it is very important that we get the right people in office.”

Board of Vice Presidents chair Alex Haiman announced that the VPs have handled 14 complaints in the past year. Half were resolved from a BVP hearing. One is in appeal, and there were two expulsions.

Treasurer Ken Nilsestuen reported that both the APS and APRL are in good financial condition. The APS received a surprise bequest from Walter Weber of $1.3 million, which allowed the library completion project to start. It provides about two-thirds of the necessary funds.

Matt Liebason, the new chair of the Membership Committee, said that there needs to be more one-on-one recruiting. “You are the ones who care enough to come to a meeting on Saturday morning,” he said. “We will turn this around.”

Society Attorney Kathleen Yurchak reported there is one lawsuit pending against the APS over a disputed donation.

APRL president Roger Brody reported that the Library is expanding from 7-8,000 square feet to more than 20,000 square feet.

World Stamp Show-New York 2016 president Wade Saadi said buzz is starting around the world about the next U.S. International, which will start on May 28th. “[International] shows in the U.S. are a focal point of philately,” he said.

WSS-NY2016 has booked 15,600 hotel room-nights, but half have already been taken. He advises booking as soon as possible. You can cancel with no penalty up to one month before the show. (Click here to go to the reservation page on the “NY2016.org” site.) 80% of the dealer booths have been taken; only two society booths are available.

In his first report as Executive Director, Scott English says he wants to retire the library debt “quickly and aggressively.” The target to complete the library project is April.

The APS and APRL will be reviewing and renegotiating their agreement over the use and administration of the American Philatelic Center.

The APS is in the process of hiring a Director of Education, with the emphasis on “distance liearning” (course on the Internet).

In conclusion, “Anyone who ever steps foot into a stamp show will meet friends for life,” he said.

Surprisingly, not announced was the APS board’s decision to hold its 2017 winter show, AmeriStamp Expo, in Reno, and StampShow 2019 (summer) in Omaha. The vote was reported in Linn’s Stamp News.

More Notes from USPS Forums @ StampShow

In a public forum with collectors, acting Stamp Services chief Mary-Anne Penner was told that collectors need to be better educated about what stamps are available, and what collectors want when buying stamps. Penner replied that that is one of the top goals in 2016 for Lori Mazzone, who is now in charge of products and exhibitions for Stamp Services.

“We recognize the fact that training is needed,” Mazzone said. However, actual sales in post offices come under the Retail department, not Stamp Services. Penner says she is working with the VP in that area.

Penner also floated the possibilities of single-stamp sales and soakable stamps.

For the past year or so, post offices have been allowed to trade stamps with each other.

One of the first changes she made upon becoming acting director of Stamp Services, Mary-Anne Penner said, was dropping the phrase “limited edition” from marketing and promotion for USPS philatelic products. To her, a “limited edition” is in small quantities and probably sequentially numbered.

Soakable Stamps In U.S. Future

In a public forum with collectors, acting Stamp Services chief Mary-Anne Penner said her department is looking at producing more soakable stamps. The collectors applauded. She cautioned that it won’t be every issue, and there won’t be huge numbers of these stamps.

Repeal of the Stamp Act, 1766 (U.S. 2016)

Unveiling the stamp at the first-day ceremony:repeal_unveilLeft to right: Janet Klug, Chair, Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee; Scott English, Executive Director American Philatelic Society; Daniel A. Piazza, Chief Curator of Philately, Smithsonian National Postal Museum; Michael J. Elston, Associate General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, USPS; Kevin J. Crocilla, New York City Postmaster; Antonio Alcala, art director for this issue; Dr. Cheryl R. Ganz, CSAC member. Ceremony photographs courtesy USPS.

[press release]
New Forever Stamp Souvenir Sheet Marks 250th Anniversary of the Repeal of the Stamp Act

NEW YORK — The U.S. Postal Service today dedicated a Forever stamp souvenir sheet commemorating the 250th anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766. The Stamp Act was British legislation that proved historic in galvanizing and uniting the American colonies, setting them on a path toward independence.

The stamp ceremony was held at the World Stamp Show— NY 2016 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, which continues through June 4. The United States plays host to a sanctioned international stamp show only once every 10 years.

repeal_elston“To me, the stamp represents what’s great about America and Americans,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Mike Elston (right). “Whether born here or only just recently arrived, we share in common a passionate love of liberty and freedom, and the willingness to sacrifice whatever it takes — even ‘our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor’ — to defend our liberties and our freedom,” he said, referring to the last line in the Declaration of Independence.

repeal_englishThese new stamps have been printed – and will be sold – only as complete souvenir sheets of 10 stamps, priced at $4.70 (10 X $0.47). (Left: American Philatelic Society executive director Scott English.)

The Stamp Act, enacted in 1765, required payment of a tax on a wide array of paper materials, such as newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, licenses, mortgages, contracts and bills of sale. A stamp would be embossed on these papers to indicate payment.

repeal_piazzaThe commemorative stamp art depicts a crowd gathered around a “liberty tree” to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act. “Liberty trees” could be found in a number of cities throughout the colonies, and were popular gathering spots for community meetings, political discussions, celebrations and more. (Right: Smithsonian National Postal Museum philatelic curator Daniel Piazza.)

The selvage area on the left side of the souvenir sheet displays a proof print of a one-penny revenue stamp, and includes a famous slogan from the era: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” Verso text appears on the back of the pane. The stamp was illustrated by noted historical painter Greg Harlin of Annapolis, MD. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp and the pane.

Updated April 29th, from the Postal Bulletin:
s_stampactOn May 29, 2016, in New York, NY, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue the Repeal of the Stamp Act stamp (Forever® priced at 47 cents) in one design, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) souvenir sheet of 10 stamps (Item 586700). The Repeal of the Stamp Act souvenir sheet may not be split, and the stamps may not be sold individually.

The stamp will go on sale nationwide May 29, 2016.

This 2016 issuance of the Repeal of the Stamp Act stamp commemorates the 250th anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act — British legislation that galvanized and united the American colonies and set them on a path toward revolution. The act required payment of a tax on a wide array of paper materials, such as newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, licenses, mortgages, contracts, and bills of sale. A stamp would be embossed on these papers to indicate payment. The postage stamp depicts a crowd gathered around a “liberty tree” to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act. The selvage area displays a proof print of a one-penny revenue stamp and includes a famous slogan from the era: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” Verso text appears on the back of the pane. The stamp was illustrated by noted historical painter Greg Harlin. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp and the pane.

Initial Supply to Post Offices: Stamp Fulfillment Services will not make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices™. Post Offices may begin ordering stamps prior to the FDOI through SFS Web.

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:⁄⁄stampactpanewww.usps.com⁄shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. 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:

Repeal of the Stamp Act Stamp
Special Events Coordinator
380 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10199-9998

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. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by July 29, 2016.

There are nine philatelic products for this stamp issue:

  • 586706 Press Sheet with Die-cut, $56.40 (print quantity 3,000)
  • 586710 Keepsake, $11.95
  • 586716 First-Day Cover, $0.91
  • 586718 First-Day Cover, Full Pane, $7.20
  • 586719 Cancelled Full Pane, $7.20
  • 586721 Digital Color Postmark, $1.62
  • 586724 Framed Art, $39.95
  • 586730 Ceremony Program, $6.95
  • 586733 Panel, $17.95

Technical Specifications:

s_stampactIssue: Repeal of the Stamp Act Stamp
Item Number: 586700
Denomination & Type of Issue: First-Class Mail Forever
Format: Souvenir Sheet of 10 (1 design)
Series: N⁄A
Issue Date & City: May 29, 2016, New York, NY 10199
Designer: Antonio Alcalá, Alexandria, VA
Art Director: Antonio Alcalá, Alexandria, VA
Typographer: Antonio Alcalá, Alexandria, VA
Artist: Greg Harlin, Annapolis, MD
Modeler: Sandra Lane⁄Michelle Finn
Manufacturing Process: Offset, Microprint
Printer: Banknote Corporation of America
Printed at: Browns Summit, NC
Press Type: Alprinta 74
Stamps per Pane: 10
Print Quantity: 12 million stamps
Paper Type: Phosphor Tagged Paper, Block
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit SC
Colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black
Stamp Orientation: Vertical
Image Area (w x h): 1.09 x 1.42 in.⁄27.56 x 36.07 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 1.23 x 1.56 in.⁄31.12 x 39.62 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h): 8.5 x 5.00 in.⁄215.90 x 127.00 mm
Press Sheets Size (w x h): 25.5 x 20.00 in.⁄647.70 x 508.00 mm
Plate Size: 120 stamps per revolution
Marginal Markings:
Back:
© 2015 USPS • USPS logo • Plate position diagram • Barcode (586700) in lower right corner of pane • Promotional text • Verso text

From the USPS August 20, 2015:

FDOI: Second Quarter (at World Stamp Show-NY 2016)
Format: Pane of 10 [souvenir sheet]

s_stampactThis issuance commemorates the 250th anniversary of the repeal of the Stamp Act, British legislation that galvanized and united the American colonies and set them on a path toward revolution. The act required payment of a tax on a wide array of paper materials, such as newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, licenses, mortgages, contracts, and bills of sale. A stamp would be embossed on these papers to indicate payment.

The stamp art depicts a crowd gathered around a “liberty tree” to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act. The selvage area displays a proof print of a one-penny revenue stamp and includes a famous slogan from the era: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” Verso text appears on the back of the pane.

Artist: Greg Harlin
Art Director: Antonio Alcalá

Full pane: stampactpane


Pets (U.S. 2016)

Updated October 4th: Here are the Scott Catalogue numbers:

5106 Puppy
5107 Betta fish
5108 Iguana
5109 Hamster
5110 Goldfish
5111 Kitten
5112 Rabbit
5113 Tortoise
5114 Guinea pig
5115 Parrot
5116 Corn snake
5117 Mouse
5118 Hermit crab
5119 Chinchilla
5120 Gerbil
5121 Gecko
5122 Cat
5123 Horse
5124 Parakeets
5125 Dog
a. Convertible booklet pane of 20, #5106-5125

Updated July 7, 2016:
petsblock1On August 2, 2016, in Las Vegas, NV, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue the Pets stamps (Forever® priced at 47 cents) in 20 designs, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) double-sided booklet of 20 stamps (Item 680700).

The stamps will go on sale nationwide August 2, 2016.

With this booklet of 20 stamps, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the animals in our lives that bring us joy, companionship, and love. The stamp art features existing photographs of different animals taken against white backgrounds. Each photograph represents animals from these groups: puppies, betta fish, iguanas, hamsters, goldfish, parrots, guinea pigs, tortoises, rabbits, kittens, corn snakes, mice, hermit crabs, chinchillas, gerbils, dogs, parakeets, horses, cats, and geckos. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps with existing photographs by Eric Isselée.

Stamp Fulfillment Services will make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices of a quantity to cover approximately 30 days of sales.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark:
petsblock2Customers 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 800-782-6724. 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:

Pets Stamps
United States Postal Service
Attn: Marilyn Wassell
1001 East Sunset Road, #2009
Las Vegas, NV 89199-9998

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. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by October 2, 2016.

petsblock3There are five philatelic products for this stamp issue:

  • 680706, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $75.20
  • 680710 Digital Color Postmark Keepsake (random single), $11.95
  • 680716 First-Day Cover (Set of 20), $18.20
  • 680721 Digital Color Postmark (Set of 20), $32.40
  • 680730 Ceremony Program (random single), $6.95

Technical Specifications:

petsblock4Issue: Pets Stamps
Item Number: 680700
Denomination & Type of Issue: First-Class Mail Forever
Format: Double-Sided Booklet of 20
Series: N⁄A
Issue Date & City: August 2, 2016, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Art Director: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Designer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Typographer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Existing Photos: Eric Isselée
Modeler: Joseph Sheeran
Manufacturing Process: Offset
Printer: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
petsblock5Printed at: Williamsville, NY
Press Type: Muller A76
Stamps per Booklet: 20
Print Quantity: 400,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Nonphosphored Type III, Block Tag
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
Stamp Orientation: Horizontal
Image Area (w x h): 1.05 x 0.77 in.⁄26.67 x 19.56 mm
Stamp Size (w x h): 1.19 x 0.91 in.⁄30.23 x 23.11 mm
Full Booklet Size (w x h): 2.38 x 5.76 in.⁄60.45 x 146.30 mm
Press Sheet Size (w x h): 23.29 x 4.76 in.⁄ 591.57 x 120.90 mm
Colors: Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow
Plate Size: 880 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers: “P” followed by four (4) single digits
Marginal Markings:
Header. “Pets” • Twenty First-Class Forever Stamps • Plate numbers in peel strip area • © 2015 • USPS Logo • Promotional Text in peel strip area

Here is the Digital Color Postmark for this issue: pets_dcp_vscIt measures 2.9″ x 1.4″. The B&W postmark is the standard 4-bar FDOI.

wss_cochraneUpdated June 23rd: The first day ceremony for this issue will be held Tuesday, August 2, 2016 1:00 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center (South Seas Ballroom F, 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas). The dedicating official will be Chief Marketing and Sales Officer and EVP James Cochrane (right).

Updated May 23rd: These stamps will be issued Tuesday, August 2nd, in Las Vegas. From the USPS:

s_petsSuperZoo, National Show for Pet Retailers
The Mandalay Bay Resort
South Seas Ballroom #F
3950 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89119

BACKGROUND: The 20 Forever stamps feature photographs of some favorite pets: dog, puppy, cat, kitten, betta fish, goldfish, iguana, snake, gecko, hermit crab, tortoise, hamster, guinea pig, gerbil, mouse, chinchilla, rabbit, parrot, parakeets and a horse.”

Note that the address above is for the first-day ceremony, not the FDC servicing address.

Added April 27th: Still no word when these stamps will be issued. I checked.

Added November 4th: I brought your qualms about the legality of each and every one of these pets in all states to the attention of Mary-Anne Penner, chief of USPS Stamp Services. She replied that, upon investigation, the legality of owning a particular pet can be very complex, and is also governed by state, county and even local laws and neighborhood rules, “and can change quickly.”

However, she stands by the identification of the bird: “The bird in the stamp art is a canary winged parakeet. The birds are also called white winged parakeets (Brotogeris versicolurus). We confirmed this with the photographer and a veterinarian who specializes in birds.”

From the USPS August 20, 2015:

s_pets20 designs
FDOI: Second Quarter (National Pet Month is in May)
Format: Booklet of 20

This issuance celebrates America’s love of pets.

The stamp art for the Pets booklet features 20 existing photographs. Each photograph represents an animal we love from these groups: puppies, betta fish, iguanas, hamsters, goldfish, parrots, guinea pigs, tortoises, rabbits, kittens, corn snakes, mice, hermit crabs, chinchillas, gerbils, dogs, parakeets, horses, cats, and geckos.

Existing Photos: Eric Isselée
Art Director: Derry Noyes

Notes: Stamp Services chief Mary-Anne Penner says the USPS made sure that it is legal to own all of these pets in all 50 states. There have been requests for a Ferrets stamp, but ownership is not legal throughout the U.S.

Jaime Escalante (U.S. 2016)

Updated July 3rd: Here is the Digital Color Postmark for this issue: escalanta_dcp_vsc
The Digital Color Postmark measures 2.6” x 1.25″.

Updated June 23rd: The first-day ceremony will be held Wednesday, July 13, 2016 11:00 a.m. in the Washington Hilton’s International Ballroom East (1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC — (Use T Street NW entrance and take escalators down to the Terrace Level). The dedicating official will be USPS Network Operations VP Robert Cintron.

Updated June 10th, from the Postal Bulletin:

s_jaimeescalanteOn July 13, 2016, in Washington, DC, the U.S. Postal Service will issue the Jaime Escalante First-Class Mail stamp (Forever priced at 47 cents), in one design, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps (Item 473800).

The stamp will go on sale nationwide July 13, 2016.

The U.S. Postal Service honors Jaime Escalante (1930ñ2010), the East Los Angeles teacher whose inspirational methods led supposedly “unteachable” high school students to master calculus. The digital illustration by Jason Seiler depicts Escalante in a style meant to resemble an oil painting. The illustration is based on a photograph taken by Jaime W. Escalante, on May 6, 2005, in the actual classroom at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento, California, where his father formerly taught. The story of Jaime Escalante and his students attracted national attention with the release of the 1988 movie, Stand and Deliver. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with original art by Jason Seiler.

Stamp Fulfillment Services will make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices of a quantity to cover approximately 30 days of sales.

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 800-782-6724. 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:

Jaime Escalante Stamp
Special Events
PO Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282

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. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by September 13, 2016.

There are seven philatelic products for this stamp issue:

  • 473806 Press Sheet with Die-cut, $84.60 (print quantity 1,500).
  • 473810 Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $11.95.
  • 473816 First-Day Cover, $0.91.
  • 473821 Digital Color Postmark, $1.62.
  • 473824 Framed Art, $39.95.
  • 473830 Ceremony Program, $6.95.
  • 473833 Panel, $10.95

Technical Specifications:

s_jaimeescalanteIssue: Jaime Escalante Stamp
Item Number: 473800
Denomination & Type of Issue: First-Class Mail Forever
Format: Pane of 20 (1 design)
Series: N?A
Issue Date & City: July 13, 2016, Washington, DC 20066
Designer: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Art Director: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Typographer: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Artist: Jason Seiler, Chicago, IL
Modeler: Sandra Lane?Michelle Finn
Manufacturing Process: Offset, Microprint
Printer: Banknote Corporation of America
Printed at: Browns Summit, NC
Press Type: Alprinta 74
Stamps per Pane: 20
Print Quantity: 12 million stamps
Paper Type: Phosphor Tagged Paper, Block
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit SC
Colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, PMS 5625?Green, PMS 118?Gold
Stamp Orientation: Vertical
Image Area (w x h): 0.84 x 1.42 in.?21.34 x 36.07 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 0.98 x 1.56 in.?24.89 x 39.62 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h): 6.50 x 8.50 in.?165.10 x 215.90 mm
Press Sheets Size (w x h): 20.00 x 26.00 in.? 508.00 x 660.40 mm
Plate Size: 180 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers: “B” followed by six (6) single digits
Marginal Markings:
Front: Plate numbers in two corners of pane
Back: © 2015 USPS ï USPS logo ï Plate position diagram ï Barcode (473800) in lower right corner of pane ï Promotional text ï Jaime Escalante summary

Updated February 25th, from the USPS: This stamp will be issued Wednesday, July 13th, 11 a.m., at the Washington (DC) Hilton as part of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Convention and Exposition.

From the USPS August 20, 2015:

s_jaimeescalanteFDOI: Second Quarter (Birth date: December 31, 1930)
Format: Pane of 20

Beloved and charismatic California educator Jaime Escalante (1930–2010) used unconventional methods to inspire his inner-city students not only to learn calculus but also to pass Advanced Placement tests in the subject. With his colleagues at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, he proved that students judged to be “unteachable” could master even the most difficult subject.

The stamp art features Escalante in a digital illustration that resembles an oil painting. The illustration is based on a 2005 photograph taken by Jaime W. Escalante, in a classroom where his father formerly taught.

Artist: Jason Seiler
Art Director: Greg Breeding