New USPS Product: Stamp Ceremony Memento

Updated March 2nd: In the original Postal Bulletin article, the pricing was incorrect for two of the items, Love Skywriting and Year of the Rooster. We have corrected it below.

[from the Postal Bulletin]
The Stamp Ceremony Memento

In 2017, the United States Postal Service® launched a new and exciting product for our customers and collectors — the stamp ceremony memento. This memento will be offered for a number of different products wrapped into one first-day-of-issue experience collectable. The stamp ceremony memento is professionally packaged to preserve the contents.

Love Skywriting stamp memento, Item 561634, $19.95
The Love Skywriting stamp depicts the word “Love” written in white cursive script against a blue sky studded with wispy clouds. The edges of the letters are just beginning to blur into the surrounding sky. Underlining the word is a decorative swirl of smoke that emphasizes the message. A small, stylized plane, dwarfed by the giant letters, completes the end of the swirl, with smoke trailing from its tail.

The stamp ceremony memento for the Love Skywriting stamp includes:

First-Day Cover
Announce your affection with this new Love Skywriting first-day cover. The #6-¾ envelope bears one affixed Forever® stamp cancelled with an official first-day-of-issue postmark.

Digital Color Postmark
The Love Skywriting digital color postmark celebrates public displays of affection with handwriting floating between blue arcs representing clouds. Also included are an image of a plane and the stamp title, as well as the date and location of stamp issuance: January 7, 2016, Chino, CA 91710.

Ceremony Invitation
The stamp ceremony memento includes an original invitation to the official first-day-of-issue ceremony. This invitation shows the order of the event and all of the participants.

Ceremony Program
The full-color program features the first-day-of-issue ceremony agenda and participants on one side, with a narrative about the stamp design on the reverse.

The stamp ceremony memento is also currently available for the Lunar New Year: Year of the Rooster stamp, the Dorothy Height stamp, the Oscar de la Renta stamp, and the John Fitzgerald Kennedy stamp. Each memento has an individual item number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at, or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Others mementos available:

  • Lunar New Year: Year of the Rooster stamp memento, Item 552034, $18.95
  • Dorothy Height stamp memento, Item 474334, $21.95
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy stamp memento, Item 474634, $18.95
  • Oscar de la Renta stamp memento, Item 562734, $21.95

Northern Cardinal Stamped Envelope (U.S. 2016)

The Songbirds in Snow stamps were issued August 4, 2016, and from this stamp issue, the U.S. Postal Service produced the Northern Cardinal stamped envelope with an issue date of November 3, 2016. The Northern Cardinal stamped envelopes (Item 882105) were issued as a set of 12 pressure-sensitive adhesive #10 regular security stamped envelopes with seals (Forever First-Class Mail priced at $9.95 for each set).

There is one philatelic product for this issue:

  • 882105, Northern Cardinal stamped envelope, packet of 12 with seals, (1 design), $9.95

Technical Specifications:

Issue: Northern Cardinal Stamped Envelope Set
Item Number: 882105
Denomination & Type of Issue: Forever First-Class Stamped Envelope
Format: #10 Regular Security Envelope, Packet of 12, 1 design
Issue Date November 3, 2016
Art Director: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Designer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Typographer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Artist: Robert Giusti, Bridgewater, CT
Modeler: Joseph Sheeran
Manufacturing Process: Offset
Printer: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
Printed at: Williamsville, NY
Press Type: Halm Jet EM4000
Folding Machine: W & D #527
Print Quantity: 240,000 envelopes
Paper Type: 61# Postal Envelope, Block, Type III
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
Envelope Orientation: Horizontal
Envelope Size (w x h): 9.5 x 4.125 in/241.30 x 104.77 mm
Image Size
(w x h): 1.60 x 1.174 in/40.64 x 29.82 mm
Colors: Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, PMS 339 U Green

Lili’uokalani Gardens Priority Mail Envelope (U.S. 2017)

Updated March 11th: The Scott catalogue number for this issue is U695.

On January 22, 2017, in Kansas City, MO, the Postal Service issued a new Priority Mail Flat-Rate Envelope (Item 232700). The new product is an accountable item and features the $6.65 Lili’uokalani Gardens stamp image printed directly on the envelope along with standard Priority Mail graphics.

The prepaid envelope seeks to enhance customer convenience and improve access to USPS® services by saving time and simplifying transactions. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with original art by Dan Cosgrove.

The envelope is available through The Postal Store® website at, by calling 800–782–6724, and in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. It is not available in Post Offices at this time.

There is one philatelic product for this stamp issue:
232716 Prepaid Priority Mail Flat-Rate Stamped Envelope First-Day Cover, $7.09.

Technical Specifications:

Issue: Lili’uokalani Gardens Prepaid Priority Mail Flat-Rate Stamped Envelope
Item Number: 232700
Denomination & Type of Issue: $6.65 Prepaid Priority Mail Flat-Rate Envelope
Issue Date & City: January 22, 2017, Kansas City, MO 64108
Art Director, Designer, Typographer Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Artist Dan Cosgrove, Chicago, IL
Manufacturing Process: Flexography
Printer: Bell, Inc.
Printed at: Bell, Inc., Sioux Falls, SD
Press Type: Stevens
Print Quantity: 648,000
Paper Type: 12-point, clay-coated newsback
Colors: Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black, PMS 294 (Blue), PMS 485 (Red), Varnish
Stamp Orientation: Horizontal
Image Area (w x h): 1.59375 x 1.25 in./40.48 x 31.75 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 9.5 x 12.5 in. (envelope)
Catalog Item Number(s):

  • 232705, Regular Issue Envelope(5/pack), $33.25.
  • 232710, Regular Issue Envelope(10/pack), $66.50.
  • 232725, Regular Issue Envelope(25/pack), $166.25.
  • 232716, First-Day Cover, $7.09.

10-Cent Pears (U.S. 2017)

Updated January 5, 2017: The USPS says a version or versions of this stamp will be issued March 23rd in Cleveland at the Garfield-Perry March Party stamp show. There is no word on the format or formats.

Updated February 17, 2017:
On March 23, 2017, in Cleveland, OH, the U.S. Postal Service will issue the 10-cent denominated Pears stamp, in one design, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps (Item 111500). The stamp will go on sale nationwide March 23, 2017.

Originally issued in 2016 in a coil format, Pears, a 10-cent definitive stamp featuring two red pears on a white background, is being offered in 2017, in panes of 20. The stamp art is an existing illustration by John Burgoyne, who created the original artwork with pen and ink and watercolor. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp

Stamp Fulfillment Services will not make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark:
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. Each cover must have sufficient postage to meet First-Class Mail requirements. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at, or by calling 800-782-6724. Cutomers must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – Pears Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

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 May 23, 2017.

There is one philatelic product for this stamp issue:

  • 111516 First-Day Cover, $1.03

Technical Specifications:

Issue: Pears Stamp
Item Number: 111500
Denomination & Type of Issue: 10-cent Denominated, Mail Use
Format: Pane of 20 (1 design)
Series: N/A
Issue Date & City: March 23, 2017, Cleveland, OH 44101
Designer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Art Director: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Typographer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Existing Art: John Burgoyne, West Barnstable, MA
Modeler: Sandra Lane/Michelle Finn
Manufacturing Process: Offset, Microprint – USPS
Printer: Banknote Corporation of America
Printed at: Browns Summit, NC
Press Type: Alprinta 74
Stamps per Pane: 20
Print Quantity: 150,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Phosphor Tagged Paper, Overall
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit SC
Colors: Warm Gray 4/Gray, PMS 7619 Red, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black
Stamp Orientation: Vertical
Image Area (w x h): 0.73 x 0.84 in./18.54 x 21.34 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 0.87 x 0.98 in./21.10 x 24.89 mm
Full Pane Size
(w x h): 5.30 x 4.88 in./134.62 x 123.95 mm
Plate Size: 400 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers: “B” followed by six (6) single digits
Marginal Markings:
Front: Plate numbers in four corners of pane
Back: © 2015 USPS • USPS logo • Plate position diagram • Barcode (111500) in upper right and lower left corners of pane • Promotional text

Here is the pictorial first-day postmark for this issue: It measures 2.59″ x 1.34″

APS Warns of Reno Hotel Scam

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HOTEL SCAM ADVISORY:  APS AmeriStamp & Stamp Show Guests

February 10, 2017

The American Philatelic Society (APS) has received several complaints from members regarding calls or emails received from a third party, indicating that the APS AmeriStamp Expo and Stamp Show hotel blocks are full and soliciting a room reservation through the caller’s travel agency.  When asked, the caller cannot typically identify the show hotel, and has no knowledge of our event.

This third party is NOT authorized by the APS to solicit room reservations on behalf of the APS.  This is a form of “Housing Pirating”.  These ‘housing pirates’ or ‘bandits’ are companies that phone, email, or fax convention attendees, claiming to offer room reservation services for hotels near a convention.  They may falsely claim to be affiliated with the APS.

Do not respond to any unsolicited calls or emails from a third party offering hotel reservations.  Unless you have initiated the communication, please do not provide anyone with your personal information, especially your credit card number.  If you provide your credit card information to one of these companies, your card may be charged and there is no guarantee you will have a room upon your arrival to Reno or Richmond.

At this time, the only authorized blocks of rooms being held for upcoming APS shows are:

• Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – 3800 S. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89502.  To reserve a room:  Call 800-723-6500 (“AmeriStamp Expo” or “ASE”), or visit the Atlantis website.  For alternate lodging, contact Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority:  (800) 367-7366,

Marriott Richmond – 500 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA  23219.  To reserve a room:  Call (800) 228-9290, or click this APS Booking Link.  If you are seeking alternate hotels, please contact the Richmond Region Tourism: (804) 783-7450,

If contacted by someone asking if you need a room at an APS stamp show, or misrepresenting themselves as a representative of the APS, please share details with the APS to help us make a case against the inquiring organization.

     • Get as much information as you can, such as the:
         » Name of the company
         » Name of the person calling
         » Company address
         » Email address
Telephone number
     • Request information in writing

The American Philatelic Society is NOT affiliated with the following company, whom we believe is responsible for the complaints to date:

National Travel Associates
1 (877) 595-ROOM (7666)
www .nationaltravelassociates .com
Business License: NV20111324251
Entity Number: E0274712011-2

This company, based in Nevada, may appear legitimate – having both a website and social media pages online, but it is not authorized to make room reservations for any APS Stamp Show.  Several complaints are on file about this firm with the Better Business Bureau.

Canadian Opera (Canada 2017)

[press release]
Canadian Opera issue sings the praises of Canadian talent

OTTAWA — In time for the 2017 opera season, Canada Post has launched five stamps celebrating two significant Canadian-penned operas and three individuals who helped to put modern Canadian opera talent on the world stage.

In their stamp design debut, Parcel Design Inc.’s creative director Gary Beelik and designer Kristine Do, with illustrator Peter Strain, have created a bold five-stamp issue that embodies the colour and drama of modern operatic performances.

Two of the highly theatrical stamps depict significant Canadian operas. Filumena — composed by John Estacio with a libretto by John Murrell — tells the true story of the only woman ever to be hanged in Alberta: an Italian immigrant convicted of murdering a police officer. The opera is being restaged by the Calgary Opera in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, and held its opening performance on February 4. Commissioned to celebrate Canada’s centennial in 1967, Louis Riel — composed by Harry Somers and featuring a libretto by Mavor Moore in collaboration with Jacques Languirand — romanticizes the life of the legendary Métis leader. It is being restaged in 2017 to mark both the 50th anniversary of its debut by the Canadian Opera Company and Canada’s sesquicentennial.

The additional three stamps pay homage to the artists who bring magic to the stage. Bass baritone Gerald Finley and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka are regarded internationally as being among the greatest operatic voices on the modern stage. Director Irving Guttman, known as “the father of opera in western Canada” for his artistic vision, is credited with discovering and fostering some of the country’s greatest talent.

The issue includes a booklet of 10 Permanent domestic rate self-adhesive stamps (two of each design), measuring 32 mm x 32 mm, and a gummed souvenir sheet bearing a row of the five stamps. An Official First Day Cover, which incorporates lyrics from both operas, is cancelled in Calgary, Alberta. As with all 2017 stamp issues, Canadian Opera includes references to Canada’s sesquicentennial, which are visible when the stamps are illuminated by a black light. 

Year of the Rooster (Australia 2017)

[press release]
Australia Post celebrates the Year of the Rooster
To celebrate the Year of the Rooster, 28 January 2017 to 15 February 2018, Australia Post is releasing two Lunar New Year stamps.

As the tenth sign in the Chinese Zodiac, the Rooster symbolises confidence, resourcefulness, courage and persistence.

Creating this year’s Lunar New Year range in line with traditional Chinese design and customs, Australia Post Philatelic Manager Michael Zsolt said the products, including a postcard, give everyone an opportunity to send wishes of good fortune and health to family and friends, both here and overseas.

Completing her tenth stamp issue in the Lunar New Year series of twelve, Hong Kong-born Dani Poon said she used paper cut motifs, a popular form of Chinese art, to represent the Rooster in the $1 stamp. The Chinese calligraphic character for the Rooster is shown in the $3 stamp.

“The Chinese assign the Rooster as a proverbial mascot to the five virtues – civil responsibility, marital fidelity, courage, kindness and confidence. Those qualities are illustrated in the minisheet story – the Rooster coaxes the fearful hidden sun out from her hiding place. The puffed-up chest of the Rooster in the $1 stamp sums up the Rooster’s positive personalities. The Rooster is also traditionally related to the chasing away of evil spirits, by calling the sun out and bringing the light to life,” Dani said.

Famous people born in the Year of the Rooster include Britney Spears, Cate Blanchett and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

A highlight of this stamp issue is a special silk minisheet pack, finished with purple foil detailing and where one of the three sheets in the pack is printed on silk. A 24 carat gold Year of the Rooster minisheet in a presentation case is also a highly collectable part of the range.

Collectors and those celebrating the Chinese New Year will be interested in a limited edition (8,888) Chinese New Year Dragon postal and numismatic cover featuring a $1 Perth Mint coloured coin.

Other products associated with this stamp issue are a minisheet, zodiac sheetlet, first day cover, stamp pack, postcard, prestige booklet, customisable $1 stamp in the Personalised Stamps™ range, gutter strip of 10 x $1 stamps with design, domestic and international postage paid envelopes and a Lunar New Year of the Rooster postal and numismatic cover.

The Christmas Island Lunar New Year: Year of the Rooster 2017 stamp issue is available from 10 January 2017 at participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at while stocks last. Personalised Stamps™ can be ordered at The Christmas Island Lunar New Year: Year of the Rooster 2017 stamps are valid for postage in Australia.

For an interview with designer Dani Poon, visit the Australia Post Collectables website The Australia Post Collectables website is a central resource for stamp collectors and philatelic enthusiasts across the globe.

It Pays To Run A Postal Service

Australia Post announced February 23rd that Fahour has resigned, as of July 2017. Although there is no mention of why or where Fahour is going, the press release sings his praises.

Who makes more? The head of the postal service or the head of state?

In Australia, the answer is “postal service.”

According to the Associated Press, Ahmed Fahour (right), managing director of Australia Post, was paid AU$4.4 million in salary and a AU$1.2 million bonus in the last fiscal year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should deliver mail: He wasn’t paid a tenth as much — just AU$507,000.

The AP points out that U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan only made $286,137 last year, but in fairness, we should point out that the Australian dollar is only worth 76% of the U.S. dollar. So Brennan made AU$374,780.72, while Fahour “only” made US$4.3 million (US$4,275,090.99, to be exact). That’s at today’s exchange rate; it wasn’t that much different last year.

Just as an aside, the President of the United States receives an annual salary of US$400,000, or AU$524,179.20.

Australia Post didn’t want the senate committee to disclose how much Fahour made, saying it and its top executives “would become targets of unwarranted media attention.” Such as showing up in The Virtual Stamp Club’s LloydBlog.

Turnbull was a banker before entering politics and has a personal fortunate estimated at AU$200 million, but he says he told Australian Post’s chairman “that remuneration is too high.”

“As someone who spent most of his life in the business world before I came into politics, I think that is a very big salary for that job,” Turnbull told reporters.

(By the way, the Associated Press referred to the postal agency throughout its story as “Australian Post.”

Beautiful Netherlands (Netherlands 2017)

[PostNL press release]
Postzegels Mooi Nederland zijn ontdekkingsreis langs beken en rivierdalen
Beautiful Netherlands stamps explore streams and river valleys

The Beautiful Netherlands 2017 series depicts the meandering course of streams and river valleys, the cultural and historical landscape, along with a striking national monument. For example, the historic Saxon farm in the village of Anderen is featured on the Drentsche Aa stamp. The stamp for the Linge also shows Fort Asperen (near Leerdam) and the stamp for the Reest features the Reestkerk from the village of Oud-Avereest.

Images of the peace and calm along streams and river valleys
The three streams pictured have meandered through the landscape for centuries. Because humans have left this historic landscape intact, the streams retain their original form. Nature, agriculture, culture and liveability are central to the landscape and coexist well. Each stamp sheetlet combines nature and culture in the form of monumental architecture.

Meandering stream
PostNL marketing director Ludo Voorn on the stamp sheetlet: “Designers Sonja Haller and Pascal Brun from Amsterdam have very cleverly managed to cast the stream and river valleys in the lead role. They’ve achieved this by incorporating the meandering streams from beginning to end as lines on the stamp sheetlet, without people or buildings. This brings the striking landscapes of Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland into view.”

Later this year, PostNL will bring out further Beautiful Netherlands stamp sheetlets focusing on the river valleys of the Dommel and the Geul, and a collection sheet containing all five stream and river valleys.

The Beautiful Netherlands 2015 stamps are marked ‘Nederland 1’, the denomination for items up to 20g in weight destined for mail within the Netherlands. These stamps will be available from 30 January 2017 at all Bruna shops and via The stamps are valid until further notice.