In February 2014, someone leaked to The Washington Post a list of the stamps and postal stationery subjects the U.S. Postal Service and its Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) was considering. The list was nicknamed “Deep CSAC.”
The list was divided into three categories: Design Approved, In Design Development, and Not Yet In Design.
At first, the U.S. stamp program hewed fairly closely to Deep CSAC, but as time went on, it diverged more and more: Some stamps were issued in a different year than the list had indicated, some weren’t issued at all, and some were issued that weren’t on the list. Still, looking at the list now, it’s amazing how accurate it was. (It’s still online.)
The list didn’t specifically cover 2017, but several of the issues on the 2017 list so far are there (Barn Swallow envelope, Love Skywriting, “Garden Beauty” (likely Flowers from the Garden in 2017), Christmas Carols. And I expect we’ll add to this list as 2017’s list of issues is completed.
So what is on the list, so far unissued but “design approved,” could be a guide to other 2017 issues.
Although two somewhat non-religious Christmas subjects have been announced for 2017 (Christmas Carols and “A Snowy Day”), there is no religious issue. The USPS has been issuing Madonna & Child stamps in alternate years, and just issued one in 2016, but a design by Francesco Bachiacca has been approved. According to Wikipedia, he was a Renaissance artist. His Madonna and Child with St. John hangs in the Dallas Museum of Art.
However, there are also three other “Madonna and Child” stamps with designs approved.
Elizabeth Taylor was rumored to be the Legends of Hollywood pick for 2016; instead, it was Shirley Temple. Deep CSAC has a design “in development.” Entertainment celebrity stamps often become mired in rights issues, from the estates of the celebrities themselves to use of photographs and characters portrayed in the design. She had children with Michael Wilding and Michael Todd, and an adopted daughter with Eddie Fisher and Richard Burton. At least three of the children are still alive. She also has nine grandchildren. We have seen how children from different spouses or partners often disagree on stamp issuances.
We’ve been hearing for years that “Science Fiction Writers” was an imminent issue, a set of 4 or 5 stamps first rumored for 2013. According to the Deep CSAC list, the design is approved, and there is even a second second in the works. There is probably at least one rights issue with the initial set.
There was also strong rumors last year about stamps for Steve Jobs and a Music Icons one for James Brown. We know there are major rights issues for Brown; his heirs can’t even agree on where to bury him. I could easily see a rights issue with the Apple founder, too.
Speaking of Music Icons, the secret list says a design has been approved for Roy Orbison.
We’ve had Distinguished Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, and almost annual service medal stamps in the past few years. Deep CSAC indicates a Distinguished Airmen design is approved. Soldiers, Sailors and Marines were all four stamps.
No two-ounce Distinguished Americans stamp has been announced. Deep CSAC says there is a two-ounce-rate design for A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., an African American federal judge.
However, don’t rush out and order your first day cover cachets or prints suitable to framing or book travel based on this speculation. Several of 2017’s announced issues don’t show up anywhere on the Deep CSAC list. Several of 2016’s weren’t there either.