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A red, white and blue surprise.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

Rick Barrentine didn't know he'd helped design the new U-S first-class-rate flag stamp until he got a call from a stamp collector.

"I didn't know what she was talking about. And she said, 'Your stamp that has one of your images on it.' And I said, 'I still don't know what you mean,' and she told me that a folded flag image that I had shot was going to be on the new United States postage stamp.")
RUNS :12

Barrentine is an ad agency creative director in Atlanta and a freelance photographer. The Postal Service bought his flag photo from an agency that sells what's called "stock photographs."

"The way that works is somebody buys a royalty-free image from you. You don't necessarily know how that image is going to be used."
RUNS :08

This photograph was one of several patriotic images he made in 2003.

"I had some nephews, one was in Iraq and I think my other nephew was in Afghanistan. And my father was in the military, and we're kind of a patriotic family."
RUNS :11

When the Postal Service commissions artwork, it pays thousands of dollars. But because this was an existing photograph from an agency, Barrentine doubts he made much on it.

"I probably made around 50 dollars. (chuckle)"
RUNS :02

But his flag photograph will be on the most-used U-S stamp for the next year....seen on millions of letters.

"It almost kind of brought tears to my eyes because it's so exciting. It's a really you know a cool thing."
RUNS :05

Barrentine, his wife and his friends are coming to the ceremony at the NAPEX show in Washington next month launching one of the versions of the stamp.

I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting, visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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