2017-09-24 / Insight

Post office issues unique stamps

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER COUNTY — The U.S. Post Office is actually nearly a year older than the federal government. While everyone knows the Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776, many people don’t realize Benjamin Franklin was named the first Postmaster General on July 26, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress.

The Post Office Department issued its first postage stamps on July 1, 1847 and in 1893 it issued the first U.S. commemorative stamp, honoring the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The stamps, double the size of normal of the time, depicted Columbus’ voyages to the New World and were the first of thousands to follow.

Among the commemorative stamp firsts were first woman (Martha Washington, 1902), first Hispanic American (Admiral David Farragut, 1903) first Native American (Pocahontas, 1907) and first African America (Booker T. Washington, 1940).

This summer the Postal Service issued two more firsts.

On June 20 postal officials joined NASA and University of Wyoming officials, and astrophysicist Fred Espenak aka Mr. Eclipse at the Art Museum of the University of Wyoming (UW) in Laramie for First-Day-of-Issue for a firstof its-kind Forever stamp which transforms the solar eclipse image into the Moon from the heat of a finger.

The stamp, which comes in sheets of 16, was issued to mark the June 21 solar eclipse.

A little more than a week earlier at the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Hartford, Wis., the Postal Service issued its Have a Ball! Forever stamps, which depict balls used in baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

The stamps are unique in that a special coating applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process gives them a texture that mimics the feel of a baseball’s stitching; a golf ball’s dimples; a tennis ball’s seams; a soccer ball or volleyball’s textured panels; and the different raised patterns of a football, basketball and kickball.

The Postal Service offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic, online at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free issue of USA Philatelic at usps.com/philatelic, by calling 800-782-6724, or by writing to: U.S. Postal Service USA Philatelic Request PO Box 219014 Kansas City, Mo. 64121-9014.

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