I’m always excited this time of the year tracking down new Christmas stamps (and am preparing the last two entries for my “A Month of Christmas” series on A Stamp A Day) as well as following announcements of the upcoming stamps for the New Year. Of course, many of the first issues are the myriad of Chinese New Year releases (2019 is the Year of the Pig) some of which are quite attractive but some countries such as Hong Kong seem to go a bit overboard with these. I much prefer the single stamp releases by the United States or Thailand for this particular topic. There are a few blogs around that do a good job of keeping track of various new issues and I’ve been checking some of the various issuing entities’ websites as well. It can be difficult to find decent-resolution images of stamp designs prior to their release.
United States of America
While 2018 saw some quite interesting stamps from the U.S., 2019 is shaping up to be much better. January will see several releases brought upon by rate increases including a couple of nicely-designed Priority Mail stamps that I would be happy to add to my collection were it not for the extremely high face values (US $7.35 and $25.50!). I’m extremely interested in the Wild and Scenic Rivers issue (reminiscent to last year’s O Beautiful! set) and the Post Office Murals stamps (I have seen one of those portrayed in person). Other favorites from the recently revealed designs include those of the USS Missouri, Marvin Gaye and Woodstock’s 50th anniversary. The Alabama stamp actually makes me want to revisit the state as I never found it THAT attractive but the Cactus Flowers, Coral Reefs and Frogs stamps don’t do much for me. The County and State Fairs issue is interesting but the design reminds me a bit too much of the Thanksgiving Parade issue of a few years ago.
I am hopeful that the USPS will mark the 75th anniversary of Smokey the Bear or the bicentennial of the S.S. Savannah crossing the Atlantic but we’ll probably get chocolate bars and trolls instead (to match last year’s popsicles and dragons). I also wonder what will be this year’s National Stamp Collecting Month theme this year as I hated last year’s Hot Wheels designs. At any rate, although not yet announced, we can be certain that the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing will be commemorated in fine fashion. A number of other countries have already announced designs for this (and a few have already been released!).
Here is the list (with images) thus far, as announced by the United States Postal Service. For updated information on individual releases, I highly recommend reading the entries on the Virtual Stamp Club‘s blog under the category U.S. 2019.
001. January 8, 2019: Hearts Blossom (San Juan, Puerto Rico) – 1 self-adhvesive stamp in panes of 20 (Forever 1st class rate)
Hearts Blossom is the latest stamp in the Love series. The stamp art features the word “Love” in cursive script below 12 colorful hearts meant to visually express love’s joyful, bountiful nature. The color palette — red, purple, orange and pink — is intended to create a happy and positive feeling. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp.
002. January 17, 2019: Year of the Boar (Houston, Texas) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 12 (Forever 1st class rate)
The Year of the Boar is the 12th and final stamp in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Boar begins on February 5, 2019, and ends on January 24, 2020. The stamp art depicts several bright pink peach blossoms on a branch. Peach blossoms, which often bloom just in time for Lunar New Year, mark the beginning of spring in Chinese culture. Artist Kam Mak created this original painting. Art director and stamp designer Ethel Kessler incorporated elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps—Clarence Lee’s cut-paper design of a boar and the Chinese character for “boar,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun — to create continuity between the series.
003. January 27, 2019: Uncle Sam Hat (Kansas City, Missouri) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in coils of 100 (non-denominated additional ounce rate)
The Uncle Sam Hat coil stamp features eight graphic top hats in Uncle Sam’s signature style, with red and white vertical stripes above a blue band with a white star and a gray brim. Beneath each hat is an oval shape representing a face, each in a different shade, meant to suggest the ethnic and racial diversity of the United States. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp. The words “ADDITIONAL OUNCE” on this stamp indicate its usage value. A sheet version of this design was issued February 18, 2017.
004. January 27, 2019: U.S. Flag (Kansas City, Missouri) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in booklets of 20 and coils of 100 by two printers, a total of 4 varieties (Forever 1st class rate)
The U.S. Flag on the new 2019 stamp features the most recognizable symbol of the United States as it can be seen on one of several of the flagpoles near the end of Chicago’s Navy Pier, waving in a May breeze. The photograph was taken by art director Antonio Alcalá.
008. January 27, 2019: California Dogface Butterfly (Kansas City, Missouri) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 20 (non-denominated non-machinable surcharge rate)
California Dogface graces the seventh non-machineable butterfly stamp for use on irregularly sized envelopes, such as square greeting cards, invitations or announcements. The stamp art was digitally created using images of preserved butterflies as a starting point. The result is a highly stylized, simplified image of a California dogface (Zerene eurydice) rather than an exact replica. Nationally known artist Tom Engeman created the stamp art. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.
009. January 27, 2019: Joshua Tree (Kansas City, Missouri) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 4 ($7.35 Priority Mail rate)
010. January 27, 2019: Joshua Tree (Kansas City, Missouri) – 1 pre-stamped 9½- by 12-inch Priority Mail envelope ($7.35 Priority Mal rate)
Joshua Tree celebrates the desolate beauty of the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) and its distinct desert environment. This new Priority Mail stamp depicts a common scene throughout much of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. Using the bold colors of the sun’s reflection off of the trees, rocks, and other shrubby vegetation, artist Dan Cosgrove illuminates the desert scene in warm, golden hues. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp.
011. January 27, 2019: Bethesda Fountain (Kansas City, Missouri) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 4 ($25.50 Priority Mail Express rate)
Bethesda Fountain, the new Priority Mail Express stamp, commemorates the Bethesda Fountain, one of Central Park’s most iconic structures. Dedicated in 1873, the fountain is a gathering place beloved by New Yorkers and out-of-town visitors alike. The stamp art features a stylized depiction of the fountain. The illustration was first rendered as a pencil sketch and then scanned and finished digitally. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with original art by Dan Cosgrove.
012. January 28, 2019: Gregory Hines (New York, NY) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 20 (Forever 1st class rate)
Gregory Hines is honored on the 42nd stamp in the Black Heritage series. His unique style of tap dancing injected new artistry and excitement into a traditional American form. A versatile performer who danced, acted and sang on Broadway, on television and in movies, Hines developed the entertainment traditions of tap into an art form for a younger generation and is credited with renewing interest in tap during the 1990s. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp, which features a 1988 photograph by Jack Mitchell.
013. TBD (likely January 2019): Coral Reefs (TBD) – 4 stamps issued in coils (postcard rate)
Coral Reefs are the subject of four new postcard stamps that celebrate the beauty and wonder of coral reefs. Each stamp depicts a type of stony coral, along with associated reef fish, in a highly stylized manner: elkhorn coral, shown with two French angelfish; brain coral, with a spotted moray eel; staghorn coral, with bluestriped grunts; pillar coral, with a coney grouper and neon gobies. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps. Tyler Lang created the stamp art.
017. TBD (likely January 2019): U.S. Flag (TBD) – 1 pre-stamped envelope (Forever 1st class rate)
The U.S. Flag Stamped Envelope features a graphic design of the flag. A familiar sight on public buildings and private homes alike, the American flag has been portrayed in myriad ways on U.S. postage. This rendition evokes a rich sense of history even as it presents a recognizable icon in a fresh, contemporary way. Kit Hinrichs created the artwork for this stamped envelope. Ethel Kessler served as art director.
018. February 15, 2019: Cactus Flowers (Mesa, Arizona) – 10 self-adhesive stamps in booklet panes of 20 (Forever 1st class rate)
Cactus Flowers celebrates the beauty of cactus flowers with a booklet of 20 stamps. Each stamp depicts a photograph of the flower of one of these ten cacti: Opuntia engelmannii, Rebutia minuscula, Echinocereus dasyacanthus, Echinocereus poselgeri, Echinocereus coccineus, Pelecyphora aselliformis, Parodia microsperma, Echinocactus horizonthalonius, Thelocactus heterochromus and Parodia scopa. Within the booklet, each stamp design is featured twice. With new DNA studies, botanists sometimes reclassify plants. As of the printing of these stamps, the scientific names were accurate. Cacti also have common names, with some plants having several different names in popular use. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps with existing photographs taken by John P. Schaefer.
028. February 23, 2019: Alabama Statehood (Huntsville, Alabama) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 20 (Forever 1st class rate)
Alabama Statehood celebrates the bicentennial of Alabama statehood. Alabama became the 22nd state in the Union on December 14, 1819. The stamp art is a photograph taken at sunset in Cheaha State Park. Alabama photographer Joe Miller took the picture from the park’s Pulpit Rock Trail. With Pulpit Rock in the foreground, most of the area in the valley below the overlook is part of the Talladega National Forest, which surrounds the state park. The art director is William J. Gicker. Greg Breeding designed the stamp with Miller’s existing photograph.
029. TBD (possibly Spring 2019): Marvin Gaye (TBD) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 20
Marvin Gaye is the subject on the latest stamp in the Music Icons series, The “Prince of Soul” — one of the most influential music performers of his generation is seen in a portrait of Gaye inspired by historic photographs. The stamp pane is designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes the stamps, brief text about Gaye’s legacy, and the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of the sleeve. Another portrait of Gaye, also inspired by historic photographs, appears on the reverse along with the Music Icons series logo. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp pane with original art by Kadir Nelson.
030. TBD (possibly June 11, 2019): USS Missouri (TBD) – 1 self-adhesive stamp in panes of 20 (Forever 1st class rate)
The USS Missouri (BB-63), America’s last battleship, is the subject on an issue that coincides with the 75th anniversary of the ship’s commissioning on June 11, 1944. The stamp art depicts Missouri in the disruptive camouflage she wore from her commissioning until a refit in early 1945. Missouri earned numerous combat awards and citations during her decades of service, which include World War II, the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm. She played a momentous role when she hosted the ceremony marking Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. Designed by art director Greg Breeding, the stamp features a digital illustration by Dan Cosgrove.
031. TBD (probably June 12, 2019): President George H.W. Bush (TBD) – 1 self-adhesive stamp (Forever 1st class rate)
President George H.W. Bush passed away on December 1, 2018, at the age of 94. He was born June 12, 1924, and United States Postal Service tradition is that former presidents are honored with a stamp on their first birthday after their death. Although he was born in Milton, Massachuesetts, the family compound where he spent a significant part of each year is in Kennebunkport, Maine. He spent the rest of the year in Houston, Texas. The USPS has not yet announced a design for this stamp, nor have they confirmed its release.
032. TBD: Post Office Murals (TBD) – 5 self-adhesive stamp designs in panes of 10 (Forever 1st class rate)
Post Office Murals is a pane of 10 stamps that features five different murals designed to add a touch of beauty to Post Office walls and help boost the morale of Americans during the era of the Great Depression. On the stamp art, the town or city and state in which the work of art is located is printed underneath each mural. The murals included are: “Kiowas Moving Camp” (1936) Anadarko, Oklahoma; “Mountains and Yucca” (1937) Deming, New Mexico; “Antelope” (1939) Florence, Colorado; “Sugarloaf Mountain” (1940) Rockville, Maryland; and “Air Mail” (1941) Piggott, Arkansas. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps.
037. TBD: Wild and Scenic Rivers (TBD) – 12 self-adhesive stamp designs (Forever 1st class rate)
Wild and Scenic Rivers celebrates exceptional American streams that run freely through natural landscapes without man-made alterations. The pane of a dozen different designs features photographs that represent the more than 200 rivers or river segments designated within the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. First row, left to right: Merced River (Michael Melford, photographer), Owyhee River (Michael Melford, photographer), Koyukuk River (Michael Melford, photographer) Second row, left to right: Niobrara River (Michael Melford, photographer), Snake River (Tim Palmer, photographer), Flathead River (Tim Palmer, photographer) Third row, left to right: Missouri River (Bob Wick, staff photographer for Bureau of Land Management), Skagit River (Tim Palmer, photographer), Deschutes River (Bob Wick, BLM, photographer) Fourth row, left to right: Tlikakila River (Michael Melford, photographer), Ontonagon River (Tim Palmer, photographer), Clarion River (Bob Wick, BLM, photographer). Small type on the bottom of each stamp indicates the name of the river. Michael Melford’s photograph of the Merced River is featured again in the selvage. Art director Derry Noyes designed the pane using existing photographs.
049. TBD: Walt Whitman (TBD) – 1 self-adhesive stamp (non-denominated three-ounce rate)
Walt Whitman is the 32nd honoree in the Literary Arts series, on the bicentennial of his birth. The stamp features a portrait of Whitman based on a photograph taken by Frank Pearsall in 1869. In the background, a hermit thrush sitting on the branch of a lilac bush recalls “When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d,” an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln written by Whitman soon after Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865. Considered by many to be the father of modern American poetry, Whitman broke away from dominant European poetic forms and experimented with free verse and colloquial expressions, writing powerfully about nearly every aspect of 19th-century America. The artist for the stamp was Sam Weber. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp. The words “THREE OUNCE” on this stamp indicate its usage value. Like a First Class Forever stamp, this stamp will always be valid for the rate printed on it.
050. TBD: Frogs (TBD) – 4 self-adhesive stamp designs in booklets of 20 (Forever 1st class rate)
Frogs are seen on four new stamps in a booklet of 20, featuring digital illustrations of four North American frogs: the Pacific tree frog, the northern leopard frog, the American green tree frog and the squirrel tree frog. Working with a primarily green color palette and touches of brown, artist Nancy Stahl captured the essence of each animal with enough important defining features to make each recognizable. Art director William J. Gicker designed the stamps.
Personally, I feel that the names of the frogs should have been added to the design. . . .
055. TBD: State and County Fairs (TBD) – 4 self-adhesive stamp designs (Forever 1st class rate)
State and County Fairs are seen in four whimsical se-tenant stamps that celebrate the fun of America’s state and county fairs. The stamps were designed to work together as a panorama of fair activities, while each stamp also works as an individual picture. The stamp on the far left shows farmers unloading produce behind a white fence. In the second stamp, a child holding a chicken sits atop the same fence, with carnival rides—a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round—in the background. Those rides can be seen in the third stamp, where some fairgoers admire the livestock behind the fence while others walk, balloons in hand, toward a sweets stand. The last stamp shows children at the stand buying treats from the vendor. The art director was Greg Breeding. Mike Ryan designed the stamps with original art by Mick Wiggins.
059. TBD (probably July 2019): Apollo 11 Space Mission 50th Anniversary (TBD)
The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Space Mission and Moon Landing occurs in July 2019. The United States Postal Service has issued numerous commemorative stamps in the past to mark the anniversary and I believe that they will announce an issue for this year, probably at a large stamp show in the Spring. For such an anniversary, I predict multiple stamps and possibly a souvenir sheet. It remains to be seen if this will happen.
060. TBD (probably mid-August 2019): Woodstock (TBD) – 1 self-adhesive stamp (Forever 1st class rate)
Woodstock celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, held in the small farming community of Bethel, New York, August 15-18, 1969. It was the most famous rock festival in history and an expression of the youth counterculture of the 1960s. The stamp art, designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, features the image of the dove from graphic artist Arnold Skolnick’s promotional 1969 poster for the festival along with some of the poster’s words: “3 Days of Peace and Music.” In the stamp art the words are stacked in the background in brilliant colors along with the year 1969, USA, and Forever (the value of the stamp). The white dove stands in the foreground.
061. TBD (possibly September/October 2019): Winter Berries (TBD) – 4 self-adhesive stamps in booklets of 20 (Forever 1st class rate)
Winter Berries, in a booklet of 20 stamps, celebrates four of winter’s small yet vibrant offerings: the winterberry (Ilex verticillata), the juniper berry (Juniperus communis), the beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and the soapberry (Sapindus saponaria). The stamp art features highly detailed botanical portraits of each plant that highlight the bold colors and rich textures of their berries. Artist Steve Buchanan worked with art director Antonio Alcalá to create these four new stamps.
I will update the Stamp Program as information becomes available as to issue dates, locations, designs and additional issues. I hope to do the same for several additional countries (definitely Thailand and possibly Canada, Great Britain, and the United Nations). New releases from other countries will be featured if they interest me or fall into some topical that I’d like to highlight during the year.