Engraved stamps are much-beloved by stamp collectors, or philatelists as they sometimes are known. So it’s only fitting that the U.S. Postal Service today dedicated a souvenir sheet featuring new engravings of classic 19th-century stamps at the World Stamp Show-NY 2016. The stamps also feature a water soluble adhesive.
The original versions of these classic stamps were issued between 1851 and 1866, 150 years ago or more, and they feature some of the most celebrated Americans, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. “It’s not surprising that Washington, Franklin and Lincoln were featured on six of America’s earliest stamps,” noted U.S. Postal Service Vice President for New Products and Innovation Gary Reblin in dedicating the new stamps. “In fact, it seems fitting that we’re celebrating them again with today’s souvenir sheet — and the new Forever versions of these 19th century classics,” he said.
This souvenir sheet is issued in celebration of the long history of U.S. postage stamps—and in appreciation of stamp collectors and philatelists everywhere. The elaborately designed sheet features new versions of six of America’s earliest and most alluring stamps, now issued as Forever stamps to make them easily distinguishable from the mid-19th-century originals. The stamps are printed using the intaglio printing method, as were the originals.
The selvage is composed of postal cancellations and script from envelopes contemporaneous with the stamps. These elements are arranged on a buff-colored background with a textured look to evoke stationery of the period. An inner border reminiscent of star-spangled patriotic bunting also bears the title “Classics Forever” at top and bottom and the words “The Classic Era” on either side. Eric Madsen created the artwork for the selvage. Art director Antonio Alcalá worked with Eric Madsen to design this issuance.
Adding to the appeal for stamp collectors, these new stamps have been printed in intaglio – line engraving reminiscent of fine 19th-century stamps and banknotes – with three million souvenir sheets being produced. These stamps will be sold only at the stamp show in New York, and through mail, telephone and online ordering channels for those unable to attend the show. They will not be available through local Post Office™ facilities. They will be sold only as a complete souvenir sheet of 6 stamps, and the price is $2.82 (6X $0.47).
These Classics Forever stamps are water soluble, although they are affixed with pressure-sensitive adhesive, enabling these special stamps to be removed from envelopes after they have been used by soaking them in plain water. This is the first time this feature has been included on Forever stamps. Additional information about this feature, and helpful instructions to explain how collectors can soak these stamps off of envelopes after they have been affixed to mail and used, can be found following the listing of products available with this stamp issue.