Since my last “catch-up” article on U.S. New Issues, there has been only a couple of releases by the United States Postal Service, starting with a single Forever stamp issued on June 9 in Appleton, Wisconsin, marking the 200th anniversary of the Flag Act of 1818. The basic design repeats that used for the U.S. Flag definitive stamp released on February 9; that stamp bore a 50-star flag while the newer stamp features a flag with 20 stars, the number of states in the Union when the Flag Act of 1818 was implemented. According to the USPS press release, “The flag‘s crisp folds and layering effect convey a sense of the dynamism of the young nation.” Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland, served as art director for the project with stamp design and typography by Kit Hinrichs of San Francisco. The stamps were printed by Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. at Williamsville, New York, using the offset process in a quantity of 200,000,000. They were released in self-adhesive panes of 20.
The Flag Act of 1818 (3 Stat. 415) was enacted by Congress on April 4, 1818. It provided for the modern rule of having thirteen stripes to represent the original thirteen colonies and having the number of stars match the number of states. It also provided that subsequent changes in the number of stars be made on July 4, Independence Day.
As the result of the lack of a Flag Act between 1794 and 1818, there were no official U.S. flags with sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, or nineteen stars. No flag laws were enacted to accompany the admission of new states to the Union during this period.
An Act to establish the flag of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress Assembled, That from and after the fourth day of July next, the flag of the United States be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be twenty stars, white in a blue field.
And be it further enacted, That on the admission of every new state into the Union, one star be added to the union of the flag; and that such addition shall take effect of the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission.
Next on the USPS calendar was a set of 10 designs depicting Frozen Treats released in Austin, Texas on June 20 in a double-sided pane of 20. The Frozen Treats stamps showcase whimsical watercolor illustrations and are printed with a coating that “evokes a sweet summer scent,” according to the Postal Bulletin — the first U.S. Scratch & Sniff stamps.. Art directors Antonio Alcalá and Leslie Badani designed the stamps with original art by Margaret Berg. Ashton Potter USA) Ltd. printed 100,000,000 of the stamps using offset and the “flexographic” manufacturing process on the Muller A76 press.
Frozen Treats digital color First Day of Issue postmark – June 20, 2018
The release date fits with the season, as Americans enjoy cool, refreshing ice pops on hot Summer days. Modern frozen treats are available in many varieties. Ice pops are made by large manufacturers, home cooks, and artisanal shops. In recent years, frozen treats containing fresh fruit such as kiwi, watermelon, blueberries, oranges, and strawberries have become more common. In addition, flavors such as chocolate, root beer, and cola are also popular.
Many of the stamp designs for 2018 have been quite striking but my favorite thus far are the Statue of Freedom stamps scheduled for release this coming Wednesday, June 27. I’ve long been a fan of stamps that re-create classic images used on previous stamps but slightly modernized as these three stamps are. The stamps of this issue feature the head of the statue that tops the United States Capitol dome, in a modern interpretation of an engraved vignette originally created for a 1923 stamp, the $5 Head of Freedom Statue on Scott #573. The tightly cropped enlargement, rendered in emerald green, indigo, and brick red, highlights the solid and dashed lines as well as the cross-hatching characteristic of engraved illustration. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps using John Eissler’s engraved artwork.
Scott #573 was part of the U.S. definitive series of 1922–1931 — 27 stamps issued for general everyday use. Unlike the definitives previously in use which presented only a Washington or Franklin image, each of these definitive stamps depicted a different president or other subject, with Washington and Franklin each confined to a single denomination. The 1, 2 and 5 dollar denominations were printed only once, early in 1923, with the Flat-Plate printing press, unlike most of the others which were later reprinted with the Rotary Press also. The 5-dollar and highest denomination of the series features the Head of Freedom Statue which stands atop of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, D.C.. The bi-colored stamp with its blue colored vignette and red frame required the manufacture of two plates, one for the vignette and one for the frame and required two separate passes through the printing press. The image of “America” was engraved by John Eissle and was modeled after the statue Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace by Thomas Crawford which was erected on December 2, 1863, atop the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
The $1 and $2 Statue of Freedom stamps will be issued in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 10 stamps while the $5 Statue of Freedom stamp will be issued in a PSA pane of 4 stamps. All three will be released on June 27 at the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, headquarters of the American Philatelic Society and will replace the odd “Waves” stamps that were designed more for security than for design considerations. The Statue of Freedom stamps were printed in intaglio — a process that is used when counterfeiting is a particular concern — by the Banknote Corporation of America in Brownsville Summit, North Carolina, on a Alprinta 74 press. There were 100,000,000 copies of the $1 stamp, 30,00,000 of $2, and 5,000,000 of the $5 denomination printed.
There are a number of interesting stamps coming in July with a 20-stamp sheet of images based on the song “America the Beautiful”, the first U.S. stamp appearance of the cartoon dog Scooby Doo, and a single World War I centennial commemorative. I’ll report on those next month…