Release Date:  14 January 2021

Issue City:  Loveland, Colorado 80538


United States - Love, 14 January 2021 


Issue: Love 2021 Stamp
Item Number: 565100
Denomination & Type of Issue: First-Class Mail Forever
Format: Pane of 20 (1 design)
Series: Love
Issue Date & City: January 14, 2021, Loveland, CO 80538
Art Director: Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, VA
Designer: Bailey Sullivan, Brooklyn, NY
Typographer: Bailey Sullivan, Brooklyn, NY
Illustrator: Bailey Sullivan, Brooklyn, NY
Modeler: Joseph Sheeran
Manufacturing Process: Offset, Microprint
Printer: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
Press Type: Muller A76
Stamps per Pane: 20
Print Quantity: 200,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Nonphosphored Type III, Block Tag
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
Colors: PMS 289 C Dark Blue, PMS 7688 C Light Blue, PMS 485 C Red, PMS 7423 C Pink, PMS 1375 C Orange
Stamp Orientation: Horizontal
Image Area (w x h): 1.05 x 0.77 in. / 26.67 x 19.558 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 1.19 x 0.91 in. / 30.226 x 23.114 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h): 5.76 x 5.55 in. / 146.304 x 140.97 mm
Press Sheet Size (w x h): 11.52 x 22.20 in. / 292.608 x 563.880 mm
Plate Size: 320 stamps per revolution
Plate Number: “P” followed by five (5) single digits in four corners
Marginal Markings:
Front: Plate number in 4 corners
Back: ©2020 USPS • USPS logo • Two barcodes (565100) • Plate position diagram (8) • Promotional text

Full Sheet of 20 Stamps

United States - Love, 14 January 2021 (pane of 20)


Gutter Strip of 10 Stamps

United States: Love, 14 January 2021 (gutter strip)


First Day Cover (pictorial postmark)

United States: Love, 14 January 2021 (first day cover, pictorial postmark)


First Day Cover (digital color postmark)      

United States: Love, 14 January 2021 (first day cover, digital color postmark)



United States: Love, 14 January 2021 (postmarks)




On January 14, 2021, in Loveland, CO, the United States Postal Service® will issue the Love 2021 stamp (Forever® priced at the First-Class Mail® rate) in one design, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive pane of 20 stamps (Item 565100). The stamp will go on sale nationwide January 14, 2021, and must not be sold or canceled before the first-day-of-issue.

The Postal Service™ continues its popular Love series with a new stamp in 2021. The stamp art features a lighthearted and colorful digital illustration with the word “LOVE” and three large hearts shown in an unconventional palette of color duos, strikingly set against a dark blue background. The design also includes a smaller heart, a rectangle, and a semicircle. Greg Breeding was art director; Bailey Sullivan created the original art and designed the stamp.

Availability to Post Offices: Item 565100, Love 2021 (Forever Priced at the First-Class Mail Rate) Pane of 20 Stamps
Stamp Fulfillment Services will not make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices. Post Offices may begin ordering stamps before the first-day-of-issue through SFS Web at sfsweb.usps.gov.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark
Customers have 120 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office™ or at The Postal Store® website at usps.com/shop. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – Love 2021
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by May 14, 2021.

How to Order First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also 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 USA Philatelic catalog and online at usps.com/shop. Customers may register to receive a free USA Philatelic catalog online at usps.com/philatelic.

Locally produced items are not authorized. Only merchandise that has been approved and assigned an item number by Headquarters Retail Marketing may be produced and sold.

Love Series

US #1475  US #1475

Designed by American artist Robert Indiana, this stamp was issued for special occasion uses such as weddings or valentines. In keeping with its theme, it was released in Philadelphia, “The City of Brotherly Love.” It is the first issue in the popular “Love” series.

US #1951 US #1951

In response to public demand for a new “Love” stamp nine years later, this issue was designed by artist Mary Faulconer of New York City. Faulconer used flowers to give greater feeling to the love theme.

US #2072  US #2072

With each new year, the “LOVE” stamp grew in popularity. By the 1980s, it was issued in larger quantities and for a longer period of time than any other regular U.S. commemorative.

US #2143  US #2143

This colorful stamp was the first Love stamp to be released after Valentine’s Day. The U.S. Postal Service reasoned the stamps could be used all year. Artist Corita Kent created the design. The First Day of Issue ceremonies took place on the soundstage where the television show, “Love Boat,” was filmed.

US #2202  US #2202

1986’s stamp in the popular Love series features a bright-eyed, floppy tailed, cuddly puppy. It serves to remind us what cartoonist Charles Schultz wrote, “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

US #2248  US #2248

For the first time ever, the 1987 Love stamp – the sixth in the series – was issued in a size smaller than the large Love commemoratives of the past.

US #2378 US #2378

US #2379 US #2379

Love for 1988 was coming up roses! Two Love stamps were issued, a 25¢ stamp for letters weighing up to one ounce and a 45¢ stamp (below) for heavier wedding invitations and large greeting cards.

2440  US #2440 and #2441

This is the ninth issue of the Love Series. The love stamps were very popular for use on wedding invitations, Valentines, and other love-type letters. This design was produced in both sheet and booklet form in 1990.

US #2535  US #2535 and #2536

The 29¢ Love stamp for 1991 was exceptionally fitting – the Earth in the shape of a heart. With the Persian Gulf War foremost in the news, most Americans felt that “what the world needs now is love….” The stamp was once again issued in both sheet and booklet form.

US #2537  US #2537

The 52¢ two-ounce first-class rate Love stamp features a pair of brightly colored Fisher’s lovebirds, cuddling on a palm frond.

US #2618  US #2618

Unlike former Love stamps, this one was produced only in sheets. Since 1991 quantities could meet consumer demand, no booklets of the 1992 design were printed and no 52¢ stamps or envelopes bearing the Love logo were released. As usual, the stamp, featuring a heart in an envelope, was issued in time for Valentine’s Day.

US #2813  US #2813

US #2814 US #2814

US #2815  US #2815

Three new Love stamps were added to this popular series in 1994.  This “Heart Rising” stamp has a contemporary design, and has the distinction of being the first ever self-adhesive Love stamp.  Two of the 1994 issues feature Victorian-inspired visions of doves and roses.

US #2948-49 and #2957-59  US #2948-49, #2957-59 and #3030

The non-denominated (32-cent) Love stamp was actually printed before the 1995 rate change took effect. Postal authorities knew that the change would occur before the stamp was actually issued, but did not know exactly what the rate would be. So, in order to release a Love stamp on Valentine’s Day, this stamp was issued without a denomination. The 32-cent denominated version was issued later in the year, at the same time as the 55¢ variety.

US #2960 US #2960

This 55-cent denominated version was issued later in the year, at the same time as the 32¢ variety. The Love stamps were issued in sheets and booklets.

Terry McCaffey, manager of Stamp Development at the time, had been inspired by a postcard picturing two child angels from Raphael’s masterpiece, Sistine Madonna. McCaffey thought they would be perfect for Love stamps.

C. Douglas Lewis, a curator at the National Gallery of Art and vice chairman of the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee warned that child angels, also known as putti, were associated with death, not love. Some art historians believe Raphael’s painting had been intended for the funeral of Pope Julius II, and that the child angels are resting on top of his coffin.

The stamps were issued regardless, and media coverage helped stir the controversy. One mother reportedly called to complain that the she had used the Love stamps on her daughter’s wedding invitations and that the event had been jinxed by the “death angel stamps.”

In spite of the controversy, the 1995 Love stamps were so popular that they weren’t replaced until 1997.

US #3123  US #3123

The 15th installment in the popular Love series, the Swans are the first stamps of the series that do not incorporate the word “love” in their design.

US #3274  US #3274

US #3275 US #3275

The first ever United States stamps cut to the shape of the images depicted are the 33-cent Love (U.S. #3274) and its 55-cent companion (U.S. #3275).  Victorian artifacts were used to create each stamp. The floral-heart design featured on both denominations was taken from a valentine greeting card decorated by an unknown German artist in 1895. The background of the 33-cent stamp was designed after a turn of the century American chocolate or biscuit paper-lace box liner. On the 55-cent stamp, the background was taken from an English paper lace valentine, circa 1885.

US #3496  US #3496-98

US #3499  US #3499

US #3551  US #3551

Long a symbol of devotion, a red rose lies across a handwritten love letter on this 2001 Love stamp. The letter on the non-denominated and on the 34¢ stamp is from Abigail Smith to John Adams, before their marriage and before he became the second President of the U.S. The second stamp has a similar design, but uses a letter from John to Abigail.  A rate change late in 2001 brought a reissue of the 55¢ Love design, with the new 57¢ rate displayed in green. Frequently separated, John and Abigail Adams stayed connected to one another through witty, newsy, passionate letters.

US #3657  US #3657

US #3658  US #3658

Love stamps are classified as “special” stamps. They are on sale longer than commemoratives, are usually printed in greater quantities, and may go back to press to meet demand.  The 60¢ stamp paid the two-ounce first-class rate, for mailing wedding invitations with reply cards and envelopes.

US #3833 US #3833

In 1866, Daniel Chase, brother of Oliver Chase – who founded the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) – invented a process for printing sayings directly on candy. Love notes on the small NECCO hearts were very short, like “Be Mine,” “Marry Me,” and “Cutie Pie.” Candy hearts adorn the 2004 Love stamp.

US #3898  US #3898

In 2005, flowers take center stage on the 37¢-Love Series stamp. Artist Vivienne Flesher created the stamp design, using chalk pastels to draw a hand-held bouquet of vividly colored flowers.

US #3976  US #3976

The 2006 Love stamp, “True Blue,” features two blue birds, beak-to-beak, forming a heart between them.  Bluebirds represent happiness, as in the wish, “May the bluebird of happiness sit upon your shoulder.” Bluebirds also symbolize faithfulness, because they are “true blue.” In medieval Coventry, England, dyers used a blue dye that stayed fast and unfading. The phrase “true as Coventry blue” was eventually shortened to “true blue.”

US #4122  US #4122

The centennial anniversary of the chocolate kiss is commemorated on the 2007 Love stamp. A gift of this rich, melt-in-the-mouth candy has long carried messages of love between sweethearts.

US #4270  US #4270

The stylized heart shape is the universal symbol for passion and love.  There are many theories that seek to explain how the heart shape came to represent love.  One cites the use of the now-extinct silphium plant and the Greek city-state Cyrene in the seventh century B.C.  The silphium plant, which had heart-shaped seeds, was said to be an effective method of birth control.

US #4404-05  US #4404-05

The 2009 King and Queen of Hearts stamps represent the first se-tenant issues in the Love series.  The King and Queen of Hearts poem was inspired by England’s King George, who suffered from porphyria, a crippling disorder that is often accompanied by seizures, hallucinations, and paranoia.  Little was known of the illness at the time, and George’s increasingly erratic behavior caused 18th-century tongues to wag.  Charles Lamb, who secretly battled mental illness himself, published The King and Queen of Hearts in 1805.  Written in the style of a children’s nursery rhyme, the poem was actually a political satire mocking King George and his queen, Charlotte.

US #4450  US #4450

The pansy has long been associated with love. The name comes from the French word pensée, or thought, and was so named because the flower resembled a human face. In many cultures around the world, the pansy has been believed to inspire thoughts of a loved one – and even heal a broken heart.

US #4531-40  US #4531-40

This sheet of 10 face-different Love stamps represents another first for the series.

US #4626  US #4626

“Around her neck she wore a yellow ribbon…”  The words from this 400-year-old song tell the story of a man who goes away and gives his sweetheart a ribbon to wear.   In those days, ribbons were a sign of commitment.  Women wore them in their hair or around their neck as a promise to wait for the return of their beloved.  Knights carried their true love’s ribbons into battle, tucked safely in their armor.

US #4741   US #4741

In the Victorian Era (1837 to 1901), letter writing was more than a means of communication. It was an art form and many books were published detailing the proper etiquette – from tone, to the color of the sealing wax, to the placement of stamps.  Many of these early guides cautioned against saying too much, yet also suggested writing with absolute feeling. Men were warned against complimenting their mates too much, as it would appear insincere. Likewise, women were expected to write in a guarded manner. Rather than closing a letter with, “love,” they often wrote simply, “ever your friend.”

  US #4847

The ancient Chinese conceived the art of cutting paper in lace-like patterns.  The practice spread across Asia and Europe, and was eventually brought to the United States by German immigrants settling in Pennsylvania.  Paper cutting, also known as scherenschnitte, was closely related to milestones in the Pennsylvania Dutch community, including birth, marriage, and death.  Perhaps it was seen most often in courtship, as witnessed in romantic Valentines from the era.

  US #4955-56

The heart has been a symbol of love since before the days of Ancient Greece.  Before the first millennium, the Roman poet Virgil coined the phrase “amorvincitomnia” – “love conquers all.” It is a sentiment often repeated in literature and romantic philosophy. Even in the real world, stories of sacrifice and devotion lift the spirits.  This stamp reminds people that true love can last forever.

US #5036

Paper filigree, or quilling, is a centuries-old art technique which replaces paint, pencil, and clay with paper.  Thin, colorful strips of paper are curled, crimped, bent, and glued to form beautiful and intricate three-dimensional designs.  An art once reserved for upper-class ladies of leisure, quilling is now enjoyed by people of all walks of life.

  US #5155
Skywriting has been amazing people with its beauty and mystery since the early 1900s.  It was first used by British Royal Air Force pilots to send messages to the ground when other communications failed.  It then became an advertising tool for companies like Pepsi.  In more recent years, people have hired skywriters to write personal messages to loved ones.

  US #5255

The 2018 Love series stamp was called “Love Flourishes”. People have expressed their love in different ways since the dawn of civilization. When written communication first appeared, love letters soon followed. From Ancient Egypt to Tudor England to Revolutionary America, countless examples of romantic messages have been discovered – including those between founding father John Adams and his wife, Abigail.

Over the years, as love letters became more popular, certain guidelines were developed to help one express their feelings. These rules were followed especially close during the Victorian era. Men customarily wrote their letters on plain paper while women’s letters could be more ornate, sometimes including ribbons, flowers, or a dab of perfume. But both were encouraged to be sincere while not revealing too much of their affections.

Technology has led to a decline in handwritten communication, but love letters still remain. Taking the time to write and mail messages shows true devotion. These letters are an enduring symbol of commitment, thoughtfulness, and, of course, love.

  US #5339

“Heart Blossoms” was the 2019 Love stamp.  It was released in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Many consider love to be the most powerful emotion we can experience. It can be romantic, platonic, familial, and much more. Every type of love has a measurable effect on how we live and experience the world around us. In fact, scientists have found that people in happy relationships (whether it be a marriage, friendship, or close-knit family) receive long-term physical benefits from feeling love.

  US #5431

Love. What a powerful four-letter word. Since the dawn of time, humans have tried to explain it, express it, write it, draw it, sculpt it, and study it. Scientists have been trying to determine what it is. And the difference between loving your mom, loving chocolate, and loving your husband or wife.

American anthropologist Helen Fisher has become an expert in the field of love. She has done many studies trying to understand love’s effect on the brain. Fisher and her team have come to determine that when you are in love, the ventra tegmental area (VTA) becomes active. This part of the brain is associated with wanting, motivation, focus, and craving.

Oddly enough, it is the same part of the brain that becomes active when a person gets high from an addictive drug. However, Fisher says love is much worse than drugs because there is no coming down. Love consumes you. Fisher’s team also found that the cerebral cortex – the part of the brain associated with judgment and reasoning – becomes deactivated when you are in love. It is no wonder “love is blind” is a common saying.

What draws people together is still being studied, but it is safe to say the mysteries of love will never be fully uncovered. Knowing the facts does nothing to dampen the actual experience of love.



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