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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the centennial of the gift of more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees from the city of Tokyo to Washington, DC, by dedicating the Cherry Blossom Centennial Forever stamps at the National Cherry Blossom Festival today. All 100 million stamps are now available at Post Offices nationwide and online at www.usps.com/shop or by calling 1-800-STAMP24.
Joining Donahoe in dedicating the stamps Ambassador of Japan Ichiro Fujisaki; National Cherry Blossom Festival Executive Director Diana Mahew; stamp artist Paul Rogers; and, National Building Museum Executive Director Chase Rynd. U.S. Postal Service Consumer and Industry Affairs Vice President Susan LaChance served as emcee.
“These Cherry Blossom trees were planted 100 years ago as a gift for generations to come,” said Ambassador Fujisaki. “And like the trees, these stamps and the stamps that Japan will issue next week will serve as a cherished gift for future generations.”
The se-tenant stamps — one scene across two stamps — picture cherry trees in full-bloom around the Tidal Basin. In the stamp on the left, trees arch over two girls dressed in bright kimonos and a family on a stroll with the Washington Monument in the background. On the second stamp, the Jefferson Memorial forms the backdrop for tourists taking in the sights under a canopy of pink blooms. Working with art director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA, artist Paul Rogers of Pasadena, CA, created the near-mirror stamp art images. Visit this link to get the back story on the stamps and preliminary sketches of the artwork.
A brief history of how the cherry trees came to Washington appears on the back of the stamp pane along with a modern translation by Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch of a traditional, circa ninth-century poem written by Ki no Tomonori (c.850–c.904).
Other 2012 Stamps
Customers may view the Cherry Blossom Centennial Forever stamps as well as many of this year’s other stamps on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, through Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2012-preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site for background on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.
How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at a local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
Cherry Blossom Centennial Stamp
P.O. Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes by mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by May 24, 2012.
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 quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at www.usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
In addition to the stamps, six philatelic products are available. International customers may purchase the stamps and related products by calling 001-816-545-1000 or faxing 001-816-545-1201.
- 468263, First-Day Cover Set of 2, $1.78.
- 468268, Digital Color Postmark (DCP) Set of 2, $3.20.
- 468291, Ceremony Program (random single), $6.95.
- 468294, Notecards, $13.95.
- 468299, Cancellation Keepsake (DCP Set of 2 w/Pane), $12.95.
- 468297, Commemorative Panel, $9.95
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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A list of processing facilities studied, FAQs, mail processing b-roll, and additional information can be found at usps.com/ourfuturenetwork.
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 151 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With nearly 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 35th in the 2011 Fortune 500. In 2011, the U.S. Postal Service was ranked number one in overall service performance, out of the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world, Oxford Strategic Consulting. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for six years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.