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GREENBELT, MD —Americans will be on cloud nine this month celebrating October as National Stamp Collecting Month with the issuance of the Earthscapes Forever stamps. The dedication ceremony took place today at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. The stamps are now available at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP24.
Depicting America’s diverse landscapes on photos taken from ultra lights to satellites, the Earthscapes stamps provide a view of the nation’s diverse landscapes in a whole new way — from heights ranging from several hundred feet above the earth to several hundred miles in space.
The stamps provide an opportunity to see the world in a new way by presenting examples of three categories of earthscapes: natural, agricultural, and urban. The photographs were all taken high above the planet’s surface, either snapped by satellites orbiting the Earth or carefully composed by photographers in aircraft. Howard E. Paine of Delaplane, VA, was the art director.
“Once you’ve seen the world from above, you never look at it quite the same way again,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett. “That’s why the Postal Service is proud to offer these Earthscapes stamps, which invite us to take a bird’s eye view of the land we all share.”
Joining Corbett in dedicating the stamps were NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director Christopher Scolese; NASA Landsat Project Scientist Jeff Masek; Earthscape stamp photographer Cameron Davidson; Smithsonian National Postal Museum Education Director K. Allison Wickens; Linn’s Stamp News Senior Editor-Digital Media Jay Bigalke; and, WJLA/ABC-TV Meteorologist Bob Ryan.
“For nearly 50 years, NASA has been at the forefront of looking at earth from the unique vantage point of space.” said Scolese.
NASA uses a fleet of satellites to study the Earth and to better understand the changing climate, its interaction with life, and how human activities affect the environment. Through partnerships with national and international agencies, NASA science enables the application of this understanding for the well-being of society.
Each stamp’s unique perspective makes it a window into a world most of us never experience.
In the top row, we fly over America’s stunning wilderness. While a volcanic eruption scars the forests of Washington State, fog drifts over the timeless sandstone towers of Utah’s Monument Valley. In Alaska, a wide stripe that looks like a highway is actually a glacier, an immense conveyer belt of ice. At its base, jagged white shards resembling broken glass are really icebergs, bobbing in a lake.
The stamps in the center row may look like abstract art, but they show five products being gathered, grown, or harvested: salt, timber, grain, cherries, and cranberries. Center-pivot irrigation systems create the beguiling play of geometric shapes in the middle stamp, although bystanders on the ground might see only sprinklers in fields of wheat, alfalfa, corn, and soybeans.
In the bottom row, urban life takes center stage. Highways corkscrew around themselves and neat subdivisions sport tiny blue pools. It’s our familiar world, shrunken into miniature — and seen with the new eyes that a fresh perspective can bring. Art director Howard E. Paine designed this educational and visually rich pane of stamps.
Customers may view the Earthscapes Forever stamps, as well as many of this year’s other stamps, and vote for their favorite stamp 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 information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.
How to Obtain the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. New stamps may be purchased Post Offices, 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:
7600 Ora Glen Drive
Greenbelt, MD 20770-9998
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. All orders must be postmarked by Dec. 2, 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 usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
There are 11 philatelic products available for this stamp issue:
- 470162, First-Day Cover (Full Pane), $9.25.
- 470163, First-Day Cover Set of 15, $13.35.
- 470164, First-Day Cancelled (Full Pane), $9.25.
- 470168, Digital Color Postmark Set of 15, $24.00.
- 470177, Jigsaw Puzzle (includes Earthscapes stamp sheet), $17.95.
- 470184, Press Sheet (without die cut), $60.75. (print quantity of 2,500)
- 470191, Ceremony Program (random single), $6.95.
- 470192, Stamp Deck Card, $0.95.
- 470194, Stamp Deck Card w/Digital Color Postmark (DCP) (random single), $1.95.
- 470197, Commemorative Stamp Panel, $16.95.
- 470199, Cancellation Keepsake (random DCP w/Pane), $8.95.
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For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to http://about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf.
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 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 of the posts in 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.