To distinguish this stamp from other Forever stamps, the shape of the international stamp is round and bears the words “Global Forever.”
Art director William J. Gicker of Washington, DC, designed the stamp. George E. Brown of Alexandria, VA, photographed the wreath, created by Alan Talley of Washington, DC.
Wreaths have an ancient history, though their exact origins are uncertain. Evidence points to the use of wreaths by pre-Christian Germanic people in Northern Europe in the fourth century. Decorated with lighted candles, their wreaths symbolized the hope that spring would come after the dark days of winter. By the 16th century, Christians in Germany used lighted wreaths during Advent, the season leading up to celebration of the Nativity of Christ. From Germany, the use of the Advent wreath spread rapidly to other areas of the Christian world.
The word “wreath” comes from the Middle English word “wrethe,” which means something twisted into a circular form. The circle symbolizes immortality, while the evergreens that traditionally make up the circle represent the continuance of life through the dark months. For Christians, the green circle of the wreath symbolizes the eternity of God and belief in eternal life through Christ.
Evergreens are still a popular component of many holiday wreaths. However, wreaths now come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Made from plants like eucalyptus, laurel, pine boughs, and mistletoe, or from material like glass, wood, paper, and wire, wreaths can be shaped into stars, circles, squares, ovals — almost any shape is possible.
Decorations are limited only by the imagination. Some wreaths, like those that decorate the doorways of Colonial Williamsburg during the holidays, are festooned with dried flowers, okra pods, cotton bolls, and other natural material. Other wreaths have their stylistic origins in the work of 15th-century Florentine sculptor Lucca della Robbia. The della Robia wreaths are decorated with fresh fruit and flowers. Whether decorated with holly berries, ribbons, bows, small gift packages, pinecones, glass ornaments, teddy bears, or model cars, wreaths accommodate almost any style or interest.
Hung on doors or in windows during the holidays, wreaths symbolize the festive spirit that dwells within.
PHILATELIC PRODUCT INFORMATION
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local 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:
Global Forever: Evergreen Wreath Stamp
380 W 33rd Street, Rm. 4032
New York, NY 10199-9998
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 up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, the price is 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Dec. 23, 2013.
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
Eight philatelic products are available for this stamp issue:
- 587006, Press Sheets with Die Cuts, $66 (print quantity of 2,500).
- 587008, Press Sheets without Die cuts, $66 (print quantity of 2,500).
- 587010, Keepsake (Pane & Digital Color Postmark Set), $13.95.
- 587016, First-Day Cover, $1.54.
- 587021, Digital Color Postmark, $2.25.
- 587030, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
- 587031, Stamp Deck Card, 95-cents.
- 587032, Stamp Deck Card with Digital Color Postmark, $2.60.
For a great selection of stamps and related collectible products, please visit the official Postal Service Store on eBay at ebay.com/stamps.
STAMP DEDICATION CEREMONY INFORMATION
The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the winter holidays by issuing the first international Global Holiday stamp — the Global Forever: Evergreen Wreath stamp. The dedication took place Oct. 24 at the James A. Farley Main Post Office in New York City.
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation: 152 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 more than 31,000 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 42nd in the 2012 Fortune 500. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for seven years and the fourth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.