U.S. Postal Service Celebrates Star-Spangled Banner on Stamps

Marking the 200th Anniversary of This Treasured American Icon

March 06, 2014 

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Star-Spangled Banner Forever stamp
To obtain a high-resolution image of the stamp for media use only, email roy.a.betts@usps.gov.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today showcased the Star-Spangled Banner Forever Stamp during a special ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, home to the
15-star, 15-stripe flag that inspired the national anthem.

“We’re here today to honor our country’s most powerful symbols, our flag and our national anthem,” said Kristin Seaver, vice president, Area Operations, Capital Metro Area, U.S. Postal Service. “When a young poet named Francis Scott Key saw those broad stripes and bright stars still waving at dawn on the top of Fort McHenry during the battle of Baltimore, he was so inspired, he put pen to paper and wrote the words that eventually became our national anthem.

“It’s impossible to look at this image and not feel proud and patriotic,” said Seaver. “Let it serve as a small reminder of a very big idea that in America, our flag isn’t just a patchwork of colored fabric. It’s a powerful symbol of our history, our heritage and the common ground we all share.”

Joining Seaver to dedicate the stamp were John Gray, director, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History; Jennifer Locke Jones, chair and curator, Division of Armed Forces History, National Museum of American History; Tina Cappetta, superintendent, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine; Phil Jordan and Gary Clark, the Star-Spangled Banner Forever stamp’s art director and photographer, respectively; and Ted Wilson, registrar, Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Issued Jan. 28, the stamp was featured at the museum to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The Star-Spangled Banner Forever Stamp is on sale today at Post Offices nationwide, online at usps.com/stamps, at the Postal Store on eBay at ebay.com/stamps, and by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724). The formats available are a booklet of 20 stamps, coil of 100 stamps, and an ATM sheetlet of 18 stamps.

This stamp design features a photograph of the flag that flies over Fort McHenry National Monument and His­toric Shrine in Baltimore, MD. This flag is a replica of the one that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” after realizing Fort McHenry had withstood the British attack of Sept.13-14, 1814.

The picture of the flag was taken against a backdrop of fireworks during an annual celebration of Defenders’ Day, a legal holiday in the state of Maryland commemorating the successful defense of the city of Baltimore on Sept. 12, 1814 from an invading British force during the War of 1812.

Photographer Gary Clark said it was a challenge to get the fireworks and the flag in the same shot and that “the wind picked up quite a bit that night.” Art director Phil Jordan designed the stamp.

The Star-Spangled Banner stamp is being issued as a Forever Stamp, which is equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Customers may view the Star-Spangled Banner Forever Stamp, as well as a preview of many of this year’s other stamps, on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, on Twitter@USPSstamps or on the website USPSstamps.com.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmark for Star-Spangled Banner Forever Stamp
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase the new stamps at local Post Offices, at usps.com/stampsor by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should apply the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

The Star-Spangled Banner Stamp
Special Cancellations
PO Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282

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 for fewer than 50 requests. For more than 50, the price is
5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by May 3, 2014.

Ordering 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/stamps or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO  64121-9014

Philatelic products for the Star-Spangled Banner Forever Stamp
There are two philatelic products available for the booklets of 20:

  • 689017, First-Day Cover, $0.93.
  • 689022, Digital Color Postmark, $1.64.

There are two philatelic products available for the coil of 100:

  • 787917, First-Day Cover, $0.93.
  • 787921, Digital Color Postmark, $1.64.

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 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.

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