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SACRAMENTO — The U.S. Postal Service today celebrated some of America’s favorite summer foods with four new Forever stamps during a first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at the California State Fair ‑ Cal Expo.
“Today, the United States Postal Service is proud to showcase our Summer Harvest stamps, which will live on as treasures of Americana,” said Drew Aliperto, the U.S. Postal Service’s area vice president, Western Area. “As we celebrate all of summer’s events, remember the Summer Harvest stamps as they will add a little extra on everything you mail.”
Joining Aliperto to dedicate the new stamps were Rick Pickering, chief executive officer, California State Fair; Paul Hammond, director, California State Railroad Museum; Karen Ross, secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Chef Brenda Ruiz, director, Youth and School Projects, Slow Food Sacramento.
The stamps, which are issued in booklets of 20, go on sale today. Customers may purchase the stamps at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide. A wide variety of stamps and collectibles also is available at ebay.com/stamps.
The art for the four stamps was inspired by vintage produce advertising, including 19th and
20th century shipping crate labels, seed packets and catalogs. Though not all produce were shipped in wooden crates, the stamp is especially reminiscent of vintage labels of that era. Working with an early concept developed by former art director Richard Sheaff, Antonio Alcalá completed the Summer Harvest stamp art direction. Michael Doret was the designer and artist.
In the 1870s, America’s railroads first linked the East and West coasts, and fruits and vegetables grown in agricultural areas could be shipped across the country. Beautiful and sometimes whimsical labels evolved from a simple need: to identify the produce inside wooden shipping crates.
The label designs became more alluring and colorful — an early form of advertising — as growers competed against one another to make their products the most memorable.
Growers commissioned printing houses to print eye-catching labels. The companies employed some of the day’s best graphic artists to create designs that featured clever slogans and unusual styles. The art did not necessarily relate to the produce inside; illustrations portrayed bathing beauties, well-known national figures, historic events, landscapes, animals, a grower’s family, or even medieval themes. The lettering, which named the contents as well as the grower, was sometimes outlined in gold ink mixed with small amounts of real gold.
Crate labels were not exclusively an American art form; they also were used in France, Spain, Canada, Chile, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In the 1950s, the use of
pre-printed cardboard boxes for shipping made the labels obsolete, but today, vintage crate labels are highly sought-after collectibles.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store 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:
Summer Harvest Stamps
Customer Relations Coordinator
2000 Royal Oaks Drive
Sacramento, CA 95813-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Sept. 9, 2015.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and 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 seven philatelic products for this stamp issue. The Postal Store’s Summer Harvest page.
- 690006, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $78.40
(print quantity 250).
- 90008, Press Sheet without Die-cut, $78.40
(print quantity 1,000).
- 690010, Keepsake (Booklet of 20 and Digital Color
Postmark First-Day Covers, set of 4) $16.95.
- 690016, First-Day Covers, set of 4, $3.72.
- 690021, Digital Color Postmark First-Day Covers, set of 4, $6.56.
- 690024, Framed Stamps with First-Day-of-Issue Plaque (13”x14”), $39.95.
- 690030, Ceremony Program (random stamp) $ 6.95.
- 690031, Stamp Deck Card, $0.95.
A selection of the products can be viewed on
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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About The Farm Presented by Save Mart Supermarkets:
The State Fair Farm is three acres of living proof of the importance of agriculture and food production in California. Guests were able to get a Save Mart Supermarkets recipe passport and learn about more than 70 crops grown in California, taste local culinary delights prepared by chefs at our outdoor kitchen grill, and learn about fish farming by visiting our aquaculture and aquaponics displays. Check out water-efficient gardens sponsored by the Department of Water Resources and get gardening tips from our Master Gardeners booth. Inside our greenhouse, we learned about orchids and careers in horticulture. Guests were able to visit the blacksmith booth, the insect pavilion, Urban Farming to learn about backyards and container gardening, and then watch the kids race in the Kids Pedal Tractor Pull for some good family fun.
About The California State Fair:
For more than 160 years, the California State Fair has showcased the best of the Golden State. During the 2014 State Fair at Cal Expo more than 750,000 people experienced the best and made memories that will last a lifetime. Cal Expo was dedicated as a place to celebrate California’s achievements, industries, agriculture, diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State’s future. The 2015 California State Fair is taking place July 10-26.
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