Stamp Announcement 13-39: Ray Charles Stamp

Stamp Announcement 13-39: Ray Charles Stamp

On September 23, 2013, in Los Angeles, California and Atlanta, Georgia, the Postal Service™ will issue a Ray Charles (Forever® priced at 46 cents) First-Class mail® commemorative stamp in one design in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 16 stamps (Item 579500). The $7.36 Ray Charles pane of 16 stamps may not be split, and the stamps may not be sold individually.

The stamp will go on sale nationwide September 23, 2013.

The U.S. Postal Service® honors Ray Charles, the extraordinary composer, singer, and pianist, who mixed blues, gospel, country, jazz, and soul music in a unique and highly influential pop music style. The stamp, part of the new Music Icons series, features a photograph of Charles from later in his career. The stamp pane evokes the appearance of a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes the stamps and the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of the sleeve. The reverse side includes a larger version of the photograph featured on the stamp art and the logo for the Music Icons series. Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the stamp pane with designer Neal Ashby.

To learn more about the stories behind the stamps, visit

Distribution: Item 579500, $7.36 Ray Charles (Forever priced at 46 cents) Commemorative PSA Pane of 16 Stamps

Stamp distribution offices (SDOs) and stamp distribution centers (SDCs) will receive their standard automatic distribution quantity for a PSA pane of 16 stamps. Distributions are rounded up to the nearest master carton size of 2,000 panes (32,000 stamps). The stamps will be shipped and sold as a pane of 16 ($7.36).

Initial Supply to Post Offices

SDOs/SDCs will make a subsequent automatic distribution to all Post Offices™ of a quantity to cover approximately 45 days of sales. Post Offices may preorder these stamps 30 days prior to first-day-of-issue through the eBuy2 SEAM Catalog. However, offices should first check the website to determine the amount they will receive on their automatic push prior to placing a preorder at: http://topkkssgsht/sites/SDCReports/Lists/StampAutomatics/default.aspx.

Post Offices participating in the SEAM Stamp Auto Replenishment Pilot (Seattle, Portland, Alaska, and Salt Lake City districts) will receive their automatic push distribution and will be automatically replenished after that based on sales. If pilot sites need additional stock to meet unexpected demand, they must first check the website at: to see if a SEAM replenishment order has already been placed before placing an expedited order in eBuy2. Post Offices should not sell the stamp prior to first-day-of-issue.

Sales Policy

All Post Offices should maintain a sufficient inventory level of this item until the stamp is officially withdrawn from sale. If supplies run low, Post Offices must reorder additional quantities using their normal ordering procedures.

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 their local Post Office, at The Postal Store® website at, 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 a larger envelope addressed to:

Ray Charles Stamp (Los Angeles)
(Address Unavailable)

Ray Charles Stamp (Atlanta)
(Address Unavailable)

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, customers have to pay five cents each. All orders must be postmarked by November 23, 2013.

Special Dedication Postmarks

Only the following pictorial postmark is permitted for the Ray Charles stamp. The word “Station” or the abbreviation “STA” is required somewhere in the design, because it will be a temporary station.

Guidelines for Finalizing Ray Charles Stamp Pictorial Postmark Art

Guidelines for Finalizing Ray Charles Stamp Pictorial Postmark Art

Guidelines for Finalizing Ray Charles Stamp Pictorial Postmark Art

To finalize Ray Charles stamp pictorial postmark art, insert the date, city, state, and ZIP™ Code of the physical location of your event adjacent to the stamp image. Overall dimensions of the pictorial postmark must not exceed 4 inches horizontally by 2 inches vertically. Collectors prefer the dimensions 3 1/2 inches by 1.

The Postal Service must make all special postmarks known to collectors through advance publicity in the Postal Bulletin. Therefore, all special dedication cancellations must be reported to Stamp Services four weeks before the events using PS Form 413, Pictorial Postmark Announcement/Report. To get a copy of the form, go to

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 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

There are 14 philatelic products available for this stamp issue:

n 579506, Press Sheet with Die Cuts, $66.24
(print quantity of 2,500).

n 579508, Press Sheet without Die Cuts, $66.24
(print quantity of 2,500).

n 579510*, Keepsake (Pane & Digital Color Postmark Set), $9.00.

n 579516*, First-Day Cover (Los Angeles), $0.90.

n 579517*, First-Day Cover (Atlanta), $0.90.

n 579518*, First-Day Cover (Full Pane, Los Angeles), $9.86.

n 579519*, First-Day Cancelled (Full Pane, Los Angeles), $9.86.

n 579520*, First-Day Cover (Full Pane, Atlanta), $9.86.

n 579521*, Digital Color Postmark (Los Angeles), $1.61.

n 579522*, Digital Color Postmark (Atlanta), $1.61.

n 579524, Framed Art , $39.95.

n 579525, Poster, $14.95.

n 579529*, First-Day Cancelled (Full Pane, Atlanta), $9.86.

n 579530*, Ceremony Program (2 Stamps, 2 Cancellations), $6.95.

Items with an asterisk (*) will use the 128 barcode from Stamp Fulfillment Services. All other philatelic products will continue to use barcode series A, with the exception of the Yearbook and the Guide Book.



Ray Charles

Item Number:


Denomination & Type of Issue:

First-Class Mail Forever


Pane of 16 (1 design)


Music Icons

Issue Date & City:

September 23, 2013, Los Angeles, CA 90052/Atlanta, GA 30304

Art Director:

Ethel Kessler, Bethesda, MD


Neal Ashby, Alexandria, VA


Neal Ashby, Alexandria, VA

Existing Photo:

Yves Carrere


Donald Woo

Manufacturing Process:

Offset/Microprint “USPS”




Banknote Corporation of America

Printed at:

Browns Summit, NC

Press Type:

Alprinta, 74

Stamps per Pane:


Print Quantity:

60 million stamps

Paper Type:

Phosphor Tagged

Adhesive Type:


Processed at:

Banknote Corporation of America, Browns Summit, NC

Stamp Orientation:


Image Area (w x h):

1.085 x 1.085 in./27.56 x 27.56 mm

Stamp Size (w x h):

1.225 x 1.225 in./31.12 x 31.12 mm

Pane Size (w x h):

7.0 x 7.0 in./177.8 x 177.8 mm


Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Red

Plate Size:

144 stamps per revolution

Plate Numbers:


Marginal Markings:




Header: “Ray Charles” © 2013 USPS USPS logo Barcode (579500) in lower right hand corner of pane Ray Charles bio Promotional text
Proprietary notice