Stamp Announcement 17-27: Total Eclipse of the Sun Stamp

©2017 USPS

On June 20, 2017, in Laramie, WY, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue the Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp (Forever® priced at 49 cents), in one design, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 16 stamps (Item 475300). The $7.84 Total Eclipse of the Sun pane of 16 stamps may not be split, and the stamps may not be sold individually. The stamps will go on sale nationwide June 20, 2017.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible to millions of Americans as it sweeps a narrow path across parts of the entire country. The U.S. Postal Service anticipates this rare event with a stamp celebrating the majesty of total solar eclipses. A total eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon completely blocks the visible solar disk from view, casting a shadow on the Earth. The image on the Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp shows a total solar eclipse that was seen over Jalu, Libya, in 2006.

The Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp is the first U.S. stamp to use thermochromic ink, which reacts to the heat of your touch. Placing your finger over the black disc on the stamp causes the ink to change from black to clear to reveal an underlying image of the moon. The image reverts back to the black disc once it cools. The back of the stamp pane shows a map of the eclipse path. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp with existing photographs taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak.

Availability to Post Offices: Item 475300, $7.84 Total Eclipse of the Sun (Forever priced at 49 cents) Commemorative PSA Pane of 16 Stamps

Stamp Fulfillment Services will make an automatic push distribution to Post Offices of a quantity to cover approximately 30 days of sales. Distribution quantities for the automatic push distribution are available by logging on to SFS Web at Post Offices may begin ordering stamps on the first-day-of-issue through SFS Web; offices should also check the amount they will receive on their automatic push distribution.

Special Dedication Postmarks

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

Guidelines for Finalizing Total Eclipse of the Sun Stamp Pictorial Postmark Art

To finalize the Total Eclipse of the Sun 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 event using PS Form 413, Pictorial Postmark Announcement/Report. To get a copy of the form, go to

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 800-782-6724. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – Total Eclipse of the Sun Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

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. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by August 20, 2017.

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, online at, or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free issue of USA Philatelic at, by calling 800-782-6724, or by writing to:

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

Philatelic Products

Philatelic products for this stamp issue are as follows:

n 475306, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $62.72.

n 475310*, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $9.95.

n 475316*, First-Day Cover, $0.93.

n 475321*, Digital Color Postmark, $1.64.

n 475329, Protective Sleeve, $0.25.

n 475330*, Ceremony Program, $6.95.

n 475333*, American Commemorative Collectible Panel, $10.95.

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.

We will publish the technical details for the Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp in a future Postal Bulletin.