Postmasters’ Publicity Kit: Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever Stamp

Tens of millions of people in the United States hope to view this once-in-a-lifetime event — the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse.

Map with Track of Total Solar Eclipse

The approximately 70-mile-wide “path of totality” of the Moon’s shadow will cross portions of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina ( This is the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire country since 1918. The last eclipse seen on the U.S. mainland was in 1979.

Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamp

To commemorate the event, the U.S. Postal Service® will release the Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever® stamps on June 20, 2017. This first-of-its-kind stamp (for the U.S.) transforms into an image of the Moon from the heat of a finger. For illustrative purposes, two stamp images are featured throughout this kit to show how the stamp image transforms. The Postal Service™ is offering this single design issuance in a pane of 16 stamps.

Retired NASA Astrophysicist Fred Espanak ( of Portal, AZ, photographed the eclipse and Moon images. The back of the stamp pane provides a map of the eclipse path and the times it will appear in some locations. For more details, visit NASA’s website at The public may share news on social media using the hashtag #EclipseStamps.

Postmasters may conduct special dedication ceremonies after June 20. Postmasters can maximize media attention by hosting their events on August 21, the day of the eclipse, to add that “local news angle” to a national story. Note: Special dedications cannot take place on the same day as a national first-day-of-issue stamp dedication.

First-of-its-Kind Stamp

The Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamp uses thermochromic ink to reveal a second image using the body heat of your thumb or fingers. Just rub the eclipse image with your fingers to see an underlying image of the Moon. The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools.

Obtaining Philatelic Products and Stamps

Philatelic Products

For Postal Retail Units wishing to offer philatelic products at special dedication events, the products shown in the following table are available using the Stamp Services Event Product Form. We will also have Total Eclipse of the Sun product brochures that you can give to customers for ordering by mail or online.


Item No.




Total Eclipse of the Sun Stamps






First-Day Cover



Digital Color Postmark



Framed Art






Protective Sleeve



Ceremony Program



Stamp Ceremony Memento


To request a Stamp Services Event Product Form, please send an email to Philatelic Products via Outlook using the subject “Solar Eclipse, City, State.” The Stamp Products and Exhibitions team will then send you a detailed description of the products, including Standard Operating Procedures, and the appropriate forms to complete the request.

Total Eclipse of the Sun Special Pictorial Postmark

Total Eclipse of the Sun pictorial postmark

Stamp Services designed this special pictorial postmark for the Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp. Postmasters also have the ability to design their own postmarks in accordance with Handbook PO-230, Pictorial Postmarks. Send all Pictorial Postmarks requests for the Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp to within the 4-week timeframe before the event. Note: This is an exception to the normal rule of 8–10 weeks.

Stamp Services will not accept requests after the 4–week timeframe before the event. You must complete the requested information for all pictorials including the one shown here. Please include a completed PS Form 413, Pictorial Postmark Announcement/Report, with your request.

Promotion Materials

The Postmasters’ Publicity Kit at includes all of the elements you need to conduct a successful special stamp dedication ceremony

Note: The term “second day ceremony” is no longer used as it incorrectly implies that local Post Office™ events may only occur on the day following the first-day-of-issue. Special dedication ceremonies may occur any time after the first-day-of-issue date, but not on the same date as another stamp first-day-of-issue.

The kit contains:

n Stamp enlargement information;

n Information on sharing your event date;

n A sample Media Advisory;

n A sample News Release;

n A sample Speech;

n A list of eclipse-related organizations such as planetariums, science centers, NASA, and astronomy organizations that can provide public speakers or a venue to conduct your event;

n Government Relations contacts (if you have a need to contact elected officials); and

n Corporate Communications Field Manager contacts for support while promoting your event through the media.

Obtaining Stamp Enlargements

It is recommended that Postmasters order one blow-up containing the overlapped eclipse and Moon image as shown here.

Total Solar Eclilpse of the Sun stamp

If Postmasters also wish to display the map depicted on the back of the stamp pane, they must order the map as a separate blow-up for easier viewing during the event. The normal size for blow-ups used for unveilings is 48" by 48".

Share Your Event Date

At least 15 days before your event, please submit special dedication event location and date information by visiting Blue at

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks

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, 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.

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, 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.

n 475324, Framed Art, $39.95.

n 475327, Folio, $9.95.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS® Newsroom at

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