1. STAMP PROGRAM
The Postal Service produced a wide variety of commemorative and definitive stamps during 2002. The issued stamps began as proposals from the public that were later researched, reviewed, and subsequently recommended by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC). CSAC receives annually, through the Office of Stamp Services, proposals from approximately 50,000 individuals and organizations each year for subjects to be considered as stamps. The stamps issued during 2002 recognize a variety of great people, and their achievements in the American experience, nostalgic and cultural American icons, significant events and the natural beauty and wildlife of the United States.
The 2002 commemorative stamp program consisted of 23 stamp issues. Additionally, on June 30, 2002, a rate change was implemented, requiring the inclusion of nine definitive stamps, one stamped card, and two envelopes. Combined with the commemorative program, a total number of 32 stamps were issued during 2002.
One of the most acclaimed commemorative issues of the year was the Greetings From America series of 50 state stamps. Within three months, almost all 200 million stamps were sold. This stamp issuance generated a great deal of publicity nationwide. In response to an overwhelming demand from the public, these stamps were reissued at the new 37-cent First-Class rate in October 2002. Also, in response to repeated public requests, we issued stamps featuring four teddy bear designs which proved very popular with customers.
In addition, Cary Grant was the eighth person honored in the Legends of Hollywood series. Other famous Americans honored during the course of the year include the great American composer, Irving Berlin; Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist and magician; Andy Warhol, the king of Pop Art; two of America’s preeminent poets, Langston Hughes and Ogden Nash; surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku; and four distinguished Women in Journalism, Ida Tarbell, Ethel Payne, Nelly Bly, and Marguerite Higgins.
In addition, a pane of 20 stamps in the Classic Collection series honored the Masters of American Photography. This issue included works produced over the past 150 years by such masters as Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, and Walker Evans. The Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games were honored with a block of four stamps depicting some of the more popular winter sports including figure skating, hockey, snowboarding, and ski jumping. The 200th anniversary of the founding of the United States Military Academy at West Point was also honored. Two social awareness stamps were issued carrying important messages on Mentoring a Child, and to Neuter or Spay your pets. Stamp collectors were pleased with the issuance of reproductions of the rare Hawaiian Missionary stamps of 150 years ago and National Stamp Collecting Month, which is held every October, was appropriately kicked-off in a fun fashion with the issuance of the four American Bats stamps. Special occasions were covered with the issuance of the Happy Birthday stamp and the annual Lunar New Year stamp, as well as the Christmas and Holiday stamps, this year featuring snowmen ornaments. Also, the EID, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa stamps in the Holiday Celebrations series were reissued at the new 37-cent First-Class Mail rate. The ever popular theme of wildlife was covered in two issues, the first being a stamp honoring the work of John James Audubon, featuring two tanager birds. The second issuance was the fourth in the series of popular Nature of America stamps, this time honoring the Longleaf Pine Forest. All in all, the 2002 stamp program proved very popular with the American public.
The Postal Service continued to experience strong sales of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp and issues a second semipostal stamp on June 7, 2002, honoring the Heroes of 2001. This stamp pays tribute to the emergency relief personnel who died or were permanently disabled in the line of duty in connection with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Both stamps sell for 45 cents. The Breast Cancer Research Stamp was repriced from 40 cents to 45 cents on March 23, 2002. For both semipostals, the difference between the one ounce, First-Class letter rate and the price of the stamp is provided to designated organizations.
The development of the 2002 stamp program was successfully completed earlier than previous years. This accelerated schedule afforded the earlier development of stamp and retail products and the earlier release of designs to the media, field offices, and the public.