We have one last issue from 2022 to review before looking ahead to this year’s new issues from the U.S. Postal Service.
If you thought the new Snowy Beauty stamps were photographs, you’re not alone. The bright and colorful artwork by artist and illustrator Gregory Manchess really pops. Derry Noyes designed the pressure sensitive (self-stick) Forever stamps from original oil paintings by the artist.
Manchess often creates portraits, action scenes and landscapes in an expressionist style that evoke a lot of mood, motion and emotion, so to view these little works of natural beauty is quite a credit to the artist’s talents and a treasure to us.
The Postal Service said the stamps – which are brought to life with color, light and shadow – are meant to bring “warmth and cheer that flowers and berries bring to natural landscapes, even after surprise snow.”
The stamps show 10 species of flowers in snow. The species shown are camellia, winter aconite, crocus, hellebore, winterberry, pansy, plum blossom, grape hyacinth, daffodil and ranunculus.
The stamps sold in booklets of 20 and were formally issued October 11 in Guilford, Indiana at the Guilford Covered Bridge Park. Guilford is a small community located in southeastern Indiana, approximately 30 miles west of Cincinnati. Local officials organized the ceremony.
Manchess, of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, was the special guest speaker at the ceremony. Indiana District Manager Christi Johnson-Kennedy was the dedicating official for the U.S. Postal Service; Jay Bigalke, editor-in-chief of Linn’s Stamp News and Scott catalogs, served as emcee, and Indiana’s First Lady Janet Holcomb, wife of Governor Eric Holcomb, was a special guest.
Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. printed the stamps on the Muller A76 press with four colors, black, cyan, magenta and yellow.
More information about the Snowy Beauty stamps and related products, can be found here.
We all know that flowers are a standard issue from the Postal Service (does anyone remember a year when stamps showing flowers weren’t issued?) and likely more than a few of you are even bored by the popular topical. Sure, they’re pretty stamps, but what’s wrong with that? You must admit that the photographers, designers and artists who create these stamps have superb talents. This latest release is no exception; or, perhaps we can even say these stamps are exceptional.
Manchess is a known entity as an award-winning painter who has, according to his website, “worked in nearly every aspect of illustration, building visuals for a wide range of clients, from children’s books to book covers, to advertising, film projects, and murals.”
The artist exhibits frequently at the Society of Illustrators in New York and in 1999, his peers at the presented him with their highest honor, the coveted Hamilton King Award, for career achievement.
Manchess also is a playwright. His stage play – Above the Timberline, based on his own 2017 widescreen novel (heavily illustrated) of the same name – premiered in 2021 at the University of Northern Michigan and took home several regional awards. Manchess designed the latest mission patches for NASA’s Dragon Crews 1, 2, 3, and 5, plus the Expedition patch for the 67th Mission to the International Space Station.
Oh, and the artist’s work has appeared on previous U.S. stamps: the Oregon Statehood stamp, of 2008; the Mark Twain, of 2011; The 1963 March On Washington, of 2013; Little Mo, of 2019; and Exploring the Great Outdoors of 2020.
More can be found about Manchess at his website, www.manchess.com.
Preview for 2023
A Supreme Court justice, two best-selling authors, a Native American leader and a famed pop artist are the personalities who will be honored on new U.S. stamps in 2023.
Chief Standing Bear (ca. 1829-1908), who won a landmark court ruling in 1879 that determined that Native Americans were persons under the law, will appear on a stamp with artwork by Thomas Blackshear II.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconic look is captured on an upcoming stamp.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, novelists Toni Morrison and Ernest J. Gaines, Chief Standing Bear and five works by Roy Lichtenstein will appear on stamps, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s announcement this fall of 81 new face-different postage stamps, including 12 single stamps and 10 multistamp releases, ranging from two to 20 stamps.
The USPS noted in its release that more issues will be announced later in the year.
Late in 2022, the Postal Service released dates and official first-day locations for the first seven issues of 2023. They are:
- January 5: A 40-cent Red Fox stamp, in Fox, Arkansas. No ceremony planned.
- January 5: Additional ounce School Bus stamp in High Point, North Carolina. No ceremony planned.
- January 12: Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit in San Francisco. Domestic first class Forever stamp is the third in a series. The new year begins January 23.
- January 19: Love stamps (two) in Austin, Texas. Domestic first class Forever stamps show new artwork of a wide-eyed puppy and kitten done in a vintage style.
- January 22: $26.95 Priority Mail Express in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Stamp continues the American Landmarks series of high value stamps and shows a picturesque gap in the Great Smoky Mountains. No ceremony planned.
- January 22: Sailboats stamps in Lahaina, Hawaii. Two Forever stamps paying the postcard rate show three stylized sailboats at full sail. No ceremony planned.
- January 23: The 46th entry in the Black Heritage series (Gaines), in Lafayette, Louisiana. Domestic first class Forever stamps show new portrait of the author.
“The 2023 stamp program features a broad range of subjects and designs,” said USPS Stamp Services Director William Gicker. “These miniature works of art highlight our unique American culture and offer a broad selection for those looking to collect stamps or send their mail around the nation or the world.”
I would expect a somewhat early release also for the $10 Floral Geometry stamp, which mimics the designs of $2 and $5 stamps issued in June.
For the second straight year a new issue will focus on women’s sports. Soccer follows last year’s two-stamp issue for women’s rowing. The U.S. Women’s National Team begins defense of its World Cup title on July 21 and I would expect the new stamp to be issued in advance of the tournament.
There will be at least one new first-class Forever Flag stamp this year along with a separate Patriotic Block stamp for nonprofit bulk mailing.
An Endangered Species pane of 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and offers dramatic close-up photos of 20 such animals found within the 50 states and U.S. territories and possessions.
Four other multistamp issues will feature photographs of 12 waterfalls from around the country, 10 closeup images of tulips and artwork showing four pinatas and five railroad stations.
Following up on the 2021 Message Monsters stamps that encouraged further decorations on the postage via stickers from the pane, a five-stamp Thinking of You issue (with 20-stamp pane) will likewise prompt further postage décor from accompanying stickers.
There are face-front graphic illustrations of four winter woodland animals and artist Gregory Manchess used snow globes as a theme for four Christmas stamps.
At this point, several postage rates are expected to increase on January 23, according to an announcement from the United States Postal Service. The USPS expects approval for proposed changes from the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The proposed increases will raise first-class mail prices approximately 4.2 percent to offset the rise in inflation. The price changes have been approved by the Governors of the U.S. Postal Service.
The new price for 1-ounce first-class mail will rise from 60 to 63 cents, though any Forever stamps purchased before then will pay the freight on all 1-ounce cards and letters.
First-class metered mail will rise from 57 to 60 cents. The price to send a domestic postcard will rise from 44 to 48 cents. A 1-ounce letter or postcard mailed to another country will increase from $1.40 to $1.45; again, previously purchased Forever stamps will pay that rate.
There will be no change to the single-piece letter and flat additional-ounce price, which remains at 24 cents.