Peeking at USA stamps for 2021 – UPDATED details

Peeking at USA stamps for 2021 – UPDATED details

USA stamps for 2021 will see some old friends return along with a couple of fun new issues. The ever-popular Black History Month, Love and Chinese New Year stamps will be back of course. I doubt a US postal offering would be complete without them. Although not shown in the USPS press release, there will also be Christmas and Diwali stamps available. The US Postal Service is also serving up a few new stamps in 2021 that piqued my interest. Among them are coffee and confusion.

Old favourites return

Jan 14 will see the return of the LOVE stamps. Hard to believe the first LOVE stamp was sold in 1973. Since then, it has gradually turned into a perennial stamp. Check out the USPS online store to pre-order them Love Stamp | USPS.com

Black Heritage Month will celebrate the late, very great playwright August Wilson.

Wilson, a master storyteller, honed his craft by walking the streets of his Hill District neighborhood as a young man, observing, and immersing himself in Black street life, listening to old-timers talk about their daily lives. It inspired what would become his plays’ vibrant characters and lyrical language. August Wilson Archive | University of Pittsburgh Library System

This 44th stamp in the series is already available for pre-ordering August Wilson Stamp | USPS.com It will be released Jan 28th, 2021. The first stamp featuring Black History Month was the 1978 Harriet Tubman stamp. If you would like to research more on African Americans on stamps, start with the USPS page African American Subjects on United States Postage Stamps – Who We Are – USPS

One of the USPS’ popular series has been the Lighthouses of America stamps.  The series began 30 years ago, April 26, 1990. This year the following lighthouses will be shown: Thomas Point Shoal, MD; Montauk Point, NY; Harbor of Refuge, DE; Navesink, NJ; and Erie Harbor Pierhead, PA. I imagine collectors should start looking for them in April.

The US Lighthouse Society has a delightful page on collecting lighthouse stamps. If you haven’t checked them out, here’s the link Collecting Lighthouse Stamps by Richard T. Richardson | US Lighthouse Society (uslhs.org) If you are interested in starting a lighthouse stamp specialty collection, this would be a good starting point.

The flower offerings, Garden Beauties, will include a pink dogwood; a rose-pink and white tulip; ornamental onion; a pink and white Asiatic lily; a magenta dahlia; a yellow and pink American lotus; a pink moth orchid; a pink and white sacred lotus; an orange and yellow tulip; and a yellow moth orchid.  (From the press release Hello, 2021 – U.S. Postal Service Announces Upcoming Stamps – Newsroom – About.usps.com).

Coffee and a secret

The USPS Espresso Drink stamps are, as expected, of interest to me. It’s not just the caffeine content that caught my eye, it’s the warm design that I appreciate. The stamps are a combo of rich colours and great typography. Four stamps will be sold – caffe latte, espresso, caffe mocha and cappuccino. Too bad they weren’t scratch and sniff. The stamps are nice little works of art so kudos to Greg Breeding who designed the stamps using the artwork of Terry Allen.

Mystery Message stamps are intriguing.  “The new Mystery Message stamp will put your sleuthing skills to the test. Featuring bright colors and interesting shapes, the stamp design is a visual riddle spelling out a message. Each colorful square contains a letter in an interesting pattern. The patterns, though seemingly random, were carefully placed so that when put all together, the message reads.” Ah yes, a dose of frustration offered up with the daily mail and morning espresso. What could go wrong?

USA stamps for 2021 – January

 

USPS 2021 stamps - LOVE

Love – part of a long running series

Love

Continuing series that started in 1973

One stamp

Stamp designer: Baily Sullivan

Release Date: Jan. 14, 2021

USPS stamp showing Castillo de San Marcos fortifications in Florida

Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos

Oldest masonry fortification in USA

Stamp designer: Greg Breeding | Artist: Dan Cosgrove

Release date: Jan. 24, 2021

USPS stamp showing the brush rabbit

Little Brush Rabbit

Brush Rabbit

One stamp with “Additional Ounce”

Stamp designer: Ethel Kessler | Artist: Dugald Stermer (1936-2011)

Release date: Jan. 24, 2021

 

USPS stamps for 2021 showcasing barns

USPS stamps for 2021 showcasing barns

Barn Post Card Stamps depicting 4 seasons

Four stamps in series with “POSTCARD” printed on them

Stamp designer: Ashley Walton | Artist: Kim Johnson

Release date: Jan. 24, 2021

 

USPS Black History Month Stamp - August Wilson

August Wilson

August Wilson (1945 – 2005) – Black Heritage Month

Renowned playwright

Stamp designer: Ethel Kessler | Artist: Tim O’Brien

Release date: Jan. 28, 2021

USA stamps for 2021 – February

USPS 2021 stamps - Year of the Ox

USPS 2021 stamps – Year of the Ox

USPS Souvenir sheet of Lunar New Year stamp

Souvenir sheet

Lunar New Year -Year of the Ox

One stamp + full souvenir sheet

Stamp designer:  Antonio Alcalá 

Artist: Camille Chew

Release date: Feb. 2, 2021

USPS 2021 stamp - Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) nuclear physicist

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) “one of the most influential nuclear physicists of the 20th century”

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997)

Nuclear physicist

One stamp

Stamp designer: Ethel Kessler | Original artist: Kam Mak

Release date: February 11, 2021

 

 

USPS Stamps 2021 – Spring & Fall

2021 stamps for spring -Garden Beauty

Garden Beauty stamps for Spring 2021

Details TBA 

Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII

Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII

Details TBA

An intriguin offering for 2021 stamps - Mystery Message

So, what’s the message? We’ll have to wait.

Details TBA
USPS 2021 stamp - Colorado Hairstreak butterfly

Colorado Hairstreak

Details TBA
USPS celebrates the Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Details TBA
Espresso Drinks for 2021 USPS stamps

Now we’re talking – Espresso Drinks

Details TBA
A fun set of stamps - Backyard Games

Backyard games – badminton, bocce, cornhole, croquet, flying disc, horseshoes, tetherball and pick-up baseball

Details TBA
2021 stamps for spring -Garden Beauty

Garden Beauty stamps for Spring 2021

Details TBA
USPS stamp with Happy Birthday scene

Happy Birthday

Details TBA
Series of stamps highlighting Heritage Breeds for 2021

2021 stamps showing off heritage breeds

Details TBA
Message Monsters stamps showing little colourful monsters

Message Monsters

Details TBA
The always popular lighthouse series adds 4 more stamps to the series

The always popular lighthouse series adds 4 more stamps to the series

Details TBA
Missouri Statehood stamps

Missouri Statehood

Details TBA
Colourful stamps showing off Western Wear

Western Wear

Details TBA
2021 US stamp Raven Story

Raven Story will honour a 2021 stamp

Details TBA


LATE ADDITIONS ANNOUNCED – Jan 15, 2021

USPS announced 5 late additions for the 2021 year.  The topics cover everything from science to sports and arts. It’s a bit irritating that no release dates are available yet. When they arrive, I’ll reorganise the page to reflect this.

USPS stamps 2021 - picture of Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra (1925-2015)

Baseball all-star

1 stamp

Artist: Charles Chaisson

Lettering: Michael Doret

Designer: Antonio Alcalá

No release date

 

USPS stamp for 2021 featuring picture of Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018)
Sci-fi and fantasy novelistOne stampLiterary Arts series – stamp #33

The stamp features a portrait of Le Guin based on a 2006 photograph. The background shows a scene from her landmark 1969 novel “The Left Hand of Darkness,” in which an envoy from Earth named Genly Ai escapes from a prison camp across the wintry planet of Gethen with Estraven, a disgraced Gethenian politician.

Designer: Antonio Alcalá based on artwork by Donato Giancola

No release date

 

USPS stamp for 2021 showing panel of 4 stamps showing Emilio Sanchez prints

Emilio Sanchez

Emilio Sanchez (1921-1999)

Four stamps

Based on Sanchez lithographs & prints:

  • “Los Toldos” (1973),
  • “Ty’s Place” (1976),
  • “En el Souk” (1972)
  • Untitled (Ventanita entreabierta) (1981)

Designer: Antonio Alcalá

No release date

 

USPS 2021 sheet of 10 stamps showing Sun Science

Sun Science

Sun Science

Ten stamps in series

The striking colors do not represent the actual colors of the sun as perceived by human eyesight. Instead, each image is colorized by NASA according to different wavelengths that reveal or highlight specific features of the sun’s activity.

Designer: Antonio Alcalá

No release date

 

5 USPS stamps depicting different tap dancers

Celebrating tap dancing

Tap Dance

Four stamps in series

Designer: Ethel Kessler designed the stamps | Photographs by Matthew Murphy

No release date

 

Mallard duck on a prestamped card

Mallard on a pre-stamped card

Mallard

One stamped card

Designer: Ethel Kessler from artwork by Dugald Stermer (1936-2011)

No release date

 

Check out the upcoming Canadian stamps for 2021

Awesome 2021 Canadian stamps announced

 

 

Moon mail – anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing

Moon mail – anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing

It’s been 50 years since the Apollo Moon landing, and this little stamp captured the world’s excited glimpse of humans stepping out beyond earth. I remember watching this on a black and white tv. As a child, I had the barest awareness that I was watching an important moment in history.

The first stamp commemorating the 1969 Apollo moon landing, showing astronaut stepping onto the moon

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – 1969 commemorative stamp for Apollo Moon landing

To celebrate this event, USPS issued an airmail stamp (Scotts #C76) in Sept 1969, 2 months after this watershed event. This artistic rendering of the first footstep on the moon is immediately recognisable to everyone.

While that stamp didn’t go to the moon, Apollo 11 did carry something that should pique the interest of any airmail fans – the first extraterrestrial airmail. The “Flown Apollo 11 covers” are genuine postal covers, complete with stamps, cancels, interesting cachets and serial numbers to identify each.

Signed moon mail covers

The 214 covers bore one of 2 different stamps – Scott 1371, the Apollo 8 issue celebrating the first manned flight around the moon or Scott 1338, US flag over the White House – and autographed by the 3 astronauts. The ultimate airmail collectable. Unlike the Apollo 15 unauthorized covers (I’ll write on that at a later date), NASA did know about these and okayed their trip.

Photo of a postal cover carried on the moon by the Apollo 11 crew

Flown to the Moon postal cover

Three different cachets were used, the one above, Project Apollo 11 displaying the 3 astronaut profiles and the Apollo 11 mission seal.

Each has a stamp that reads “Delayed in Quarantine at Lunar receiving laboratory M.S.C. Houston, Texas”. Like everything else aboard Apollo 11, quarantine was mandatory. The covers have a Webster, Texas Aug 11, 1969 cancel.

The Moon covers also bear a handwritten inscription “Carried to the Moon aboard Apollo 11”. Covers pop up for auction occasionally but is unusual to see them. According to the website Space Flown Artifacts, Neil Armstrong took 47, Buzz Aldrin 104 and Collins 63. Each used numbering their covers to identify the owner:  N = Neil Armstrong, C = Michael Collins and EEA and A = Buzz Aldrin.

Second set of moon mail covers – “insurance covers”

A second set of autographed covers remained on earth, with family members, in case of catastrophic mission failure. These are referred to as “Insurance covers”.

“These covers were currency to our families in the event that we did not return.” Michael Collins r/f Space Flown Artifacts

Undoubtedly these covers would have been worth a fortune had the unthinkable happened. It’s unknown how many exist, but it’s estimated around 1000 were left with the 3 families.  There are a couple of differences between the Moon covers and the insurance covers, including no quarantine markings, no “carried to the moon” hand inscription and a different location for the signatures.

Where to find auction info

Space Flown Artifacts tracks auctioned covers and their prices. The earliest known auction was 1991 and the cover fetched $13,750. The most expensive cover, to date, sold in Nov 2018 for $156,250. This one was a rare one – it came from the Armstrong Family Collection and had the number N-28. Armstrong held onto all the covers during his life and they never came up for sale or auction until his death. To date, 2 Armstrong covers have been sold – N-28 and N-18. 14 Collins and about 30 Aldrin covers have been put up for auction, with not all selling. If you are a big fan of the Apollo missions, check out Space Flown for updates on the status of covers.

Now that the 50th anniversary has rolled around it’ll be interesting to see what stamps are issued to commemorate the Apollo 11 mission.

Here’s one last image to wind up the article. In 2010, NASA sent up the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which captured stunning images of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. You can even see the footpath left by astronauts along with rover tracks, untouched for decades. Something to think about over your morning coffee.

A 2010 photo from a NASA LRO showing the Apollo 11 landing site with moon buggy tracks still visible

LRO photograph of Apollo landing site showing still visible footpaths and moon buggy tracks – NASA website

NOTES & EXTRAS

Interested in space oddities? Check out the article on NASA patent & technical drawing bonanza. I dug around NASA and Google patent pages and found a lot of great tech drawings for space suits, astronaut underwear and control panels.

I can’t encourage you enough to stop by Space Flown Artifacts – http://www.spaceflownartifacts.com/index.html  The website is a gold mine of early space flight and mission items.
This page is dedicated to the Apollo 11 “Flown Apollo 11” covers  http://www.spaceflownartifacts.com/flown_apollo11_covers.html

Can’t get enough photos of the Moon? Check out their page on the Lunar Rec Orbiter here https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/news/apollo-sites.html and NASA’s extensive archives here https://history.nasa.gov/

USPS cool summer treat – scratch ‘n sniff stamps

USPS cool summer treat – scratch ‘n sniff stamps

The USPS is offering up a booklet of popsicle scratch n’ sniff stamps to kick off the summer.  On June 20th, the US post office will roll out new stamps titled “Frozen Treats”. If you’re interested in them, I’d suggest you pre-order because stamps like this tend to go fast.

Image of new USPS scratch 'n sniff stamps showing popsicles

A cool scratch ‘n sniff treat

The booklet of 20 forever stamps, selling for $10, showcases Margaret Berg’s wonderful art.  What smells are going to be offered up? The post office isn’t saying so you’ll have to buy them to find out.  If you’re in Austin, Texas, you can attend the official unveiling at  The Thinkery Children’s Museum at 6 pm in the Events Courtyard. If you can’t attend, tune in via the USPS Facebook page to watch the live stream ceremony.

Pre-order “Frozen Treats” directly through the USPS website. If you buy them, let me know what they smell like. It’ll be interesting to hear what each person identifies.