Bitter Grounds Magazine

stamps, espresso & conversation

Peeking at USPS stamps 2021

Written by catpaw

December 28, 2020

USPS stamps 2021 will see some old friends return along with a couple of fun new issues. The always 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 |

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 | 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 ( 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 –

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?

UDATE: APRIL 26, 2021

New things to look for – lots of great cancels. The USPS is issuing some great full colour postmarks for their First Day Covers. You can usually find  2 cancels – a traditional black one and a multi coloured cancel. At the moment, I’m pulling them off covers, but will look for better, high quality scans.  The US, like Canada, doesn’t do service to the detailed work. They almost seem like an afterthought as far as posting information online. I find it a bit frustrating. 

As well, I’ve improved the formatting on the page so the stamps are larger. Each page is now mobile friendly. I’ve optimised the images so they fill smartphone screens without spilling over. Occasionally I “oops” on a page and it doesn’t fit. If you run into that, pop me a message in the comments and I’ll correct it. 

The USPS offers a number of non stamp items which I’m currently debating about listing. Because the point of this site is to promote fun & the love of all things philately, I think I’ll eventually add them. I think they add a great deal to the love of collecting. 

As always, I welcome all comments below. It’s fun chatting with fellow collectors. 

USA stamps for 2021 – January

Continuing series that started in 1973

Love Continuing series that started in 1973 FD cancel in full colourLOve FDC cancel 2

USPS 2021 stamps - LOVE


Enamel Pin & card

Love pin

1 stamp, 2 FDCs, 2 cancels, card
USPS also sells a number of items with the Love design, including tote bags and notecards
Enamel pin comes with a collector card with FD cancel

Stamp designer: Baily Sullivan
This is Sullivan’s first design for the USPS

Release Date: Jan. 14, 2021 Card release date: Jan. 29, 2021



2021 commemorative cachet

1 #10 envelope with inauguration cachet for the 59th inauguration

Release date: Jan. 20, 2021

Castillo de San Marcos
Oldest masonry fortification in USA

Castillo colour cancel FDC cancel in colour

USPS stamp showing Castillo de San Marcos fortifications in FloridaCastillo FDC

flatrate castillo

1 stamp, FDC, cancel, special Flat Rate prepaid envelope

Stamp designer: Greg Breeding 
Artist: Dan Cosgrove

Release date: Jan. 24, 2021

Brush Rabbit

USPS stamp showing the brush rabbitBrush rabbit FDC

1 stamp with “Additional Ounce”, coil stamps, FDC, cancel

Stamp designer: Ethel Kessler
Artist: Dugald Stermer (1936-2011)
Kessler is an Art Director for the USPS. Previous designs include the 1999-2010 Nature of America: Stamp Series with illustrator John Dawson, 2000 Library of Congress, and the 2007 Ella Fitzgerald issue.  

Release date: Jan. 24, 2021

Barn Post Card Stamps depicting 4 seasons

USPS stamps for 2021 showcasing barns

4 stamps in series with “POSTCARD” printed on them

Stamp designer: Ashley Walton
Artist: Kim Johnson

Release date: Jan. 24, 2021

American Commemorative Sheet 
200th Anniversary Maine Statehood

Info sheet of Maine Statehood

Stock card with the block of 4 stamps for Maine Statehood released March 15, 2020.

Release date: January 6, 2021

American Commemorative Sheet
Arnold Palmer

American Commemorative Sheet Arnold Palmer

Stock card with the block of 4 stamps of Arnold Palmer 

Release date: January 6, 2021

American Commemorative Sheet
Enjoy the Great Outdoors

American Commemorative Sheet Enjoy the Great Outdoors


Stock card with the strip of 5 stamps American Outdoors forever stamps 

Release date: January 6, 2021

August Wilson (1945 – 2005) – Black Heritage Month
Renowned, Pulitzer prize winning playwright

August Wilson (1945 - 2005) - Black Heritage Month

USPS Black History Month Stamp - August WilsonAugust Wilson (1945 - 2005) - Black Heritage Month

1 stamp, sheet of 20, FDC, cancel

Stamp designer: Ethel Kessler
Artist: Tim O’Brien
See Brush Rabbit for info on Kessler

Release date: Jan. 28, 2021

USA stamps for 2021 – February

Lunar New Year -Year of the Ox

Lunar cancelLunar colour cancel

USPS 2021 stamps - Year of the OxUSPS Souvenir sheet of Lunar New Year stampLunar FDC colour postmarkLunar New Year FDC with black cancel

1 stamp + full souvenir sheet, 2 FDC, 2 cancels

Stamp designer:  Antonio Alcalá
Artist: Camille Chew

Release date: Feb. 2, 2021

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997)
Nuclear physicist

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997)Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997)

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

“one of the most influential nuclear physicists of the 20th century”

1 permanent stamp, sheet of 20, 2 FDCs, 2 cancels

Stamp designer: Ethel Kessler
Original artist: Kam Mak

Kam Mak has designed & illustrated a number of stamps. He has designed 12 Lunar New Year stamps for the USPS. Kam Maks Stamp on History | PressReleasePoint 
See Brush Rabbit for info on Kessler

Release date: February 11, 2021

Garden Beauty

Garden Beauty  FDC cancel in full colour

2021 stamps for spring -Garden BeautyGarden Beauty FDCs

10 stamps forever stamps, double sided booklet of 20, set of FDCs 

  1. dogwood
  2. rose-pink & white tulip
  3. ornamental onion
  4. Asiatic lily
  5. dahlia
  6. pink moth orchid
  7. sacred lotus
  8. American lotus
  9. yellow moth orchid
  10. orange & yellow tulip

Designer: Ethel Kessler [see above stamp for details)
Photographs: Allen Rokach, Rokach Photography

Release date: Feb 23, 2021

March 2021

Colorado Hairstreak

Colorado Hairstreak butterflyColorado Hairstreak butterfly FDD

1 stamp, FDC, cancel,

Artist: Tom Engeman 
Designer: Derry Noyes

Release date: March 9, 2021

April stamps 2021

Espresso Drink

USPS 2021 stamps - espresso drinks cancel shaped like a coffee stainUSPS 2021 stamps - espresso drinks cancel FDC Seattle Wa

USPS 2021 stamps - espresso drinksUSPS 2021 stamps - espresso drinks booklet of stampsUSPS 2021 stamps - espresso drinks coasters - different coasters

4 stamps, booklet of 20 stamps, double sided coasters, 2 cancels

Artist: Terry Allen, Wappingers Falls, NY
Designer: Gary Breeding

Release date: April 9, 2021

USPS Stamps 2021 for May

May the Fourth Be With You
Star Wars Droid Stamps

Star Wars Droid with word DROIDSStar Wars Droid cancel one with word CHOPPER

Star Wars droid permanent stamps USPS 2021 stampsDroid FDC Droid FDC with word CHOPPER on front  

Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Droids collector set

10 permanent stamps, sheet of 20, 2 sets FDC, 2 postmarks
If you are a Star Wars collector, you might be interested in the free USPS stamp magazine showcasing new stamp releases. The cover features a full page droid. (see below). USA Philatelic magazine, 2021, Vol. 26/Quarter 2. 

Guide to a galaxy collector set includes: 24 pg guide to Star Wars galaxy, foil-stamped booklet guide to droids, pane of 20 Star Wars stamps, & fold out map to the galaxy

Designer: Gary Breeding

Release date: May 4, 2021

Cover from USPS philatelic magazine showing full size droid

Heritage Breeds

Heritage Breeds cancel Heritage Breeds cancel

Heritage breeds - 20 stamp sheet

Heritage Breed coversHeritage breed covers

10 stamps, sheets of 20, 2 sets FDC, postcards, 2 postmarks

Pre-industrial farm breeds:

  1. American Mammoth Jackstock donkey
  2. Narragansett turkey
  3. Cayuga duck
  4. San Clemente Island goat
  5. Mulefoot hog
  6. Cotton Patch goose
  7. American Cream draft horse
  8. Barbados Blackbelly sheep
  9. Milking Devon cow
  10. Wyandotte chicken

Since the worldwide adoption of industrial farming, a few breeds of livestock have been standardized for maximum productivity. As a result, many other breeds with different traits are now critically endangered, and several are extinct. These pre-industrial breeds, known as heritage breeds, possess a priceless genetic diversity that can help farmers and society at large adapt to variable conditions, ranging from new consumer tastes to a landscape altered by a changing climate.
USPS Post Office

Designer: Zack Bryant
Photos: Aliza Eliazarov

Release date: May 17, 2021

June 2021

Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII

Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII colour cancel Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII cancel

Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII  Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII sheet of stamps

Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII colour cancel FDC Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII FDC  

Collector set

Go For Broke collector set

1 stamp, sheet of 10, FDC, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Collector set includes 16 page book, special collector card, pane of 20 Go For Broke stamps 

Designer:  Antonio Alcalá

Release date: June 3, 2021

Emilio Sanchez (1921-1999)
Cuban-American artist renowned for his architectural lithographs & paintings

Emilio Sanchez colour cancel Emilio Sanchez standard cancel

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

Emilio Sanchez FDC with colour cancel Emilio Sanchez FDC with standard cancel 

Emilio Sanchez sheet of stamps 20 stamp

4 stamps, 4 FDC, 2 cancels, sheet of 20

Based on Sanchez lithographs & prints:

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

Designer: Antonio Alcalá

Release date: June 10, 2021

Sun Science

SunScience Cancel 2 SunScience Cancel 1

Sun Science - USPS stamps for

SunScience FDC 2  SunScience FDC 1

10 stamps, sheet of 20, 20 FDC, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

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

Release date: June 18, 2021

Yogi Berra (1925-2015)
Baseball all-star

Yogi black cancel Yogi colour cancel

USPS stamps 2021 - picture of Yogi Berra  

Yogi B sheet

1 stamp, sheet of 20, 2 covers, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Artist: Charles Chaisson
Lettering: Michael Doret

Designer: Antonio Alcalá

Release date: June 24, 2021

Migratory Bird 2021-2022 Souvenir Sheet & Stamp
Non philatelic stamps issued by US Dept. of Interior. Stamp is a hunting permit.

Migratory Bird 2021-2022 Souvenir Sheet

Migratory Bird 2021-2022 Souvenir Sheet

Artist: Richard Clifton
Designer: Suzanne Fellows, FWS

Release date: June 25, 2021


Mystery Message

mystery colour cancel  msytery FDC black cancel

An intriguin offering for 2021 stamps - Mystery Message   Mystery message sheet


FDC colour cancel mystery FDC

Each square has a letter and it’s up to you to puzzle out the message.

1 stamp, sheet of 20, 2 covers, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Designer: Antonio Alcalá

Release date: July 14, 2021

Tap Dance

Tap Dance colour cancel  Tap Dance black cancel

5 USPS stamps depicting different tap dancers  

Tap Dance FDC colour cancel Tap Dance FDC black cancel

5 stamps, sheet of 20, 10 FDC, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

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

Release date: July 10, 2021

Western Wear

Western Wear regular cancel  Western Wear full colour cancel

Colourful stamps showing off Western Wear 

Western Wear Strip of 8 stamps

Western Wear FDC colour cancel Western Wear black cancel

4 stamps, strips of 8, 2 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Original art: Ryan Feerer 

I’m so thankful that @gregbreeding gave me the opportunity to work on this. Such an amazing human being and incredible to work with. I can’t express how much this project means to me. My grandfather was a postmaster in a small New Mexico town. He would’ve been so proud!
Ryan Feerer June 25, 2021 in a Twitter conversation (I added the italics & bolding)

Designer: Greg Breeding

Release date: July 23, 2021

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

Ursula K. Le Guin black cancel Ursula K. Le Guin colour cancel

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

Ursula K. Le Guin FDC 

Ursula K. Le Guin sheet of 20

1 stamp, sheet of  20, 2 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

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

Release date: July 27, 2021

Raven Story

Raven story FDC cancel black Raven Story colour cancel

2021 US stamp Raven Story  RAVEN story sheet 

Raven story FDC Raven story FDC 2

1 stamp, sheet of 20, 2 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Artist: Rico Worl, Juneau Alaska

Rico Lanáat’ Worl is a Tlingit/Athabacan designer. His work speaks to the experience of living with traditional values as a modern person. He is the founder of Trickster Company which strives to promote innovative indigenous design. Rico Worl – ricoworl

Design director: Antonio Alcalá

Release date: July 30, 2021

Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses

Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses black cancel  Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses colour cancel

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

Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses sheet of 20 stamps 

Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses FDC with black cancel Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses FDC with colour cancel


 4 stamps, sheet of 20 stamps, 5 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Artist: Howard Koslow
Designer: Greg Breeding

Release date: Aug. 6, 2021

Missouri Statehood

Missouri Statehood black cancel  Missouri Statehood colour cancel

Missouri Statehood stamps 

Missouri Statehood FDC with black cancel Missouri Statehood FDC with colour cancel

1 stamp, sheet of 20 stamps, 2 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Photographer: Charles Gurche 
Designer: Greg Breeding

Release date: Aug. 10, 2021

Backyard Games

Backyard games FDC black cancel Backyard games FDC colour cancel

A fun set of stamps - Backyard Games  

Backyard games FDC Backyard games FDC colour

8 stamps, 8 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

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

Artist: Mike Wiggins, Little Rock, AR
Designer: Mike Ryan

Release date: Aug. 12, 2021

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Black cancel HappyBirthday colour cance

USPS stamp with Happy Birthday scene 

Happy Birthday FDC HappyBirthdayFDC colour cancel

1 stamp, 2 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel
Also available from USPS balloons, greeting cards, laser lettered card and envelope

Designer: Lisa Catalone Castro and Rudolfo Castro

Release date: Sept. 9, 2021

Message Monsters

Monster cancels regular black Monster cancels digital colour

Monster strip of 5 stamps

Sheet of monster stamps 

Monster FDCs monsters FDC with colour cancel

4 stamps, sheet of 20, 8 FDCs, 2 cancels including digital colour cancel

Original artwork: Elise Gravel

Release date: Sept. 24, 2021

Day of the Dead

USPS celebrates the Day of the Dead

Release date: Sept. 30, 2021


A Visit From St. Nick

Release date: Oct. 7, 2021


Otters in Snow

Release date: Oct. 12, 2021 

USPS Stamps 2021 – orphans?

One stamps didn’t seem to make the updated list of coming releases. I’ll leave them here as orphans & unknowns. 


Mallard duck on a prestamped card

One stamped card

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

No release date


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.

Follow, support, subscribe 

As always, I’ll be updating this page throughout the year. You can follow me on Facebook & Twitter for update details. You can also leave me messages and question on either platform or in the comments below. I enjoy chatting with readers.

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Done reading about US stamps? How about  Canadian stamps for 2021

Awesome 2021 Canadian stamps UPDATED



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