By Michael Baadke
The United States Postal Service has revealed 20 subjects it plans to commemorate on stamps next year.
The historical subjects include the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower on America’s shores, and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote.
Modern-day personalities who will appear on stamps next year include golf champion Arnold Palmer and journalist Gwen Ifill.
The beauty of America’s natural settings will be celebrated with a set of 10 stamps for American Gardens. Other floral tributes are coming as well, such as a set of 10 stamps displaying wild orchids, and matching Boutonniere and Corsage stamps designed for wedding invitations and similar uses.
Other celebratory stamps include a Love issue titled Made of Hearts, a polka dot explosion that spells out “Celebrate,” and new stamps for the Lunar New Year, Earth Day, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
New multistamp sets commemorate Voices of the Harlem Renaissance with four stamps, time spent in the Great Outdoors with another five, and the multifaceted culture that surrounds the hip-hop music scene with another four.
Ten more stamps will show various fruits and vegetables, and a set of four stamps will simply spell out “Thank You” in elaborate cursive script and gold foil.
The Postal Service revealed its 2020 stamp program in a press release issued Oct. 22.
Following are the details of the 20 individual issues unveiled so far.
Lunar New Year: Year of the Rat. A new 12-stamp series to celebrate the dawning of the lunar new year on Jan. 25 will begin in 2020. Using original artwork by Camille Chew, the Postal Service will open the series with a decorated rat mask to welcome in the Year of the Rat. The mask is “a contemporary take on the long tradition of paper-cut folk art crafts created during this time of year,” according to the Postal Service.
Love: Made of Hearts. The design of the single Love stamp for 2020 is composed of dozens of small hearts in red and pink. The red hearts are arranged to create one large heart in the center of the design, which was developed by USPS art director Antonio Alcala.
Black Heritage: Gwen Ifill. Award-winning journalist and television newscaster Gwen Ifill (1955-2016) will be honored on the 43rd stamp in the Black Heritage commemorative stamp series. The longtime moderator of Washington Week and co-anchor of PBS News Hour is featured on the stamp in a 2008 photograph by Robert Severi.
Let’s Celebrate. A new stamp to celebrate any occasion features the letters in the word “CELEBRATE” spelled out in dark green among an explosion of colorful circles of varying sizes. The Let’s Celebrate stamp illustration is by Antonio Alcala.
Wild Orchids. Ten stamps displaying beautiful wild orchids will be offered in double-sided panes of 20 and coils of 3,000 and 10,000. “Each stamp features a photograph of one of nine species that grow wild in the United States,” according to the Postal Service: Cypripedium californicum, Hexalectris spicata, Cypripedium reginae, Spiranthes odorata, Triphora trianthophoros, Platanthera grandiflora, Cyrtopodium polyphyllum, Calopogon tuberosus and Platanthera leucophaea. Jim Fowler photographed the flowers.
Arnold Palmer. A single forever stamp will honor champion golfer Arnold Palmer (1929-2016), who became the face of professional golf in America during the 1950s and 1960s. The stamp pictures Palmer completing his swing at the 1964 United States Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., in a photograph by James Drake.
Maine Statehood. The painting Sea at Ogunquit by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) will serve as the design for a stamp commemorating the 200th anniversary of Maine statehood. Maine joined the Union March 15, 1820, as the 23rd state.
Garden Corsage. A new stamp for the domestic 2-ounce postage rate features a photograph by Renee Comet of a floral arrangement by Carol Caggiano. The corsage consists of peach roses, pink ranunculus, deep pink heather and seeded eucalyptus, entwined with a cream lace ribbon. The stamp can be used for extra-weight wedding invitations, birthday greeting cards and similar mailings.
Contemporary Boutonniere. With a design similar to the Garden Corsage stamp, the single-ounce Contemporary Boutonniere stamp can be used on wedding reply cards or mail for other occasions. This floral arrangement, again created by Caggiano and photographed by Comet, combines a burgundy mini-cymbidium orchid bloom and a succulent with green hydrangea and variegated lily grass.
Earth Day. To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a single stamp will be issued with Alcala’s illustration of the Earth surrounded with small green lines. Earth Day takes place each year on April 22, as a day of action to increase public awareness about environmental concerns.
American Gardens. Ten stamps will celebrate the beauty of gardens from Maine to California with existing photographs by Allen Rokach. The featured gardens are Biltmore Estate Gardens in North Carolina, Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, Chicago Botanic Garden in Illinois, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Maine, Dumbarton Oaks Garden in the District of Columbia, Huntington Botanical Gardens in California, Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Florida, Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Ohio, and Winterthur Garden in Delaware. The stamps will be issued in a pane of 20.
Voices of the Harlem Renaissance. Stamps honoring four important literary figures will represent “one of the great artistic and literary movements in American history, the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, which firmly established African Americans as a vital force in literature and the arts.” With stylized pastel portraits by Gary Kelley, the stamps celebrate writer, philosopher, educator and arts advocate Alain Locke; novelist Nella Larsen; bibliophile and historian Arturo Alfonso Schomburg; and poet Anne Spencer.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors. A set of five stamps with art by Gregory Manchess feature outdoor activities celebrated by individuals and families: building a sandcastle, hiking, cross-country skiing, canoeing and biking.
Hip Hop. The music, dance and art movement identified as hip-hop is recognized on four stamps in a pane of 20, with photographs by Cade Martin. Text and images on each stamp pay tribute to MCing (rapping), b-boying (breakdancing), DJing and graffiti art. A vivid yellow, green, red and black color scheme unifies the set.
Fruits and Vegetables. Ten stamps use existing art by Robert Papp to depict different fruits and vegetables as still-life paintings. The individual stamps show red and black plums, heirloom and cherry tomatoes, carrots, lemons, blueberries, red and green grapes, lettuces, strawberries, eggplants and figs. The set will be issued in a double-sided pane of 20.
Thank You. An elaborate design by Dana Tanamachi offers thanks on four different stamps in a double-sided pane of 20. The cursive script spelling out “Thank You” in gold foil repeats on four different background colors of maroon, muted green, blue gray and deep blue.
19th Amendment: Women Vote. A single stamp celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. “Inspired by historic photographs, the stamp features a stylized illustration of suffragists marching in a parade or other public demonstration. The clothes they wear and the banners they bear display the official colors of the National Woman’s Party — purple, white and gold.” The artwork is by Nancy Stahl.
Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, the Postal Service will issue a single stamp with original art by Greg Harlin. The painting conveys “a scene of desolate beauty at the end of the Pilgrims’ long journey to an unfamiliar world,” according to the Postal Service.
“These miniature works of art offer something for everyone interested in American history and culture,” said William Gicker, USPS acting executive director of Stamp Services.
“From notable figures such as golf legend Arnold Palmer to esteemed journalist Gwen Ifill to the cultural phenomenon of hip hop and a celebration of the great outdoors, this program is wide-ranging and adds to the history of our great nation as recorded through the U.S. stamp program.”
Individual holiday stamps are also expected for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and additional stamps beyond those already revealed are likely to be issued during 2020.
The designers credited for the announced 2020 stamps are Antonio Alcala (Lunar New Year, Made of Hearts, Let’s Celebrate, Arnold Palmer, Earth Day, Hip Hop), Ethel Kessler (Wild Orchids, Contemporary Boutonniere, Garden Corsage, American Gardens, 19th Amendment), Derry Noyes (Gwen Ifill, Maine Statehood, Enjoy the Great Outdoors, Fruits and Vegetables), Greg Breeding (Voices of the Harlem Renaissance, Mayflower), and Dana Tanamachi (Thank You).
Issue dates and locations for these stamps were not revealed by the Postal Service. Formats for the stamps are noted where known.
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