New U.S. Stamps – Wilt Chamberlain

Today the United States Postal Service issued a new stamp, Wilt Chamberlain. This is a Forever stamp, currently at $0.49. The description is as follows:

This year, the U.S. Postal Service® celebrates the life of basketball superstar Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999). On the court, he was a force of nature. The 7-foot-1-inch center dominated the NBA for more than a decade, setting a plethora of individual records. As a pro, he led his teams to two NBA championships, and in 1962 he scored an NBA record 100 points in a single game.

These two Forever® stamps showcase artwork by Kadir Nelson, who created two portraits of Chamberlain. One is based on a photograph of Chamberlain in a Philadelphia Warriors uniform, the other based on an image of Chamberlain in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. The word “Wilt” is featured in the top right or left corner of each stamp, along with the “Forever” denomination and “USA” in the bottom right or left corner of each stamp.

“Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999)” appears on the left side of the pane. Photographer Ken Regan’s image of a leaping Chamberlain in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform is featured on the right side of the pane. The flip side of the pane features biographical information about Chamberlain.

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New Holiday Stamps

The United States Postal Service has issued new stamps for the holiday season while keeping many of the wonderful stamps from previous years. The two newest holiday stamps are Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Christmas Magi.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was issued on November 6, 2014 and is a Forever Stamp, currently at $0.49. The description is as follows:

On the evening of December 6, 1964, families sat down to watch a new TV show for the first time: an animated special called Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It featured the voice of Burl Ives as Sam, a singing snowman, who narrates the tale of a misfit reindeer who finds his own special way to shine. The hour-long show went on to become not only the longest-running and highest-rated Christmas special in TV history, but also a beloved holiday tradition.

Rudolph and his friends now bring their own brand of joy and nostalgia to four holiday stamps. The stamp artwork features still frames from the special, which was produced by Rankin/Bass using stop-motion animation. In this type of production, moveable models are photographed against backgrounds, giving the images their distinctive look. Rudolph, Santa, and the Abominable Snow Monster all star on stamps of their own, while a fourth stamp features Hermey, the elf who dreams of becoming a dentist, touching Rudolph’s glowing red nose.

In order to create the special, new characters (including the Abominable Snow Monster and Hermey) were added to those featured in the poem written by Robert L. May and the song written by Johnny Marks.

In addition to the Rudolph song, the special also contains five of composer Johnny Marks’s previous songs and seven new songs that include “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Silver and Gold,” “Jingle, Jingle, Jingle,” “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year,” “There’s Always Tomorrow” and “We’re a Couple of Misfits.”

And as for Rudolph, the star of the show? As the millions of fans of the classic animated special know, he went down in history!

The other new holiday stamp is Christmas Magi. It was issued on November 19, 2014 and is also a Forever Stamp, currently at $0.49. The description is as follows:

The U.S. Postal Service® celebrates one of the most beloved stories of the Nativity with an evocative and elegant new stamp, Christmas Magi.

The stamp art illustrates the traditional tale of the Magi, who came bearing gifts for Jesus. The three regal figures sit atop a trio of bedecked and harnessed camels, the animals almost at the summit of a small hill. Guiding them is a large, dazzling star shining in the sky. The colors in the sky range from a rose near the horizon, darkening to a rich purple at the top, suggesting that the travelers are moving through the desert at dawn. The figures are silhouetted against the background, with the details of their headdresses and the camels’ saddles just visible in the brightening light. The star, located in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, is a brilliant white.

The story of the Magi appears in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2. There is little detail about the Magi in the Gospel. Matthew called them “Magi,” a term for Persian priests, astrologers, or scholars. The Gospel never refers to a specific number; the number three was likely influenced by the number of gifts left for the child-gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, the earliest traditions are inconsistent with regard to how many Magi there were. The Eastern tradition favored twelve Magi, while in the West, several early Church fathers accepted the number three.

Over the centuries other details have been added to the story, including the names of the Magi: Gaspar, or Casper; Melchior; and Balthasar. One early reference to their names comes in a seventh century work attributed to St. Bede. He gave the Magi the attributes of men at different stages of life, elderly, young, and middle-aged: Melchior, an old man with white hair and a long beard; Caspar, young and beardless with a ruddy complexion; and Balthasar, with black skin and a heavy beard. Later traditions added the notion that the three came from Europe, Asia, and Africa, thus completing their symbolism as representatives of the world as it was known to Europeans at the time.

Represented in art and music since the earliest centuries of the church, the Magi are a much-loved part of the Christmas tradition. The story is retold many times each season in hymns and in Christmas pageants and performances.

These along with other holiday stamps are available now at your local United States Postal Service or usps.com!

New U.S. Stamps – Global Silver Bells Wreath

Today the United States Postal Service issued a new stamp, Global Silver Bells Wreath. This is an International Forever stamp, currently at $1.15. The description is as follows:

In 2014, the U.S. Postal Service® celebrates the winter holidays internationally with a new Forever® stamp, Global Holiday: Silver Bells Wreath. This is the second issuance in the Global Holiday series.

An elegant wreath of silver bells graces this round holiday stamp. The circle of densely packed bells is arranged against a deep green background, with a rich red bow anchored at the top of the wreath. The words “Forever” and “USA” and the date “2014” surround the wreath in gray type. The word “Global” is highlighted in red at the bottom of the stamp.

Wreaths can be made from plants such as eucalyptus, laurel, pine boughs, and mistletoe, or materials such as metal, glass, wood, paper, or wire. They come in almost any shape or size, and ideas for decoration are virtually limitless-silver bells, flowers, fruit, berries, ribbons, bows, glass ornaments, teddy bears, model cars, candy-anything that reflects personal style.

Whatever the shape or embellishment, wreaths express the festive spirit of the holidays, and the Global Holiday: Silver Bells Wreath stamp can add the same touch of holiday joy to your cards and letters.

Issued at the $1.15 price, this Global Forever® stamp can be used to mail a one-ounce letter to any country to which First-Class Mail International® service is available. As with all Global Forever® stamps, this stamp will have a postage value equivalent to the price of a single-piece First-Class Mail International® first ounce machinable letter in effect at the time of use. To distinguish this stamp from other Forever® stamps, the shape of the international stamp is round and bears the words “Global Forever.”

Art director William J. Gicker and Michael Owens designed the stamp. Sally Andersen-Bruce photographed the wreath, which was constructed by Michael Owens. Angelica Dennis created the bow.

New U.S. Stamps – Winter Fun

Today the United States Postal Service issued a new stamp, Winter Fun. This is a Forever stamp, currently at 49 cents. The description is as follows:

Winter days can be a wonderful time to appreciate the great outdoors with friends and loved ones. Drawing on nostalgic images of snowy childhoods, the Winter Fun stamps can be used not only to convey the joyful spirit of the holiday season and the new year, but also to send cheerful greetings for any occasion all winter long. Each stamp is sure to add a welcome splash of warmth to letters and cards during the year’s coldest months.

With four playful designs, Winter Fun celebrates some of the season’s most enjoyable activities: ice-skating, making snow angels, building snowmen, and bird-watching. The art for the ice-skaters design was painted with acrylic on plywood with a dry brush technique to give the illustration a textured, folk-art feel. The other three were all hand-sketched and then digitally manipulated.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps using existing illustrations by Janet Atkinson, Jing Jing Tsong, and Christine Roy.

From Walter in Sweden

Walter sent me this lovely postcard with views from Sweden! It was my first postcard from Sweden!

He wrote in his message that he loved Sweden and the nature. It does look wonderful! He also wrote a small phrase in his language that it difficult to read because of the postmark, but I believe it says “Många hälsu ugat.” Right before he wrote this he said “Many greetings” so I assume this is what it means. To be sure, I went to Google Translate!

It turns out I just couldn’t read his handwriting, but I was close! The actual Swedish phrase should read “Många hälsningar.” Now that I look again, what I thought was a “u” does actually look like the other “n” characters that he made. Thanks Walter for teaching me this phrase!


Postcards primarily sent via Postcrossing, an online community that allows people from all over the world to send and receive postcards.

From Evgeniy in Russia

Evgeniy sent me a beautiful postcard showing St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

This is gorgeous! I love the building and it is so iconic as a part of Russian culture. The photo is also lovely, with the lighting and angle. It is almost eery as well as wonderful. Thanks Evgeniy!!


Postcards primarily sent via Postcrossing, an online community that allows people from all over the world to send and receive postcards.

To Sinela in Italy

Sinela did not have a special request for a postcard, so I really just chose one at random. I thought this postcard was cute with the tiny turtle, and hoped she’d like it!

Turns out she did think it was cute! In her receipt message she said, “Thank you so much for the beautiful postcard. It’s so cute the little turtle. I really like it.” I’m glad this was a good choice!


Postcards primarily sent via Postcrossing, an online community that allows people from all over the world to send and receive postcards.