Washington D.C.: The U.S. Postal Service unveiled the images of its 2011 commemorative stamp program., which this year features former President Ronald Reagan, legendary author Mark Twain, and Latin music giants Selena, Carmen Miranda, and Tito Puente. The 2011 stamps also honor the Civil War Sesquicentennial, and pay tribute to pop culture with stamps featuring characters from selected animated films. The best news for snail-mailers, though, is that starting this year, all first class stamps will be “forever stamps,,” eliminating the need for those aggravating one- and two-cent stamp purchases when postage rates go up.
The U.S. Postal Service wants to raise the 44-cent rate in 2011 but a new policy forthcoming in January will check concerns of periodic postal rate hikes, at least where first class mail is concern. All new stamps designated for one ounce of 1st class mail will be “forever” stamps. The first stamp to be released under this program in 2011 will celebrate “the year of the rabbit.”
The new Civil War commemorative stamps debut on April 12. Souvenir sheets of two stamps will be issued yearly through 2015. The 2011 stamps depict the start of the war in April, 1861, at Fort Sumter, South Carolina and the first major battle of the war three months later at Bull Run, near Manassas, Virginia. Created by Art Director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA, the Fort Sumter stamp is a reproduction of an1861 Currier & Ives lithograph titled Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor. The Bull Run stamp is a reproduction of a 1964 painting by Sidney E. King titled The Capture of Rickett’s Battery. The painting depicts fierce fighting on Henry Hill over an important Union battery during the Battle of First Bull Run.
Former U.S. Congresswoman from Texas Barbara Jordan is the 2011 Black Heritage stamp honoree. Stamps will also be issued to honor the 50th anniversary of America’s first manned spaceflight and a celebration of Disney Pixar movie characters: Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars; Remy the rat and Linguini from Ratatouille; Buzz Lightyear and two of the green, three-eyed aliens from Toy Story; Carl Fredricksen and Dug from Up; and the robot WALL*E from Wall*E on Send a Hello stamps.
The Lunar New Year: Year of the Rabbit stamp, to be issued Jan. 22, will be a Forever Stamp for use in mailing a 1-ounce letter. Regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used in the new year, no matter how prices may change in the future, these stamps will always be equal to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
In addition, new designs will be issued for Purple Heart, Wedding and Holidays stamps in 2011. Stamps may be purchased at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24.
For more information and low-resolution images of the stamps in the 2011 series, visit the USPS Newsroom at www.usps.com/news.