Last night I was on zazzle.com creating some postage stamps with photos of my children, and I sat there thinking how twenty bucks for one sheet of twenty stamps seemed ridiculously high, when considering I was wanting at least 50 stamps; so just for the heck of it I decided to get on the U.S. Postal Service website to see what [probably crappy] stamps they have, I say that because every time I go grocery shopping and have to buy stamps, no matter where I’m shopping–Safeway, SaveMart, Winco, Bel Air–all very different stores–from cheap, wholesale-priced bargain stores to gourmet food stores, yet they all have the same ‘ole stamps— the flag with four different words: freedom, equality, justice, and liberty. I seriously thought (and please, forgive my ignorance on this, I just have never spent time researching the stamps before) that the only time they had different stamps, was at Christmas. I just about had a heart attack last night as I opened up usps.com and clicked on Buy Stamps…there must be over a hundred different stamps! Possibly 150!
I was in complete and utter awe and amazement as I scrolled through the 7–7 pages!–of stamps, and that was just the 46 cent Forever stamps. They also have many, many other denominations, such as $.01, $.02, $.05, $.10, $.21, $.66, $.86, $1.00…all the way up to $10.00. A $10.00 stamp! I could not believe the amount of not only denominations but designs; I spent $60.00 and got 13 different sets of stamps, but some of the sets had up to 12 different stamps~ of the 13 sets I purchased, six had at least four different images in the set, two had twelve. I’m very excited to receive all of them, and I know I’m going to have a hard time using them because they’re so special to me, and so historic. I feel bad putting those beautiful pieces of art on a package just to get stamped and eventually tossed in the trash. It truly is art.
One set, pictured on the left, was a sheet of twelve different stamps, and each really was a work of art. It was titled Modern Art in America, and it commemorates 100 years since the 1913 opening of the Armory Show in New York. The stamps are reproductions of the artists’ groundbreaking creations which were created between 1913-1931. I was very pleasantly surprised to see Georgia O’Keeffe’s name in there; other artists honored were Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Stella, Man Ray, as well as eight other accomplished artists. I thought it was very exciting to find this set; for art to be recognized by the U.S. Government in such a way is very surprising yet quite remarkable. There are a great deal of artists in this country who I’m sure appreciate the recognition for these renowned artists. I also discovered that the United States Postal Service came out with a sheet of stamps called 20th-Century Poets. The sheet of stamps includes 20 of the stamps, two each of ten different poets, including E.E. Cummings, Sylvia Plath, and William Carlos Williams. I was personally thrilled about these stamps; I particularly like E.E. Cummings and Sylvia Plath, in fact I am a tremendous fan of inspirational quotes, and there are several quotes by both Cummings and Plath which are very meaningful to me. Sylvia Plath once said, “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt”~ since I have been writing, that quote has been very important to me, and I have worked on not doubting myself and having complete confidence in my writing and ability to write well.
Another stamp I came across which I got very excited about, was that of 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. The stamp was released in February, 2011 in addition to several other commemorative items which were released that year to honor Reagan’s life and legacy. The stamp was recreated based on a photograph of him taken in 1985 in “Rancho del Cielo“, his ranch in Santa Barbara, California; it was during his second term in office. This painting of Reagan is well-known nationwide, as it portrays Reagan’s fun-loving, good-hearted nature. When I see this painting, it makes me think of my Grandfather taking me for ice cream in the summertime. Reagan will always be thought of by many, including me and my family, as the most revered, honest, and moralistic President ever to be in office in our lifetime.
I’m just going to share pictures of a few more of the stamps I bought, but first I want to say how neat I found it to be that when you click on each stamp on the post office website, it takes you to a page which gives some of the history of each stamp; it also explains the significance of the image in the stamp, you then get some information about the artist who created the stamp as well. It’s very thorough, and I just can’t express how excited I am to know there are so many stamps available on the website, and each year they come out with new ones. You can also purchase framed prints of stamps which have been discontinued; there are some really awesome prints. I put another 60 bucks worth of stamps in my cart today and saved it; there are over 50 different stamps in my cart for next time I’m ready to make my purchase…including a one-cent Tiffany lamp stamp that was just beautiful.
I will never again buy stamps at the grocery store; it is incredibly easy to purchase stamps on the website, in fact I have in the past, I just didn’t look at any other stamps. I went on there years ago and found a coil of 100 stamps for my glass business, made the purchase, then got right back off. I do remember, though, that the stamps came personally delivered by my mailman. The ones I just ordered won’t I’m sure, because I ordered some stamps that were odd prices and I’m sure every post office doesn’t have every single stamp, I have been to the post office before and been told they only had two or three different stamps to choose from. To be honest, it’s just much more practical to buy on their website. And the best part of my shopping experience with usps.com was that I highly enjoyed browsing the amazing variety of stamps and learning a little history. You wouldn’t believe how many more there are, I barely scratched the surface. I highly recommend taking an hour one day and just really learning about some of the stamps which interest you. Whether it be art and poetry, or a historical figure like Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, or Johnny Cash , or perhaps Scouting, bicycling or environment-conscious stamp, complete with how-to’s, there is something for everyone. Enjoy learning about some neat-o stamps!