(UNDATED) – The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Monday released its newest Forever stamps, honoring the wholesome beauty of American produce, captured in still lifes.
The Fruits & Vegetables stamps were dedicated in a virtual ceremony and are now being sold at Post Office locations nationwide and online at usps.com/fruits&vegetables.
“These Forever stamps will add elegance to any correspondence,” said dedicating official Isaac Cronkhite, USPS chief human resources officer and executive vice president. “The artwork is beautiful and there is a nice variety of fruits and vegetables featured on the stamps, including some of my favorites, like strawberries and heirloom tomatoes.”
Cronkhite was joined for the ceremony by Nichole Greene-Jenkins, executive director of Capitol Market in Charleston, WV, which stands on the site of a railroad depot dating back to the late 1800s. The virtual stamp event can be viewed on the Postal Service’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps with existing art by illustrator and painter Robert Papp.
Papp found inspiration for these stunning still lifes in the artistic traditions of Renaissance Europe. For his paintings, Papp used the same classical method that artists have worked with for hundreds of years. After sketching his subject, he transferred the drawing to canvas mounted on hardboard. Working in oil, he underpainted in burnt umber and then added color, slowly building up to the desired opacity and intensity.
Because fresh produce has a relatively short shelf life, Papp also took photographs of his still life compositions to finish his work. Included in the series are stamps featuring red and black plums, heirloom and cherry tomatoes, carrots, lemons, blueberries, red and green grapes, lettuces, strawberries, eggplants and figs.
Fruits & Vegetables are being issued as Forever stamps in booklets of 20. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. News of the stamps can be shared using the hashtags #FruitsandVegetablesStamps and #ProduceStamps.
Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide. A video of the ceremony will be available on facebook.com/usps.
Information on ordering first-day-of-issue postmarks and covers is at usps.com/shop under “Collectors.”
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.