Most Popular Stamp Series of All Time Makes Final Curtain Call
'Art of Disney' three-set series extended to five 'stamping ovations'
Although Elvis remains king as the single most popular stamp subject of all time with an estimated 124.1 million collected, Mickey Mouse and his friends rule as the most popular stamp series with 211.5 million collected. Originally scheduled to be introduced as three sets during a three-year period, the fifth and final debut for the Art of Disney series takes place Aug. 7, at 10 a.m. PDT in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland when the Postal Service dedicates the Art of Disney: Imagination stamps. The 42-cent first-class commemorative stamps go on sale nationwide that day.
"The Art of Disney stamps have connected many Americans with friendship, celebration, romance, magic and now imagination through the mail," said U.S. Postal Service Chief of Staff Mike Spates, who will join Mickey and his friends in dedicating the stamps. "It's easy to add an imaginative touch to cards and letters with these beautiful stamps. We want to thank the many Disney characters for helping the Postal Service commemorate Walt Disney throughout the years."
Joining Spates in dedicating the stamps will be Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador, Walt Disney Imagineering, Marty Sklar.
"I know that Walt would be proud to see Mickey and the other Disney characters appear on U.S. Postage Stamps honoring imagination," said Sklar. "Imagination was always at the heart of his work, in movies, television and here at Disneyland. He lived, breathed and dreamed it his whole life."
Spates said 125 million Art of Disney: Imagination stamps were printed and are available in sheets of 20 and include four stamp designs:
— Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie. Walt Disney once said that Mickey was "created for the purposes of laughter." From the moment Walt Disney first imagined him, Mickey has been a happy reminder that a little laughter goes a long way; it's hard to imagine the world without his familiar smile.
— Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and her helpers Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty. Everyone dreams of living "happily ever after," but not everyone has such enchanting helpers as Princess Aurora's tiny guardians, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Despite their delightfully dithery ways, the good fairies protect the princess and help her find the true love she has always imagined.
— Pongo and one of his pups from 101 Dalmatians. Imagining a dog's emotional life requires a brilliant creative leap, but 101 Dalmatians gives us a unique dog's eye view of the world. In the loving bonds between Pongo and his pups, we see our own human ties brought to life — spot on.
— Mowgli and Baloo from The Jungle Book. Who could imagine a jungle as jazzy as in The Jungle Book — or a more free-wheeling, upbeat buddy than Baloo? His lighthearted relationship with Mowgli reminds us that friendship and laughter really are among the "bare necessities of life. "
Spates added the series has proven to be popular with both stamp collectors and Disney enthusiasts.
"After the success of the first two Art of Disney sets with 47.7 million Friendship stamps collected in 2004 and 52.8 million Celebration stamps in 2005, we sat down with the Disney team to explore the possibility of extending the series. We feel the Art of Disney: Imagination stamps will finish the series as a cherished collectible."
The Postal Service randomly surveys approximately 10,000 customers four times annually to gauge the number of stamps collected. Spates said 57.2 million Romance stamps were collected in 2006 and 53.8 million Magic stamps in 2007.
The Disney relationship with the U.S. Postal Service began in the summer of 1918 when Walt Disney sorted and delivered mail in the Chicago Post Office. Next, Mickey Mouse worked for the Post Office when he starred in the 1933 animated short "Mail Pilot." The achievements of Walt Disney were first recognized on a stamp in 1968. On the stamp, a parade of children, hand-in-hand, appear from a tiny castle to surround a portrait of Walt Disney. The children, representing many nations of the world, are garbed in national costumes.
In 1998, a "Snow White" stamp was issued as part of the Postal Service's "Celebrate the Century" stamp series that highlighted the most memorable and significant people, places, events and trends of each decade of the 20th century. In 1937, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" premiered as the nation's first feature-length animated film. The movie classic comprised 240,000 separate drawings and won a special Academy Award(TM) for Walt Disney.
U.S. Postal Service art director Terrence McCaffrey of Arlington, VA, joined with the Disney team, including artist Peter Emmerich of Yonkers, NY, and creative director Dave Pacheco of Burbank, CA, in designing the stamps throughout the five years of production.
The Art of Disney: Imagination Philatelic Fact Sheet
There are 11 philatelic products that can be viewed and purchased through this link when the stamps go on sale August 7:
— 571406, Mickey Mouse, Princesses, Animal Tales and Childhood Classics are a limited edition series of four folios featuring stamps from The Art of Disney series grouped by the above four themes. Each three-panel folio contains a collectible insert with five affixed stamps and a special commemorative cancellation that can be removed for framing or display. Each folio is offered for $14.95 or the set of four is offered at $49.95. Limited to availability.
— 571401, The Art of Disney Postmark Collectible: Mickey Mouse, $14.95
— 571402, The Art of Disney Postmark Collectible: Princesses, $14.95
— 571403, The Art of Disney Postmark Collectible: Animal Tales, $14.95
— 571404, The Art of Disney Postmark Collectible: Childhood Classics, $14.95
— 571466, Postal Stamped Cards (set of 20 and includes postage), $13.95
— 571499, Cancellation Keepsake (4 Digital Color Postmark with pane), $14.40
— 571488, Prints 8 x 10 (set of 4), $14.95
— 571463, First-Day Cover (set of 4), $3.20
— 571468, Digital Color Postmark (set of 4), $6
— 571491, Ceremony Program (with 4 stamps), $6.95
How to Order First-Day Covers
Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly catalog USA Philatelic. Customers can request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or by writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They can purchase the new stamped postcards at the Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop, by telephone at 800-STAMP-24, or at their local Post Office. Customers should address the cards to themselves or others, and place them in an envelope addressed to:
Disney Imagination Stamps
701 N. Loara St.
Anaheim, CA 92803-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the cards through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Oct. 6, 2008.
An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 146 million homes and businesses, six days a week. It has 37,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products and services, not tax dollars, to pay for operating expenses. The Postal Service has annual revenue of $75 billion and delivers nearly half the world's mail.