SAN FRANCISCO — Today the U.S. Postal Service began celebrating the 2014 Lunar New Year by issuing the Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Horse Forever stamp.
Available today in sheets of 12 stamps, customers may purchase the stamps at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) or at Post Offices nationwide and on eBay at ebay.com/stamps.
“The start of the Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday of the year for much of the world’s population,” said U.S. Postal Service San Francisco District Manager David Stowe in dedicating the stamp at the Chinese Culture Center inside the Hilton San Francisco Financial District Hotel. “It’s a time of great celebration and reflection for millions of Americans, including the Chinese-American community right here in San Francisco.”
Joining Stowe in dedicating the stamp were stamp illustrator Kam Makof Brooklyn, NY; San Francisco City and County Mayor Edwin Lee; Chinese Chamber of Congress Supervisory Board President Eddie Au; KGO-TV Anchor Alan Wang; and, San Francisco Postmaster Raj Sanghera.
“What a great way to start the new year,” said Mak, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. “The sounds of the Chinese drums have uplifted my spirit since I was small child growing up in Hong Kong. I love the rhythm it creates for the lion dance and enjoy seeing and hearing percussion performances by drummers using this traditional Chinese drum to usher in the Lunar New Year.”
Although a horse appears in the upper left hand corner of the stamp image, the Postal Service chose to tell a more enriching story by including essential elements in celebrating the Lunar New Year such as the drum in this case. Last year, firecrackers were used on the Year of the Snake Forever stamp.
“The Year of the Horse is a time for setting our sights on the future and committing to efforts that continue our progress together,” said Mayor Lee. “I would like to thank the U.S. Postal Service for choosing San Francisco, the Innovation Capital of the World, to dedicate the Year of the Horse Stamp.”
The Lunar New Year is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage in many parts of the world. In the United States, as elsewhere, the occasion is marked with parades, parties and other special events. Drums, such as those depicted in the stamp art, are played to celebrate this time of renewed hope for the future, with drumsticks sometimes painted red for luck. Monetary gifts are given to children and others. Lucky foods are eaten and festive lanterns are hung as decorations.
TheYear of the Horse stamp is the seventh of 12 stamps in the current Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The stamp art depicts Chinese drums with drumsticks, painted red for luck, of the sort traditionally played to welcome the New Year.
The U.S. Postal Service originally introduced a 12-year Lunar New Year stamp series in 1993 depicting the artwork of Clarence Lee. In 2008, the series resumed with the work of Kam Mak’s Year of the Rat stamp. The series will continue through 2019 with stamps for the Year of the Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. This limited edition stamp is being issued in plenty of time for customers to mail new year’s greetings. Lunar New Year begins Jan. 31, 2014 and ends Feb. 18, 2015.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
Lunar New Year: Year of the Horse Stamp Chinatown Station 867 Stockton Street San Francisco, CA 94108-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, the price is five cents each. All orders must be postmarked by March 15, 2014.
Ordering First-Day Covers The Postal Service 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 USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service Catalog Request PO Box 219014 Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
Philatelic Products There are 11 philatelic products available for this stamp issue:
587106, Press Sheet w/Die Cuts, $49.68 (print quantity of 2,500).
587108, Press Sheet w/o Die Cuts, $49.68 (print quantity of 2,500).
587110, Keepsake (2 Souvenir sheets, 1 Digital Color Postmark), $12.95.
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation: 152 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With more than 31,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail. If it were a private-sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 42nd in the 2012 Fortune 500. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for seven years and the fourth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.