ATLANTA — The U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of beautiful floral-themed stamps by dedicating the Botanical Art Forever stamps featuring vintage illustrations taken from 19th- and early 20th-century plant and seed catalogs.
The official First-Day-of-Issue ceremony will take place Jan. 29, at 11 a.m. in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown, 255 Courtland St. N.E. as part of the American Philatelic Society’sAmeriStamp Expo.
Depicted on the stamps, top row from left:corn lilies, tulips, stocks, roses and petunias. Pictured bottom row from left: tulips, dahlias, japanese Iris, tulips and daffodils and jonquils.
“Featuring Mother Nature at her best, our new Botanical Art stamps were based on designs of images from the nursery and seed catalog collection of the New York Botanical Garden,” said Postal Service Capital Metro Area Operations Vice President Kristin Seaver who will dedicate the stamps. “Beginning tomorrow, these beautiful images will travel on letters and packages to millions of homes and businesses throughout America.”
Joining Seaver in dedicating the stamps will be American Philatelic Society (APS) Executive Director Scott English; APS Young Philatelic Leader Fellow Austin Foo; and, Atlanta Botanical Garden Horticulture Vice President Mildred Pinnell Fockele. Also attending will be Postal Service (Acting) Stamp Director Mary-Anne Penner.
The stamp art features 10 individual designs, each a detail of an illustration from an American nursery catalog printed between 1891 and 1912. The catalogs are part of The New York Botanical Garden’s nursery and seed catalog collection, one of the largest and most important collections in the United States. The collection and similar collections in other institutions are treasure troves of historical information for scholars and scientists studying a wide range of subjects, including the history of botany, horticulture, commercial agriculture, landscape design, plant exploration, graphic arts and publishing.
The artists responsible for the work seen on early nursery catalogs are mostly unknown, but their captivating work lives on.
Drawings of Exotic Botanical Species
Beginning in the late 15th century, intrepid Europeans explored new lands in the Americas, the South Pacific and other areas of the world. There they discovered plants unknown in Europe, which they imported for study and propagation. Scientists, gardeners, plant hunters, and collectors required accurate botanical drawings of the exotic new species. Botanical illustrators produced works that were meticulous and highly detailed and quite often beautiful pieces of art as well. The years 1750 to 1850 are considered the height of the botanical illustrator’s art.
The mid-19th century saw a flowering of another kind of botanical art. As more people discovered the joys of ornamental and recreational gardening, thriving commercial greenhouses and nurseries marketed plants — exotic as well as native — to eager gardeners. To entice buyers, the nurseries created colorful catalogs illustrated with beautiful blossoms and lush foliage. The illustrations were idealized, romantic versions of what plants could look like, but they fueled many a garden dream.
For information on upcoming stamp dedication ceremonies visit this link.
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 (800 782-6724). 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:
Botanical Art Stamps
3900 Crown Road
Atlanta, GA 30304-9998
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. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by March 29, 2016.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers 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
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014