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'Year of the Tiger' stamp commemorates Lunar New Year

Posted: January 14, 2010 5:15 p.m.
Updated: January 15, 2010 5:09 p.m.
 
The U.S. Postal Service salutes the Lunar New Year with a commemorative 12-stamp souvenir sheet issued today.

The "Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger" stamp was dedicated at the El Pueblo Historical Monument in Los Angeles.

All 40 million 44-cent first-class stamps are available nationwide or online at usps.com/shop.

"Throughout our nation, Asian communities have shared their traditions, culture and heritage and, in return, the Postal Service is pleased to contribute by issuing the third of 12 stamps in our Celebrating Lunar New Year series," said Susan LaChance, Postal Service vice president, employee development and diversity.

"The Postal Service is a microcosm of the diversity of America, and that diversity provides a wide range of traditions," she said. "But, regardless of your own culture and heritage, everyone knows a celebration when they see it. And, the Lunar New Year is a celebration among celebrations."

LaChance was joined in dedicating the stamp by Postal Service Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy, Marie Therese Dominguez; Councilmember, Council District 14, City of Los Angeles, Josee Huizar; General Manager, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Robert L. Andrade; President, California Chapter, Organization of Chinese Americans, Bryant Yang; President, Board of Directors, Chinese American Museum, Al Soo-Hoo; and stamp artist, Kam Mak.

"We are honored that the United States Postal Service has chosen the monument for the Lunar New Year stamp first-day-of-issue ceremony," Andrade said. "It is culturally and historically significant because our park is the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles and the site of L.A.'s original Chinatown. We are home to the Chinese American Museum where the Chinese immigrant experience in Los Angeles is explored and celebrated."

Creating the Stamp
Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Md. and artist Kam Mak, of Brooklyn, N.Y. worked on the new series and decided to focus on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year holiday is celebrated.

To commemorate the Year of the Tiger (Feb. 14, 2010 - Feb. 2, 2011), they chose narcissus flowers, considered auspicious at any time of the year and thus, especially appropriate at this time of renewed hope for the future.

The illustration was originally created using oil paints on a fiberboard panel. Kessler's design also incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps, using Clarence Lee's intricate paper-cut design of a tiger and the Chinese character - drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun - for "Tiger."

The Postal Service introduced its previous Lunar New Year stamps series in 1992. The second series, Celebrating Lunar New Year, will continue through 2019 with stamps for the years of the rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar.
 
Born in the Year of the Tiger
People born in the year of a particular animal are said to share characteristics with that animal. Individuals born during the Year of the Tiger are said to be courageous and to possess hidden reserves of strength.

They are also thought of as candid yet mysterious. Famous people born in the Year of the Tiger include Marilyn Monroe, Stevie Wonder and Tom Cruise.

The Lunar New Year is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan, and Mongolian heritage in many parts of the world.

Parades, parties, and other special events are common. Images associated with some of these widespread customs are depicted in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Traditional or Digital Color Postmarks:
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office (TM), at The Postal Store(R) website at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24.

For traditional postmarks, customers should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

* Celebrating Lunar New Year Stamp: Year of the Tiger Stamp
7001 South Central, Room 338
Los Angeles, CA 90052-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail unless a self-addressed stamped envelope for return is provided. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by March 16, 2010.

Digital Color Postmarks: Customers may submit #6 or #10 envelopes constructed of paper rated as "laser safe." The Postal Service recommends envelopes of 80-pound Accent Opaque, acid-free, 9/16" side seams with no glue on the flap. The maximum size of all digital color postmarks is 2" high x 4" long. Allow sufficient space on the envelope to accommodate the postmark. Do not use self-adhesive labels for addresses on the envelope. Two test envelopes must be included.

There is a minimum of 10 envelopes at 50 cents per postmark required at the time of servicing. Customers should submit a check, money order, or credit card for payment.

The Postal Service reserves the right not to accept hand-painted and other cachet envelopes that are not compatible with our digital color postmark equipment.

The Postal Service also reserves the right to substitute traditional black rubber postmarks if use of non-specified envelopes results in poor image quality or damage to equipment.

Customers should affix the stamps to the envelopes and address them to themselves or others for return through the mail. Or, they may include an additional self-addressed return envelope large enough to accommodate their canceled items, with sufficient postage affixed for return of their postmarked items.

Mail the request for a first-day-of-issue digital color postmark to:

* Celebrating Lunar New Year Stamp: Year of the Tiger Stamp
Digital Color Postmarks
7001 South Central, Room 338
Los Angeles, CA 90052-9998

The Post Office will then forward all customer requests for digital color postmarks to Cancellation Services, Stamp Fulfillment Services, PO Box 449992, Kansas City, MO 64144-9992. After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes to the customer by U.S. Mail.

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 USA Philatelic catalog.

Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

* Information Fulfillment
Dept. 6270
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Philatelic Products
Year of the Tiger Limited Edition Note Card Set features the gorgeous narcissus flowers from the Year of the Tiger stamp artwork.

Narcissus flowers are considered lucky any time of the year, but especially at the start of the Lunar New Year. Keep in touch and send good fortune with this beautiful limited-edition set.

The set includes 12 note cards; 12 coordinating envelopes and a sheet of 12 Year of the Tiger stamps (Item No. 574366, $14.95).

There are seven other philatelic products available for this stamp issue:
-- 574361, First-Day Cover, $0.82.
-- 574362, First-Day Cover Full Sheet, $7.78.
-- 574364, First-Day Cancelled Full Sheet, $7.78.
-- 574365, Digital Color Postmark, $1.50.
-- 574384, Uncut Press Sheet, $47.52.
-- 574391, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
-- 574399, Cancellation Keepsake (Two Souvenir Sheets and One Digital Color Postmark First-Day Cover), $12.95.

A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office boxes.

With 36,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited Web site in the federal government, the Postal Service relies on the sale of postage, products and services to pay for operating expenses.

Named the Most Trusted Government Agency five consecutive years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemn Institute, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $68 billion and delivers nearly half the world's mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 28th in the 2009 Fortune 500. 

El Pueblo Historical Monument is the oldest section of Los Angeles and is the site where the city was first established in 1781. The forty-four acre park consists of numerous historic buildings, museums, two beautiful outdoor plazas and the world famous Mexican marketplace on Olvera Street. The Monument represents the rich history, culture and ethnic diversity that is the foundation of the city of Los Angeles.

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