"Beauty and the Beasts" is an appropriate name for this week's stamp news.
The beasts are the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth in prehistoric times. These extinct animals will roam the world once again on a block of four 25-cent stamps to be issued by the U.S. Postal Service as part of a promotion hailing October as National Stamp Collecting Month.The stamps were designed by illustrator John Gurche, who is well-known for his realistic depictions of prehistoric animals in National Geographic magazine and at the Museum of National History in Washington, D.C. The dinosaurs shown are the tyrannosaurus, pteranodon, brontosaurus and stegosaurus. Each stamp has "25" and "USA" in two lines of type in the lower left corner, followed by the name of the species.
Collectors can acquire first-day cancellations of the dinosaur stamps in either of two ways. The deadline is Oct. 31.
You may buy the block of four at your local post office, affix it to a self-addressed envelope and send to: Customer-Affixed Envelopes, Prehistoric Animals Stamps, Postmaster, Orlando, FL 32862-9991. The Postal Service gives preferential service to customers who use this method.
If you prefer to have the Postal Service affix the stamps, for each block of four ordered, send a money order or personal check for $1 and a self-addressed envelope to: Prehistoric Animals Stamps, Postmaster, Orlando, FL 32862-9992.
The Postal Service is going all out to promote the dinosaur stamps and even sells T-shirts that feature them. The shirts will be available, while supplies last, through Dec. 31 by phone order (1-800-782-6772) and at many post offices.
The "beauty" part of the stamp news is the block of four cityscape postcards in the America the Beautiful Series to be released Dec. 1. Honored and depicted on the cards are Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and Washington.
According to the Postal Service, the single 81/2-by-11 perforated page bearing the four cards is an experiment in an effort to supply philatelic products in response to the needs of today's computer-based technology. The sheet is designed to simplify imprinting of addresses and messages by computer printers and photocopiers.
The cityscape cards follow the familiar horizontal America the Beautiful postcard format. Below each vignette are "America the Beautiful," "USA" and "15" in black type. A brief description of the scene is on the lower left portion of the card.
Baltimore's Inner Harbor is the focal point for that city's card. In the background is seen the National Aquarium against a sky of seagulls. The U.S. Navy frigate Constellation, launched in Baltimore in 1797, is seen anchored at the waterfront.
The famous Manhattan skyline is the background for the New York card. The 59th Street Bridge, which crosses the East River, is seen diagonally from the top left across the foreground.
The Philadelphia card shows an aerial view of historic Independence Hall with doves flying overhead.
The Washington card bears a twilight view of the west face of the U.S. Capitol. The majestic dome rises toward the stars, while above is the image of a bright, full moon.
First-day cancellations of the sheet of four cards are available in two ways. The deadline for ordering is Dec. 31.
Uncancelled sheets are sold primarily at philatelic centers and by mail from the Philatelic Sales Division in Washington, D.C. Collectors who buy the sheets can submit them for first-day cancellation to: Customer-Supplied Cards, Cityscapes Sheet of 4 Cards, P.O. Box 96891, Washington, DC 20090-6891.
The Postal Service will provide sheets to collectors who send a money order or personal check for 60 cents per sheet to: Cityscapes Sheet of 4 Cards, P.O. Box 96892, Washington, DC 20090-6892. These orders must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return mailing.