In what has become a Strawfoot tradition I am here to announce that the 2013 Civil War sesquicentennial stamps have been released. In fact, they were released just today at ceremonies in Mississippi and Pennsylvania. I found out when I stepped into the Grand Central Station post office this morning on some other business. I was unable to buy them today though, because, as is the custom with all commemoratives, they will not be available nationally until tomorrow, the day after issuance in the city of release. Hearing this news today made me realize that the sesquicentennial is moving along. It is more than half over.
Last year I was speculating on which two subjects would make the cut. Vicksburg and Gettysburg really are the only logical choices, especially as Emancipation received its own seperate release a few months ago. I would strongly recommend buying a souvenir sheet, along with another set with which to make first day covers if one is so inclined.
As I posted in a comment on Kevin Levin’s Civil War Memory blog awhile back, the USPS has done a great job with this series. Each year-set of two stamps obviously fits aesthetically into the larger whole, which is what you want in such a project. The stamps also have a stateliness and gravitas that, sadly, went missing in some of USPS offerings over the past 15-20 years. A little frivolity and playfulness in philately is fine; ultimately however, a nation’s postage says something about what its people find important. This is especially true when the subject is as significant as a nation’s civil war. I am glad they got the message.
Interested parties have until July 23, 2013 to get their first day of issue covers. That is twice the normal time. Here are the addresses:
Civil War: 1863 Stamp (Vicksburg, MS)
3415 Pemberton Blvd.
Vicksburg, MS 39180-9998
Civil War: 1863 Stamp (Gettysburg, PA)
115 Buford Avenue
Gettysburg, PA 17325-9998
And here is the Postal Service’s press release with more information.