Oops! Last time you bought stamps, you didn’t spring for Forever stamps. “I’m sure I’ll use all these before they expire,” you said, lying to yourself. Since then, of course, the U.S. Postal Service raised the price of stamps by another cent. No worries! That’s what 1-cent stamps are for. Amend your old stamps in style with this cool 2012 bobcat 1-cent stamp that the USPS re-issued recently. Designed by illustrator Nancy Stahl under the direction of Carl T. Herrman, the bobcat’s “golden eyes and pink nose make a striking contrast with its fur, rendered in shades of brown,” according to the Postal Service’s description of the stamp.
Of course, this is only the latest in a long tradition of USA stamps decorated with animals. Take a walk down memory lane with us and revisit some of the coolest animal-themed stamp collections the USPS has produced.
EAGLES. SO MANY EAGLES. (1869-Present)
The American bald eagle isn’t only the national bird and the national animal of the United States — it’s also the symbol of the United States Postal Service. That’s why it comes as no surprise that bald eagles have been included in many USPS stamp designs going back to the 1860s. To date, there have been more than 70 unique USA stamps with images of the proud bald eagle on them.
WILDLIFE AMERICAN OWLS (1978)
Animals: Barred owl, great gray owl, great horned owl, saw-whet owl
Another in the long-running theme of wildlife conservation stamps, this set from 1978 narrowed its focus to American owls specifically. And it wouldn’t be the last time the USPS commemorated owls. They revisited the birds of prey for more stamps in 1988, 1999 and 2001. If you ask us, we’re overdue for a new one.
STATE BIRDS AND FLOWERS (1982)
Animals: American robin, Baltimore oriole, black-capped chickadee, blue hen chicken, bobwhite quail, brown pelican, brown thrasher, cactus wren, California gull, California quail, Carolina wren, common loon, eastern bluebird, eastern goldfinch, hermit thrush, lark bunting, mockingbird, mountain bluebird, northern cardinal, northern flicker, northern mockingbird, Hawaiian goose, purple finch, Rhode Island red chicken, ring-necked Pheasant, roadrunner, ruffed grouse, scissor-tailed flycatcher, western meadowlark, wild turkey, willow goldfinch, willow ptarmigan and wood duck
1982 saw an ambitious, 50-stamp set featuring a stamp for every U.S. state, each stamp displaying an illustration of its state’s official bird and flower. Father-son team Arthur and Alan Singer spent more than a year painting the artwork for the stamps. (Arthur painted the birds, and Alan the flowers). Interestingly, North Carolina and Virginia share the same bird and the same flower — the cardinal and the dogwood — but not to cut corners, the Singers painted unique stamps for both states.
CAPEX '87 STAMP EXHIBITION (1987)
Animals: Barn swallow, monarch butterfly, bighorn sheep, hummingbird, rabbit, osprey, mountain lion, luna moth, mule deer, grey squirrel, armadillo, eastern chipmunk, moose,
black bear, tiger swallowtail, northern bobwhite, ringtail, red-winged blackbird, American lobster, jack rabbit, scarlet tanager, woodchuck, roseate spoonbill, American bald eagle, Alaskan brown bear, iiwi, badger, pronghorn, river otter, ladybird, beaver, white-tailed deer, blue jay, pika, bison, snowy egret, grey wolf, mountain goat, deer mouse, prairie dog, box turtle, wolverine, American elk, California sea lion, northern mockingbird, raccoon, bobcat, black-footed ferret, Canada goose and red fox
In honor of the Capex '87 International Stamp Exhibition in Toronto, Canada, the United States Postal Service rolled out a massive set of stamps commemorating North American wildlife. Each stamp featured a unique animal, and 50 stamps were issued in the series. Go ahead and count ‘em.
WILD ANIMALS (1992)
Animals: Flamingo, giraffe, giant panda, king penguin, white bengal tiger
1992’s “Wild Animals” set had a simple theme and only five stamps, but their bright colors and bold designs made the stamps some of the most memorable during a time when the USPS really started to create a lot of bright, bold stamp designs.
NEUTER OR SPAY (2002)
Animals: Kitten and puppy
The USPS issued their “Neuter or Spay” stamps in September of 2002 to commemorate the eighth annual Spay Day USA, raising awareness of the importance of pet-population control. The set was sold in sheets of 20 stamps, each featuring one of two photos: a kitten and a puppy. The pets in the photos were actual homeless animals in shelters, both of which later were placed in loving homes.
ADOPT A SHELTER PET (2010)
Animals: Cats and dogs
Eight years after the “Neuter or Spay” stamps, the USPS turned the attention of its annual “Stamps to the Rescue” social-awareness theme to pets once again with the “Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet” campaign. This time, 10 unique stamps were designed, featuring five cats and five dogs. All of the pets on these stamps were from the Animal Rescue Society shelter located in New Milford, Conn., where they were photographed during Memorial Day weekend 2006. The stamps were unveiled on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on March 17, 2010.
Next: Vote for the cutest pet!
DOGS AT WORK (2012)
Last year, the USPS issued their “Dogs at Work” stamps to “celebrate the enduring partnership between dogs and people.” The set featured four original paintings of different types of working dogs: a seeing-eye guide dog, a therapy dog, a tracking dog and a search-and-rescue dog.