La Florida Stamps Join Historic Museum Collection

Last month, the Historical Museum in Plantation, Florida, welcomed members of the local community to an open house in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida.

Museum staff turned out in period costumes, and the public, too, was encouraged to wear something distinctive of Florida during the last 500 years. Flip flops and bnews17s3-largeustles, anyone? Retired USPS Operations Support Specialist John Feeney and his wife Cathy arrived dressed as Ponce de León and the “First Lady of Florida,” respectively. Their son, Robert, showed up dressed as a ship’s navigator. All three mingled among other costumed museum members and the standing-room only crowd of spectators.

The highlight of the festivities was the presentation of an enlargement of the four La Florida stamps released on April 3 in St. Augustine. Fort Lauderdale Customer Service Operations Manager Alex Sepulveda gave a brief history lesson on the discovery of Florida and then presented the enlargement to museum officials.

The enlargement has now been added to the museum’s wonderful “Florida: 500 Years of History” exhibition on display through October 26, 2013. The exhibition also includes memorabilia and photographs, flags, postcards (yay!), and other artifacts and ephemera from Florida’s 500-year history. Especially worthwhile is the display of items from the era of the conquistador.

Notecards

Send a note about your summer travels to your friends and loved ones using the brand-new La Florida stamps and matching note cards. Click the image for details.

The lovely La Florida stamps have been issued as Forever® stamps. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.) You can find them online, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), or at your local Post Office.

Love & Marriage: 2013 Style

CommHorizontal2012-single-Are you getting married this year or know someone who is? The latest stamps in our Weddings series feature sweet floral bouquets that are perfect for spring but will look beautiful on wedding invitations and RSVPs year-round. (Every season is wedding season after all!) Delight your loved ones from the moment they open the mailbox.

WhereDreamsBlossom-Forever-single-BGv1Sold at the two-ounce stamp rate, the 66-cent Yes, I Do stamp accommodates the heavier weight of a wedding invitation, as well as other mailings such as oversize cards or small gifts that require extra postage. Its companion stamp, Where Dreams Blossom—a Forever® stamp sold at the one ounce rate of 46 cents—is available for response cards, save-the-date notices, thank-you notes, and other correspondence. You can find both online, at your local Post Office, or by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724).

Vintage Cosmos Seed Packet Giveaway

It’s time to give away another vintage seed packet! Today’s prize is the cosmos packet.

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The front of the seed packet depicts a trio of cosmos in delicate white, pink, and red. The back of the packet describes the flower in more detail:

None of our autumn flowers are more prized than these graceful and brilliant garden plants. It has long stem and feathery foliage, and continues to blossom in fall till freezing weather.

To win the cosmos seed packet, all you have to do is answer one question: In addition to the United States, cosmos are native to which North American country?

Send your answer, along with your name and mailing address, to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. One winner will be selected at random from those who answer correctly. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 22. Good luck! (Note: No seeds are included with this vintage packet.)

This contest is now over. The correct answer is Mexico. Congratulations to our randomly selected winner, Margaret Branca of Pingree Grove, Illinois. Thank you to everyone who entered.

The Vintage Seed Packets stamps are Forever® stamps. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.) Find them in your neighborhood Post Office, call 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), or order them online today.

Vintage Seed Packets Giveaway: Aster

Earlier this month the U.S. Postal Service continued its tradition of issuing beautiful flower stamps with the release of Vintage Seed Packets. These ten stamps feature photographs of antique seed packets (printed between 1910 and 1920), cropped to highlight their beautiful floral detail.

We really love these stamps, and to spread the joy we’ve decided to give away eight actual vintage seed packets. We’ve already given away one, but there are still seven more chances for you to win. Today’s prize is an aster seed packet.

DSC03543The front of the seed packet depicts three aster blooms: one white, one pink, and one blue. The back of the packet describes the aster in more detail:

The aster is considered the queen of all fall flowers. For beauty and variety of form and color it is unrivalled, and of all flowers is best adapted to win the admiration of all lovers of floral beauty.

To win the packet, all you have to do is answer one question: The aster is the birth flower for which month?

First Day Cover

Each envelope in this set of ten First Day Covers bears an affixed Vintage Seed Packets stamp and an official First Day of Issue postmark. Click the image for details.

Email your answer, along with your name and address, to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. One winner will be selected at random. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EDT, Friday, May 3. (NOTE: The aster seed packet is empty; no seeds are included.)

If you don’t win this time, you still have six more chances to win. Check back next week for another seed packet giveaway.

The Vintage Seed Packets stamps are Forever® stamps. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.) Find them in your neighborhood Post Office, or order them online today.

Congratulations to Leslie Bryant, the lucky winner of the vintage aster seed packet. Check back later this week for another chance to win.

Four Sources of Vintage Seed Packets Inspiration

Digital Color Postmarks

Each envelope in this set of ten First Day Covers bears an affixed Vintage Seed Packets stamp and a First Day of Issue color postmark. Click the image for details.

Aren’t the Vintage Seed Packets stamps beautiful? According to Dr. Irwin Richman, author of Seed Art: the Package Made Me Buy It, the first seed catalog using color plates was issued in 1853. Since then, the illustrations in catalogs and on seed packages—from the original hand-painted pictures to modern photographs—have encouraged gardeners to believe that they, too, can grow the same luscious, perfect blossoms.

If you can’t get enough of these pictures of botanical perfection, we’ve found some online resources to inspire you even more:

  • The Smithsonian Institution has an extensive collection of vintage seed catalogs. Its online exhibit holds 500 illustrations from more than 250 catalogs. You can browse by company or by the kind of flower, fruit, or vegetable you want to see. The exhibit also includes examples of vintage seed-catalog cover art featuring everything from farms to fairs, seed stores to ships.
  • The National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland, holds a collection of more than 200,000 American and international seed catalogs. The catalogs date from the late 1700s, and its online exhibit includes a few examples from that time. However, the beautifully illustrated catalogs begin with examples from 1876.
  • Fascinated by the history of seed catalogs? The Oregon State University Libraries’ Special Collections Division has a wonderful illustrated exhibit that explores the history of the catalogs in the U.S. and Europe.
  • The Labelman, an online store that specializes in antique seed packets—as well as labels from crates and cans—offers a wealth of information on its website, including a brief history and tips on decorating with the vintage art.

Have fun exploring! And don’t forget that spring seed catalogs should be arriving in your mailbox soon, offering the same garden dreams as their vintage ancestors.