Start Your Week With A “Sketchy” Disney•Pixar Contest

Remember last week’s post about the blue-pencil sketches on the back of the Mail a Smile stamp sheet? Well, now’s your chance to show us how well you know the five Disney•Pixar movies featured on the stamps.

Here is the back of the stamp sheet again:

Can you name all the characters shown in the sketches? If so, you could win one set of Mail a Smile postcards, which include the stamp art and five of the sketches.

To enter, send your name and address along with the name of each character and the movie in which he/she/it appears to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. Three winners will be selected at random from those who answer correctly. You have until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, 9/12 to submit your answers. Good luck!

Disney/Pixar Materials: © Disney•Pixar

Centennial Olympic Games Stamp Trivia Contest

The Summer Olympics are flying by. But there’s still plenty of time for a trivia contest…or two (hint!). Today’s quiz might look tough, but in our experience stamp fans are some of the smartest people around. Ready to get started?

First question: In 1996, we issued a stamp to mark the centennial of the modern Olympic Games. The stamp featured an image of a Roman marble copy of a 5th-century B.C. Greek bronze statue. What was the name of the Greek sculptor who created the original statue, and what was the name of his statue?

Second question: The stamp art above is similar to the actual stamp issued in July 1996, but it’s not exact. How does the stamp above differ from the Centennial Olympic Games stamp that was actually issued?

Submit your answers to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. Three winners will be selected at random from those who answer correctly to receive a tri-fold folio that includes a mounted pane of Atlanta 1996 stamps, a mounted pane of the 1996 Centennial Olympics Games stamps, and a 1996 Paralympic Games envelope. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 9. Good luck! And, as always, remember that spelling counts.

Celebrate Baseball’s Greatest Moments

Baseball season is heating up, and we just can’t get enough! And we have plenty of philatelic gear to fuel your love of the game.

In addition to the four Forever® stamps honoring legends Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Willie Stargell, and Ted Williams, we’ve also created a wonderful keepsake: Play Ball! Featuring vivid paintings by artist Greg Kreindler, the 40-page book celebrates some of the game’s greatest moments. It includes 16 baseball stamps—2001 Legendary Playing Fields (10), 2010 Negro Leagues Baseball (2), and 2012 Major League Baseball All-Stars (4)—as well as quotes, player stats, and fascinating history of Major League Baseball.

This beautiful, limited edition book is a great addition to any collection (stamp or baseball-related) and would make a wonderful gift for the baseball lovers in your life. Pre-order yours today!

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

E. E. Cummings versus e. e. cummings: A Stamp Mystery Solved

How many of you expected to see poet E. E. Cummings’s name in lowercase (“e. e. cummings”) on his recently issued postage stamp? We’d wager a good number of you. After all, most of us are used to seeing his name in lowercase in all those great poetry collections. So why does his stamp look like this?

Well, we did a little research. It turns out that an editor preparing a French translation of Cummings’s poetry asked him directly about the appearance of his name in 1951:

are you E.E.Cummings, ee cummings, or what?(so far as the title page is concerned)wd u like title page all in lowercase?”

Cummings’s reply?

E.E.Cummings, unless your printer prefers E. E. Cummings/ titlepage up to you;but may it not be tricksy svp[.]

Aha! Cummings—who did not sign his name all in lowercase letters—regarded the use of his name in lowercase as a publisher’s gimmick. (You can read more about this here and here.) And, we’ve been told that when USPS asked members of his family about how the poet should be represented on the stamp, they favored “E. E. Cummings.” Mystery solved!

Do you have a stamp mystery you’d like us to solve? Send your question to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com, and we’ll get right on it!

Flag Day Trivia (Good luck!)

Feel like trying your hand at a little stamp trivia on this Flag Day Thursday? Here you go:

When did the U.S. flag first appear on an American postage stamp? (Hint: It’s earlier than 1957, when the flag first appeared as the main or sole subject of a stamp.)

What iconic words appear below the flag on the flag stamp issued in 1957?

How many flag stamps has USPS issued since 1957?

Good luck! Leave your answers in the comments. The prize? Ultimate bragging rights.