WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today unveiled new artwork for the upcoming John Lennon Forever stamp and two additional subjects to the 2018 Stamp Program.
The Postal Service announced last December the newest stamps in the Music Icons series will honor singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940–1980), a rock-and-roll hero successful both as a founding member of the Beatles and as a solo artist. Still beloved around the world, Lennon’s music remains an anchor of pop radio and continues to speak for truth, peace and tolerance.
For the first time, the Postal Service is revealing the full pane for these stamps, featuring a photograph of John Lennon taken by noted rock-and-roll photographer Bob Gruen in August 1974. Taken on the rooftop of Lennon’s Manhattan apartment, the photograph is part of a series of images taken by Gruen during the photo session for Lennon’s 1974 album Walls and Bridges.
The original black-and-white photograph has been treated in gradations of color: from yellow orange to red in the top row, from red to light purple in the second row, from light purple to dark purple in the third row and from dark purple to blue in the bottom row. Lennon’s signature appears at the top of the stamps. “USA,” the peace symbol, and the Forever denomination appear along the bottom.
The stamp pane is designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes the stamps and brief text about Lennon’s legacy, with the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of the sleeve.
This black-and-white photograph of Lennon seated at his white piano appears on the reverse side of the stamp pane, along with Lennon’s signature and the Music Icons series logo.
Taken by photographer Peter Fordham, the original photograph was used to promote Lennon’s landmark 1971 solo album, Imagine. Art director Antonio Alcalá worked on the stamp pane with designer Neal Ashby.
Honoring First Responders
With this stamp, the Postal Service recognizes the men and women — including firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical service professionals — who respond to critical situations with skill, dedication and uncommon bravery.
The digital illustration on this stamp is a symbolic scene that shows three first responders in profile, facing right, as they race into action. From left to right, the first figure is a firefighter carrying an axe. The second figure is an EMS worker, with the EMS Star of Life visible on her cap, upper arm and emergency bag. The third figure is a law-enforcement officer shining a flashlight toward unknown danger ahead. The dark background and signs of smoke in around the figures suggest the wide range of situations that demand the immediate attention of a first responder.
Artist Brian Stauffer worked with art director and designer Antonio Alcalá and designer Ricky Altizer to create this stamp.
Statue of Freedom
$1 Statue of Freedom
The U.S. Postal Service will be issuing the $1 Statue of Freedom stamp, offering a modern take on vintage patriotic stamp art for use on packages, large envelopes and other mailings. $1 Statue of Freedom will be sold in panes of 10 stamps.
$2 Statue of Freedom
The Postal Service will be issuing the $2 Statue of Freedom, also offering a modern take on vintage patriotic stamp art for use on packages, large envelopes and other mailings. $2 Statue of Freedom will be sold in panes of 10 stamps.
$5 Statue of Freedom
The Postal Service will be issuing the $5 Statue of Freedom for use on packages, large envelopes and other mailings. $5 Statue of Freedom will be sold in panes of four stamps.
These three designs feature the head of the statue that tops the United States Capitol dome, in a modern interpretation of an engraved vignette originally created for a 1923 stamp ($5 Head of Freedom Statue). The engraved artwork was originally created for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing by John Eissler (1873–1962). Rendered in emerald green ($1), indigo ($2) and brick red ($5), the tightly cropped enlargements highlight the solid and dashed lines and the crosshatching characteristic of engraved illustrations.
American sculptor Thomas Crawford (1814–1857) created the allegorical Statue of Freedom during the mid-1850s. She wears a variation on a Roman helmet — circled by stars, topped with an eagle head, and embellished by feathered plumes meant to evoke Native American headdress. Installation of the statue onto the new Capitol dome was completed in 1863.
All three stamps were printed in intaglio and were designed by Art Director Greg Breeding.