WASHINGTON — With the release of the O Beautiful Forever stamps on July 4, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the beauty and majesty of the United States through 20 captivating images that visually represent one of the nation’s most beloved songs, “America the Beautiful.”
The stamps will be dedicated in Colorado Springs, CO, at 7:30 p.m. MDT in Memorial Park as part of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s July 4th Event — Summer Symphony.
“As we celebrate America’s 242nd birthday, the United States Postal Service shines a spotlight on our country’s unparalleled natural beauty with a pane of 20 stamps that corresponds with one of the nation’s most beloved songs,” said U.S. Postal Service Colorado Wyoming District Manager Kevin Romero.
Each stamp features a photograph that helps illustrate one of five phrases from the song’s famous first verse: “Spacious Skies,” “Waves of Grain,” “Mountain Majesties,” “The Fruited Plain,” and “Sea to Shining Sea.”
The stamps include a national seashore, national parks, state parks, parks managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The stamps highlight some of the nation’s hidden gems, such as wheat fields in Wisconsin and Montana and the lush, fertile landscape surrounding Orinda, CA. The stamps also celebrate the country’s ephemeral wonders, including a double rainbow arching over a Kansas field, the aurora borealis lighting up Three Fingers Mountain in Washington, and a quietly stunning spring sunset over the green hills of Livermore, CA.
America the Beautiful
First published as a poem on July 4, 1895, “America the Beautiful” was written by poet Katharine Lee Bates (1859–1929) and set to the music of “Materna,” a melody composed by Samuel Augustus Ward (1848–1903). Considered by many to be the country’s unofficial national anthem, the song consists of four verses, each punctuated by the anthemic cry “America! America!” Today it remains one of the country’s most popular patriotic songs.
Stamp Rows Themed to O Beautiful and Locations of Stamp Images
Each row of the 20-stamp pane illustrates one of five phrases from the song “America the Beautiful” famous first verses: “Spacious Skies” (top row), “Waves of Grain” (second row), “Mountain Majesties” (third row), “The Fruited Plain” (fourth row) and “Sea to Shining Sea” (bottom row). Each of the five phrases appears to the left of the row of stamps to which it applies.
Death Valley National Park, CA/NV, photograph by Gary Crabbe
Three Fingers Mountain in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, WA, photograph by Kevin Ebi
Field in Kansas photograph by Sean Ramsey
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC/TN, photograph by Tim Fitzharris
Field of wheat, WI, photograph by Larry Michael
Plowed wheat fields, Palouse Hills, WA, photograph by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott
Grasslands Wildlife Management Area, Merced County, CA, photograph by Gary Crabbe
Field of wheat, MT, photograph by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott
Yosemite National Park, CA, photograph by Gary Crabbe
Crater Lake National Park, OR, photograph by Gary Crabbe
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, AZ/Utah photograph by David Muench
Maroon Bells peaks in White River National Forest, CO, photograph by Tim Fitzharris
Sunrise near Orinda, CA, photograph by Gary Crabbe
Pigeon Point near Pescadero, CA, photograph by Tim Fitzharris
Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo County, CA, photograph by Gary Crabbe
Livermore, CA, photograph by Gary Crabbe
Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai, HI, photograph by Timothy T. De La Vega
Lone Ranch Beach, Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, OR, photograph by Tim Fitzharris
Canaveral National Seashore, FL, photograph by Tim Fitzharris
Bailey Island, ME, photograph by Benjamin Williamson
Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, designed the pane using existing photographs.
The O Beautiful stamps are being issued as Forever stamps, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.
Stamp Ideas Welcome
The public is encouraged to submit stamp suggestions. Visit this link for details on the stamp selection process and instructions for submitting suggestions in writing. Due to the time required for research and approval, ideas for stamp subjects should be received at least three years prior to proposed release. Each submission should include pertinent historical information and important dates associated with the subject.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at Post Office locations, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
FDOI – O Beautiful Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by November 4, 2018.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
The following Philatelic products are available July 4 at usps.com/shop.
- 565300, O Beautiful Forever Stamp pane of 20, $10.00
- 565306, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $60.00
- 565310, Keepsake with Random Digital Color Postmark, $11.95
- 565316, First-Day Cover (set of 20), $18.80
- 565321, Digital Color Postmark (set of 20), $33.00
- 565324, Framed Art, $39.95
- 565330, Ceremony Program (random), $6.95
- 565366, Postcards (set of 20), $24.95
You may view many of this year’s other stamps on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps. All postage stamps are available for purchase at Post Offices, online at usps.com and by toll-free phone order at 1-800 STAMP-24.
When reproducing the stamp images for media use only, please provide the copyright sign (the “c” inside the circle) and 2018 USPS. Credit line is required when stamp art used outside of stamp format for photographs by the following:
- “Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina Copyright Tim Fitzharris/Minden Pictures”
- “Wisconsin Wheat Field Image Copyright Larry Michael/Minden Pictures”
- “Wheat fields in Palouse Hills, Washington Copyright Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott/Minden Pictures”
- “Wheat field in Montana Copyright Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott/Minden Pictures”
- “Maroon Bells peaks, Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado Copyright Tim Fitzharris/Minden Pictures”
- “Pigeon Point near Pescadero, California Copyright Tim Fitzharris/Minden Pictures”
- “Lone Ranch Beach, Oregon Copyright Tim Fitzharris/Minden Pictures”
- “Canaveral National Seashore, Florida Copyright Tim Fitzharris/Minden Pictures”