The U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of honoring the Stars and Stripes with the issuance of Four Flags. This quartet of stamps features a bright U.S. flag against a white background. A single word appears on each of the four stamps in large letters: Freedom, Liberty, Equality, and Justice. The black typeface recalls the look of Colonial-era printing.
The current U.S. flag consists of 13 stripes and 50 stars. Congress passed legislation in 1818 stating that the number of stars on the flag should match the number of states in the Union. It also specified that new stars would be added to the flag on the July 4 after a state’s admission. The current flag’s 50th star was added on July 4, 1960, after Hawaiʻi became a state on August 21, 1959.
The flag illustration by the late Arnold Holeywell is based on a photograph taken by art director Howard Paine. Paine also served as the typographer for the stamp.
The Four Flags stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.
How to Order the First Day of Issue Postmark
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first day of issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office™ facility, at The Postal Store® website at www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:
Four Flags Stamp
PO Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282
After applying the first day of issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by April 22, 2012.
How to Order First Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service 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 www.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
There are three philatelic products available for this stamp issue:
- 688163, First Day Cover Set of 4, $3.56.
- 688167, First Day of Sale Cover Set of 4, $3.56.
- 788763, First Day Cover Set of 4, $3.56.