New Virgin and Child Forever stamp available

NEW YORK — The U.S. Postal Service today unveiled two Christmas Forever stamps during the American Stamp Dealers Association stamp show in New York.

virginandchildThe new Virgin and Child stamp by Jan Gossaert features a detail of Gossaert’s 1531 oil-on-wood painting, Virgin and Child, from the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The stamp goes on sale nationwide today as a booklet of 20 stamps.

Draped in purple and blue, the Virgin Mary supports her own head by leaning on one of her hands. According to art historians, this pose was an unusual way to depict the Virgin Mary in Gossaert’s time and may have been meant to evoke both sadness and contemplation by reminding viewers of earlier artistic depictions of ancient scholars, St. Joseph in Nativity scenes, and mourners at the Crucifixion.

Supported by the Virgin Mary’s other hand, a curly-haired infant Jesus loosely draped in a white cloth looks to the viewer’s right and holds a bunch of red currants, which scholars have interpreted as foreshadowing Christ’s future suffering.

This is the second time a Gossaert painting has appeared on a U.S. stamp. In 2002, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Christmas stamp that featured a detail of Gossaert’s circa-1520 oil-on-panel Madonna and Child.

Gossaert is credited with being one of the first artists to bring the innovations of the Italian Renaissance to northern Europe. Richard Sheaff served as art director for this issue.

Also, the Postal Service announced the issuance of the Holy Family Forever Stamp in a new format as a pane of 20 stamps.

First issued in 2012 as booklets, the Holy Family stamp celebrates Christmas with a scene from the Nativity story that reminds us of the joys of the season: family, togetherness and the birth of Jesus. The stamp depicts Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and the baby Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky. Art director William Gicker, designer Greg Breeding and illustrator Nancy Stahl created this evocative image of the Holy Family.

The Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert and the Holy Family stamps may be purchased at local Post Offices, online at usps.com/stamps or by calling 800- STAMP24 (800-782-6724). Additionally, the stamps are being sold on ebay.com/stamps. Forever stamps are good for mailing 1-ounce First-Class Mail letters anytime in the future regardless of price changes.

Customers may view the Holy Family and Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert Forever stamps, as well as many of this year’s other stamps, on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, on Twitter@USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2013-preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site for information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmark of Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert Forever Stamp
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase the new stamps at local Post Offices, at usps.com/stampsor by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should apply the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert Stamp
Special Events Coordinator
380 W. 33rd Street, Room 4032
New York, NY 10199-9998

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 for fewer than 50 requests. All orders must be postmarked by Dec. 11.

Ordering 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 usps.com/stamps or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO  64121-9014

Philatelic Products for Jan Gossaert Forever Stamp
There are four philatelic products available:

 

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmark of Holy Family Forever Stamp
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase the new stamps at local Post Offices, at usps.com/stampsor by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should apply the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

Holy Family Stamp
Special Events Coordinator
380 W. 33rd Street, Room 4032
New York, NY 10199-9998

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 for fewer than 50 requests. All orders must be postmarked by Dec. 11.

Ordering 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 usps.com/stamps or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO  64121-9014

Philatelic Products for Holy Family Forever Stamp
There are eight philatelic products available:

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.