We told you yesterday how the US Postal Service seemed to be doing its best to avoid any advance publicity for its Harry Potter commemorative stamps. USA Today featured an “exclusive” story on the stamps yesterday, saying that they were available for preorder, but failing to say where!
There was no mention of the stamps on the USPS Stamps Facebook page, or on the postal service’s new stamp web site, uspsstamps.com. Finally, late yesterday afternoon, an item appeared on the Facebook page, featuring a link to the USA Today story- but not to the stamps. Shortly after the item was posted, a Facebook user asked “How do I get my hands on these? They’re not in the latest Philatelic catalog.”
Finally, about 16 hours later. the USPS posted a reply comment revealing the url where the stamps could be pre-ordered.
While only one user actualy asked where she could buy the stamps, several did express enthusiasm for the set- but many of the comments appeared to be from stamp collectors who were highly critical of the issue:
“this stamp shows the diminution and crass over commercialization of this hobby and how they bilk stamp collectors.”
This is just a cash-in. It doesn’t commemorate any anniversary and the subject is primarily British. I thought it was a bad sign for British stamps when they issued 12 stamps to mark Harry Potter’s 10th anniversary in 2007 – please don’t go down their route by honouring subjects better suited to kids’ stickers. You’re better than this.
Here’s the USPS publicity description of the set:
The Harry Potter films brought J.K. Rowling’s magical world to the screen, giving physical shape to the characters, creatures, and places that had lived in readers’ imaginations since publication of the first book. The U.S. Postal Service celebrates that magic with a 20-stamp souvenir booklet featuring stills from the award-winning Warner Bros. movies.
The folded booklet has five pages. The front cover features the title Harry Potter, with an image of Harry playing Quidditch, the beloved wizarding sport. The back cover has a picture of a young Harry in class, taking notes with his quill; the title Harry Potter is centered under the picture. When the booklet is opened, an illustration of Hogwarts covers two pages on the back, and selvage text appears on the last page. Inside there are five groupings of four stamps, each grouping set on its own page. Each set of four stamps, featuring stills from the Warner Bros. movies, surrounds the red wax seal of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Harry Potter’s story begins when he receives a letter and a visitor that change his life. He learns that he is the orphaned son of two wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own. Invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry embarks on an adventure he never could have imagined.
The stamps capture the magic of Harry’s world, with photographs of a few of the brave heroes, fearsome villains, and extraordinary creatures that he encounters throughout his adventures.
Best friends since first meeting on the Hogwarts Express, Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger face new challenges each year they attend Hogwarts. The first set of stamps shows the friends in action.
The second stamp set includes photos of four of the amazing creatures that will one day come to Harry’s aid-Hedwig, Harry’s pet owl; Fawkes the phoenix; Dobby the house-elf; and Buckbeak the Hippogriff.
At Hogwarts, the friends receive support and guidance from many of their professors, among them the four depicted on the third set of stamps-Rubeus Hagrid, Professor Minerva McGonagall, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, and Professor Severus Snape.
Their fellow students-including Fred and George Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley, featured on the fourth group of stamps-fight bravely alongside Harry, Hermione, and Ron in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Harry and friends encounter frightening villains, none more terrifying than Lord Voldemort, considered to be the most evil wizard of all time. He is featured alongside two of his fanatic followers-the sinister Bellatrix Lestrange and devious Draco Malfoy-on the fifth set of stamps, which also includes a photo of Harry during his final, epic battle with Voldemort.
The art directors for the Harry Potter Stamp Collection were William J. Gicker and Greg Breeding. Breedingdesigned the souvenir booklet using images from the Warner Bros. Harry Potter movies.
The Harry Potter stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.
Read more: Harry Potter – The Postal Store @ USPS.com.