2012 Stamp Yearbook makes a fun coffee-table stamp album for non-collectors

[Alyson Kuhn] Yesterday, we reported on StampYearbook.com, the new companion website to the actual yearbook the USPS publishes every year. Today, we take you on a quick tour of the 2012 print edition. It’s already on sale, and it’s not your grandfather’s stamp album.

The yearbook is vibrant, showing every stamp issue in full color at full size. Stories about the stamps are rounded out by design details and cultural context—in other words why the person, place, thing or idea merits being on a U.S. postage stamp.

Page 65 (above)  offers a great stamp pairing: bald eagles and Hawai’ian shirts. The six Spectrum Eagle stamps feature an original illustration by Michael Osborne. These stamps pay the presorted first-class rate, and they are sold on a very long coil (roll). The bleeding bars of color—at the left and right on each stamp—create a continuous chromatic loop. When you receive a piece of mail with one of these stamps on it, there’s just a single stamp, so you don’t see the way the color gradations function. I’m going to start cutting them off their envelopes and make a border arrangement on this page of the yearbook. Art director and designer: Ethel Kessler.

The Aloha Shirts pay the post card rate (32¢). They are sold as a sheet of 20 stamps and as a booklet of just 10 stamps. A USPS press release last summer referred to the booklet format as “Hang 10.” We like it, and only wish we could position the spectrum eagle to be wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Art director and designer (also former surfer): Carl Herrman; shirts photographed by Ric Noyle.

Waves of Color will be issued December 1. These are high denomination stamps—$1, $2, $5 and $10. As the dollar value increases, the stamps get bigger. The $1 stamp is a special size, 1.22 x .94-in. The $2 is a commemorative horizontal, 1.6 x 1.0-in. The $5 is a semi-jumbo, 1.6 x 1.25-in., and the $10 is a jumbo, 1.99 x 1.44-in. It has just occurred to us that you could send a holiday package for $7, using the leaf green $2 and the deep orange $5. The 2 and the 5 next to each other would “say” 25. Frankly festive! Art director: Antonio Alcalá; artist: Michael Dyer.

The yearbook is available either with or without stamps. The stamps come with mounts; putting them on the pages and reading the accompanying text also seems like a good project for a curious young person, or even a class.

All images © 2012 USPS. Design and production by Journey Group.

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