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Monday, January 24, 2011

Celebrating Lunar New Year - First of 'All-Forever' First-Class Mail Commemorative Stamps Issued

The U.S. Postal Service today issued the first of its "all-Forever" First-Class Mail commemorative stamps in recognition of the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration.

"Today's event is important, not only because it's our first stamp dedication ceremony of the new year, but also because it gives me the chance to reinforce one of the Postal Service's top priorities, and that is to improve our customers' experience doing business with us," said Linda Welch, Postal Service area vice president, Southwest Area.

As of today, all First-Class Mail commemorative stamps will be Forever Stamps. Their value will always be equal to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce rate, whether they are used this Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rabbit, or in 2018, the Year of the Dog, or even in 2050, the Year of the Horse.

"The Postal Service made this change to meet our customers' needs," said Welch. "You have told us you appreciate the convenience of knowing that when you buy stamps, they'll be good forever and now you don't have to worry about future price changes. Stamps can be used forever."

The stamp dedicated today is the fourth of 12 stamps in the Postal Service's Celebrating Lunar New Year series, which began in 2008 with the Year of the Rat. The Year of the Rabbit begins on Feb. 3, 2011, and ends on Jan. 22, 2012.

Famous people born in the Year of the Rabbit include film director Francis Ford Coppola, athlete Michael Jordan and actress Drew Barrymore.

Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the series with illustrator Kam Mak, an artist who grew up in New York City's Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn. The stamp design incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps, using artist Clarence Lee's intricate paper-cut design of a rabbit and the Chinese character, drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun, for "rabbit."