Elvis is back in the building! Earlier this month, the U.S. Postal Service previewed the new Elvis Presley stamp that will be released in August as part of the popular music icons series of commemorative stamps that include the likes of Ray Charles, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. 

As the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. And his enormous star power certainly carried over to his stamp. Elvis mania helped make the original Elvis stamp, issued in 1993, the most popular commemorative stamp of all time, according to the National Postal Museum. 

Given that history, will the new stamp featuring a 1955 photograph of the King be another top seller?

Elvis isn’t the only celestial body making postage stamp news this month. Also getting attention is the 1991 Pluto stamp, which scientists affixed to NASA’s New Horizons probe that just made contact with the dwarf planet. According to a recent Washington Post blog, when the stamp was designed as part of a planetary set, Pluto was the only planet that lacked a robotic companion – no spacecraft had ever been sent to explore it. So there was no American robot to show off in the stamp illustration like for the other planets. Instead, the words “Pluto, not yet explored” were put on the stamp. Some scientists said they saw this as a sort of “call to arms” to explore Pluto. 

Now that Pluto is getting its day in the sun, so to speak, the Pluto stamp is too – even if its words are no longer true. A few years ago, the New Horizons team petitioned the Postal Service for a new stamp but there’s no word on whether that will happen.

Stamps hold a unique place in American culture, which may be why so many people feel strongly about what should or shouldn’t be on them. Our previous blog on the Harry Potter stamp drew a record number of comments. The stamp was controversial because, for one reason, the subject matter – a British wizard created by a British novelist – wasn’t strictly American.

Well, Elvis and the U.S. space program are as American as apple pie. So their stamps are not likely to be nearly as controversial. Still, here’s your chance to weigh in with your favorite stamp and what others you might like to see.   

Comments (2)

  • anon

    For the last two years the APWU has submitted a request to release a Stamp of the President Emeritus of the American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO Mr. Morris " Moe" Biller the champion of workers rights, women's rights, civil rights, and human rights for over two decades. The inspiration from past leaders is important to the workers movement today. Though Moe Biller has met all the criteria set by the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee they chose not to recommend his commemorative stamp. There is a strong workers movement right now that would support this kind of leadership stamp. It is time to start recognizing labor leaders that have made a diffrence in the worker's life.

    Jul 21, 2015
  • anon

    The US Postal Service, as do all national postal operators, has a tremendous impact on human communications through its philatelic issues. Stamps move not only mail, they‘move people, through connections with human events whether historical, personal or global. And while the new Elvis stamp is a great example of these connections, the US Postal Service actually has a significant, and unique opportunity for the United States of America to connect the world through a Global Message for Peace. A proposal has been sent to the White House and the USPS Stamp Advisory Committee detailing this opportunity which describes a major multi-national joint philatelic issue to extend a message for peace around the world and in doing so reconfirm the US’s commitment to humankind.

    Jul 20, 2015

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