Young or old Elvis? That was the question 20 years ago when the U.S. Postal Service considered artwork for the Elvis stamp. The Postal Service put the vote to the public and controversy soon followed. Members of Congress debated the worthiness of an Elvis stamp, then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton weighed in, and the whole thing became fodder for cartoonists and late-night comedians, according to the National Postal Museum.

Elvis Mania paid off and the Elvis stamp went on to become the most popular U.S. commemorative stamp of all time.

Now comes the Harry Potter stamp. He may not be the cultural icon Elvis is, but he’s created no less controversy. The Postal Service hopes the stamp will be a blockbuster to rival the king of rock n’ roll. The organization also hopes a Harry Potter stamp – and other youth-themed stamps – will spark interest in stamp collecting among the younger generation. But some philatelists think the idea of a Harry stamp is all wrong. For one thing, Harry Potter isn’t even American. Philatelists tend to view stamps as works of art and small pieces of American history. They balk at images that are blatantly commercial.

The disagreement has put stamp collecting and the entire process for choosing a stamp in the news. The news reports also raise the issue of the future of stamps. Stamp collecting is seen by some as a dying hobby, as fewer young Americans participate. The stamp controversy actually underscores a larger Postal Service dilemma: How does it stay relevant among a generation that doesn’t really think too often about stamps or even hard copy communications? The postmaster general, for one, has said the Postal Service needs to start thinking differently. In an interview with the Washington Post, he said the agency “needs to change its focus toward stamps that are more commercial” as a way to increase revenue to compensate for declining mail volume as Americans switch to the Internet.

Tell us what you think:

Should the Postal Service market stamp images that focus on a younger audience in hopes of reaching beyond traditional collectors and generating sales?
Should the Postal Service be allowed to develop themes and images that do not focus on American heritage for the sake of sales?
Or, should stamps be works of art and pieces of history and not based on fads or celebrities?
What stamp images would you like to see?

Comments (231)

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  • anon

    Stamps should be about the appreciation for ART.... ! A stamp should tell a story and mark important dates, cultures and people through time. Stamps may even come around like Vinyl.

    May 25, 2016
  • anon

    We need to show our pride as Americans. We need to show pride in our country by showing national parks, monuments and historical memorabilia. People here and around the world might find them interesting and informative! Not everyone in the world has a smart phone or the internet!

    Feb 18, 2016
  • anon

    As long as the pressure sensitive glue composition makes it impossible to remove a cancelled stamp from an envelope, you'll have a hard time in getting me to persuade my grandkids to collect stamps. Sorry, it is a bonehead process.

    Oct 26, 2015
  • anon

    Not knowing a better forum to pose this question: Can a stamp image (theme) be forthcoming celebrating our national industry of agriculture? The fields of corn, wheat, fruits and vegetables in its grandeur of production meeting the high yield expectations of our demanding food market - farmers, marketers, machine makers, seed producers, storage operators, fertilizer producers, et al. Our blessings from their efforts and production are not celebrated enough by its (USA) citizenry. Please send this suggestion to a responsive agency. Thank you very much. Eric Soesbe Tullahoma, TN 37388-5229

    Jun 04, 2015
  • anon

    Hello Eric, Thank you for taking the time to contact our offices. Please send all of your stamp ideas and concerns to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee at the address below. Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300 Washington, DC 20260-3501 Their office will be able to assist you further in this matter.

    Jun 08, 2015
  • anon

    Stamps themes may be varied. American heritage is one of themes for stamps. Postal Service should be allowed to develop other themes and images. Like freedom of belief and diversity.

    Mar 04, 2014
  • anon

    My students read the article in NEWS FOR YOU and they say that the stamps should be about history and culture and representative of the U.S.A. It should not be about money! It should be about proud.

    Feb 25, 2014
  • anon

    The headlong rush into commercial and juvenile topics is the latest sign that the USPS is in its death spiral. This once was a great country that did great things. And we used to commemorate great men and women, great accomplishments and the like on stamps. Now we commemorate cartoons and movies with the occasional bone thrown to history. And now, we commemorate a group of mostly British actors/actresses from the Harry Potter movies. They were great movies, but they belong in the theater, not on stamps. PM Donahoe and his marketing crew need to go. They belong at Target, not at the USPS.

    Feb 10, 2014
  • anon

    I say yes to more of these type of issues. I now know six folks, three of them youngsters (none who were stamp collectors) who sought the Harry Potter stamps out and are now interested in stamp collecting.

    Jan 04, 2014
  • anon

    No matter what the subject of the stamp is, if it isn't available at local post offices, it will not sell. Non-stamp collectors are NOT going to know anything about the USPS Stamp Fulfillment Center and will not go to the trouble of ordering online. Releasing stamps in waves is ridiculous. Post Offices not having current stamps in stock or not encouraging people to purchase current stamps (other than flag stamps) is not good business practice. Harry Potter stamps will sell but only if people know they are available and then can get them when they go to the post office.

    Jan 03, 2014
  • anon

    Unless there is research proving otherwise, I maintain that the USPS is wasting their time and money in issuing the Harry Potter series of stamps. While the USPS can push sales I doubt that the public will become “stamp collectors” as the USPS anticipates and that sales will peter out. Based on the quantity printed, it may even be a loss. The use of living persons on stamps is Ok if they are truly outstanding. However, such a judgment is subjective and differs from person to person. I doubt that the USPS wish for increased revenue from the Harry Potter stamp series will happen. The USPS put forth the supposition that the Harry Potter series of stamps will be as popular as the 1993 Elvis Presley stamp. Elvis Presley had a much larger following then Harry Potter. The Presley followers almost amounted to a cult. I have no evidence that the same is true with followers of Harry Potter. What does the USPS expect that the purchasers of the Harry Potter stamp do with them? Does the USPS expect the young purchasers of the stamps use them on letters or put them away somewhere? Use on letters is highly questionable since young people tend to text rather than white letters. Putting them away is also questionable. Where and how are they going to keep them? What does see USPS expect the purchasers to do with the stance? The USPS expects to develop stamp collectors by issuing the Harry Potter series. I doubt that the purchasers of the Harry Potter series will become stamp collectors any more than the purchasers of the Elvis Presley stamp became collectors. Mr. Patrick Donahue explained that he is taking stamps into a more commercial aspect. I understand that the Harry Potter series is part of this philosophy. I gather that this is an attempt to increase revenue by publishing popular stamps that although purchased are retained, thus not used. I have great doubts that this course of action will work. Did the USPS do any research of the stamp buying public that proved this policy to have potential? If so, the USPS should share the results with the public. If they did not do such research, they have failed to follow good administrative practices. US stamps had living persons shown in the past as part of the major topic. I understand that “all the actors are British or Irish with the exception of a few people without speaking roles who are American (and children of the director).” Since there are many qualified contributors to this country, it is hard to see why the USPS chose foreign subjects in their latest stamps. The reason for not showing living persons on stamps is that a hero today may turn out to be a despised person tomorrow. The selection of a particular prominent person offends many others—and their following—who feel more qualified than the chosen one.

    Dec 25, 2013
  • anon

    I love the new Harry Potter stamps. Anything the USPS can do to attract attention and sell stamps is a good idea, and Harry Potter is beloved world-wide. Good decision and keep them coming.

    Dec 24, 2013
  • anon

    I must be voting for tradition. USPS has gone way too far with series of stamps based on fads and celebrities, on flora and fauna, etc. Stop flooding the world of stamps. Please emphasize the States and our history and heritage.

    Dec 21, 2013
  • anon

    I like (and bought) the Harry Potter stamps. I would urge the USPS to use caution, though, in portraying live people on stamps. There is always the risk that they will become involved in some scandal which may lead to future USPS embarrassment. I would also like to see fewer issues each year but that's another subject.

    Dec 19, 2013
  • anon

    I'm for anything the Post Office does to increase their bottom line (except of course closing our small P.O.). My wife and I and our granddaughter all read and enjoyed the Potter books. We just bought the last book of HP's stamps at our small P.O. and they are going into one of the Potter books that are for our granddaughter. So, Mr. Postmaster General, you just made $9.60 profit (less manufacturing cost of course) since they'll never be used, just treasured by our granddaughter. Any kind of stamp is okay with us. Some we'll use and some we'll just hang on to.

    Dec 16, 2013
  • anon

    If you want young folks to buy and use the Potter stamps, you have to make them available in regular post offices. It is 14 December - it has been four weeks since these stamps were issued in Orlando, and they are STILL NOT AVAILABLE in my post office - which is not a one-room rural station serving 1500 people. It's in Indianapolis, serving tens of thousands. These stamps have been the worst marketed issue I have seen recently. I long ago vowed to buy no stamps from the cave in Kansas City, where I have to pay to have the stamps delivered that you want me to set aside and not use. If you do not make stamps available to me in MY post office, I don't buy them. I have not bought the Potter stamps, and will not do so until they get to where I live. What a travesty. As for the subject matter, another issue I DID NOT BUY, even though they were available at my post office, was the Simpsons issue. The USPS fell to a new low in taste when it issued that set. No, selecting subject matter with a view to how much money you can make on it is NOT appropriate. I certainly was not going to give you any of MY money for that revolting show. Potter - I'm of two minds about celebrating a non-US story starring non-US actors who are clearly not yet deceased for the required number of years. I have enjoyed the films (I have no time for reading fiction), and I agree that they have had a positive impact on popular culture - but in general, I don't think it is the USPS's job to celebrate current popular culture. Stick to series like the Legends of Hollywood and Distinguished Americans. The harder you make it to buy stamps, the fewer stamps you will sell. Sincerely displeased - Joseph E Boling, Indianapolis

    Dec 14, 2013
  • anon

    Harry Potter, why not? J.K. Rowling has opened up the reading world for EVERYONE, not just kids! It used to be that kids would pick out books based on the thickness of the book, not the content. That changed with Ms. Rowling's brilliant mind, characters and stories. This world-wide phenomenon swept over the globe with non-stop reading, interest and anticipation toward her next "production", be it written or on film. These characters deserve to be put on postage stamps to further the consuming interest created If a new "category" is created ..... why not?

    Dec 14, 2013
  • anon

    We do not think the Harry Potter issue of stamps is inappropriate for use by the general public. We find little difference between issuing Mail a Smile or Send a Hello stamps, which have no historical significance, as are the Art of Disney stamps. So if the public disagrees then don't buy them. On the other hand, what's wrong with young people liking these stamps and wanting to start collecting. I f nothing else, they can be used for postage if they decide to discontinue collecting stamps, therefore not losing or wasting any cost to the individual. It's a tempest in teapot, in other words, a big TO DO ABOUT NOTHING.

    Dec 14, 2013
  • anon

    As a youngster, I collected United States commemoratives in singles and plate blocks. The stamps depicted historical events in our history, famous Americans, centennials, and other related subjects that were teaching moments. Consequently, I learned a lot about U.S. history and now am an author, writing about Illinois and the Old West. Stamps should serve a useful purpose of educating the user and not simply a means to make money in the short term in order to attract young people who often have little interest in history. I'm a big booster of the postal service, but have refrained from purchasing these novelty stamps. They are unimaginative and show very little creativity on the part of the designer. Continue to promote these stamps and you may lose the older base that still relies on the postal service without attracting the young crowd. You will then be out of business, replaced by a business that operates efficiently and and with more marketing skills.

    Dec 14, 2013
  • anon

    Think the Harry Potter stamps are great, I collect mostly cat stamps but I loved the Harry Potter movies and these stamps are done so nicely!! I will buy them when I get the money. It doesn't matter to me if they are British, like most people are saying, it became an American thing. All the kids love it and I think they have learned a lot of values from these kids. Better than Barbie!!!

    Dec 13, 2013
  • anon

    I have been collecting stamps since the 1960s, and I stopped collecting US stamps with the advent of the self-adhesive stamp. The USPS is generating too many stamps, and they do look like movie posters instead of the miniature artworks that they used to be. Yes, find subjects of interest to younger potential buyers. Bring the Philatelic windows back to post offices instead of cutting personnel and hours. Issue art stamps - historical, personages, US flora and fauna, or TV and movie characters - I'd like to see an Indiana Jones stamp - but bring out fewer per year and make them look less like they were drawn by a cartoonist. I miss the engraved stamps, which is why I am now collecting so many stamps issued by Iceland. So, try to reach a younger audience, try to stay mostly with American topics, try to make the stamps look less tacky (bring back engraving), release fewer issues per year, and explain to me how I am to buy one - or four - stamps from a nonstick sheet and keep them "mint".

    Dec 13, 2013
  • anon

    Whilst no one can argue the popularity of the Harry Potter films for sure - I'm a little inclined to support the idea of stamps celebrating innovative Americans. As a child of the 60's and 70's it was great seeing the stamps that celebrated our NASA heroes. This generation has a whole new bunch of heroes to celebrate the advances in communications / computers / and the internet. I would love to see a whole series of stamps celebrating individuals (most still alive, some passed away) such as Martin Cooper (Motorola engineer who developed and tested the first mobile phone), Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak (founders of Apple computers), Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft), Robert Kahn & Vincent Cerf (creaters of TCP/IP protocol), Frederico Faggin (born in Italy but Naturalized U.S. citizen - developed the basic architecture for the Intel 8080 microprocessor ), James Fergason (for his work on improved Liquid Crystal Displays {LCD}) and perhaps even some of the younger folks - Mark Zuckerberg (creator of FaceBook). And if the USPS is looking abroad at non-American inventors - then we need to include Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the World Wide Web).

    Dec 12, 2013
  • anon

    My own interest in stamp collecting began when my parents bought me the original version of "Stamps & Stories" in 1973 when I was eight years old. The book was brilliantly written, not too simple, not too complicated. It explained the history behind the stamps, which is what sparked my own interest in the first place. The Postal Service may see improved sales by printing more "youth friendly" stamps, but new stamp collectors will not be created simply by altering stamp content. These new collectors have to be created through education and outreach with materials other than the stamps. If the Postal Service ever recreated "Stamps & Stories" in App form, this might work.

    Dec 12, 2013
  • anon

    I'm back with a solution! USPS should create regional stamps of series like Harry Potter. Certain stamps are only available in certain parts of the country, and not sold through the mail. Then the USPS creates a website that allows everyone to TRADE stamps with other users around the country with easy ways to print bulk address labels or envelopes. Some of the stamps could be sold already in envelopes and ready for the mail. This would work a lot better if we had community mailboxes as they do in Canada.

    Dec 11, 2013
  • anon

    fads might get people to buy certain stamps, but won't bring many people to the hobby. Rather than in a stamp collection, the fad stamps would be part of the fad collection. Harry Potter, Star Wars, whatever. Since letter writing is way down, USPS needs to come up with a new use for stamps. The obvious problem is we're moving to paperless and cashless, so there's nowhere to stick em.

    Dec 11, 2013
  • anon

    I think there is room for a big tent here, and ironclad restrictions belong to a bygone age: iconic US history, major world figures, and yes, even a commercial hero or two are appropriate. The USPS is going broke, and the cultural relevance of post is weak for the youngest of Americans. The USPS needs to stay current and by offering stamps which are exactly that, they will attract not only younger collectors, but also older users of the “stamp” generation who perhaps find current offerings boring and lacking in originality. We live in a global society … no harm whatsoever in adding some international flavor to US- bound envelopes. I wish the USPS luck with the venture and may the members of the Advisory Board be willing to be a little more open to change....

    Dec 11, 2013
  • anon

    To continue to be a viable business, the Postal Service must sell products that are enjoyed by a variety of customers. I have already purchased several of these stamps for myself & my friends & family who truly enjoyed the Harry Potter books & movies. Don't limit yourself to "just history", life is full of diversity & America is a melting pot. If someone does not care for the Harry Potter stamps, then that person has the option to "not buy them". Releasing the stamps just before Christmas was an excellent idea!

    Dec 11, 2013
  • anon

    The Postal Service won't create new stamp collectors by creating stamps for the wrong reasons. The Harry Potter stamps are simply photographs of actors playing the roles - where is the attraction in that? If the USPS hadn't been so lazy about trying to make money off minimal investment, it would have contracted with an artist to produce artistic renderings of the characters - perhaps on fewer stamps - and then the stamps would have been unique celebrations of the characters that our young people have grown up with. Now that the rule has been relaxed and the five-year wait no longer applies either, I wonder if we will soon see a well-designed Nelson Mandela stamp to take advantage of the recent focus on him. Now that would something that might attract new collectors.

    Dec 11, 2013
  • anon

    As a member of the younger generation, I think the Harry Potter Stamps are great. The USPS absolutely should be trying to appeal to the younger generation and be moving to a more commercial Stamp base. I don't know anyone my age who would want a stamp with a flag on it, but we want to buy the Harry Potter stamp even if we don't have anything in particular to send. If you're going to try to get a younger generation to start collecting stamp, you need to have more like the Harry Potter Stamp, because I'm not about to start adding to my collection with flags and flowers.

    Dec 11, 2013
  • anon

    ?Should the Postal Service market stamp images that focus on a younger audience in hopes of reaching beyond traditional collectors and generating sales? Yes. The Postal Service is dying, we have to find a way to revitalize our product and name so that we will be around for many years to come. Creating stamps that the younger generation will like and buy is a start. ?Should the Postal Service be allowed to develop themes and images that do not focus on American heritage for the sake of sales? The United States is a melting pot of all cultures. We should be able to have stamps that focus on our heritage and stamps that focus on what is happening at the time. Harry Potter was a worldwide sensation and even though it was a "British" book, the movie was made by our home grown Warner Bros. If something, whether it is here or elsewhere, is affecting everyone, it should be considered. ?Or, should stamps be works of art and pieces of history and not based on fads or celebrities? As said before - why can't they be both? ?What stamp images would you like to see? Don't laugh, but in the interest of appealing to a younger set (30s) - a stamp showcasing Michael Jackson would go over well. He was immensely popular and influenced music in the US at an unprecedented scale. This is one of those that would be controversial, but it would sell.

    Dec 11, 2013
  • anon

    The USPS has to change with the times, but it has gone too far with Harry Potter. HP is not an American product, and US stamps should be 99% about the best of the USA - consequential events, people, social causes and with some pop culture as part of the mix. The latter has however taken more and more of the program in in recent years, in what is a naked attempt to sell more stamps that will not be used. In fact there are not enough issues per year to honor everything and everyone that deserves to be honored. The "spend" those slots on a foreign product just because it is popular here is improper. In doing so, the USPS is a day late and a dollar short anyway as the wave of highest level of popularity passed on Harry Potter about two years ago. And the kids who are attracted to that product don't write letters; they write emails, and are barely acquainted with stamps. This is not going to turn them into collectors. OK let's posit that Harry Potter is a good subject that should he issued to make the USPS relevant in the current age, will help recruit new collectors, and will rake in a reasonable profit for the USPS (US stamps are one of the few profit centers, but in the wildest predictions, sales from stamps not used will barely make a dent in the USPS deficits). Given this reasoning, I could live with one stamp, or perhaps even a small souvenir sheet of two stamps - or several of the same stamp. In issuing a product of 20 different designs, they have broken an unstated contract with the stamp-buying community because there is no earthly reason why this subject can justify 20 different stamps based on the significance of the subject. It is clearly an effort to separate the collecting public and Harry Potter fans from their hard earned money. In angering stamp collectors, the USPS runs a risk of losing as many serious collectors who have and continue to drop out of modern issues collecting because of irresponsible issuance of excess numbers of marginal subjects (12 modern art pieces), high face values when not needed (the $2 face value inverted Jennies; 6 to a sheetlet), art that pleases artists but does not please the public (The recent Waves dollar values). In fact Harry Potter is just one more step in what seems like an ill-conceived program that is going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Increasingly, the message I am getting from the USPS stamp program is that we know best what will sell, and that is what we will issue. But the very reason the CSAC was created was to pick consequential subjects, some of which will sell well, and some of which simply deserve to be on US stamps as a means of education and sensitizing the public about things they should know about. If the orientation now is to issue stamps that are relevant to young people and stamps that will sell the USPS knows what those subjects are or can determine that from focus groups. And CSAC is no longer needed. It is a sin to have them there simply to rubber stamp what the USPS wants to issue, and to preside over a program that looks increasingly like that of a third world nation that issues stamps for the sole purpose of adding to the national treasury. John M. Hotchner, member of CSAC, 1998-2010

    Dec 10, 2013
  • anon

    I don't think they are mutually exclusive, but don't want to see too much focus on pop culture fads and marginalization of history, scenic, and other stamps about the U.S. This is how I learned a lot about history,people and places as a kid and is what makes the U.S. unique.

    Dec 09, 2013
  • anon

    1] Good attempt at capturing the young, however, you are still not using water soluble glue... How are they going to collect used stamps ??? Cut around the stamp ?? Not good if not enough space, Use a petroleum product & bathe the stamp in cornstarch powder to de-activate the glue... lot of work for an amateur or beginner.. 2] Stamps sheet measured 12"... paper is 11 1/2 " .. even turned sideways will not fit... Break apart to see but devalue the product if collecting mint.. I think the design left a little to be desired to attract young collectors.. Store the product folder mint and not see the stamps ??? 3] Where was the advertising ?? Everything was 'kept under wraps' and I didn't see the stamps until mine were delivered.. Didn't see any advertising after the release also... Postal clerks at my most frequented PO didn't even know about the stamp[s] until I told them.. 4] As so ofter happens at this PO, supply is far exceeded by demand and they were sold out in less than a week after getting their shipment. To assure that I get a supply of stamps, I order most of my from the Philatelic Center on line. 5] You have to train 'the boys in the back' not to use pens or killer magic markers to cancel stamps, will kill any interest from would be youthful collectors.. 6] You need to also train delivery personnel that the press sheets [imperf stamps] are legitimate postage.. Their supervisors as well..

    Dec 09, 2013
  • anon

    I think both artistic and historic stamps can coexist with more modern themes. I, myself, prefer the former but I am introducing my young grandson to stamp collecting and, at his age, I know he would prefer more contemporary subjects.

    Dec 09, 2013
  • anon

    Stampsare printed and sold to create revenue for the postal service and not exclusively for the philatelists (of which I am one, albiet a bit younger than most I see at stamp shows). If the general public buys and uses (or saves) these new stamps, I'm all for it. America is made up of diverse cultures and lifestyles. Not all stamps will appeal to all collectors or stamps users. The USPS issues so many stamps each year that having a few issues each year that do honor significant people or historic events should not be a big deal. Stamp collectiing is supposed to be fun. I'm in favor of issuing stamps that promote the "fun" part of collecting. I believe that the Harry Potter stamps fall into that category. Are the Harry Potter stamps as important as the "March on Washington" or the "Medal of Honor" issues? Of course not, but every issue doesn't have to address important issues.

    Dec 09, 2013
  • anon

    I am a young stamp collector myself. I inherited the hobby from my grandfather. I specialize in US stamps prior to 1980 and Vatican Stamps. In answer to you questions I can say the following: Should the Postal Service market stamp images that focus on a younger audience in hopes of reaching beyond traditional collectors and generating sales? This question itself appears to assume that interests of younger audiences/collectors are substantially different than those of "traditional collectors." Such an over-generalization seems to be one of the root causes of this debate. Stamp collecting, if it is going to be a sustainable and life-long hobby, cannot be focused simply on 'fun' or 'relevant' one-off stamp issues. No, a hobby such as stamp collecting stems from an appreciation for the breadth of content depicted on stamps as well as the depth of content. Commemorative stamps which honor the greatest luminaries of our culture and which highlight the events (tragic as well as celebratory) of our nation and world are most likely to appeal to a collector/audience of any age. Stamps allow one to travel throughout the world and throughout time without ever leaving your living room. Stamps which seek to memorialize luminaries of the moment are destined to become 'dated' and appear ill-informed in retrospect. Who esteems the stamps of the United States? A vast number of people with varying interest in collecting. Who esteems the stamps of San Marino or other "commemorative issue factories"? Only the specialist or the individual interested in purchasing a single stamp issue. Should the Postal Service be allowed to develop themes and images that do not focus on American heritage for the sake of sales? Restricting stamp subjects to themes and images which focus on American heritage allows US stamps to speak to collectors around the country and around the world about a unique heritage. Young collectors can learn US history through the stamps they collect. Expanding the subject matter treated on our stamps is neither unwise nor impossible. This, however, is a task that should be undertaken carefully and with due consideration. Treating contemporary themes is difficult as we lack the perspective that time gives us. There is a reason saints are not named until they have been dead for at least five years. Similarly, the highlights of Western culture and the world at large could find appropriate honor and mention on US stamps. Or, should stamps be works of art and pieces of history and not based on fads or celebrities? Yes. Doubtless, there is a desire on the part of many to increase revenue through the use of stamp images which hope to appeal to buyers who will never cash in on their postal value. Nevertheless, this devalues our stamps as communicators of culture. Our stamps speak to the world about who we are and what we value. Pop culture certainly has a place in this pantheon of subjects, but the perspective of time allows us to see the difference between a cultural high-water mark and cheap effervescent celebrity. What stamp images would you like to see? -A series on small-town America -More issues which focus on American industry (cars, trains, manufacturing) -More historical commemorations (Revolutionary war, Civil war, Civil Rights movement) -Popular culture issues relating to the 1950's-1970's

    Dec 09, 2013
  • anon

    So nice to know there are still such erudite young voices in the world. Thanks for adding your comments. I wonder if Pope Francis will appear on US postage before a Vatican City Issue.

    Dec 14, 2013
  • anon

    I've no objection to the USPS issuing stamps that may (or may not) appeal to young people. But really, if the USPS is going to issue stamps picturing living actors to help their careers, can't they find American actors to put on US stamps? Surely some American actors and their films would appeal to some younger people. The USPS isn't alone in trying to get young people to think of hard-copy communication rather than electronic communication. Has the USPS contacted and consulted with other countries such as those in Europe and East Asia to see what they are doing to attract young stamp collectors?

    Dec 09, 2013
  • anon

    I think the USPS should stop kidding itself and stick to what they know. I doubt the Elvis stamp or the Potter stamps have created any new collectors, just pleased people who had an interest in those stamps alone. As a 70+ year old lifetime collector and sometimes dealer, what I've seen that interests people are scenes they can relate to such as the National Park airmail series, the transportation coil series and great Americans who actually were great Americans. The US Mint had a successful series of state coins until they stopped allowing people to buy rolls at their banks and tried to sell them instead at a bloated price. The current series of quarters have suffereed the same fate, not available to the average citizen. Ditto their presidential dollars. The USPS then made the same mistake by issuing the recent state flag series as coils which were not even available at most post offices. The older generation is your curent stamp collectors and if you want that legacy to continue, you should listen to them not to someone who THINKS making commercial images on stamps is a good idea. I've asked all my grandchildren what was their favorite stamp and all i got were blank stares. They use email and texting for messages not written mail. Alienating your collector base by issuing stamps of little relevance is not the way I would go. I collect very few USA postage stamps from the last 5 years because they are terribly designed and the subjects are uninteresting. I stopped collecting Australia and Canada as they are nothing but commercial. The recent Superman issue of Canada ended my collecting their stamps as I couldn't buy it except from a dealer as our neighbors signed a licensing agreement that prohibited them from selling to USA collectors. I hope the USPS ends all licensing agreements and goes back to it's an honor to appear on a USA stamp and they shouldn't have to pay for it. I leave you with one question. How are young people going to be collectors when they don't purchase stamps?

    Dec 09, 2013
  • anon

    I started collecting stamps when I was about 5 or 6. Now at 67 I am trying to take apart the collections. Too much of a historian to trash them but too tired of the last 20 years of trivia stamps. As I look over my US and Australian stamps, I have fond memories of many US issues up to about the 1980's. History, geography, science art, famous (real) people...Now it just seems that stamps are the visual equivalent of the 130 decibel vibrations emanating from too many cars. There was a certain dignity in the art, colors, designs and subjects of many of the stamps up thru the 1980's. I notice that Australia seems to have maintained some of that dignity in their recent issues. Oh well, old geezers just die off. But it will be hard to beat many of the 1920's to 1950's issues. The more recent $1.00 and $5.00 issues reminiscent of the older design work are good examples of what can still be turned out.

    Dec 08, 2013
  • anon

    I don't like how the stamp board has been manipulated by USPS management: they were by-passed in the stamp approval process in this and other instances. Given the stature of the people on the stamp committee, if they'd had a chance to truly approve of the Potter stamp series, I'd say it's ok then - at least it passed muster at the USPS level. But this was the USPS operations leaders doing a runaround to make this happen. Every cravenly commercial stamp the USPS has done (Disney series, Simpsons, Star Wars, etc.) have been pretty ghastly - including these Potter stamps. I became interested in stamps on because of great choices over the years - not because the USPS chose pop stamps from when I was a boy: Brady Bunch? The Partridge Family? Scooby-Doo? Kids either find their way to stamps or they don't: why not use stamps to keep young people's eyes on the REAL prizes? Like Mandela?

    Dec 08, 2013
  • anon

    Harry Potter was not written by an American, and the movie was not filmed by Americans. I feel this is an embarrassment for the USPS and it's counterproductive.

    Dec 07, 2013
  • anon

    Going "commercial" with designs is a long term losing option as there are too many other providers out there racing for the bottom. Why buy the US version of Harry Potter when dozens of other nations have already issued such wallpaper? The Elvis stamp may have been a hot seller, but at the cost of multiple future sales as it drove collectors away from US post office windows. Many former collectors feel the US has not issued "stamps" for many years. "Stickers" more aptly describes its current offerings not so much for how they get affixed to envelopes, but for the quality of designs and craftsmanship. A better strategy would be to target the high end again. The engraved issues from a hundred years ago were artistic and continue to inspire collectors even today. The trendy holograms, cartoon characters, and scented issues are novelties with little staying power. Or have it both ways. Issue a few classy stamps and concurrently sell semi-postal stickers. Instead of raising funds for worthy causes, print up sets allowing users to express themsleves (elephants and donkeys, sports team logos, Bugs and Donald, etc...).

    Dec 07, 2013
  • anon

    I am not a young one----in fact I am 70----but I immediately bought a book of the Harry Potter stamps as soon as I saw them. Yes, please keep issuing such stamps. I love this direction! More, more, more!

    Dec 07, 2013
  • anon

    Stamp Collecting IS Dead Why Collect Stamps? 1. People don't send letters any more. 2. When people send letters, they don't use stamps....especially commemoratives. 3. When they send commemoratives, Postal Service has made the stamps uncollectable--self-stick stamps that don't soak and with spray on cancels that blot out designs. 4. Postal Service doesn't want people to collect used stamps--No profit there! 5. Postal Service thinks that putting out 100s of stamps per year maximizes their profit as collectors will feel obliged for completion....but all they have done is accelerated the death of philately. Postal service has diluted the significance of the individual stamps. Why Collect Labels? 1. Postal Service is trying to get people to collect labels, i.e. sticky pieces of paper--with no functionality (see 1 above). 2. They have little value (mint stamps from the 1950s on can be purchased at 80 % of their face value). 3. Commemoratives should commemorate--Harry Potter stamps, etc. do nothing to promote stamp collecting, because YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THEY EXIST, because they will never appear on any mail. I stopped collecting US stamps in 2000...a good date to declare the death of the hobby.

    Dec 07, 2013
  • anon

    The fact that J.K. Rowland got the young to read books that approached the size of War & Peace is truly a great achievement. However, the books really have nothing to do with this country. As far as getting international sales of stamps by Harry Potter fans, I have no idea.

    Dec 07, 2013
  • anon

    Younger audiences are not interested in stamps and nothing, not even the foreigner Harry Potter, will get them to buy U.S. stamps and save them. Why should they mail a letter tomorrow when they can send an email now? So, marketing images that focus on them will not generate sales. Increasing the sale of stamps will not solve the financial problems of the USPS. Congress needs to step in and fund the USPS, like prior to 1971. The USPS provides a public service for everyone! The USPS should stay focused on American heritage. Stay with works of art and pieces of history, not fads and celebrities. I would like to see more Italian Americans who have contributed to this country on stamp images.

    Dec 07, 2013
  • anon

    The more stamps are like this, the more I will buy. Love it... Keep coming out with new themes that go along with what's hot!

    Dec 06, 2013
  • anon

    I think the Harry Potter Stamp will be a success, but not because the young collector is collecting them. And it will have no influence whether the Postal Service survives another day, or year! It will be a success because it's Harry Potter! There are far fewer youth aged stamp collectors than there were 10 - 20 years ago. Young America just doesn't write letters, nor do they send special occasion cards. They text and tweet and post everything they want seen on Facebook. I personally am not a stamp collector, but still purchase postage stamps and use the delivery of mail provided by the Postal Service. I would purchase the Harry Potter stamp. Not to keep, but to use. I think the commemorative stamps can be a colorful addition to a piece of sent mail. My grandchildren think their "GrandPa is cool" when a letter or card arrives addressed to them with a Disney character, a Looney Toons character or good looking car stamp adorns the corner of the envelope. The Postal Service is dying a self imposed slow death. When I'm gone they will have lost a whole generation of stamp users because no one after me purchases stamps. The Postal Service is far too heavy at the top of their administration and has looked, but not foreseen the changes that technology has thrust upon society. The Harry Potter stamp should have been released when Harry Potter was at it's peak and the public was in the Harry Potter mood. All those high-paid heads at the top and not one saw the advantage of using the popularity when it was a daily use word. The idea must have come to some marketer via 'snail mail'!

    Dec 06, 2013
  • anon

    Let the British issue stamps of "British subjects." It was really a disappointment to see the US stamps advisory committee bypassed for the Harry Potter stamps. It's a bad idea to get further and further into such fantasies. I will not purchase Potter stamps for my collections. With many deserving inspirational Americans to honor, that a foreign fictitious character was chosen instead, is a disservice to our citizenry. Please keep future issues to the American topics, people, scenes, etc.

    Dec 06, 2013

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