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Love Stamp: Do you see fettuccine or gymnastic ribbons?

By: CAROL MCGRAW
February 10, 2012
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The U.S. Postal Service has a new stamp called Love Ribbons and the national dedication will be in Colorado Springs.

Why here?

Because the white ribbons that spell out “Love” on the stamp look a lot like the ones that the U.S. National Rhythmic Gymnastic Team uses in competition to create figure eights and other fancy patterns in the air.

So, postal service officials, in conjunction with the team, decided to have a national love fest dedication of the stamp at 11 a.m. Tuesday — Valentines Day — at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, 1 Olympic Plaza.

The rhythmic team will do one of its routines with ribbons, some of them up to 19 feet long. Julie Zetlin, team member and Olympic hopeful, will give a talk. Selwyn Epperson, district post office manager, will dedicate the stamp.

The post office has released more than a dozen designs of love stamps since 1973 — when a first-class stamp was only 8 cents.

This one was designed by New York graphic designer Louise Fili and San Francisco artist Jessica Hishe. Fili said on the website Felt and Wire that she wanted to use script in the design and recalled she once had tried to make a restaurant logo spelling out the name with fettuccine.  

We like the Olympic story better.

Who came up with the idea of tying the stamp with team? Roy Betts, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C., notes that his daughter is in a gymnastics training program for cheerleaders and he saw the stamp’s resemblance to those ribbons right away.

“But it wasn’t my idea. During the creative process, the idea came up,” Betts said. No one else we asked knew where it originated.

Anyway, they are making 300 million of the stamps. A usual run of a new stamp is 40 million.

“That shows you how much people love love stamps,” Betts said.

The post office is waxing poetic about the stamp. Maybe it’s not exactly Alfred Lord Tennyson, but here is its heartfelt description: “Like stamps, ribbons often adorn our special packages to friends and family. Attached to floral arrangements, boxes of candy, and gifts of all kinds, ribbons beautify and embellish our gestures of romance, friendship and caring...”  

It goes on a lot more.

By the way, the Love Ribbons stamp is a Forever stamp, which alas has nothing to do with 70-year wedding anniversaries. Forever means the price of the stamp when purchased is always the value of First Class mail at the time, no matter when in the future it is used. In this case it costs 45 cents per stamp, or $9 per sheet of 20 for those with lots of Valentines on their list.

The stamp is available now at post offices and online.

But if you mail a Valentine’s Day card today with the Love Ribbons stamp, it probably won’t make it to its destination in time for the big day. But it’s a thought that counts all year long, right?

Another really lovely thing about all this is that starting on Valentine’s Day you can get a first day of issue postmark through the post office. Deadline is April 14.

Better yet, there will be a booth at the Olympic Center event Tuesday where you can buy the stamp and have it postmarked on the spot.

You can bet that will make a lot of  stamp collectors’ hearts go pitter patter.


Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371 Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook Carol McGraw

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