USPS Writer/Editor Michael Hotovy
Art of Magic Stamps Cast Spell of Wonder and Illusion
I never knew stamps could be so magical.
I am not speaking about how one little piece of paper, affixed to the upper right corner of an envelope, allows my letter to interface with the collective technology and manpower that is the Postal Service™ — moving my letter to its destination within a matter of days or hours.
No, I am speaking of how the Art of Magic Forever® stamps affected me in ways I did not think possible.
Magic and Stamps Inspire
I have worked for the Postal Service® for more than 35 years, but for an even longer period of time, I have been a professional magician. I have performed at children’s birthday parties, weddings, corporate functions and even a few events for the White House. So when I learned that USPS® was issuing the Art of Magic Forever stamp series, I was sincerely moved.
Magic is an art form that often has to fight for acceptance as a top-tier art. To date, even with the support of Master Illusionist David Copperfield, magic has not yet been officially recognized as a “rare and valuable art form.” This prevents the thousands of young performers, inventors, production artists and others in the field of magic from applying for and securing arts funding to support their passion. So when the Postal Service issued stamps saluting the Art of Magic, it was a big deal — to myself and thousands of other magic practitioners. I made the commitment to be present when the Art of Magic Forever stamps made their debut.
Art of Magic Stamps Appear
On August 7, the Postal Service — with assistance from special guest Copperfield — released the Art of Magic Forever stamps at a very special event in Las Vegas. The stamps feature digital illustrations of five classic tricks magicians use to amaze and delight audiences. Appropriately, the event was scheduled in conjunction with one of the world’s largest magic conventions, so more than 1,500 members of the magic industry were present, along with the public, to welcome the new stamps.
To say the stamps were well received would be a gross understatement. I had many magicians actually tear up when we discussed the stamps. There was a very real, deeply felt appreciation in the community for the recognition these stamps bring to magic as an art, and to those who work in the magic industry as well. In fact, at the closing event for the convention, the large Art of Magic stamp images used in the dedication were placed along the walls of the auditorium. It was amazing to watch as convention attendees lined up and waited for an opportunity to have a selfie or a photo taken in front of the beautiful stamp images created by Art Director Greg Breeding and Illustrator/Typographer Jay Fletcher.
Stamp Creates a Magic Memory
As for me, I was looking for a memento of the event. I was very fortunate that the Postal Service decided to issue poster versions of the Art of Magic Forever stamps. Poster art is a cherished part of magic history — echoing back to the golden age of Houdini, Thurston, and Alexander. So with my poster and marker in hand, I asked 40 of the top performers in magic today to sign my rabbit-in-hat production stamp poster. Graciously, they all agreed. That poster is now my most treasured magical possession.
And it all happened because of a stamp. Who knew it could be so magical?
Stamps Available Nationwide
The Art of Magic souvenir sheet features three identical stamps that show a white rabbit in a black hat. By rotating each stamp, you can see the rabbit “pop” out of the hat (the stamps employ a lenticular printing technique used for the first time on a U.S. postage stamp). Another version of the stamp, without the magical effect, also appears on the pane of 20 stamps.
In addition to the rabbit in a top hat (production), the stamp pane includes stamps illustrating a fortune teller using a crystal ball (prediction), a woman floating in air (levitation), an empty bird cage (vanishing), and a bird emerging from a flower (transformation). Click on the links next to each type of trick for an example from USPS TV.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Article by USPS Contributor: Michael Hotovy