December 18, 2019 202 PM
FAR WEST TEXAS – The soaring cliffs of Santa Elena Canyon, divided by the Rio Grande River, will decorate the United States Postal Service’s priority mail stamp in the new year. Unveiled this month, the Big Bend stamp will be available to purchase on January 18, 2020 for $7.75 a piece, the price to send priority mail next year.
Marfa post office employee Julio Medina is excited about the local-themed stamp. He predicts the local office will sell out of the Big Bend postage quickly, even though it is an uncommonly priced stamp. According to the USPS, “Priority Mail is a fast domestic service that includes flat rate shipping in one, two or three business days based on where your package starts and where it’s being sent.”
USPS Acting Director of Stamp Services William Gicker says the Big Bend stamp will be available as long as the rate is valid, which is usually about one year. After that, it is phased out and replaced with a newly designed, and newly priced, stamp.
Describing the process that led to the Big Bend’s selection, Gicker says the Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee receives and reviews about 40,000 suggestions each year. It only takes one recommendation to have an idea considered. “Our national parks are certainly significant. We’re looking for scenic locations we think people should know exist out there and can go and visit safely,” Gicker explains. The committee makes their recommendations to the postmaster and a handful of ideas are chosen.
“The committee, appointed by the Postmaster General, consists of individuals having a strong background in history, science, technology, art, education, sports and other subjects of public interest,” says USPS Public Relations Representative Jim McKean.
The USPS stated in a release announcing the stamp, “With this Priority Mail stamp, the Postal Service celebrates the beauty of the Big Bend region in West Texas, where river, mountain and desert ecosystems coexist in its vast expanses. The stamp art depicts the Rio Grande flowing between the sheer limestone cliffs of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park.”
The stamp was designed by art director Greg Breeding and Dan Cosgrove created the original art. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Citizens are welcome to submit their ideas to the CSAC on www.usps.com. Stamp ideas are usually submitted three years in advance of their final selection, because of the time to review, research and approve a stamp subject.