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Federal Eye
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 04/11/2012

Cherry blossom centennial stamp defies expectations

The U.S. Postal Service has a money tree and it sprouts a cherry blossom.

USPS’s commemorative cherry blossom series is selling nearly 1 million stamps a day, far above last year’s popular Pixar issue. It has been so popular that post offices frequently sell out. Some have to place emergency orders to get overnight delivery to restock.


The 2012 cherry blossom centennial stamp. (Courtesy of USPS)

Unveiled on March 24 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Tokyo’s donation of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, USPS initially ordered 100 million stamps printed. It has ordered a reprint of 50 million, with the possibility of 50 million more, said Stephen Kearney, executive director of stamp services.

In Rehoboth Beach, Del., the stamp sold out on its first day, Kearney said. One woman at another location reportedly bought 700 sheets.

“It was the right stamp at the right time,” Kearney said. “It was good for spring, good for people visiting Washington.”

This is the third reprint for a commemorative stamp in recent memory, said Mark Saunders, a USPS spokesman. In 1997, the post office reprinted its Bugs Bunny series and then its Adopt a Shelter animal series in 2010.

The two stamps in the cherry blossom set show two scenes around the tidal basin. One stamp shows the District in 1912, with an American family, man topped in a derby, and two young Japanese girls in kimonos, strolling under arching pink blossoms with the Washington Monument behind them. The other stamp shows two couples in Washington in 2012, one walking and the other taking a photo of each other with a smartphone.

The two stamps come together to show a complete tidal basin, interrupted only by time.

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