The U.S. Postal Service has recalled 70 million commemorative stamps because of incorrect Spanish accent marks in the text on the back of the sheets on which the stamps are mounted.
Reprinting the 37-cent stamps, which celebrate Latin dances, will cost $172,000, according to Mark Saunders, a Postal Service spokesman.
"They are fascinating stamps, and we want to make it right for our customers," he added. "We've printed billions and billions of stamps without an error, and for this error to occur is very unusual. . . . We're very particular about our stamps, and we want to do them right."
Also recalled were 974,000 picture postcards that bear the offending text on one side and images of the four dances -- salsa, mambo, cha-cha and merengue -- on the other.
No stamps or postcards had been sold to the public.
The mistake will not delay plans to issue the stamps and postcards nationwide on Sept. 17, Saunders said.
In 1994, the Postal Service had to destroy millions of cowboy stamps after it discovered it had printed the wrong image of Wild West rodeo rider Bill Pickett on its "Legends of the West" stamps.
A handful of the misprints had been sold before the error was detected, creating a furor that prompted postal officials to stage a lottery to offer collectors a chance to buy 150,000 sheets containing the wrong Pickett stamp.
-- Christopher Lee