Notice something odd with those new Statue of Liberty stamps you bought? Your eyes aren’t fooling you.
The U.S. Postal Service admits that the image of Lady Liberty appearing on an envelope near you is not a likeness of the statue in New York Harbor, but instead depicts a replica at the New York-New York casino and hotel in Las Vegas.
The New York Times reported the goof in Friday’s editions, aptly noting that the stamp provides further proof that “New York is not the center of the universe.”
An observant stamp collector spotted the problem about a month ago, according to Roy Betts, a postal spokesman.
Still, Betts said the stamp will remain in circulation because USPS produced 1.5 billion copies as part of coils of stamps that also contain images of the American flag.
“We got the image from Getty, who just listed it as Lady Liberty,” Betts said. “They didn't indicate replica. Now, since it’s been discovered that it is a replica, if you were to go to Getty’s Web site, they list it as a replica.”
The Postal Service has produced at least 5,000 stamp designs since they started printing them in 1847. It costs about $40,000 to produce most commemorative stamps, covering development, design, production, distribution and related labor costs.
“It takes a fair amount to get a subject from the point of just the idea, the concept, to a digital image that gets released,” Betts said.
Though the Postal Service does not pay license fees for the images of a character or famous person, it does pay $5,000 to artists who design and paint a stamp’s image.
Stamps generate from $250 million to $300 million in annual sales, according to Betts. They also generate free media and keep millions of hard-core stamp collectors happy.
Plus, having your TV show or cause — or the face of deceased national treasure — placed on a postage stamp is still considered a unique national honor. Even if it’s a replica of the original.
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