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Monkey (Stamp) Greets 2004 Lunar New Year

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A first day of issue ceremony for the Lunar New Year - Year of the Monkey stamp took place today at the Nob Hill Masonic Center. The Year of the Monkey stamp is the last of twelve stamps commemorating the Lunar New Year in the award-winning series issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

"The Lunar New Year stamp series began in December of 1992, with the Year of the Rooster," said Donna Peak, the Postal Service's vice president, Finance, and Controller, who dedicated the stamp. "Now, over a decade - and eleven stamps - later, we are dedicating the final stamp of one of the most beautifully designed, colorful and festive series ever issued by the Postal Service."

The 2004 Year of the Monkey stamp is available at San Francisco Post Offices today, and will be available at Post Offices nationwide starting tomorrow.

Following the issuance of the Year of the Rooster stamp, the Year of the Dog, Boar, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, and now Monkey, were issued in successive years to complete the series. Each stamp was created by designer Clarence Lee, who used an intricate paper-cut design of each animal on a variety of vivid backgrounds. Lau Bun added the words "Year of the

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