StampNews.com portal launches a series of interviews with the heads of post offices from different countries of the world. We begin with the interview with US Postmaster General, Patrick R. Donahoe.
Patrick R. Donahoe is the Chief Executive Officer of the world’s largest postal organization and a lifelong postal employee. He was appointed Postmaster General by the US Postal Service Board of Governors in October, 2010. Mr Donahoe is the 73rd Postmaster General of the United States. As well as an experienced stamp collector! In the exclusive interview with StampNews Patrick R. Donahoe confessed he's collected stamps since the age of 12. He also spoke about his idea on the future of philately in the Internet era, about the most popular American stamps, about his personal stamp preferences and the latest USPS news.
StampNews: In your opinion, what is the future of philately in the Internet era?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: The internet adds value to stamp collecting and makes it easy to learn about the hobby and buy and sell stamps. There are all sorts of discussion groups online where you can meet other stamp collectors from around the globe to get tips for enhancing your collection. And every major stamp collecting organization has a website and nearly all sell stamp related products—which are fulfilled through the mail.
StampNews: Does the young generation of Americans collect stamps?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: Yes, we believe they do and they will continue to as long as our stamps are designed with subjects that are relevant to younger audiences. One recent popular example is our Disney Mail a Star Stamp.
StampNews: Is there a difference between USA and Europe in the attitude towards philately?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: There's not much difference other than I would say European collectors are a bit more traditional. They still like water activated gummed stamps as well as engraved stamps and they tend not to be as receptive to change as US collectors. US/Canada collectors would like to see those things in the program, but they've become more accepting of change.
StampNews: Do you personally collect stamps?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: Yes. I have collected stamps since I was 12 years old!
StampNews: Sometimes Post Offices issue stamps with errors (misprints, wrong illustrations). Such stamps are especially valuable among collectors and have a high cost. Were there a lot of such stamps in the history of USPS? Have such stamps been issued lately?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: They are few and far between. The most popular misprint would be the 24-cent 1918 inverted Jenny stamp. It was produced in a hurry to coincide with the first airmail flight. The printing process required that individual press sheets run through the color printing process twice—first for items in red and again for the blue airplane. During the second run for the blue airplane, some sheets were inserted upside down—hence the inverted Jenny.
On Sept. 22 at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, the inverted Jenny takes flight again as a $2 stamp as part of a celebration to open the William H. Gross Stamp gallery as the world’s largest stamp galleries.
In 1993, the Postal Service issued the “Legends of the West” stamps sheet honoring 20 western heroes. Before the stamps were actually issued, but in Post Offices, it was discovered that the stamp honoring cowboy Bill Pickett mistakenly depicted his brother. The Postal Service recalled the stamps but learned that 183 sheets were sold prior to the official first-day-of-sale, making them extreme rarities. The Pickett family reluctantly agreed with the Postal Service’s proposal in 1994 to sell 150,000 of the misprinted stamps to the public, which was conducted through a write in raffle.
StampNews: Lately USPS begun issuing Forever stamps. Was it justified and what changes did it bring?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: Yes it was and they’ve become quite popular. Forever stamps were introduced as a customer convenience to avoid the need to add one-or two cent stamps following a price change. The first Forever Stamp, featuring an image of the Liberty Bell, went on sale in April 2007. In 2011, all First-Class one ounce stamps became forever stamps with the exception of stamps in coils of 500, 3,000 and 10,000. Forever stamps are good for mailing one-ounce first-class letters anytime into the future, regardless of price changes.
StampNews: What is the USPS issuing programme for the year 2013?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: There are 68 Commemorative and 40 Mail Use stamps. All 108 are listed below.
StampNews: What interesting stamps will it contain, would it have extraordinary stamps (unusual design, unconventional materials, scented stamps, application of new technologies)?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: The Global Forever First-Class Mail International stamp is the first round stamp we’ve issued. Priced at $1.10 each and offered in a pane of 20, the Global stamp offers a single price for any First-Class Mail International 1-ounce letter to any country in the world. The Global stamp also may be used to mail a 2-ounce letter to Canada.
The stamp showcases the beauty of planet Earth with an artistic rendering — a composite of images created from satellite and 3D computer technology data. In this image, the Atlantic Ocean is flanked by North and South America, Africa and parts of Europe.
StampNews: Will there be more or less stamps issued than last year?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe:In 2012 there were 28 Collectible issues (70 designs) and 31 Mail Use issues (70 designs) for a total of 59 issues and 140 designs. In 2013 there are 18 announced Collectible issues (68 designs) and 25 Mail Use issues (46 designs) for a total of 43 issues and 114 designs.
StampNews: What are your favourite stamps issued by USPS (during its full history)?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: That’s a tough question similar to asking a parent to name their favorite child. I like them all, but am enamored by stamps depicting cars. This year we issued the America on the Move: Muscle Cars Forever stamps. They depict a 1966 Pontiac GTO, 1967 Shelby GT-500, 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda and a 1970 Chevelle SS. Just like the cars, stamp sales are fast.
StampNews: What USPS stamp is the most popular among philatelists?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: The 24-cent 1918 inverted Jenny Stamp.
StampNews: What innovations (in stamps) are anticipated in USPS in the nearest time?
Mr. Patrick Donahoe: Our innovation this year has really been focused on the marketing around our stamps. We feel that our stamps truly represent "The Best of America" and our program brings it to life. Some shining examples: The Civil Rights set, The Music Icon Series and the Muscle Cars.
StampNews: Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Donahoe!
USPS Stamp Programme 2013
Commemorative 18 issues, 68 designs
Black Heritage: Althea Gibson (1)
Emancipation Proclamation (1)
Rosa Parks (1)
March on Washington (1)
Music Icons: Johnny Cash (1)
Music Icons: Lydia Mendoza (1)
Music Icons: Ray Charles (1)
Lunar New Year: Year of the Snake (1)
Stamp Collecting (Inverted Jenny) (1)
West Virginia Statehood (1)
War of 1812: Battle of Lake Erie (1)
The Civil War: 1863 Vicksburg / Gettysburg (2)
Made in America (12)
Modern Art in America (12)
Muscle Cars (5)
La Florida (4)
New England Coastal Lighthouses (5)
The remaining will be announced at a later date
Mail Use 25 issues, 46 designs
Sealed with Love (1)
Where Dreams Blossom (1)
Yes, I Do (1)
Holiday Traditional: Gossert's Madonna and Child (1)
Holiday Contemporary: Poinsettia (1)
Global Forever Rate: Earth (1)
International Holiday: Classic Wreath (1)
A Flag for All Seasons (4)
Vintage Seed Packets (10)
Kaleidoscope Flowers (4)
Patriotic Star (1)
Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly (1)
Tufted Puffins (1)
Grand Central Terminal (1)
Arlington Green Bridge (1)
Deer Stamped Card (1)
Bank Swallow Envelope (1)
Folk Art Eagle (1)
Gingerbread Houses (4)
Wedding Cake (1)