In September, the United States Postal Service (USPS) waived a rule that required stamp honorees to be at least five years deceased, the result: The likes of Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Billy Graham, Steve Jobs, Lady Gaga and others may soon adorn your postage stamps.
The decision was made in an effort to boost interest and sagging sales, postal officials asked customers to use social media or mail, to nominate an American or American-related subjects that “made enduring contributions to the United States of America.”
A panel made up of former postal officials, artists, designers and congressional staffers, reviews more than 40,000 suggestions and selects about 50 suggestions for new stamps for consideration each year. The Postal Service then spends about $40,000 to develop and produce each new stamp. Though it does not pay license fees for the images of a character or famous person, it does pay about $5,000 to artists and designers to produce the final image.
USPS has received at least 1,500 submissions by mail and more than 1,000 through social media that fit its new, less restrictive criteria.
Stamps generate between $250 million and $300 million in annual sales, a fraction of total postal revenues, according to The Washington Post.