U.S. # 4814
2013 $1.10 Evergreen Wreath
During the holidays, wreaths spread cheer from doors to lampposts. But before festive wreaths became a Christmas tradition, ancient cultures crafted them for other purposes.
Ancient Persian, Greek, and Roman cultures made wreaths of laurel to symbolize success and importance. While the Greeks and Persians wore wreaths on their heads as a status symbol, the Romans hung wreaths on their doors to celebrate victories.
Pre-Christian Pagans used wreaths in celebration of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. A time of death and rebirth, wreaths were made with evergreen because they could survive the harsh winter cold.
Wreaths in Christian celebrations are steeped in symbolism. Their circular shapes represent eternity and the unending circle of life. Evergreens symbolize growth and everlasting life, while holly, from branches of thorns, stands for Jesus’ crown.
Advent wreaths first appeared in 1839 when Johann Hinrich Wichern created a wreath to teach children about the meaning of Christmas and help them count the days. Today, Advent wreaths similarly count the weeks until Christmas with the lighting of four candles.
Whether as symbols of victory, changing seasons, or religious celebrations, wreaths bring joy and good cheer, especially during the holiday season.
U.S. #4814 features wreath created by Alan Talley made of evergreen twigs, pinecones, Nandina berries, and a red ribbon bow. The photograph for the stamp was taken by George E. Brown.
Value: $1.10 1-ounce letter rate to other countries and 2-ounce rate to Canada
Issued: October 24, 2013
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Method: Offset printing in sheets of 120 in 12 panes of 10
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut
Quantity Printed: 50,000,000 stamps
The Christmas Wreath was the second round Global Forever stamp issued in 2013. The other was #4740. Wreaths have been featured on several other U.S. stamps, including the first Christmas issue, #1205. There were also two sets of wreath stamps in 1998 – #3245-48 and #3249-52.
Global Forever Series
On January 28, 2013, the USPS issued the first stamp in its Global Forever Series. These stamps are used on international mail.
Up until the mid-to-late 1800s, mail sent to other countries was regulated by a number of different agreements that were binding only to signing members. Then in 1874, representatives from 22 nations met in Bern, Switzerland to discuss a better system, and to found the General Postal Union (later called the Universal Postal Union).
The Universal Postal Union revolutionized how mail was sent between countries. They decided that there should be a uniform rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world, that domestic and international mail should be treated equally, and that each country should keep all money collected for international postage. It also made sending international mail easier in another important way. Previously, people had to attach a stamp from each country their mail would pass through. This no longer was necessary. Participating countries also standardized postal rates and units of weight.
Another major development in the delivery of international mail came in 1920, with the establishment of international airmail. In the early years, airmail was flown between the US and Canada and Cuba. By late 1930, the US was delivering airmail to nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere. Service continued to expand to Europe and other parts of the world in the coming years.
In May 1977, airmail as a separate class of domestic mail ended when the USPS announced that First Class postage would provide the same or better service. And 30 years later, international airmail ended on May 14, 2007, though airmail stamps continued to be issued into 2012.
In October 2012, the USPS filed to change international mailing prices. Additionally, following the popularity of the domestic Forever stamps, first issued in 2007, they decided to start issuing Global Forever stamps. These new stamps would simplify international mail, by offering a single stamp for all international destinations.
Issued on January 28, 2013, the first Global Forever stamp had a face value of $1.10. The international rate stamp could be used on one-ounce letters sent overseas and two-ounce letters to Canada. Fittingly, this first stamp pictured a three-dimensional image of the Earth. The image was created by using satellite data and centers over the blue of the Atlantic Ocean, South America, and West Africa. To differentiate the classes of Forever stamps, the Global Series is a round stamp and has the word “GLOBAL” printed right on it. At least one Global Forever stamp has been issued every year since, except for 2015.