It started as a single stamp - and not even a "love" stamp at that - but over the years, the Love series issued by the U.S. Postal Service blossomed.
The "Sealed with Love" stamp has been issued as a Forever stamp, currently 46 cents. Forever stamps are equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.
Evoking the romance of a bygone era, the 2013 stamp expresses the joy and beauty of handwritten love letters.
The 2013 'Sealed with Love' stamp.
The stamp art depicts an envelope fastened with an elegant wax seal. The seal, in shades of red, is a small heart enclosed inside a larger heart, both surrounded by a graceful filigree circle.
The exquisite delicacy of the stamp art invites us to send our own love letters, a romantic gesture that never goes out of style.
The Victorians were ardent letter writers and believed that there was a proper way to compose letters, particularly love letters. Etiquette manuals aided Victorian romantics in penning appropriate letters to their beloveds.
While these books reflected the Victorian obsession with propriety, the senders still wished to make their feelings known, and there was a precise etiquette for using sealing wax. Although today red is the color most associated with passion, in the mid-1800s, blue was the color of love, with wax of various shades denoting the degree of emotion felt by the sender.
Customers have 90 days from the official first day of issuance date to obtain first day of sale postmarks on new stamps and stationery items.
Collectors may request a local first day of sale postmark by mail only. There is no charge for servicing of first day of sale postmarks up to 50 covers.
Mail-in customers must supply a self-addressed envelope with sufficient return postage applied to return the serviced covers.
To obtain the first day of sale postmark, mail stationery items bearing (kind) stamps to Customer Relations USPS, 79 Mid Cape Terrace, Suite 8, Cape Coral, FL 33991. Please specify which city you are requesting a postmark for - Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, or Sanibel.
All orders must be postmarked by April 15.
For information about purchasing stamps, stamps by mail, postal regulations, a free subscription to "USA Philatelic" magazine, post office events, the location of the nearest postal store or contract unit, or for answers to your specific postal service questions, contact USPS at (800) 275-8777, or visit: www.usps.com.
For detailed information on selection criteria for stamps, visit: www.stamps.com/communications/organization/csac.htm.
To schedule a presentation for your community, club or group on how the postal service brings the post office to your home or office computer, call (239) 573-9638.
Debra Mitchell is a spokeswoman for U.S. Postal Service.