Postal Service Issues 'Year of the Dragon' Stamp
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2000 A U.S. postage stamp was issued in San Francisco Jan. 6, 2000, honoring the Year of the Dragon in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which begins Feb. 5.
This lunar year is special to the Chinese because it's the millennium or "Qian Xi" - the "Year of a Thousand Happinesses."
"The postal service takes great pride in issuing the new Lunar New Year stamp," said Clarence E. Lewis Jr., who dedicated the stamp in San Francisco at the Fairmont Hotel. "What better time to issue a commemorative stamp that represents a time of celebration, renewal and hope for the future than the beginning of the year 2000?"
Joining Lewis, chief operating officer and executive vice president for postal service, in the unveiling of the stamp was George Ong, national president, Organization of Chinese Americans, and past president Claudine Cheng, along with Geomen Liu, president, Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Clarence Lee, an American of Chinese descent, designed the black, cyan, yellow and red horizontal 33-cents dragon stamp. He combined calligraphy with a paper-cut design of a dragon and the words "Happy New Year" on the right side of the stamp. Lee snipped the design from a sheet of paper and then pasted it on a background. The dragon, representing "The Year of the Dragon," winds around the stamp with the head pointed downward.
Lee, a Honolulu native, was commissioned to design the remaining four of the twelve-stamp series. The series runs through 2004.
People born in the Year of the Dragon (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976 or 1988, for example) are said to be full of life and enthusiasm and are very popular people with a reputation for being "fun-loving." They also have a strong and energetic character, are self-confident and curious and work toward perfection. Those born under the dragon can become good artist, priest or politician.
The Lunar New Year is celebrated by people of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese heritage, among other groups.
Stamp collectors worldwide can obtain first-day-of- issue postmarks by mail provided their requests are postmarked by Feb. 5, 2000. Customers should affix the new stamps on envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them into a larger envelope addressed to:
Lunar New Year - Dragon Commemorative Stamp
P.C. Box 880066
San Francisco, CA 94188-9991
After applying the first day of issue postmark, the postal service will deliver the envelopes to the addressees.
The Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first day covers for new stamp issues and postal stationery items postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
P.O. Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
or by calling 1-800-STAMP-24.
First day covers remain on sale for at least one year after the stamp's issuance.
For more information on stamps or to see an image of the Lunar New Year dragon stamp, visit the Postal Service web site at: http://www.usps.gov and click on "Stamps Online."