August 11th, 2014

A real scandal in the philately world

Tags: got information about a real scandal in the world of philately. This scandal concerns the fact that US postal service lately prefers to depict pop culture icons on the stamps instead of commemorating honorable and honored figures. This accusation was put forward by a former postmaster general and prominent stamp collector. He is charging the U.S. Postal Service of "prostituting" its stamp program, sacrificing cultural icons for pop culture in a wrongheaded search for "illusory profits."

Benjamin F. Bailar made these comments to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a recent letter of resignation from the secretive committee of eminent Americans that decides the faces and images that should go on postage stamps.

Bailar's resignation has re-exposed a rift within the stamp community over whether the cash-poor Postal Service should pursue commercial subjects to chase new collectors and revenue at the expense of traditional cultural images.

The friction came to a head last fall, when the Citizens' Advisory Stamp Committee, disaffected over how the agency's marketing staff was pushing pop culture over more enduring images, complained to Donahoe that they were being brushed aside in decisions on stamp images.

The committee, which includes historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a top Smithsonian official, a former Olympian and other prominent Americans who are flown to Washington for quarterly meetings, has chosen stamp subjects for more than half a century.

Members wrote Donahoe a letter of protest. And some of them spoke out against a series of stamps honoring Harry Potter that were released last November. The committee had not been consulted on the choice of the British boy wizard.

"The stamp program should celebrate the things that are great about the United States and serve as a medium to communicate those things to a world-wide audience," Bailar wrote in his letter to Donahoe on July 23, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.

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