1988 25c Happy Birthday

# 2395 - 1988 25c Happy Birthday

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U.S. #2395
1988 25¢ Happy Birthday
Special Occasions

  • From 2nd booklet of Special Occasions stamps
  • From 2nd US stamp booklet made by a private contractor
  • First major change to booklet formatting since they were introduced in 1900

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Special Occasions
Value: 
25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
October 22, 1988
First Day City: 
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Quantity Issued: 
120,000,000
Printed by: 
American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Booklet Panes of 6 Stamps
Perforations:  11 on 2 or 3 sides

Why the stamp was issued:  As an update to the popular 1987 Special Occasions booklet (US #2267-74), to meet the increased 25¢ first-class rate.  The new booklet made some changes based on customer comments and complaints on the 1987 booklet.

 

About the stamp design:  First-time stamp designer Harry Zelenko designed the Special Occasions stamps.  They’re in a style the USPS called “greeting-card simple,” with each image on a solid-colored background.

 

“Happy Birthday” depicts four burning candles against a purple background.

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for the Special Occasions stamps was held during the second day of the SEPAD ’88 exhibition at the Valley Forge Convention and Exhibit Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  It was part of the 48th annual meeting of the Associated Stamp Clubs of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. 

 

About the Special Occasions Stamps:  The 1987 Special Occasions booklet had come as the result of many calls for stamps for special days throughout the year.  The booklet pane of eight stamps with different messages turned out have its own issues.  For instance, if someone wanted to use the “Love You, Dad!” stamp, all the other stamps in the pane would be detached from the booklet along with it.

 

For this new booklet, the USPS decided to use just the four most requested messages – “Happy Birthday,” “Best Wishes,” “Thinking of You,” and “Love You.”  The booklets contained two se-tenant panes of six stamps, folded through a large center gutter, resulting in a booklet made up of four pages of three stamps each.  Arranged like a miniature book, “Thinking of You” and “Love You” formed a two-page pane and “Happy Birthday” and “Best Wishes” formed another.  With this format, people could remove one stamp without needing to remove any others. This was the first major change to booklet formatting since they were introduced in 1900.

 

Other stamps in the booklet include:

 

“Best Wishes” (US #2396) a colorful rainbow in front of a blue sky.

 

“Thinking of You” (US #2397) depicts a variety of flowers on a sunny orange background.

 

“Love You” (US #2398) pictures a bird looking out of an open mailbox on a green background.

 

History the stamp represents:  Greeting cards date back to the ancient Chinese, who sent messages celebrating the New Year and the early Egyptians who sent messages on papyrus scrolls.  Handmade greeting cards grew in popularity in Europe in the 1400s.  For many years, greeting cards were expensive, but advancements in printing technology and the advent of postage stamps made sending the cards more affordable by the 1850s.  Soon cards could be mass produced for occasions throughout the year.

 

Hallmark Cards, Inc., one of America’s largest greeting card manufacturers, was founded in 1910 by Joyce C. Hall.  Previously, Hall had owned a small retail store, but after a captivating conversation with a travelling salesman, he narrowed his focus on postcards.  Hall soon recognized that greeting cards would become more popular than postcards.  He believed greeting cards “represented class, promised discretion and… were more than a form of communication – they were a social custom.”

 

“Happy Birthday to You”

On March 4, 1924, the song and melody of “Happy Birthday to You” were printed in a songbook.  One of the world’s most famous songs, it has been the center of controversy over ownership and copyright status for years.

 

According to tradition, the tune we all know today as “Happy Birthday” was originally written in the late 1800s as “Good Morning to All.”  Sisters Patty and Mildred Hill claimed they wrote the song for kindergarteners in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

The sisters wanted to create a song that would be easy for the children to sing.  Reportedly, they may have taken some of the tune and lyrical ideas from other existing songs, such as “Happy Greetings to All” “Good Night to You All,” “A Happy New Year to All,” and “A Happy Greeting to All.”

 

The sisters’ song went “Good morning to you, Good morning to you, Good morning, dear children, Good morning to all.”  The sisters first published the tune in their songbook, Song Stories for Kindergarten in 1893.  It’s likely that the class may have added in “Happy Birthday” to the tune to celebrate the childrens’ birthdays, which may have led to later printings including “Happy Birthday.”

 

In the coming years, versions of the song appeared in various books, some which included the “Happy Birthday” lyrics in a later verse, though it’s unknown who actually wrote them.  Then on March 4, 1924, Claydon Sunny printed the melody and “Happy Birthday” lyrics together in a songbook.  This was reportedly at the request of Jessica Hill, sister of Patty and Mildred.

 

The “Happy Birthday” song quickly caught on and soon it was being used without royalties.  In 1931, it was in the Broadway musical The Band Wagon.  Western Union also used it in their first singing telegram, leading Jessica to campaign for the song to be copyrighted.  In 1934, she managed to secure a copyright for “Happy Birthday” because of its similarities to “Good Morning to All.”  The following year, several piano arrangements and an unused verse of “Happy Birthday to You” were copyrighted by the Summy Company, crediting Preston Ware Orem for the piano arrangements and Mrs. R.R. Forman for the lyrics.  However, his claim was later found to be baseless.

 

The Hill family had the copyright for the song if it was used for profit through 1991.  This was then extended to 2030.  In 1988, Warner Music assumed ownership of the copyright and received $2 million in royalties every year for it.  They claimed copyright for the song anytime it was used in film, television, radio, and anywhere in the public where the majority of the people singing weren’t family or friends.

 

Over the years, some argued the validity of the copyright, particularly the fact that it’s unknown who wrote the lyrics to “Happy Birthday.”  Beginning in 2010, a campaign was launched to disprove the Hills’s ownership of the melody.  In 2013, a filmmaker took Warner Music to court over the song.  Then in 2015, a judge ruled that the song wasn’t under copyright, and royalties wouldn’t need to be paid to Warner Music anymore.  This made the song part of the public domain.

 

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most popular song in the English language.

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U.S. #2395
1988 25¢ Happy Birthday
Special Occasions

  • From 2nd booklet of Special Occasions stamps
  • From 2nd US stamp booklet made by a private contractor
  • First major change to booklet formatting since they were introduced in 1900

Stamp Category:  Commemorative
Set: 
Special Occasions
Value: 
25¢, first-class rate
First Day of Issue: 
October 22, 1988
First Day City: 
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Quantity Issued: 
120,000,000
Printed by: 
American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: 
Photogravure
Format: 
Booklet Panes of 6 Stamps
Perforations:  11 on 2 or 3 sides

Why the stamp was issued:  As an update to the popular 1987 Special Occasions booklet (US #2267-74), to meet the increased 25¢ first-class rate.  The new booklet made some changes based on customer comments and complaints on the 1987 booklet.

 

About the stamp design:  First-time stamp designer Harry Zelenko designed the Special Occasions stamps.  They’re in a style the USPS called “greeting-card simple,” with each image on a solid-colored background.

 

“Happy Birthday” depicts four burning candles against a purple background.

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for the Special Occasions stamps was held during the second day of the SEPAD ’88 exhibition at the Valley Forge Convention and Exhibit Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  It was part of the 48th annual meeting of the Associated Stamp Clubs of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. 

 

About the Special Occasions Stamps:  The 1987 Special Occasions booklet had come as the result of many calls for stamps for special days throughout the year.  The booklet pane of eight stamps with different messages turned out have its own issues.  For instance, if someone wanted to use the “Love You, Dad!” stamp, all the other stamps in the pane would be detached from the booklet along with it.

 

For this new booklet, the USPS decided to use just the four most requested messages – “Happy Birthday,” “Best Wishes,” “Thinking of You,” and “Love You.”  The booklets contained two se-tenant panes of six stamps, folded through a large center gutter, resulting in a booklet made up of four pages of three stamps each.  Arranged like a miniature book, “Thinking of You” and “Love You” formed a two-page pane and “Happy Birthday” and “Best Wishes” formed another.  With this format, people could remove one stamp without needing to remove any others. This was the first major change to booklet formatting since they were introduced in 1900.

 

Other stamps in the booklet include:

 

“Best Wishes” (US #2396) a colorful rainbow in front of a blue sky.

 

“Thinking of You” (US #2397) depicts a variety of flowers on a sunny orange background.

 

“Love You” (US #2398) pictures a bird looking out of an open mailbox on a green background.

 

History the stamp represents:  Greeting cards date back to the ancient Chinese, who sent messages celebrating the New Year and the early Egyptians who sent messages on papyrus scrolls.  Handmade greeting cards grew in popularity in Europe in the 1400s.  For many years, greeting cards were expensive, but advancements in printing technology and the advent of postage stamps made sending the cards more affordable by the 1850s.  Soon cards could be mass produced for occasions throughout the year.

 

Hallmark Cards, Inc., one of America’s largest greeting card manufacturers, was founded in 1910 by Joyce C. Hall.  Previously, Hall had owned a small retail store, but after a captivating conversation with a travelling salesman, he narrowed his focus on postcards.  Hall soon recognized that greeting cards would become more popular than postcards.  He believed greeting cards “represented class, promised discretion and… were more than a form of communication – they were a social custom.”

 

“Happy Birthday to You”

On March 4, 1924, the song and melody of “Happy Birthday to You” were printed in a songbook.  One of the world’s most famous songs, it has been the center of controversy over ownership and copyright status for years.

 

According to tradition, the tune we all know today as “Happy Birthday” was originally written in the late 1800s as “Good Morning to All.”  Sisters Patty and Mildred Hill claimed they wrote the song for kindergarteners in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

The sisters wanted to create a song that would be easy for the children to sing.  Reportedly, they may have taken some of the tune and lyrical ideas from other existing songs, such as “Happy Greetings to All” “Good Night to You All,” “A Happy New Year to All,” and “A Happy Greeting to All.”

 

The sisters’ song went “Good morning to you, Good morning to you, Good morning, dear children, Good morning to all.”  The sisters first published the tune in their songbook, Song Stories for Kindergarten in 1893.  It’s likely that the class may have added in “Happy Birthday” to the tune to celebrate the childrens’ birthdays, which may have led to later printings including “Happy Birthday.”

 

In the coming years, versions of the song appeared in various books, some which included the “Happy Birthday” lyrics in a later verse, though it’s unknown who actually wrote them.  Then on March 4, 1924, Claydon Sunny printed the melody and “Happy Birthday” lyrics together in a songbook.  This was reportedly at the request of Jessica Hill, sister of Patty and Mildred.

 

The “Happy Birthday” song quickly caught on and soon it was being used without royalties.  In 1931, it was in the Broadway musical The Band Wagon.  Western Union also used it in their first singing telegram, leading Jessica to campaign for the song to be copyrighted.  In 1934, she managed to secure a copyright for “Happy Birthday” because of its similarities to “Good Morning to All.”  The following year, several piano arrangements and an unused verse of “Happy Birthday to You” were copyrighted by the Summy Company, crediting Preston Ware Orem for the piano arrangements and Mrs. R.R. Forman for the lyrics.  However, his claim was later found to be baseless.

 

The Hill family had the copyright for the song if it was used for profit through 1991.  This was then extended to 2030.  In 1988, Warner Music assumed ownership of the copyright and received $2 million in royalties every year for it.  They claimed copyright for the song anytime it was used in film, television, radio, and anywhere in the public where the majority of the people singing weren’t family or friends.

 

Over the years, some argued the validity of the copyright, particularly the fact that it’s unknown who wrote the lyrics to “Happy Birthday.”  Beginning in 2010, a campaign was launched to disprove the Hills’s ownership of the melody.  In 2013, a filmmaker took Warner Music to court over the song.  Then in 2015, a judge ruled that the song wasn’t under copyright, and royalties wouldn’t need to be paid to Warner Music anymore.  This made the song part of the public domain.

 

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most popular song in the English language.