20¢ Rhode Island
State Birds and Flowers
Issue Date: April 14, 1982
City: Washington, DC and state capitals
Quantity: 13,339,000 panes
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.5 x 11.25
U.S. #1991 features a watercolor picturing a Rhode Island Red and a violet, Rhode Island’s state bird and flower.
The story of these stamps begins in 1978, when Fleetwood hired father-son wildlife artists Arthur and Alan Singer to create 50 original paintings of state birds and flowers for a set of Fleetwood. When U.S. Postal Service officials saw the high-quality paintings, they immediately decided to issue a 50-stamp se-tenant showcasing the father-son team’s watercolor paintings.
The father-son team labored for over a year on this beautiful philatelic masterpiece. Arthur created the birds, while son Alan painted the flowers. Each stamp is unique – making it the first series of its size to feature original artwork for each different stamp. North Carolina and Virginia share both their state flower (Flowering dogwood) and their state bird (Cardinal, yet each state is represented by an original watercolor painting.
At the time of their issue, these stamps were the most popular in U.S. Postal history.