29¢ Black-necked Crane
Issue Date: October 9, 1994
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Perforations: 10.8 x 11
In 1994, for the first time ever, the United States and China released a joint issue. Symbolizing the two countries’ cooperative efforts in wildlife conservation, the stamps feature two of the world’s rarest birds – the North American whooping crane and the Chinese black-necked crane.
Cranes are wetland birds with long legs and necks. Fifteen species live in nearly every part of the world – only South America and Antarctica do not have any cranes. China has eight different species, six of which are endangered. The black-necked crane is one of the most endangered species, with only about 5,500 surviving. One of the rarest birds in North America, the whooping crane’s habitat is protected by conservation efforts and today more than 250 of these graceful birds exist in the wild.
For the stamp designs, both countries agreed to adopt the art of Zhan Gengxi from China, and the layout and typography of U.S. designer Clarence Lee. One of China’s foremost nature artists, Zhan’s work hangs in the Great Hall of the People and in the Zhong Nan Ihai, the equivalent of the White House. Lee’s previous postage stamp designs include the Year of the Rooster and the Year of the Dog New Year stamps.