1995 32¢ Love
Issue Date: February 1, 1995
City: Valentines, VA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
The non-denominated (32-cent) Love stamp was actually printed before the 1995 rate change took effect. Postal authorities knew that the change would occur before the stamp was actually issued, but did not know exactly what the rate would be. So, in order to release a Love stamp on Valentine's Day, this stamp was issued without a denomination. The 32-cent denominated version was issued later in the year, at the same time as the 55¢ variety.
Like hearts and flowers, cupids have become a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day. The Roman god of love, Cupid was originally pictured in mythology as a handsome, athletic young man with wings, who carried a bow and arrows. It was believed that the wounds inflicted by his arrows would inspire passionate love in his victims.
By the mid-300s B.C., Cupid was portrayed as a chubby winged infant – a description that still holds true today. Although he was sometimes described as being cold-hearted and callous, Cupid was more often thought of as being well-intentioned with his worst fault being his mischievous matchmaking.
Although this 1995 Love stamp was designed to show a cupid, the winged being is actually an angel taken from the 16th-century painting Sistine Madonna by Raphael. Commissioned by Pope Julius II, a patron of many well-known Renaissance artists, the painting was completed around 1513 – the height of Raphael’s career. Today the actual painting, which is nearly 9 feet x 61/2 feet, hangs in the Dresden Gallery in Dresden, Germany. In 1973 and 1983 details of two other Raphael paintings appeared on the Traditional Christmas stamps.