Issue Date: May 12, 1995
City: Lakeland, Pennsylvania
Printing Method: Lithographed and Engraved
The non-denominated Love stamp was printed before the 1995 rate change took effect. Postal authorities released the stamps in time for Valentine's Day without a denomination (U.S. #2948-49). This 55-cent denominated version was issued later in the year, at the same time as the 32¢ variety. The Love stamps were issued in sheets and booklets.
Terry McCaffey, manager of Stamp Development at the time, had been inspired by a postcard picturing two child angels from Raphael’s masterpiece, Sistine Madonna. McCaffey thought they would be perfect for Love stamps.
C. Douglas Lewis, a curator at the National Gallery of Art and vice chairman of the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee warned that child angels, also known as putti, were associated with death, not love. Some art historians believe Raphael’s painting had been intended for the funeral of Pope Julius II, and that the child angels are resting on top of his coffin.
The stamps were issued regardless, and media coverage helped stir the controversy. One mother reportedly called to complain that the she had used the Love stamps on her daughter’s wedding invitations and that the event had been jinxed by the “death angel stamps.”
In spite of the controversy, the 1995 Love stamps were so popular that they weren’t replaced until 1997.