32¢ Midnight Angel
Issue Date: October 19, 1995
City: Christmas, Florida
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11.3 x 11.6 on 2, 3, or 4 sides
The image on this "Midnight Angel" stamp was taken from an antique greeting card, printed by an unknown company around 1910. However, the artist who created the illustration, Ellen H. Clapsaddle, is well known for the postcards she created for children. This stunning stamp was issued in the self-adhesive format, which had become increasingly popular with the public by 1995.
In spite of its beauty, the Midnight Angel stamp also generated considerable controversy. For 25 years, the Postal Service had issued a traditional, religious Christmas stamp as well as a contemporary holiday stamp. All but three had pictured a Madonna and Child or a nativity scene. The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee was concerned the traditional Christmas stamps were starting to look repetitive, and chose the Midnight Angel design to add variety to the series.
When the design was revealed, The Washington Post ran a front-page story saying the “Postal Service had removed Christ from Christmas.” The Postal Service also reportedly received a phone call from Bill Clinton’s White House, suggesting it might be advisable to issue a Madonna and Child stamp as well. As a result, the Postal Service quickly produced a Madonna and Child stamp based on a painting by Giotto (U.S. #3003).
In spite of the controversy, the Midnight Angel stamp was preferred by a wide margin.