2011 44¢ Celebrate!
Issue Date: March 25, 2011
City: Cleveland, OH
Printed By: American Packaging Corp.
Printing Method: Photogravure
Around the world, celebrations are a time for family and friends to come together to honor many happy occasions. From birthdays and anniversaries to new jobs and well-deserved retirements, celebrations are a time of joy and togetherness.
The second “Celebrate!” stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service was inspired by art director Phil Jordan’s visit to the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles. Drawn to the exciting imagery and vivid colors, Jordan recognized that “The mechanics would be a monumental challenge.” He knew, however, the end result would be worth it.
Jordan selected fine-artist Michael Flechtner to design America’s first neon stamp. Flechtner found his inspiration for the stamp in a fireworks display, noting that “...fireworks, with all their color, light, and motion, was the embodiment of a celebration.”
Flechtner created a 34” by 44” design and then heated glass tubing to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit so it could be bent into letters and fireworks. To create the red-orange color, he filled some tubes with neon gas. The blue color was created by argon and mercury, while the other colors were made with phosphor coatings inside the tubes. The result is one of the most vibrant U.S. stamps ever issued, capturing the fun of a celebration and fireworks display with glowing neon.