U.S. # 4756
2013 46¢ Digitalis
Vintage Seed Packets
The Latin name for foxgloves is digitalis, meaning finger, because its blossoms fit perfectly over the digits on human hands. Another legend explains the origin of “foxgloves,” suggesting woodland elves gave the plant to foxes to wear as gloves while stealing chicken from coops. Farmers could then tell which fox was guilty by looking at their blossom-covered paws. Digitalis is grown today as a large, showy plant that towers over shade gardens, adding a dash of color and drama. The plant’s stalks are covered with thimble-shaped blossoms that help the plant self-seed. Foxglove is poisonous to humans as it is also the source of the heart drugs digoxin and digitoxin.
Vintage seed packets have grown in popularity over the years. Some people collect them – searching for packets in mint condition, from specific companies or with certain types of illustrations. Their fine artwork is also popular among decorators who frame them for a rustic look. They’re even used by scientists and historians to study these plants’ evolution.
U.S. Postal Service art director Antonio Alcala designed the Vintage Seed Packet stamps. He based these designs on photographs from 1910s and 1920s seed packets. The image for the digitalis stamp was based on a seed packed produced for the William D. Burt Seed Co. of New York.
Value: 46¢ First-Class letter rate
Issued: April 5, 2013
First Day City: Oaks, PA – Philadelphia Stamp Exhibition
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in double-sided panes of 20 (convertible booklet format)
Perforation: Die Cut 10 ¾
Quantity Printed: 40,000,000 stamps
Though not an established series, flowers have long been a popular subject for U.S. stamps. One of the earliest issues to feature a flower as a prominent design subject was U.S. #977, honoring Moina Michael, the founder of Poppy Day.