U.S. # 4814
2013 $1.10 Evergreen Wreath
During the holidays, wreaths spread cheer from doors to lampposts. But before festive wreaths became a Christmas tradition, ancient cultures crafted them for other purposes.
Ancient Persian, Greek, and Roman cultures made wreaths of laurel to symbolize success and importance. While the Greeks and Persians wore wreaths on their heads as a status symbol, the Romans hung wreaths on their doors to celebrate victories.
Pre-Christian Pagans used wreaths in celebration of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. A time of death and rebirth, wreaths were made with evergreen because they could survive the harsh winter cold.
Wreaths in Christian celebrations are steeped in symbolism. Their circular shapes represent eternity and the unending circle of life. Evergreens symbolize growth and everlasting life, while holly, from branches of thorns, stands for Jesus’ crown.
Advent wreaths first appeared in 1839 when Johann Hinrich Wichern created a wreath to teach children about the meaning of Christmas and help them count the days. Today, Advent wreaths similarly count the weeks until Christmas with the lighting of four candles.
Whether as symbols of victory, changing seasons, or religious celebrations, wreaths bring joy and good cheer, especially during the holiday season.
U.S. #4814 features wreath created by Alan Talley made of evergreen twigs, pinecones, Nandina berries, and a red ribbon bow. The photograph for the stamp was taken by George E. Brown.
Value: $1.10 1-ounce letter rate to other countries and 2-ounce rate to Canada
Issued: October 24, 2013
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Method: Offset printing in sheets of 120 in 12 panes of 10
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut
Quantity Printed: 50,000,000 stamps
The Christmas Wreath was the second round Global Forever stamp issued in 2013. The other was #4740. Wreaths have been featured on several other U.S. stamps, including the first Christmas issue, #1205. There were also two sets of wreath stamps in 1998 – #3245-48 and #3249-52.