U.S. # 4821
2013 46¢ Poinsettia
In 1828, an American diplomat in Mexico sent an exotic flowering plant home and began a modern holiday tradition.
Joel Roberts Poinsett (1799-1851) was the privileged son of a wealthy family. Although he had graduated from medical school, Poinsett’s true love was botany and traveling to exotic locations. Poinsett toured Europe extensively, as well as the most remote regions of Russia. Upon his return to the U.S., Poinsett was appointed to serve as the nation’s first ambassador to Mexico.
Poinsett soon discovered a tree-like plant with brilliant red flowers the Aztecs called Cuetlaxochitl. He sent some plants to his home in South Carolina, where they were propagated and given to friends and local botanical gardens. Before long, the plant became widely known by a new name – “poinsettia.”
Because the plant blooms naturally for only a few weeks coinciding with the holiday season, poinsettias are closely associated with Christmas. They have become the best-selling potted plant in the United States, contributing over $250 million to the economy.
As widely reported each year, it is unhealthy for pets to chew poinsettias, but they are not truly poisonous for humans. An average adult would have to consume over 500 leaves to become seriously ill.
The 2013 Poinsettia stamp features a digital painting created by artist William Low. Poinsettias have appeared on other U.S. stamps in the past, including #1256 and #2166. The 2013 stamp was issued in two formats: as a double-sided booklet of 20 and an ATM booklet of 18.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: October 10, 2013 at the American Stamp Dealers Association Stamp Show
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 540 in 30 ATM booklets of 18
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 252,000,000 stamps
The first U.S. Christmas stamp was issued in 1962. Since then, there have been both religious and contemporary Christmas stamps issued each year. Click here to learn more about the Traditional Christmas series and here for the Contemporary Christmas series.