2014 46¢ Cut Paper Heart
The 2014 stamps features cut paper hearts. The ancient Chinese conceived the art of cutting paper in lace-like patterns. The practice spread across Asia and Europe, and was eventually brought to the United States by German immigrants settling in Pennsylvania.
Paper cutting, also known as scherenschnitte, was closely related to milestones in the Pennsylvania Dutch community, including birth, marriage, and death. Perhaps it was seen most often in courtship, as witnessed in romantic Valentines from the era.
Patterns today range from basic to highly complex. Medium-weight paper is usually chosen. Small bits of the paper are cut out using tiny scissors and razor-sharp knives, forming the design on the remaining paper. This may take minutes or hundreds of hours, depending on the intricacy of the pattern.
Expert cut-paper artwork can command premium prices. A 19th-century cutout picture recently sold for $27,500. But the best payment for these labors of love just may be a smile from that special sweetheart.
Artist Q. Cassetti drew the illustration for the stamp by hand, scanned it, and finished the details on the computer. She is quite familiar with the artwork on valentines, having written her graduate school thesis on the topic. When she was asked to design a love stamp, she submitted 30 designs and the Cut Paper Heart was chosen.
Value: 46¢ First-class rate
Issued: January 21, 2014
City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed By: CCL Label Inc.
Printing Method: Photogravure in sheets of 120 with 6 panes of 20
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10 ¾
Quantity Printed: 50,000,000 stamps
The first Love stamp, issued in 1973, began a tradition the U.S. Postal Service has continued for over four decades.