2015 49¢ Soft Shield
The Soft Shield is one of five Ferns stamps issued in coils of 10,000 for business users. Though released in 2015, it has a 2014 date in the lower left corner. The same design had been released in 2014.
The soft shield fern, with its feathery, dark-green fronds, flourishes in cool, temperate climates. It is common in Ireland and southwestern Britain.
Pteridomania, or “fern fever,” gripped much of Great Britain during the Victorian era. The fad was not just among botanists, but reached the common household as well. Ferns, including the locally abundant soft shield fern, were available in nature and easy to grow at home, making them a feasible hobby for everyone.
Fern nurseries sprang up around the country and “hunting” ferns became a common leisure activity. Leafy designs invaded art and architecture, adorning everything from pottery to paper. A fernery, or fern garden, was even planted in the orchestra pit at the London Prince of Wales Theatre.
The design of each fern stamp comes from a close-up photograph of a different species. There are five species pictured – autumn, Goldie’s wood, soft shield, Fortune’s holly, and painted ferns. The images were from photographer Cindy Dyer.
49¢ Ferns, issued to satisfy the first-class mail rate
Issue Date: March 27, 2015
City: Kansas City, MO (no First Day of Issue Ceremony)
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Lithographed in sheets of 250
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11 vertical