U.S. # 5005
2015 49¢ Sweet Corn
Produce growers in the late 19th and early 20th century used artistic crate labels to advertise their various products – from West Coast citrus and Southern strawberries to Midwestern sweet corn. Millions of different labels were printed over the years, but relatively few originals remain today.
Although producers had their labels printed in bulk, they wasted as little as possible. If a change to a label was needed, existing stock was overprinted or altered whenever possible. The labels were firmly glued to wooden produce crates, making them virtually impossible to remove intact.
Surprisingly, the samples that have survived are usually in very good condition. Most originals recovered have been found in old packing warehouses or lithographic print office files, where they sat undisturbed for years. And because the labels needed to stand up to heavy ink saturation and tough travel conditions, durable, high-quality paper was used, allowing them to stand the test of time. An original today might look as bright and crisp as it did 100 years ago.
Over the years, collectors have gathered the remaining labels, bringing them back into the limelight. As modern interest grows, more and more vintage crate labels are being saved as collectibles – preserving these historic pieces of art for future generations to enjoy.
The art for this stamp was inspired by vintage shipping crate labels, seed packets, and catalogs inspired. It was designed and drawn by Michael Doret along with the rest of the stamps in the set.
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: July 11, 2015 at the California State Fair, Cal Expo
First Day City: Sacramento, CA
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Method: Offset printing in booklets of 20
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 10 ¾ x 10 ¼
Quantity Printed: 100,000,000 stamps
The 2015 Summer Harvest stamps weren’t the first U.S. issues to take inspiration from plant marketing art. In 2013, the U.S.P.S. issued a set of 10 Vintage Seed Packet stamps (U.S. #4754-63) picturing a variety of colorful flowers.