2018 50¢ Frozen Treats
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Letter Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: June 20, 2018
First Day City: Austin, Texas
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset, Flexographic
Format: Double-sided Booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 100,000,000
One of the most famous frozen treat brands in the United States is Popsicle. Responsible for the very first frozen treats on a stick, Popsicle has an interesting backstory…
The Popsicle was invented in 1905, near San Francisco by 11-year-old Frank Epperson. Young Epperson had mixed soda powder and water with a wooden stirring stick and forgotten it outside overnight. It was an especially cold evening, and when Epperson went out the next morning, he found his drink had frozen solid around the stirring stick. Rather than waste it, he decided to simply lick the frozen drink off the stick. He called his accidental discovery an Epsicle ice pop and made more to sell around his neighborhood.
In 1923, Epperson was selling his Epsicles at a local amusement park and received a patent for his invention in 1924. Not long after, Epperson’s children began calling his invention a “Popsicle,” creating the famous brand name still known today.
Epperson faced financial difficulties throughout the 1920s and decided to sell the rights to his invention and company. The Popsicle brand has gone through several ownership changes, but their goal of sharing delicious frozen treats with America has remained the same. Today, the Popsicle brand is a household name and continues to sell billions of frozen treats every year.
The 2018 Frozen Treats issues are a nod to these famous ice pops and were also the United States’ first scratch-and-sniff stamps – “evok[ing] a sweet summer scent.”
First U.S. Scratch-And-Sniff Stamps
On June 20, 2018, the USPS issued America’s first scratch-and-sniff stamps.
Scratch-and-sniff technology actually dates back to the 1960s. At the time, researchers at 3M and NCR Corporation sought improved ways to hold ink in tiny pockets on paper for use in carbon copies and register receipts.
The process they developed was known as “microencapsulation” and it was soon discovered that it could contain scented oils. When put under pressure, by a scratch for instance, they would release small particles of the scented oil. Scratch-and-sniff was soon popular in children’s books and in the marketing of toiletries, and became especially wide spread in the 1980s.
Other countries have issued scented and scratch-and-sniff stamps before, but the 2018 Frozen Treats were the first US stamps to take advantage of this technology. According to the USPS, “The aroma of the Frozen Treats Forever stamps will remind customers of the sweet scent of summer when mailing and receiving letters of love, friendship, party invitations, and other correspondence.” The stamps featured watercolor illustrations by Margaret Berg of California.
Shortly before the stamps were issued, the stamps faced some opposition from the American Lung Association (ALA). A week before their issue, the ALA sent a letter to the USPS that the stamp fragrances “may pose a risk for serious health problems.” The ALA went on to say that they encouraged “the USPS to move forward with the lovely artwork but without the chemicals that create the fragrances on the stamps.” The USPS responded that the firm that provided the scratch-and-sniff technology for the stamps verified that the coatings and print varnish complied with all the necessary safety requirements.
Despite the opposition from the ALA, the stamps were issued as planned on June 20, 2018, at the Thinkery children’s museum in Austin, Texas.