Nation & World News

Postal Service Hopes ‘Harry Potter’ Stamps Spell Revenue

By April Fehling on November 20th, 2013

Hold onto your owls, Harry Potter fans. The U.S. Postal Service is hoping you’ll send your letters with one of 20 new Potter-themed stamps it unveiled Tuesday.

The Postal Service will print 5 million of the 20-stamp booklets, featuring film stills of the young wizard and his friends and foes (and yes, messenger owl Hedwig is represented). It’s banking that Harry Potter‘s mass appeal will translate into strong demand, and that the stamps could get young people excited about stamp collecting, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe tells The Washington Post.

Not excited, however, is the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee, a Postal Service panel that “evaluates the merits of all stamp proposals.” The USPS bypassed the 56-year-old panel in selecting the Harry Potter stamp, the Post reports.

Adding insult is the fact the boy wizard is British and that the Potter images are photographic stills, rather than the illustrations that typically grace U.S. stamps.

Several panel members, the Post reports, are frustrated that the Postal Service “has pushed pop culture at the expense of images that could prove more enduring.”

The Post adds:

” ‘Harry Potter is not American. It’s foreign, and it’s so blatantly commercial it’s off the charts,’ said John Hotchner, a stamp collector in Falls Church [Va.,] and former president of the American Philatelic Society, who served on the committee for 12 years until 2010. ‘The Postal Service knows what will sell, but that’s not what stamps ought to be about. Things that don’t sell so well are part of the American story.’ ”

As the Two-Way has reported, the Postal Service is struggling with huge losses — and with finding ways to stem the red ink. Donahoe told the Post that the agency “needs to change its focus toward stamps that are more commercial,” and acknowledged that the shift has created a sense of disruption on the advisory committee.

Given Harry Potter‘s enduring appeal, though, it’s not a stretch to think that the new stamps might meet the advisory panel’s stated goal: to ensure “that stamp subjects have stood the test of time, are consistent with public opinion and have broad national interest.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Vincenzo Nibali First Italian In 15 Years To Win Tour De France

The cyclist had dominated the Tour, wearing the yellow jersey through all but two stages of the grueling three-week competition.


Image released by the U.S. State Department showing what it says is evidence of Russia firing artillery into eastern Ukraine.

U.S.: Satellite Images Show Russian Rockets Hitting Ukraine

The State Department says the photos show burn marks from the firing of multiple rocket launchers inside Russia and resulting craters on the other side of the border.


Hank Johnson displays his Glock handgun, inside his home in Springboro, Ohio. D.C. lawmakers had hoped to maintain a ban on carrying handguns in public, but a district court last week overturned it.

Judges Overturns D.C. Ban On Handguns In Public

A district court judge says the law that prohibited people from carrying handguns outside their homes violates the Second Amendment.


Birth Of 100-Millionth Person In Philippines Greeted With Joy, Concern

Chonalyn, a 6-pound girl, was born Sunday morning in a Manila hospital. But the head of the country’s population commission says it will be a challenge to provide for so many people.


The entrance of the compounds of the U.S. embassy is pictured in Tripoli on Saturday. Fighting continues to rage after the U.S. evacuated the diplomatic facility.

Libyan Conflict Rages After U.S. Shuts Embassy

Fighting in the country’s east has killed at least 38 people since the U.S. on Saturday temporarily closed its embassy in the capital, citing security concerns.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments