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

Police arrest a man as they disperse a protest Wednesday for Michael Brown, who was killed by police Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo.

Obama Orders Review Of Transfers Of Military Surplus To Local Police

The White House says it will look at federal programs begun after Sept. 11, 2001, that have given local law enforcement military-grade weapons and equipment.


A black tip shark, caught on a fishing line, circles a boat just before it's devoured by a Goliath grouper.

WATCH: Shark Vs. Grouper. Shark Loses.

A couple of anglers fishing off the Fla. coast hook a four-foot Blacktip shark. And then …


Air Force Col. Steven Nagel joined NASA in 1978 and flew four space shuttle missions, logging more than 700 hours in space. He retired from the space agency in 2011. Nagel died of cancer on Thursday.

Veteran Space Shuttle Astronaut Steven Nagel Dies At 67

The Air Force colonel was among the first group selected by NASA to train for the space shuttle program. He went on to fly four missions, two as commander.


Iceland Ups Aviation Warning As Volcano Rumbles

Bardarbunga, a volcano in the center of the island nation, has experienced a sub-glacial eruption and could begin sending steam and ash skyward if it melts through the ice, scientists warn.


Members of Kurdish security forces take part during an intensive security deployment after clashes with militants of the Islamic State, in Jalawla, Diyala province, on Friday.

U.N. Warns Of ‘Possible Massacre’ In Northeastern Iraq

The United Nations special representative in Iraq describes the situation in Amerli, besieged by Islamic State militants, as one of “unspeakable suffering.”


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