Terry McCaffrey is chair of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, of which the blogosphere’s fair Jessica Helfand is a member. She’s the latest in an illuminated list of design names like Bradbury Thompson and Meredith Davis who’ve served (apparently Steven Heller was on it once but attended two meetings, found the committee too bureaucratic and quit).
But with all those big names, 50,000 letters from the American public annually, and the collecting community clamoring for single color engraved designs–it seems like when it comes to stamps, everyone has their own agenda.
Until the Elvis stamp they didn’t do anything contemporary (remember the old or young Elvis contest?). The USPS was only allowed to start making a profit two years ago, but they made $26 million on Elvis–and that’s mostly from collectors. They’ve also made $53 million for breast cancer research from a 1999 stamp.
Here’s the crazy thing about stamps: When they make mistakes, people want them more. For example, McCaffrey learned today that in the Buckminster Fuller stamp based on that famous Time cover, the artist made a huge mistake and put six sides on his geodesic dome-head instead of five. Mirko Ilic was good enough to point that out from the audience. Whoops.
Maybe they should purposely make a mistake on the upcoming Star Wars series (available May 28) since McCaffrey predicts it will blow the lid off the USPS. At first the committee didn’t want it because it honored living people, which is against postal rules, but McCaffrey argued that it’s not Harrison Ford, it’s Han Solo. They’re printing 500 million, just to start.
Sagmeister and Kent Nichols (who are either brand new BFFs or old friends) manned the peanut gallery throughout the presentation, cheering “I love you, Stampy!” If that’s the official term of endearment for McCaffrey, then we say, Stampy, we love you, too.
More Y Conference coverage.