Postage Stamp Design

February 25, 2014

post office stampsThe Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee has released a list of people and images that will be subjects of future postage stamps. The list includes Steve Jobs, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Wilt Chamberlain. The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee selects the subjects for recommendation to the Postmaster General, and meets regularly to evaluate as many as 50,000 inquiries a year recommending subjects and designs for stamps.

I ran the following search in All Federal materials on WestlawNext:

+”Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee”

Because “Advisory Committee” is a pretty common phrase, I decided to put our search in quotations and add the plus symbol to force Westlaw to search for this exact phrase. Another way we could do this would be to use the ADV command:

ADV: “Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee”

There are 2 regulations that mention the Committee.

39 C.F.R. § 551.3 – Procedure for selection of causes and recipient executive agencies.

39 C.F.R. § 551.4 – Submission requirements and selection criteria.

The first result in the Adminstrative Decisions & Guidance is a document from the Congressional Research Service:


That article indicates that “commemorative stamp program contributed an estimated $225.9 million in retained revenues for the USPS in 2005.” Because the United States Postal Service is expected to be self-supporting, this revenue is important. The document also provides a history and description of the CitizensStamp Advisory Committee. The committee was established in 1957, contains 15 members (not postal employees) from a variety of backgrounds, who serve three year terms.

Despite revenue from commemorative stamps, the U.S. Postal Service has struggled in recent years with debt. Last year, it announced they had a net loss of $5 billion in the 2013 fiscal year. The U.S. Postal Service made a number of recommendations as to how they can resolve their financial crisis, one of the most widely discussed of which was reducing delivery of mail to 5 days a week instead of 6. That proposal was “delayed” after Congress passed a spending bill continuing a prohibition against reducing delivery days.

You can find Postal Service Statutes in the United States Code under Title 39, and regulations under the same title in the Code of Federal Regulation.