Eclipse Stamp Image

Amateur astronomers are excited about the total solar eclipse set to appear (or disappear?) on August 21. This is the first time in 99 years a total solar eclipse will cross the entire United States. 

Capitalizing on the public’s excitement, the U.S. Postal Service recently revealed a new stamp to mark the event, set for a June 20 release date. Place your finger or thumb on the stamp, which shows the eclipse, and it transforms into an image of the moon. The image reverts to the eclipse once it cools. This magic is made possible by the use of thermochromic ink — the first U.S. stamp application of the technology. 

Along with the excitement, however, have come some questions from the stamp collecting community. A recent Linn’s Stamp News article noted it remains to be seen how the Postal Service’s postmark inks react with the unusual thermochromic ink and the special process used to print the stamp. Another question is how stamp collectors might display their eclipse covers if they worry about people constantly putting fingers on the stamps while viewing their collections. 

The Postal Service always has to strike that fine balance between getting creative to spark an interest in stamp collecting among the younger generation with the more traditionalist approach generally associated with the philatelic community. We saw it with the Elvis stamp in the 1990s and again a few years ago with the Harry Potter stamp.

The controversy around the Harry Potter stamp reached a fever pitch in late 2013 when traditionalists balked at the blatant commercialism of the stamp, not to mention that he wasn’t even American! Others, however, felt it was high time for cultural icons to be presented on stamps. 

In fact, our 2013 blog on the Harry Potter stamp is among our most popular in recent years, with the more than 200 comments roughly equally split between pros and cons. 

The eclipse stamp isn’t nearly so controversial but does demonstrate how new technologies might change the face of stamps. Is that good, bad, or irrelevant? You tell us. We’d like to hear what you think about the new stamp, pictured above. And while you’re at it, tell us what other kinds of stamps you would like to see issued. 

Comments (13)

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  • anon

    Ordered 2 panes of eclipse stamps from USPS. Received them today, but there is no black disc ... Just the underlying moonscape. I would like a refund for the stamps and processing charge.

    Aug 23, 2017
  • anon

    I just went to my post office and purchased these stamps. The lady said she wasn't not able to date stamp these for me.. Can I ask why when her date stamp was laying right there? I've done this with money, I've done this with Elvis stamps .. Why is this not allowed?

    Aug 21, 2017
  • anon

    I ordered 5 pages of the eclipse stamp. Very disappointed to report that none of the stamps changed to reveal the moon when pressed with finger or thumb, no matter how long I tried. Anyone else have this problem?

    Aug 19, 2017
  • anon

    i got my eclipse stamps but cant get them to eclipse. they sat outside in tripe digit heat in az until i got home and took in mail. could this have affected them?

    Jun 23, 2017
  • anon

    Me, too. I put it in the fridge for a few minutes then saw the eclipse. However a few minutes out of the fridge, the moon appeared without touching. I live in an air conditioned house :-(

    Jun 23, 2017
  • anon

    I think the new way of the stamp is good it will produce cost for our revenue I think we had a stamp that instead of the normal ful pack it only came in a ten pack which I think they added an extra cent on each one which the cost to come out even if you go to postal plus and buy a stamp it used to cost you 50 now it's probably 75 the revenue can be made there are truly collector in art from stamp it's a good idea for the new technology just come up with a way to cover the cost of the new technology process that new stamp I am a collector I probably will buy a book and add one to my collector there were one stamp made last year due to the limit they produce I missed out on that stamp and I think if you limited the stamps it push our sales better caused when customer see it's a limited it's sales out faster

    May 28, 2017
  • anon

    Great stamp. Suggestion: Valentines Day Stamp; red heart becomes red rose.

    May 28, 2017
  • anon

    I think this is great. No big deal . Did traditionalists object to adhesive stamps versus the good old way of licking the glue on the back of the stamp. The younger generation should learn that paper has value and anything exciting would help going after a new stamp collecting generation

    May 26, 2017
  • anon

    There is a lot of mail that I have to request for a second time. These situation delays legal paper work that i have to submit.

    May 26, 2017
  • anon

    I live in Lake Oswego, Oregon in apartment complex on Parkview Drive. Multiple times I received letters that belong to my neighbors , and I was missing some important letters. Today my neighbor from another apartment brought a letter from DMV that was placed in her mailbox. I believe that somebody very careless works in Lake Oswego, Oregon Post Office. Would you try to solve the problem please. Thank you.

    May 25, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Alex, Thank you for your message. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and day-to-day mail delivery issues are outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, 800-275-8777, or file an online complaint with Customer Service.

    May 26, 2017
  • anon

    it reminds me of my mom she recently passed away and I know she watches me from upthere somewhere she magnanimous like the solar system her name was luz which means light in Spanish . I miss her thanks for asking for my opinion . sincearly, Cindy Estrada

    May 22, 2017
  • anon

    My first impression would be through two customers at CVS in Foster City, of the USO and C. Crane company. They were talking with me about the solar eclipse, but "you would have to be in Oregon." The stamping I would reward to the USPS and the patent and trademarking division of the United States government to govern, seperate and penalize accordingly. "making" stamps like "making" money is the reason for the five nobel professions and the church to preserve and value accordingly. Thank you for asking.

    May 22, 2017

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