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Published: 4/2/2002

Sticky issues arise over state stamps

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Michigan stamp is slated for release Thursday. The Michigan stamp is slated for release Thursday.
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April showers will bring the Terminal Tower this year with Thursday's U.S. Postal Service release of stamps representing each state.

The Ohio stamp features the Cleveland skyline, which includes the Terminal Tower, that city's longtime landmark.

The Renaissance Center complex in downtown Detroit hovers in the upper half of the Michigan stamp, while a sport-fishing boat commonly seen on the Great Lakes sails below.

The two stamps will be sold as part of a 50-stamp sheet titled "Greetings from America." The series recalls a style of postcard, popular in the 1930s and 1940s, that showed a location's name in giant letters.

"They look very much like postcards of days gone by," James Baumann, a member of the Stamp Collectors Club of Toledo, said.

He said the old postcards had pictures inside the outlined letters of place names, but such detail would be impossible to recreate on a tiny postage stamp.

The Greetings from America series, intended to promote tourism and national spirit, is the first 50-stamp pane to be issued in a decade.

The previous was the Wildflowers pane, which was second only to the Elvis stamp as the best-selling commemorative stamp ever printed.

But not everything is coming up roses for the state stamp series.

The New York stamp, with the New York City skyline, was reprinted to exclude the World Trade Center, and Wyoming's Secretary of State Joe Meyer filed an objection with the Postmaster General. He said the Montana stamp features an image of his state's trademarked bucking horse and rider symbol, the Associated Press reported.

The Ohio stamp hasn't passed without controversy either.

A Cincinnati Enquirer columnist, Cliff Radel, complained that Cleveland, a "cash-short colossus," should not represent Ohio. Mr. Baumann agreed that the Ohio stamp gives a limited look at the state. "It would seem to me there ought to be a couple of things they could pick up from elsewhere in the state," Mr. Baumann said. "The Michigan stamp is a nice combination because it emphasized different aspects of the state."

The 34-cent stamps were designed by Richard Sheaff of Scottsdale, Ariz., and illustrated by Lonnie Busch of Franklin, N.C. The back of the self-adhesive sheet will list each state's capital, bird, flower, tree, and date of statehood.

"The images used in the designs were primarily chosen by the artist because of their design merit and their ability to translate well in the small format of a postage stamp," said Victor Dubina, a spokesman for the postal service in northern Ohio.

The postal service is printing 200 million of the sheets and will reprint the series if there is more demand, he said.

Ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday in each state capital to celebrate the Greetings from America release. As part of the event, the Travel Industry Association of America is sponsoring a sweepstakes that will give away one-week vacations around each state to 50 winners.

"The stamps are a unique opportunity to show off the 50 states," Eileen Corson, spokeswoman for the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism, said. "We're happy that the post office is promoting Ohio tourism and tourism in the nation."



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