Sunday, January 3, 2016

U.S. Post Office Celebrates Star Trek's 50th Anniversary With Commemorative Stamps

In 2016, Star Trek fans can have some fun with their mail by highlighting it with postage stamps that commemorate the 50th anniversary of the science fiction franchise.  These Forever Stamps are legal tender for postage or can be kept as a nice collectible item to display if you'd rather not mail them out.  Forever Stamps will always be valid to be used as the current  First Class Mail one-ounce rate no matter how many years have gone by or how much the price has risen for postage. The four stamps being issued by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) which honor the first airing of a Star Trek TV episode on September 8, 1966 will be comprised of illustrations inspired by important elements of the original television series. These Star Trek stamps can be purchased together as a set which includes a display panel that consists of a background of stars with the words "Space...the final frontier" imprinted on it.

The four 50th Anniversary Star Trek stamps will include:

The Starship Enterprise inside the outline of a Starfleet insignia with a gold background to reference Captain Kirk's uniform.

The silhouette of a crewman in a transporter against a red background to reference Starfleet's  security and operations personnel's uniform.

The silhouette of the Enterprise from above against a green background in reference to the fact that Captain Kirk's costume in the original Star Trek episodes was actually that color but the studio lighting made it appear to look gold on TV.

The Enterprise inside the outline of the Vulcan salute (Spock's iconic hand gesture) against a blue background which is the color of uniform assigned to Starfleet's medical and science personnel.

If you are interested in real life space exploration, the USPS is also releasing a panel of 16 Forever stamps from NASA images that showcase the planets in our solar system.  The panel will feature eight new stamps with each being provided twice in the set.  Some of the images on the stamps show us the "true color" of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune as they would be seen if you have the chance to visit them firsthand on a trip through outer space.  Others will be images that use colors to represent and visualize certain features of a planet based upon imaging data.  A few of the stamps will also have images utilizing near-infrared spectrum to show things that cannot be seen by the human eye within visible light.

There will also be text on the back of the stamp pane to explain what these images reveal and identifies the spacecrafts or telescopes that obtained them.  While a release date hasn't been provided yet for the Star Trek stamps, the Views of Our Planets collection will be dedicated between May 28th and June 4 at the World Stamp Show -- NYC 2016 and should be available for purchase shortly afterward.

While astronomers don't identify it as one anymore, Pluto will always be a planet to me.  Poor Pluto being demoted from a Pluto every student in elementary school had to memorize to being defined as an orbital object.  Pluto is getting a bit of respect from the USPS this year though with the release of a four stamp souvenir sheet of stamps honoring the recent New Horizons spacecraft mission by NASA that provided us with our first glimpse of this far off place at the far end of our solar system. The USPS actually has a close connection to this particular mission.  In 2006, NASA placed a Pluto: Not Yet Explored 29-cent stamp within the New Horizons spacecraft.  As the spacecraft accomplished its mission in 2015 that stamp was along for the ride.

“The New Horizons project is proud to have such an important honor from the U.S. Postal Service,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons lead scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO. “Since the early 1990s the old, ‘Pluto Not Yet Explored’ stamp served as a rallying cry for many who wanted to mount this historic mission of space exploration. Now that NASA’s New Horizons has accomplished that goal, it’s a wonderful feeling to see these new stamps join others commemorating first explorations of the planets.”

The collectible sheet will feature two brand new stamps twice.  One will be an artist's rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft and the second will show an image taken by the spacecraft of Pluto. The view of Pluto — which is color enhanced to highlight surface texture and composition — is a composite of four images from New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).  These  stamps will also be dedicated between May 28 and June 4 at the World Stamp Show – NYC 2016.

Astronomy buffs, stamp collectors, and Star Trek fans will all want to keep an eye out for these interesting stamps from the U.S. Postal Service.  I know I'll be picking these up for myself to add to a few other stamp sets I've collected over the years.  If you have a child who may be interested in stamp collecting as a hobby these could be the perfect ones to get them started!

For more information about stamp collecting, visit


  1. Those are some cool stamps. I used to hardcore collect stamps (I had a book and everything) and I still kind of do, but I wait until I have a large amount before putting them in water (to get the envelope off the back) and adding them to my book. I have some "old" stamps now too (90s, lol) which are fun to look at.

  2. These are neat!!! I'm sure fans will be collecting them.

  3. Aww lucky Pluto! Getting its own bit of love :-D I love the blue vulcan salute one best, my dad loved star trek when I was growing up and he taught me how to do the salute when I was very little

  4. Stamp collectors will surely jump into this one. Great limited edition/time items. Love their designs too!

  5. These are awesome. My sister would love them.