Short-Lived Mini-Scapes Series 

US #2443 was the first postcard-rate stamp issued only in booklet form.

On February 3, 1990, the USPS issued the first of three stamps in the brief Mini-Scapes Series.

This series has its roots in the summer of 1988 when members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) sought to give mailers an alternative to “bewhiskered unknowns” and Flag-over-Capitol-type scenes on definitives.  The USPS had also tried picturing landmarks such as Yosemite National Park, but some felt those didn’t work well on the small scale of definitive stamps.

US #2530 was the second stamp in the series.

So CSAC hired three artists to come up with stamps that would be bright, cheerful, and colorful.  They asked that the stamps picture “generic landscapes” found in multiple areas of the country or “tight little vignettes” of objects or scenes that would be familiar to a large number of people.

US #2529 – The third and final stamp in the series.

One of these artists was Pierre Mion of Virginia. He produced sketches of some of the suggested images: a hot-air balloon, a child with an umbrella, and a piggy bank. He also gave them a few sketches of his own ideas – a beach umbrella, part of a small boat, the end of a pier, and a child on a carousel.  CSAC liked his sketches and then requested paintings of some of them.

Eventually, the USPS needed a new booklet stamp to cover the postcard rate, and they selected Mion’s beach umbrella to appear on it. The Beach umbrella stamp would be notable for a few reasons.  It was the first stamp in the new Mini-Scapes Series.  It was also the first postcard-rate stamp to be issued only in booklet form for use by vacationers.

US #2443 – Fleetwood First Day Cover.

Additionally, the stamp was the first in which the phosphorescent tagging was mixed with two different colors of ink.  Normally it was applied as a coating on the stamp, or in a couple rare cases, was mixed in with one ink color.  The stamp was issued on February 3, 1990, in Sarasota, Florida at the Sarasota Philatelic Club’s Sarapex 90 Show.

US #2530 – Silk Cachet First Day Cover.

A year later, the postcard rate was raised from 15¢ to 19¢, leading the USPS to issue the second stamp in the series, picturing a hot-air balloon.  That stamp, featuring art by Mion, was issued on May 17, 1991.  The third and final stamp was issued three months later on August 8, and also featured artwork by Mion. It pictured the prow of a fishing boat tied to a pier along a marshy shoreline. The boat pictured is typical of an oyster or crabbing boat found along the East Coast.

US #2529 – Classic First Day Cover.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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  1. Personally I like these stamps. They are colorful, cheerful and the designs fit well on definitives. I like the term “bewhiskered Unknowns.” Cute!

  2. Personally, I think the CSAC has gone way off course in their selections for stamp subjects over the past 15 to 20 years. Many of the stamps they have approved are pretty poor, in my estimation. But, they are a reflection of our “modern” society – which has a lot of “fluff”, and little substance (again, just my opinion). I would like to see more stamps with historical significance and stamps that are educational about the USA, its history, – historical persons and historical events. I guess that’s too much to hope for.

  3. I agree with Mr. Troutman. In recent years there have been commemoratives that are actually “ugly” and have little or no historical interest to me, which is why I began collecting US stamps many years ago! Bring back the “bewiskered unknowns” so they can become known! Thank you!

  4. A disappointment for me regarding a subject for a stamp has been the fact that that Bill Wilson and Bob Smith have not been recognized. These two men founded Alcoholics Anonymous. This organization has helped thousands of alcoholics achieve sobriety.

    1. Good point Mr. Hummel. Their inspiration has been a godsend and saving power in millions of people’s lives all over the world including some of my friends and family. I heartily endorse and encourage the CSAC to consider and execute a stamp or stamps to promote this recognition. Again, thank you George Hummel, for bringing this to our awareness.

  5. The umbrella subject was ‘pushed through” CSAC by its beloved long time member Mary Ann Owens of Brooklyn NY. She was known worldwide for her topical collections of “Umbrellas” and “Elephants”. If she were still on CSAC you wouldn’t be seeing some of the junk coming out lately. Mary Ann, we miss you!

  6. I have a few of the hot air balloon stamps that I received in a mixed lot. I like them, but I never knew anything about them. Mystery solved!

  7. Thank you Mr Charles Troutman. I to would prefer stamps depicting historical, geographical, and engineering themes. That is why the stamps of the 50’s, 40’s, and even 30’s have a certain aura to them that contemporary stamps do not.

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