New Coral Reef Postal Stamps


New United States stamps in four designs will show stylized underwater scenes celebrating coral reefs.

On March 29, 2019, in St. Louis, MO, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue the Coral Reefs stamps (non-denominated priced at the postcard rate) in four designs, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps (Item 120200) and a PSA coil of 100 stamps (Item 745100). The stamps will go on sale nationwide March 29, 2019, and must not be sold or cancelled before the first-day-of-issue.

The United States postcard-rate Coral Reefs stamps will be issued March 29 in coils of 100 and panes of 20.

Four new postcard stamps celebrate the beauty and wonder of coral reefs. Each stamp depicts a type of stony coral, along with associated reef fish, in a highly stylized manner:

  • Elkhorn coral, shown with two French angelfish
  • Brain coral, with a spotted moray eel
  • Staghorn coral, with bluestriped grunts
  • Pillar coral, with a coney grouper and neon gobies

The name of the coral is printed across the bottom of each stamp, but the fish are not identified with text.

Reading up along the left side of each stamp is “POSTCARD” and “USA.” The year 2019 is printed in the upper left corner of each stamp.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps. Tyler Lang created the stamp art.

Most coral reefs are found in tropical and semitropical waters, including off the coasts of Hawaii, Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. The Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument consists of 12,708 marine acres, according to the National Park Service. Reefs are also found in U.S.-associated regions such as American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and in other marine expanses around the world.

Many coral reefs are endangered by multiple threats, including pollution and global climate change, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which supports the Coral Reef Conservation Program.

“Coral reefs are formed over thousands of years mainly by colonies of animals called polyps,” the U.S. Postal Service reports. “Polyps make stony corals, the foundation for most coral reefs, by secreting protective skeletons of calcium carbonate, or limestone. As these limestone skeletons accumulate over time — with new colonies of polyps growing on top of the skeletons of older ones — they build up the base of coral reefs.”

This is the second set of Coral Reefs stamps in four designs offered by the Postal Service.

The first set of four 15¢ commemorative stamps, was issued in panes of 50 on Aug. 26, 1980, in Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands (Scott 1827-1830).

That 1980 set also depicts coral with various fish: brain coral with a beaugregory fish, elkhorn coral with porkfish, chalice coral with a moorish idol, and finger coral with a sabertooth blenny.

A set of 10, 37¢ Pacific Coral Reef stamps was issued in a single pane on Jan. 2, 2004, and features several varieties of coral, including staghorn coral and mushroom coral (Scott 3831).

These nondenominated stamps were issued Jan. 28, 2017, in San Diego, Calif., and are still available from many post offices and USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services.

The Postal Service has revealed a black pictorial first-day cancel for the new Coral Reefs stamps. The postmark includes the phrase “Coral Reefs” in large letters across the bottom, with a silhouette of a sea plant growing out from between the two words.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark

Customers have 120 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. Each cover must have sufficient postage to meet First-Class Mail® requirements. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office™ or at The Postal Store® website at They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – Coral Reefs Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service™ will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by July 29, 2019.

How to Order First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the USA Philatelic publication and online at Customers may register to receive a free USA Philatelic publication online at

Source: and Linns Stamp news


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March 11, 2019 |

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