Professional Stamp Experts

Landmark 'Celebrate The Century' Series Ends with Postage Stamps Saluting 1990s

United States Postal Service - May 31, 2000

Date of Issue: May 2, 2000

WASHINGTON - Fifteen paradigms of pop culture from the 1990s will claim permanent places in American history May 2 when the U.S. Postal Service issues the final installment of commemorative stamps in the Celebrate The Century series.

The 1990s stamps, which were selected by the public during nationwide balloting in May 1999, will be issued at San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido, Calif. The stamps will also be available the same day at post offices nationwide.

"The Celebrate The Century program has given the public a voice in how many of us will remember the 20th century," said Diane M. Regan, Associate Vice President, West Sales Region, who will dedicate the stamps. "This one-of-a-kind collection brings together postage stamps and 100 years of American history, celebrating a nation bound by universal mail service and founded by great achievements and achievers."

The dedication ceremony for the stamps will be at 10:30 a.m. in the park's Village Amphitheater. Due to park admission policies, ceremony attendance will be limited to those who pay admission. A Postal Service retail booth offering a limited number of free ceremony programs, sales of the stamps and first day of issue cancellations will be set up outside the park entrance.

Stamp subjects selected during 1990s balloting were: Cellular Phones, "Titanic," World Wide Web, Recovering Species, "Jurassic Park," Sport Utility Vehicles, Gulf War, Virtual Reality, Special Olympics, Baseball Records, Computer Art and Graphics, Extreme Sports, Return to Space, Improving Education and "Seinfeld."

The Celebrate The Century program honors some of the most significant people, places, events and trends of each decade of the passing century. Over a two-year period the public was offered opportunities to vote for stamp subjects honoring the 1950s through the end of the 20th Century.

Each decade-specific ballot offered a total of 30 choices in five categories: People & Events, Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Science & Technology and Lifestyle. The top two vote-getters in each category, along with the next five highest vote-getters overall, became stamps for a total of 15 stamps per decade.

The Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee recommends all stamp subjects and designs to the Postmaster General for final approval. The committee also selected the stamps to honor the 1900s through the 1940s.

In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and 12 leading education associations, the Postal Service developed a curriculum based on the Celebrate The Century stamps that is being used in some 300,000 classrooms nationwide. This education kit takes students on a field trip through the last 100 years of American history.

Among the public's 15 selections made earlier to decide the 1950s stamp subjects were Drive-In Movies, "I Love Lucy" and Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat." Their choices for the '60s included Man Walks on the Moon, Super Bowl I and Peace Symbol. The subjects picked to represent the '70s included the Smiley Face (America Smiles), "Sesame Street" and Earth Day. The hit comedy "The Cosby Show," Cable TV, and Cabbage Patch Kids were picked to represent the '80s.

The entire 1990s pane of 15 stamps was designed by Howard Paine of Delaplane, Va., with illustrations by Drew Struzan of Pasadena, Calif.

The Celebrate The Century stamps, presented in collectible 15-stamp panes honoring each decade from the 1900s through the 1980s, are now available at post offices across the country. The stamps are also available by calling 1 800 STAMP-24 or online at

With the issuance of the 1990s stamp pane, the landmark 150-stamp Celebrate The Century series will be completed. Copies of the special Collector's Edition can be ordered at the toll-free phone number.

For more information on the Celebrate The Century program, and the Celebrate The Century Express travelling postal history exhibition on rails, which returns to many cities across the U.S. in 2000, check out

Celebrate The Century is a registered trademark of the U.S. Postal Service.

Following is descriptive text that appears on the gummed side of each stamp:

Sitcom Sensation ("Seinfeld")
A New York stand-up comic and his eccentric friends entertained viewers for nine seasons on "Seinfeld," an award-winning sitcom "about nothing" that gave fans an offbeat and hilarious look at city life.

Gulf War
On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait. After negotiations failed, Operation Desert Storm was launched on January 17, 1991. Multinational forces led by the U.S. liberated Kuwait within six weeks.

Baseball Records
The pursuit of three important and long-standing records thrilled Major League Baseball® fans. Players set new marks for career strikeouts, consecutive games played, and home runs in a single season.

Computer Art and Graphics
Electronic art and computer-generated animation gained popularity. Artists, graphic designers, and moviemakers used software and powerful, more affordable computers to create everything from abstract paintings to cinematic special effects.

Improving Education
Across the U.S., improving the quality of education was a priority for educators, parents, and legislators. Key approaches included setting high standards, reducing class size, supporting teachers, and creating access to new technology.

Extreme Sports
Extreme Sports added an element of adventure and increased risk to the sports world. Daredevil sports such as aggressive inline skating, BMX biking, snowboarding, and street luge achieved greater popularity.

"Jurassic Park"
Cloned dinosaurs terrorized visitors at an island theme park in the 1993 hit "Jurassic Park." Noted for its stunning lifelike creatures, the Steven Spielberg-directed film won Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing.

Virtual Reality
Employing computers and interface devices such as data gloves and head mounted displays, virtual reality created three dimensional "virtual" worlds used in video games and in applications ranging from architecture to surgery.

Special Olympics
In 1998, Special Olympics marked its 30th anniversary. The organization provides year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with mental retardation, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness and demonstrate courage.

Return to Space
In 1962, aboard the Mercury Friendship 7, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. His 1998 return to space at age 77, on the shuttle Discovery, heightened interest in the space program.

Recovering Species
Coordinated efforts led to the recovery of some animals that once were endangered or threatened. In the 1990s, two peregrine falcon subspecies. arctic and American. were removed from the Endangered Species List.

Cellular Phones
The popularity of cellular phones skyrocketed as the phones became smaller and cheaper, sound quality improved, and service became more widely available. In 1999, more than 78 million Americans had cellular service.

World Wide Web
The World Wide Web brought the text-based Internet to life by adding pictures, sound, and video. Millions of people accessed the Internet with user-friendly browsers for business, entertainment, and educational purposes.

Sport Utility Vehicles
Originally designed for off-road driving, sport utility vehicles became commonplace on city and suburban streets. Offering versatility, comfort, and a rugged image, SUVs were a popular choice for American families and commuters.

Blockbuster Film ("Titanic")
Adding romance and elaborate special effects to the tragic story of the ill-fated luxury liner, James Cameron's 1997 film "Titanic"™ was a colossal success at the box offices worldwide and won 11 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture.

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