"Clever" and tried-and-true might be the best ways to describe next year's stamps. Several of the issues will have gimmicks, while others will be part of long-running series.
"It's really a very good, diverse program with a lot of fun elements, a lot of serious elements," David E. Failor, executive director of Stamp Services for the U.S. Postal Service, told CBSNews.com.
Members of the philatelic press were given an advance look at the 2007 U.S. commemorative stamps during a briefing at a major stamp collecting show in Rosemont, Ill., now under way.
Although the reporters were shown all the tentative designs for 2007, only a copy of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stamp was made available.
Much of the 2007 stamp program will be pushed into the second half of the year, because the Postal Service expects to implement a rate increase in the late spring.
"We're kind of reluctant to really issue stamps, say, two months before the rate changes because once the rate changes, people just don't want to buy stamps that have the old denomination," said Failor.
for CBSNews.com's Lloyd de Vries'
podcast on stamps coming up in 2007.
The 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia will be marked with triangular stamps — because the settlement was triangular. There will be one stamp on the face of the sheet, along with a painting by Griffith Baily Coale of the settlement. On the back, 19 more stamps of the same design will be arrayed, 16 of them in blocks of four, with the other three forming a trapezoid.
Because the quadricentennial occurs in May, the stamp will be released then, although most likely at the new rate, which is expected to be 42 cents.
Another clever issue is Pollination, eight stamps forming two blocks of four. In one of the blocks, the four plants (prairie or common ironweed, saguaro flower, hummingbird trumpet blossom and purple or chaparral nightshade) are at the center, while a Southern dogface butterfly, lesser long-nosed bat, calliope hummingbird and Morrison's bumble bees are in the corners.
In the other, which will be on the opposite side of the booklet of stamps, the fauna are at the center, and the four plants are in the corners.
Some popular series also continue: Ella Fitzgerald will be the subject for Black Heritage, Longfellow for Literary Arts, James Stewart for Legends of Hollywood, the lighthouses series shines again, this time with Pacific Coast beacons, and the fourth Disney set, in what was originally supposed to be a three-year series, will feature Magic: Mickey Mouse as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," Dumbo and Timothy Mouse, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, and Aladdin and the Genie.