Heroes And Romance On New Stamps

Images provided by the U.S. Postal Service show a portion of the commemorative stamps that will be issued in 2006.
This story was written by's Lloyd de Vries.

Next year's U.S. stamps will emphasize heroes - real and imagined, as well as romance.

Ten stamps will highlight comic book superheroes like Superman and Batman but there will also be stamps for bats-men: baseball sluggers.

There will also be romance: Lovebirds, wedding stamps and Disney couples from the studio's animated films.

In order to make sure there are enough 39-cent stamps in your post office, for the new rate that starts Jan. 8, the USPS is expected to issue in December two stamps without prices marked on them, each worth 39 cents. One shows the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. flag, the other, two lovebirds.

Both probably will be reissued early next year with "39c" on them.'s Lloyd de Vries gives an audio report on the upcoming new stamps.

"There's been a lot of requests for a Mickey Mantle stamp, and we wanted to go a little bit beyond that, and highlight some of the other great sluggers," Dave Failor, executive director of Stamp Services of the U.S. Postal Service, told

The other baseball players are Mel Ott, Roy Campanella and Hank Greenberg.

Other heroes on next year's stamps include Benjamin Franklin, born in 1706. The four stamps will note Franklin the Scientist, Franklin the Printer, Franklin the Statesman and Franklin the Postmaster.

"He was such a varied individual that we thought that if anybody needed to be featured in a block of four stamps, Benjamin Franklin would certainly be the right subject matter," said Failor.

But Franklin isn't the only American diplomat on the 2006 stamps: Six professional diplomats, chosen on the advice of the American Foreign Service Association, will be featured in a six-stamp "souvenir sheet."

They are Hiram Bingham IV, who saved many French Jews from the Holocaust; Francis W. Willis, the first woman U.S. Ambassador; Charles Eustis Bohlen, a specialist in Soviet affairs who served as the Russian translator for Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at the Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam conferences during World War II; Robert D. Murphy, a top aide to President Roosevelt during World War II and later as Ambassador to Belgium and Japan; Clifton R. Wharton, the first black U.S. Ambassador; and Philip C. Habib, who held top posts in the State Department and was called out of retirement by President Reagan in 1981 to prevent war in the Middle East.

Diplomats is one of four issues coming out during the major international stamp show in Washington next year. The others are a sheet reproducing classic issues of 1922-23 (Lincoln Memorial, U.S. Capitol and the Freedom statue atop the Capitol Dome); a joint issue with Canada celebrating the 1606 exploration voyage of Samuel de Champlain in 1606; and Wonders of America, which evokes the classic tourist postcards of the mid-20th Century with 40 stamps titled "Tallest Dunes," "Biggest Flower," "Windiest Place," and so on.