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Heroes, Real And Imagined

Two of the tentative designs - largest flower and tallest trees - for a U.S. Postal Service stamp series intended to showcase the "Wonders of America: Land Of Superlatives." 8-5-05
Virtual Stamp Club
This story was written by CBSNews.com's Lloyd de Vries.


Next year's U.S. stamps will be emphasize heroes - real and imagined. Ten stamps will highlight comic book superheroes like Superman and Batman but there will also be stamps for bats-men: baseball sluggers.

"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 CBS News.com.



CBSNews.com's Lloyd de Vries gives an audio report on the upcoming new stamps.

The other 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 exploration of Samuel de Champlain; 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.