Eclipse chasers who also collect stamps. If that isn’t a double nerd alert, what is?
Where my philatellas at, yo? Stamps and first day covers from each eclipse make a fabulous (and flat, lightweight) souvenir. To celebrate a special TSE, local governments often issue a commemorative stamp and/or a first day cover—an envelope affixed with said stamp, postmarked on the first day of its issue, usually imprinted with some kind of illustration.
Make your own philatelic souvenir for the Great American Eclipse: address an envelope to yourself, place a Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamp in the usual corner, take it to the post office on the morning of August 21, 2017, and ask a clerk to date stamp the envelope and drop it in their outgoing mail. (Add artwork on the lefthand side for a personal touch; kid’s drawings of their interpretation of the eclipse would be adorable.) Be sure to physically perform this transaction with a postal clerk; you might miss the postmark by a day if you drop it in a mailbox.
Above: Stamps and cover from Bolivia, 1994. Below: Another from Bolivia; Mexico 1991; Aruba 1998; Madagascar stamps and handmade card 2001; souvenirs from Papua New Guinea 2012 (Orion ship stationery and kina bills—folding money is fun to collect, too).
In June the US Postal Service will release a commemorative stamp to celebrate TSE2017, and it will be a big, big first: a stamp that changes when you touch it.
The heat of your finger will react with the stamp’s thermochromic ink to reveal an image of the full moon over a solar corona. It will revert back to a totally-eclipsed sun when it cools.
The “Total Solar Eclipse Forever” stamp will be made available on June 20, 2017 after its First-Day-of-Issue ceremony at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. (Am I the only Oregonian disappointed that it’s not taking place in Madras?) Apparently there’s some kind of druid sculpture there that manifests its magical properties on that day, the summer solstice.
The image on the new stamp was selected from among Fred “Mr. Eclipse” Espenak’s fine collection of totality photographs, that was shot during the eclipse over Egypt/Libya in 2006.
On the back (each pane of 20) will be the path of totality on August 21, featuring the largest cities and towns in the shadow.