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Some of my photos of natural snowflakes have been used in postage stamps. This page takes a look at the stamps, along with a bit of the stories behind the stamps.

United States 1st-Class Snowflake Stamps
The United States Postal Service issued a set of four snowflake stamps on October 5th, 2006.  Click on the image for a closer view.

These were first-class stamps when they were issued, and over two billion were sold during the 2006 Christmas season (that estimate is from my contact at the USPS). They are no longer for sale at the post office, but there may be a few collectors out there that have them.

People often think these were snowflake drawings, but the stamp images are based on photographs of real snowflakes, specifically pictures I took in Fairbanks, Alaska (upper right image), in Houghton, Michigan (lower left), and in northern Ontario (the other two). 

Here are the orginal photographs used to create the stamp images:
I don't know much about how the USPS decides on stamp issues. In my case, my phone rang and they asked me if I was interested in supplying them with a suitable set of snowflake images. So of course I did! I suspect it was SnowCrystals.com that led the USPS to my photos; there weren't a lot of snowflake pictures on the web in those days.The announcement of the snowflake stamps was made in Madison Square Garden, in the middle of a large philatelic meeting. Fun stuff!

Swedish Snowflake Stamps
This set of five snowflake stamps (click on the image for the full version) was issued by the Swedish Postal System on November 18, 2010.

These stamps got their start in the small town of Kiruna in northern Sweden. I went there for a month in January 2009 tor a scientific visit, and to photograph snowflakes of course. My host knew the postmaster in Kiruna, and he arranged for me to meet a woman from Stockholm who was involved in stamp design decisions. She and her colleagues apparently liked these snowflakes that I photographed in Kiruna.
Here are some of the original Kiruna snowflake photos that were used in designing the stamps:

Austrian Snowflake Stamps
This set of 20 snowflake stamps came out in Austria in 2006, again using my photographs. They sent me a sheet of stamps, but other than that I don't know much about this issue. 


United States Snowflake Stamps
This set of US snowflake stamps was issued in 2013, again using my photographs. You can see that these are labeled "presorted" stamps, which is post-office speak for what the rest of us call junk mail. (Apparently you are more likely to open your junk mail if it has a real stamp on it.) This did not come with the hoopla associated with the 1st-class issue, but of course I am nevertheless delighted to again have my work used by the USPS.