Stamp collector and former postmaster general Benjamin F. Bailar is criticizing the U.S. Postal Service for putting figures from popular culture such as Harry Potter on stamps instead of historical icons.
The Washington Post writes that Bailar is accusing the USPS of “prostituting” its stamp program in search of “illusory profits.” He made this accusation in a letter of resignation from the committee that chooses faces and images to feature on postage stamps.
Apparently there has long been disagreement within the stamp community over whether the financially strained Postal Service should use images from pop culture to earn more revenue from new collectors. The integrity of the stamp community seems to hinge, at least for members such as Bailar, on circulating only those stamps bearing the likes of Lincoln rather than Spiderman.
Bailar also complained that the stamp panel has begun favoring artists and designers.
“While they may support a drive to ’sell the product’ with abundance of pretty and popular culture subjects, the result is a program that lacks gravitas,” Bailar wrote.
On Friday, the Postal Service will hold a ceremony in San Francisco celebrating a 1960s Janis Joplin stamp.