A dog gets his day!

Jeannie Schulz, center left, and Peggy Fleming applaud as they watch along with Snoopy, as the new U.S. First Class Postage Stamp featuring Charles Schulz's popular character is unveiled at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena in Santa Rosa, California, Thursday morning, May 17.
(AP photo/Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

It's here!

For all of you who wrote letters, and e-mailed or phone your local representatives, I'm happy to report that all the hard effort paid off. As you can see above, we got a Snoopy stamp!

The May 17 ceremony in Santa Rosa was wonderful, and if you'd like to see some great photos from the event, take a look at Scott McGuire's photo page.

The day was bright, sunny and mild, and folks began lining up at 7:30 a.m. for the official first-day release, which began at 8:30 a.m. Sheets of stamps (left) were available in any quantity, and first-day "cachets" (right) were limited to 10 per customer. (We did see people return to the end of the line, to purchase more of the latter!)

Sheet of 20 stamps

First Day cachet

After buying stamps and cachets, folks stood in a second line to get 'em canceled with either a circular "bullet" postmark (left) or a larger, rectangular imprint (right).

Bullet postmark

Larger postmark

People went nuts in this line, getting everything from brochures to bookmarks and shirts whacked by the friendly U.S. Postal Service folks...all of whom were smiling and quite happy to be there. And no wonder...they were wearing shirts and pins that nobody else could obtain!

We're told that 125 million of these stamps were printed in this first round, although -- from the wails of anguish emanating from some parts of the country -- apparently not all Post Office branches ordered in sufficient quantities.

Waiting in line

The gang gets into the act

Post Office follies

Above left, Bingham Coverdale of Windsor, California (front), purchases a new 34-cent Snoopy postage stamp at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena satellite station. Note the nifty shirt worn by the postal employee, whose back is to the camera! (AP Photo/Kent Porter, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Above center, Jeannie Schulz is greeted by some familiar faces, as the huge representation of the stamp is unveiled. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan, U.S. Postal Service)
Above right, Santa Rosa Postmaster Jeff Lelevich clowns around with Snoopy at the main branch post office Wednesday morning, May 16, the day before the stamp was released in his city. (AP Photo/Kent Porter, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
(Click on each photo to see a larger version.)

Stamp Fulfillment Services (SFS) also offered first day covers for new stamp issues and postal stationery items postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item had an individual catalog number and was offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog.

First day covers remained on sale for at least one year after the stamp's issuance.

Here's the original press release, directly from Linn's Stamp News:

The famous comic strip written and drawn by Charles M. Schulz will be commemorated with a single letter-rate stamp picturing Snoopy as the great World War I flying ace atop his red doghouse. Snoopy's yellow scarf streams in the wake of his imaginary Sopwith Camel as he pursues his nemesis, the notorious Red Baron. Snoopy's first encounter with the Red Baron came in a comic strip sequence published Oct. 10, 1965.

In effect, this stamp will be a tribute to Schulz, who interpreted basic human relationships through the memorable children who populated the Peanuts strip, including Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Pig Pen, Charlie Brown and his dog Snoopy. Postal Service regulations dictate that Schulz, who died Feb. 12 at age 77, is technically not eligible for postal commemoration until 2010. The Postal Service envisions the Peanuts stamp as its blockbuster issue of the year.

And, from the April 28 Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Snoopy flies first class

Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming will preside over a day-of-issue ceremony May 17 for the new Snoopy stamp in the ice arena that cartoonist Charles Schulz built three decades ago in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The Postal Service's newest first-class stamp, featuring a Schulz drawing of Snoopy as the World War I flying ace, will go on sale that day in Santa Rosa. It will be available nationwide the following day.

The Minnesota native was 77 when he died of cancer on Feb. 12, 2000. In April 1969, Fleming went to Santa Rosa at Schulz's invitation and appeared in the opening-day celebration at his Redwood Empire Ice Arena.

The Postal Service unveiled the stamp last September in Minneapolis.

Here's the original announcement from the United States Post Office Web site:

April 16, 2001

Stamp Release No. 01-034

Comic Strip 'Peanuts' to be Immortalized by U.S. Postal Service

'World War I Flying Ace' pictured on postage stamp representing genius of Charles M. Schulz

WASHINGTON Known as Joe Cool, World War I Flying Ace, Literary Ace, Flashbeagle, Vulture, Foreign Legionnaire and "that round-headed kid's dog," Snoopy symbolizes the simple yet effective way Charles M. Schulz expressed the anxieties and joys of childhood in the PEANUTS comic strip. Next month, the United States Postal Service will honor the comic strip and its creator with the issuance of the PEANUTS commemorative postage stamp.

The first day of issue ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. (Pacific Time) on Thursday, May 17, at Snoopy's Home Ice (the Redwood Empire Ice Arena), 1665 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa, Calif. The stamp will be available at the ceremony and at Santa Rosa post offices on May 17, and available nationwide starting May 18. The event is free and open to the public, and attendees are invited to enjoy a free skate after the ceremony until 2:00 p.m.

Snoopy is central to the comic strip and extremely popular for his imaginative adventures from atop his doghouse. An ensemble cast of children, however, makes the strip complete. Among them are the lovable Charlie Brown, who never gives up despite unending failure; the philosophical, blanket-carrying Linus; the fussbudget Lucy, who dispenses psychological advice for a nickel from behind a concession stand; and toy-piano virtuoso Schroeder.

Charles M. Schulz began his fascination with comic strips early, reading the Sunday comics from four different newspapers with his father each week. With encouragement from his parents, Schulz enrolled in a correspondence course in cartooning. PEANUTS debuted in syndication on Oct. 2, 1950. On Feb. 12, 2000, only hours before his last original PEANUTS strip appeared in Sunday papers, Schulz died of complications from colon cancer in Santa Rosa.

Illustrated by Schulz, and designed by Carl Herrman of Carlsbad, Calif., the PEANUTS stamp depicts Snoopy in his role as the World War I Flying Ace. The name of the comic strip, PEANUTS, appears in the upper left-hand corner of the stamp.

PEANUTS is licensed and syndicated by United Media (UM) a worldwide licensing and syndication company that focuses on building brand equity around a wide range of creative content.

To see the PEANUTS stamp, and preliminary images of forthcoming 2001 stamps and stationery, visit the Postal Store at www.usps.com and select "Stamp Release Schedule." To see previous releases, select "Index of Stamp Issues."

All current stamps and other philatelic products, as well as a free comprehensive catalog, are available by calling toll free 1 800 STAMP-24. A selection of current stamps and gift items are available online at the Postal Store.

Alas, according to Page 35 of Postal Bulletin issue 22047 (4-5-01), there will be no philatelic products for this issue. This means that the Postal Service did not partner up with United Media to produce any other products, as was done with the Looney Tune issues in the recent past.

How to Order the First Day of Issue Postmark

Customers have 30 days to obtain the first day of issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, by telephone at 1 800 STAMP-24, and at the Postal Store Web site, www.usps.com. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others) and place them in a larger envelope addressed to: Peanuts Commemorative Stamp, Postmaster, 730 Second St., Santa Rosa CA 95402-9991.

After applying the first day of issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by June 16, 2001.

Stamp Fulfillment Services (SFS) also offered first day covers for new stamp issues and postal stationery items postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item had an individual catalog number and was offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog.

Peanuts collector, stamp collector and Postal Service employee Mike Kupec sent along the following information:

First of all, a First Day cover is any envelope, either cachet (specially designed, printed or hand-drawn) or plain that bears the First Day of Issue Postmark. In the case of the new U.S. Peanuts stamp, this will be May 17, 2001. The U.S. Postal Service does not produce First Day Covers. They can be produced by anyone or any company. The envelopes must be submitted to the Postmaster of the First Day of Issue host Post Office, to receive the postmark (special postmarks are known as Pictorial Cancellations)

The postmark (Pictorial Cancellation) is available only in the host city Post Office. In this case, it will be Santa Rosa, California. Anyone can send an envelope to the Santa Rosa postmaster to receive the postmark. Collectors will want to send an envelope with the stamp on it that they want the postmark for. You can find out how to do this by looking in any Postal Bulletin under Pictorial Cancellations.

Snoopy station

The stamp above was officially unveiled during the festival that took place at Mall of America's Camp Snoopy, on the weekend of September 30 and October 1. Those fortunate enough to be present also were able to get a postcard showing the stamp canceled at a special "Snoopy Station," as shown above.

Stamp unveiling

Who are these famous folks?

Club member Kathy Magrane endured jostling crowds during the Mall of America's 50th anniversary activities to snap this great photo of the new stamp unveiling. Four of Sparky's children are on the right, and Minneapolis Postmaster Rochelle Eastman is third from the left. Let's all give Kathy a hand! (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

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All PEANUTS characters pictured are copyrighted © by United Feature Syndicate, Inc. They are used here with permission. They may not be reproduced by any means in any form.