The debate around what should be and what should not be pictured on stamps seems to run is several countries, not to say in all countries. As a member of the American Philatelic Society, I receive, once a month, the American Philatelist, the very good philatelic publication of the APS. I like reading the letters of readers to the editor. In one of the last issues, a reader was complaining about the policy of USPS (the postal administration of the USA) to choose the subject pictured on stamps. This reader was particularly focusing on one of the latest issue, the one dedicated to the Simpson family. As a coincidence, I received recently from my friend Gael a FDC with one of this stamp. Here it is.
The stamp pictures Bart Simpson and the pictorial postmark picture Homer, his father. The full set, issued on the 7th of May 2009 contains six stamps picturing Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Here is a picture coming from USPS website.
I guess you all know the Simpson family, so no real need to introduce them. May be I can just say they appeared on TV for the first time in 1987 and they are now famous all over the world.
I must admit that I like the Simpson family (I have a mug at home with Bart’s head on it and a key ring picturing Bart!). And I must say that for me they represent a part of the American culture. Therefore I’m not shocked to see them pictured on USA stamps, even though I agree with the author the letter that there are probably a lot of famous American people who deserve a philatelic tribute, or even a lot of events that could be commemorated on stamps. I also think that USPS wants to issue stamps that appeal to a large public and in this sense the Simpsons stamps are a good idea. There are a lot of other subjects pictured on American stamps that are more questionable…
One word about the cover sent by Gael. As you can see it mentions the National Postal Museum. In fact, on the 18th of July, the NPM has devoted a complete day to the Simpsons. The first 1000 visitors could receive a free FDC with one of the Simpson stamp cancel with a first day postmark.