|Date of Issue||July 26, 2017|
First-Class Mail® Forever
|Perforation or Dimension||1.56 x 0.98 in/39.62 x 24.89 mm|
|Series Time Span||2017|
|Issue Location||Newport, KY 41071|
|Postal Administration||United States|
This stamp depicts the world’s largest fish, the sluggish, filter-feeding, school bus-sized whale shark (Rhincodon typus). Docile and colossal, it skims for plankton, fish and squid.
On July 26, 2017, in Newport, KY, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue the Sharks stamps (Forever® priced at 49 cents), in five designs, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps. The stamps will go on sale nationwide July 26, 2017.
This issuance celebrates the wonder of sharks with a pane of 20 stamps featuring realistic images of five species that inhabit American waters:
On the selvage, the stamp image of the great white shark is repeated at the top of the pane. The background blue color deepens in shade as one looks down the pane, evoking inky ocean waters barely penetrated by sunlight. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp pane with original artwork by Sam Weber.
Mythologized and misunderstood, few creatures capture the imagination as sharks do. Emerging long before the first dinosaurs, sharks have masterfully adapted for their ecological and predatory roles within the marine food chain—refinements of 400 million years of evolution. With qualities like teeth replaced without limit and the ability to detect electrical signals given off by prey, the 500+ known shark species are wonders of our oceans’ depths.
The adaptations of sharks include light, flexible skeletons of cartilage, teeth replaced without limit, and skin covered by a hydrodynamic surface of tiny tooth-like structures. Their enviably keen senses include one that detects electrical signals given off by prey and enables navigation by Earth’s magnetic field. Their nervous systems are adapted to sense miniscule water movements — from a struggling, far-off fish for instance.
Primal fears aside, people threaten sharks more than they do us. Sharks are overfished — often before reaching reproductive maturity. Cutting off fins for a soup delicacy also collapses populations. There is hope. Shark ecotourism allows us to witness their grace. Increased study expands our knowledge of these fantastic creatures.