There is a culture-clash growing between old-school stamp collectors with a penchant for stamps with significant historical meaning and the U.S. Postal Service looking for ways to appeal to younger customers.
The tension was illustrated in a recent letter from Benjamin F. Bailar, who ran the Postal Service from 1975 to 1978 and who is an avid stamp collector. He told Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe that the new version of stamps that feature pop icons is "prostituting" the program, The Washington Post reported.
"To prostitute that goal in the pursuit of possibly illusory profits does not make sense to me," he reportedly wrote in his resignation letter to the stamp selection committee. He went on to say that the current program "lacks gravitas."
As noted in New York magazine last year, stamp controversies are nothing new. The article listed stamps that were met with criticism, including the "Harry Potter" series. The article also pointed out that the Elvis series, which was the Postal Services' best seller, was criticized in 1989 by a Washington Post writer who said, "It's impossible to separate Elvis Presley the musical artist from Elvis Presley the inarticulate slug at life's bottom."
Meanwhile, Janet Klug, the chairwoman of the Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee, told the paper that Bailar has missed a few group meetings and talked about restructuring.
"The Postal Service is asking us to do more in the way of pop culture," she told the paper. "We're trying to get a lot of young people interested in stamps. We have to go where they live."
The Postal Service has been struggling financially and might eventually have to end Saturday delivery to help make up the $20 billion it lost over the past two years, McClatchy reported.