A new stamp honoring Jimi Hendrix goes on sale today (Mar. 13), marked by a public unveiling at the South by Southwest music fest.
The stamp was designed by New York based artist Rudy Gutierrez (who also did the cover for Santana’s “Shaman’ album) and shows Jimi playing one of his white Stratocaster in a Sgt. Pepper military jacket.
“It was important to make the art accessible — and to be true to the incredible combination of rawness and virtuosity that was Jimi Hendrix,” the artist said in a press release.
The U.S. Postal Service will unravel several lines of celebrity-adorned stamps over the next two years, including Apple founder Steve Jobs, gay rights activist Harvey Milk, and more music-related stamps, including Janis Joplin and James Brown next year. 2015 will also see a re-release of Elvis Presley’s 29-cent tribute from 1993 — the Postal Service’s best-selling stamp ever. A stamp for John Lennon has been planned for an as-yet-unannounced date.
This year will also see the arrival of stamps honoring NBA champ Wilt Chamberlain, undisclosed celebrity chefs, “America’s Most Loved Pets” and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Next year, the Postal Service will release stamps for Johnny Carson, Ingrid Bergman and the gang from Peanuts.
Also recently named were a number of people and characters who will be honored with stamps sometime in the future. Among them are general music-related stamps honoring guitars and hip-hop, as well as several new entries in the U.S.P.S.’s Music Icons series, including Lennon, Jim Morrison, Bill Monroe, Sam Cooke, Tammy Wynette, “Fats” Waller, Freddie Fender, Roy Orbison, Sarah Vaughan and Willie Dixon. Michael Jackson will also be getting his own stamp that is not part of the Icons series.
Other stamps planned for a later date include Barack Obama, both Bush presidents, Bill Clinton, 20th Century humorists, Ansel Adams, a Black Heritage series, science fiction writers, pro football, Hanna-Barbera characters, Dora the Explorer and more.
A U.S.P.S. rep told the Post that stamp subjects may change at any time. The Postal Service is looking to attract younger stamp collectors with some of these new additions; because some of these proposed stamps betray previous stamp guidelines (such as the subject being American, in the case of John Lennon), this new direction has become controversial among older philatelists.