2020 (May 10), 55¢ “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” PhotoStamps® Se-Tenant Sheet of 20 (Unlisted in the Scott Catalogue, or any catalogue for that matter). A pristine Mint Never- Hinged complete sheet with full margin imprints including the “Half Oliver” at upper left, sheet number “1180 of 10000” serial number at upper right, alternating se-tenant designs featuring “Zebra,” “Mr. Nutterbutter,” “Chiijohn” and the tagline to John Oliver’s groundbreaking story on the U.S. Postal Service, “And Now... A Stamp,” in which he threw his support behind the nation’s postal system by announcing his own PhotoStamps®
A unique opportunity to acquire this rare private postal emission in a Siegel Rarities of the World auction--offered as the era of PhotoStamps® comes to an end on June 16 (their authorization to produce customized stamps has been revoked).
All proceeds from the sale of this major philatelic rarity will be donated to The Guidance Center of Westchester, an important community organization that offers essential and lasting support to those challenged by mental illness, substance abuse, poverty and homelessness.
Instead of charging the usual buyer’s premium, we will add the 18% to the final winning bid as our own donation.
On May 10, 2020, HBO’s Last Week Tonight featured a segment on the U.S. Postal Service, in which host John Oliver defended the organization against criticism as it faces a financial crisis. Oliver accurately described the USPS is a “self funded entity that operates independently and pays for itself.” The problem, he explained, is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 that requires the USPS to prepay health care benefits for retirees. The law also caps the charge for first-class mail, which is reflected in the price of postage stamps.
Oliver offered one solution to the USPS’s financial crisis by creating his own stamps. “The purchase of stamps is still a key revenue generator for them,” he said before announcing the new issue of Last Week Tonight stamps. “And Now … a Stamp,” a play on the name of one of the show’s weekly segments, is one of the four alternating designs. The others feature the otter mascot “Chiijohn,” the giant squirrel Mr. Nutterbutter, and a zebra that directs traffic in Bolivia.
Oliver was enthusiastic: “You can buy sheets of these for the next month, and I’d really encourage you to do that...they’re the perfect way to mail a card that supports the USPS in a time of need while also saying I like Last Week Tonight and I forgot Mother’s Day."
The sheet offered here is the 1180th sold by Stamps.com as of mid-May (the issue has a 10,000 limit). In related news, Stamps.com announced that its customizable PhotoStamps® program was ending on June 16, following the USPS decision to revoke its authorization to produce postage stamps with personalized images. Therefore, this is very likely to be the Last Last Week Tonight postage issue.
The winning bid in excess of $11 face value is tax deductible. Supporting The Guidance Center is the right thing to do. And helping the USPS is incredibly important to the nation and to philately. As for John Oliver, the irony of a Brit promoting stamps in America is, well, ironic.