Pretty new stamps pay homage to vintage nursery catalogs (photos)

forever stamps

The 'Botanical Art Forever' stamps come from 19th century flower and seed catalogs at the New York Botanical Garden.

Way back when, some 300 years before people had iPhones and magical-transforming filters to take antique-y flower photos for Instagram, botanical illustration enjoyed its heyday. Stemming from the Age of Exploration and Europe's introduction to loads of new-to-them plant specimens, the tradition of drawing and coloring the world's flora produced meticulous representations that are works of art in their own right.

By the mid-19th century the appreciation for ornamental plants and gardening spread to home as commercial greenhouses and nurseries sprang up all over, and botanical illustrations became marketing tools. To seduce buyers into buying plants and seeds, vibrant catalogs were created replete with luscious idealized illustrations of flowers, generally heavy on the romantic side – early posey porn. Collections of these provide a wealth of historical information for scholars and scientists studying everything from the history of botany, horticulture, and commercial agriculture to landscape design, plant exploration, graphic arts and publishing.

When it came time to design a new series of Forever stamps, the U.S. Postal Service took their cues from these important vintage illustrations and created a super beautiful floral-themed series of 10, the Botanical Art Forever stamps. The designs feature vivid illustrations from vintage plant and seed catalogs from the comprehensive collection held by the New York Botanical Garden.

Tulips | Japanese irises

Forever stamps© USPS

Petunias | Jonquils

Forever stamps© USPS

Corn lilies | Tulips

Forever stamps© USPS

Tulips | Dahlias

Forever stamps© USPS

Roses | Stocks

Forever stamps© USPS

“Featuring Mother Nature at her best, our new Botanical Art stamps were based on designs of images from the nursery and seed catalog collection of the New York Botanical Garden,” said Postal Service Capital Metro Area Operations Vice President Kristin Seaver who will dedicate the stamps. “Beginning tomorrow [January 29], these beautiful images will travel on letters and packages to millions of homes and businesses throughout America.”

A book of 10 stamps costs $4.90 – now we just have to get to writing some letters.

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