Beloved by children and adults alike, snow globes can be miniature worlds of white, kitschy souvenirs of memories made or tiny works of art caught in a whirling microcosm. Celebrating the spirit of the holidays, the U.S. Postal Service captures the playful pleasure of snow globes on four new stamps.
“People collect all sorts of souvenirs on their travels: coffee mugs, T-shirts, refrigerator magnets — but none are as enchanting as snow globes, creating snowstorms you stir up with a flick of the wrist, that gradually settle to display a world in miniature,” said Sheila Holman, dedicating official for the stamps and marketing vice president for the Postal Service.
The dedication ceremony for the Snow Globes stamps took place at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge. The stamps are now available at Post Office locations nationwide and online at The Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps.
Joining Holman at the ceremony were Gregory Manchess, stamp artist; Eric Mamula, mayor of Breckenridge; Scott Reid, deputy town manager and winter sports enthusiast; Jonathan Oetken, winter sports host and master of ceremonies for the event; and Harry Rinker, author of a book about snow globes and noted antiques writer.
“Snow globes cause wonder,” said Rinker, who is also a member of the Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee and a snow globe collector himself. “Every shake is different and each time a globe is shaken, it is the beginning of a new adventure. Shaking a snow globe is an opportunity to relive a multitude of childhood, winter, and winter holiday memories.”
The first published reference to snow globes was in a report of the 1878 Paris Exposition Universelle, where several manufacturers exhibited “snowstorm paperweights,” as they were called at the time. Beginning around 1900, snow globes began appearing as souvenirs at tourist sites around Europe.
Over the years, snow globes have been called by many names — snow dome, water globe and snowfall weight, among others — but the most widely used name today is snow globe. Though “globe” seems to indicate a sphere, they come in almost any shape that can contain the liquid inside. The container is often mounted on a base, though sometimes the shape, such as a bottle, allows it to stand alone without a support. The base might enclose a music box; other modern embellishments can include lights and animation of the scene inside.
Derry Noyes, an art director for USPS, designed the Snow Globes stamps with original art by Manchess. Painting in oil, Manchess created the designs featuring icons of the season, each spherical snow globe sitting on a brown base: a snowman wearing a jaunty red-and-white scarf; Santa Claus on a rooftop, preparing to climb down the chimney; a reindeer standing in a snowy forest; and a snowy tree decorated with colorful ornaments.
In each snowy scene, white flakes fly beneath the dome of glass, with the words “forever” and “USA” in the lower left-hand side of each stamp. The booklet cover features a detail of the snowman globe. To the left, the title Snow Globes is in capital letters of icy white and blue. The booklet includes 20 stamps, five each of the four designs.
The Snow Globes stamps are being issued as Forever stamps, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide. For officially licensed stamp products, shop the USPS Officially Licensed Collection on Amazon.