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Although Christmas is four months away, the U.S. Postal Service wants you to know it already has a holiday stamp ready for letter senders.
The national mail agency has created a limited-edition postage stamp featuring the world-famous “Virgin and Child” painting, which depicts a biblical scene where the Virgin Mary is holding and gazing down at her son, Jesus Christ.
“One of her arms holding him protectively at his waist, the other tenderly touching his arm, while the Christ child turns his head to look out of the frame to the left,” the USPS wrote in a press release on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
The painter behind the 16th-century oil-on-panel image remains unidentified, but historians say the talented artist was from Florence.
Throughout history, the mysterious painter became known as “the Master of Scandicci Lamentation,” the USPS noted in its press release.
A dedication ceremony will be hosted in Massachusetts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on the stamp’s first day of issue — Thursday, Sept. 22, at 11 a.m. EDT.
The USPS’s Vice President for Organizational Development Jenny Utterback will serve as the event’s dedicating official.
The dedication ceremony is a free event that’s open to the public, but tickets are limited.
Customers who won’t be able to attend the dedication ceremony or would prefer to just get their stamps without fuss will be able to make purchases at their local post office or online through the Postal Store (usps.com/shopstamps).
Alternative ordering methods include making phone calls to USPS Customer Service at 844-737-7826 or making a mail order through the USA Philatelic – a stamp product catalog.
The Virgin and Child Stamps from the USPS retail for $12 and includes a book of 20. Each stamp is worth 60 cents.
If this stamp isn’t a fit for your holiday letters, fret not. The USPS is also introducing another holiday stamp in September, which has been named Holiday Elves and features multiple stamp designs.
Other stamps the postal service has announced or teased include a James Webb Space Telescope stamp, a Pony Cars stamp that features a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 and other designs, an elephant-themed stamp, a National Marine Sanctuaries stamp and Buzz Lightyear-themed Go Beyond stamp.
If you’d like to attend the dedication of the “Virgin and Child” stamp, RSVPs are being accepted online at: uspsonlinesolutions.wufoo.com/forms/mc66e7602gcfjt.