A stamp of approval: Negro Leagues honored by USPS, with Kadir Nelson’s artwork

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Too bad it’s not one of those “Forever” stamps that the U.S. Postal Service suggests we buy to buffer the regular rate increases for a first-class stamp.

Instead, a 44-cent stamp that honors those associated with the old Negro Leagues will go on sale Thursday, dedicated in ceremonies at the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

In the two-pannel first stamp issued, one shows a close play at home plate, while the other commemorates Andrew “Rube” Foster, founder of the leagues that operated from 1920 to 1960.

The stamps are designed by the brilliant San Diego-based artist Kadir Nelson (linked here), whom we featured in a story when his book, “We Are The Ship” came out in 2008 (linked here).

A story about how Nelson came to do these special stamps is on the USA Philatelic website (linked here), including a first draft of how the stamp could appear.

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The official U.S. Postal Service site offers a special edition “Ship” book (linked here) that comes with a sheet of stamps as well.

The USPS site also has a commemorative 30-by-11 1/4 inch special print of the first two stamps (linked here), a digital color keepsake (linked here), a ceremony program (linked here), a baseball cap with the stamp on it (linked here), a cultural diary (linked here), a commemorative folio (linked here) and special framed artwork (linked here).

There’s no more information about whether the collection will include stamps honoring other legends, such as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Jackie Robinson.

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