The United States Postal Service will be introducing a set of seasonally themed scratch-and-sniff stamps next month.
Launching on June 20th via this link, each stamp features two frozen treats side-by-side, meant to evoke “a sense of summer nostalgia,” the artist who drew them, Margaret Berg, said. Ms. Berg, who is from South Africa and based in Santa Monica, Calif., created the designs in 2015 at the request of an art director with the Postal Service.
“The year I worked on the stamps actually coincided with the year I became an American citizen,” the artist said, “which made the project all the more meaningful.”
The USPS charmingly explains the phenomenon of stick-laced icy desserts in its press release:
Ice pops are made by large manufacturers, home cooks and artisanal shops. In recent years, frozen treats containing fresh fruit such as kiwi, watermelon, blueberries, oranges and strawberries have become more common. In addition, flavors such as chocolate, root beer and cola are also popular. Some frozen treats even have two sticks, making them perfect for sharing.
Of course, the real appeal is the scratch-and-sniff aspect, which feels like the perfect gen X and millennial-bait collectible for a couple of generations that grew up on Stinkors and Strawberry Shortcake Dolls. And adding a kitschy, interactive component to stamps could be just the thing to give a small novelty boost to USPS’s waning revenue, which is bolstered a bit by people (aka Amazon) shipping more packages, but suffering as people continually send fewer letters in the mail.
The stamps owe their existence to a scientific race of five decades ago. In the 1960s, researchers at two companies, 3M and NCR Corporation, were pursuing better ways to trap ink in microscopic pockets on paper, for use in carbon copies and cash register receipts. The process they developed, “microencapsulation,” also worked with scented oils, which could rupture.
These sniffy #FrozenTreatsStamps will be available in $10 packets of 20, meaning they still run the Forever price of 50 cents apiece. And while you’re taking the nostalgia trip, may I remind you that there’s a Mister Rogers stamp, too?