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U.S. Postal Service Celebrates La Florida's 500th Anniversary

Four Elegant Forever Stamps Dedicated Today Mark the Occasion

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Postal Service today commemorated the 500th anniversary of the naming of Florida with the issuance of a block of four colorful Forever stamps, titled "La Florida." This bouquet of stamps evokes the beauty of the state's lush flora. The stamp dedication ceremony was held at Flagler College in St. Augustine.

The 46-cent La Florida Forever stamps are produced in four designs. They are good for mailing 1-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future regardless of price changes and are available for purchase at local Post Offices, online at usps.com/stamps or by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724).

"From the moment Ponce de Leon arrived on these shores, Florida has been a destination for dreamers," said U.S. Postal Service Southern Area Operations Vice President Jo Ann Feindt in dedicating the stamps. "This state occupies a special place in the American imagination, and so these stamps give people another way to share the wonders of Florida."

"Being a fifth-generation Floridian who has visited every part of the state and even seen it from space, I can tell you it's unmatched in its beauty and diverse heritage," said U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. "It's fitting the U.S. Postal Service is creating a stamp to commemorate the 500 years of history since Ponce de Leon."

Joining Feindt in dedicating the new stamps were U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and St. Augustine Mayor Joseph L. Boles. Also participating were Florida Department of State Secretary Ken Detzner; Flagler College President Dr. William T. Abare; and actor Chad Light, who portrays Juan Ponce de Leon for the State of Florida.

To create the La Florida stamps, artist Steve Buchanan of Winsted, CT, evoked a tropical feel, with bouquets of flowers native to the state. He chose flowers of different sizes and colors for distinction but harmonized as a group, much like a garden. He drew and painted the flowers using Photoshop. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp pane, choosing an illustration of explorers to highlight the celebration of the first Spanish explorations of Florida.

Known today for its towering palm trees, flourishing orange groves and opulent displays of flowers, the state earns the name — La Florida — given by the Spanish in 1513.

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