The history of the USPS Love stamp
USPS issued the first Love stamp 50 years ago. Since then, it has become one of the service’s longest-standing and most beloved traditions.
In the half century since Indiana’s stamp, the USPS has produced more than 70 Love stamps, creating a canon of usable pop art that’s adorned decades’ worth of wedding invitations and love notes. New Love stamps have been issued annually since 2004, and many have become cultural hallmarks of their own. When Kent died in 1986, obituaries mentioned her stamp at the top, and today the USPS sells merchandise like shirts and cushions depicting popular past designs. “There’s a need for the Love stamps, a purpose for them,” Gicker says.
Technology has reduced our reliance on physical mail for communicating—the volume of first-class mail sent in the U.S. has fallen from a high of 103,656 pieces in 2001 to 50,695 pieces in 2021. But research has shown that sending and getting mail can be good for people. Studies have found that sending letters of gratitude can increase happiness and life satisfaction, and research from the USPS in the first months of the pandemic found that 65% of U.S. adults said receiving mail lifts their spirits. Sending a little love can go a long way, it turns out.