Arago: Flora & Fauna Issue (1988-2001)

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Flora & Fauna Issue (1988-2001)
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Flora & Fauna, depicting the animal and plant life characteristic of the United States, was originally announced as a “Wildlife” series intended to replace the Great Americans series. The 2-dollar multicolor Bobcat stamp was the first of the series, issued on June 1, 1990. When the USPS issued a coil version of the 2-cent multicolored Red-Headed Woodpecker on June 22, 1999, they identified its series as "Flora and Fauna." This was the first time this term had been used by the Postal Service.

The series comprised thirty-six face-different stamps, equally depicting flora and fauna subjects. Flora subjects pictured flowers, berries, fruit, and even included a pine cone. The majority of fauna stamps depicted birds, but in addition to the Bobcat, also featured a fawn, squirrel, honeybee, fox, and sunfish. The Tulip sheet and coil stamps were produced with the transitional 'F' denomination as well as the rate changed 29-cent version.

In 1991, the USPS depicted all values less than ten cents with a leading zero and no cents (¢) sign. The 1-cent American Kestrel had its value preceded by a zero, being express as '01' rather than simply '1'. The 3-cent Eastern Bluebird stamp also had its value expressed in this manner. In 1995 that decision was reversed, and values less than ten cents once again included a cents sign. Both the American Kestrel and Eastern Bluebird stamps were reissued with the designs bearing 1-cent and 3-cent respectively.

Flora and Fauna stamps were designed and printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and several private security printers. Most of the stamps were produced by photogravure, some by lithography, and two by a combined lithography and engraved process. Various designs were produced as sheet, booklet, or coil stamps. The formats were made as perforated with water activated gum or with straight or serpentine die cuts and self-adhesive gum. Booklet stamps of the latter were issued single and double sided. The four berry stamps (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries) and the two apple and orange stamps were available as side by side (se-tenant) booklets and coils.

The lack of cohesive stamp design, issued over an eleven-year period, and the contemporaneous issuance of other non-series definitive stamps led to the introduction of a new definitive series in 2000, the Distinguished Americans.