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US to issue Star Wars stamps

The Force is strong in this one

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The US is to issue stamps marking three decades of Star Wars films.

Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Yoda are among the set of 15 characters featuring in a set of Star Wars-themed stamps. All 15 stamps, each costing 41 cents, go on sale from 25 May, shortly after the US postage rate is increased to 41 cents.

The US Postal Service launched the stamps at an event this week in Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, where the first Star Wars movie opened nearly 30 years ago.

A first-day-of-issue ceremony marking the launch of the stamps will be held on Friday 25 May at Star Wars Celebration IV, the biggest Star Wars event in the galaxy, at the Los Angeles Convention Centre.

The stamps will also be issued as a stamp sheet (picture here), with members of the public asked to vote for their favourite. The victor of an online poll will be issued as a separate stamp this summer.

US Postal Service bosses reckon the success of the stamps might eclipse the success of Elvis-themed stamps, issued in 1973, the most successful novelty stamp issue to date. "Because of the movies' popularity, we believe these stamps have the potential of reaching the blockbuster status of the Elvis stamp, a milestone only the Force could attempt to surpass," said David Failor, executive director of stamp services at the US Postal Service.

The stamps represent the latest Star Wars and US Postal Service collaboration. Earlier this month, 400 postboxes were decorated to look like R2-D2. The postal service is also offering customers the chance of entering a sweepstake by solving six different challenges about postal service products and services featuring a Star Wars theme. The winner earns an all expenses paid trip for four to the Star Wars convention in LA in May. ®

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