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5¢ Red Tulips

First Day of Issue Date: July 18, 2024

First Day of Issue Location: Berkeley, CA

About This Stamp

Bold, bright, and beautiful, tulips are a standout in any garden. Their bulbs are planted in the fall and the flowers burst through the ground in spring, providing a welcome shock of color to mark the end of winter. The U.S. Postal Service features classic red tulips on this five-cent definitive stamp. It is being offered in panes of 20 and coils of 10,000.

This stamp features five red tulip blossoms on a yellow-toned cream background. To create the image, photographer Harold Davis backlit the arrangement of flowers on a light box and combined multiple photographic exposures, resulting in a luminous, transparent look. He also scanned a sheet of aged paper and in post-production added the scan as a background to the floral image. The flowers were grown in his backyard in Berkeley, California.

Tulips are made up of six tepals, which come in two whorls of three petals and three sepals. The petals form a distinct cup or bell shape. While tulips are perennials and the bulbs can be left in the ground all year, it’s common to remove the bulbs after they bloom and store them in a cool place for the hot summer months before returning them to the ground in the fall. The bulbs should be planted around six inches deep.

Tulips come in nearly every color except blue. Red tulips are said to signify love, making them a popular flower on holidays and for gifts.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp with an existing image by Harold Davis.

Stamp Art Director, Stamp Designer

Ethel Kessler

Ethel Kessler is an award-winning designer and art director who has worked with corporations, museums, public and private institutions, professional service organizations, and now, the United States Postal Service.  

After earning a B.F.A. in visual communications from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Kessler worked as a graphic designer and project manager for the exhibits division of the United States Information Agency. Her work was distributed internationally on subjects such as Immigration, Entrepreneurship, Renovation of American Cities, and the Bicentennial of 1976. She was also responsible for exhibits in Morocco, Botswana, and El Salvador. 

In 1981, she established Kessler Design, Inc., for which she is creative director and designer. Clients have included the Clinton Government reorganization, the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic Television, the National Park Service, and the American Institute of Architects.

She has been an art director for the U.S. Postal Service’s stamp development program for more than 25 years. As an art director for USPS, Kessler has been responsible for creating more than 500 stamp designs, including the Breast Cancer Research stamp illustrated by Whitney Sherman. Issued in 1998, the stamp is still on sale and has raised more $98 million for breast cancer research. Other Kessler projects include the popular and highly regarded Nature of America 120 stamp series, a collaboration with nationally acclaimed nature illustrator John Dawson, the 12-year Lunar New Year series with Kam Mak, the American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes 10 stamps issued in 2003, a 2016 pane of stamps celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and the 2023 stamp honoring Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And many, many others. 

Existing Photograph By

Harold Davis

Harold Davis is an internationally known digital artist and award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of several bestselling photography books, including Creative Garden PhotographyThe Photographer's Black & White Handbook, and Photographing Flowers. Discovering his love for photography at an early age, Davis later studied figurative and abstract painting at the Art Students League, Bennington College, and elsewhere. After graduating from Rutgers Law School, he opened a photography studio in New York City and exhibited his work widely. Supporting himself largely with commercial photography assignments, Davis found himself crossing the Brooks Range in Northern Alaska on foot, documenting the environmental disaster at Love Canal, and capturing the view above the World Trade Center by hanging out the door of a helicopter by a strap. During the 1980s, Davis was the creator of a line of bestselling fine-art graphics and was founder and chief photographer of the Wilderness Studio line of greeting cards and posters. After embarking on a career in the technology industry in the early 1990s, Davis returned to photography and painting in 2004. Combining innovative digital painting and digital photography techniques, many of them of his own invention, he now experiments with cutting-edge photographic technologies to create work that also evokes historic artistic traditions, including Impressionist painting, Asian art, and aspects of surrealism. When not traveling in search of photographic adventures or leading photography workshops, Davis can be found at home in his flower garden in Berkeley, California, with his wife Phyllis and their four children. Two existing photographs by Davis appeared on stamps issued in 2022: the Tulips Forever® stamp and the Sunflower Bouquet two-ounce stamp. In 2024, five stamps will feature existing photos by Davis: 1¢ Fringed Tulip, Daffodils, Peonies, Red Tulips, and 10¢ Poppies and Coneflowers.

First Day of Issue Ceremony

First Day of Issue Date: July 18, 2024
First Day of Issue Location: Berkeley, CA