The United States Postal Service took a major financial hit when it released a series of commemorative postage stamps celebrating the 20th anniversary of “The Simpsons” four years ago.
But the USPS isn’t giving up on offering up fan-friendly characters as stamps alongside its usual assortment of flowers, landmarks and the American flag.
The USPS will release 20 Forever stamps featuring characters and scenes from the “Harry Potter” films, produced by Warner Bros., on Nov. 19.
It’s a potentially risky move after the USPS lost $1.2 million when it sold just 318 million of the 1 billion “Simpsons” stamps it printed in 2009.
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But the USPS shows that it has learned from “The Simpsons,” printing just five million of the limited-edition Potter postage.
The five-page stamp booklets will feature Harry Potter playing Quidditch on the front cover, with the young wizard on the back page in class. An illustration of Hogwarts covers two pages. The first stamp can be viewed above. The 19 other stamps will be revealed Nov. 19.
In the books and films, Harry Potter’s life changed with a letter, so Warner Bros. saw the stamps as a fitting tribute to commemorate the world created by J.K. Rowling and brought to life in the movies, according to Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Other countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Australia have also released Harry Potter stamps.
And the USPS has successfully sold postage featuring Disney characters. In 2011, it helped celebrate Pixar’s 25th anniversary with postage featuring characters from “Wall-E,” “Cars,” “Up,” “Toy Story” and “Ratatouille.” A second series was released a year later around “A Bug’s Life,” “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story 2,” and “Monsters, Inc.”
The USPS began loosening up who could appear on its stamps in 2011, with only individuals who had been deceased for at least five years eligible to appear on postage before that. That year, it began considering stamps for musicians, sports stars, writers, artists and other notable figures.
The org sees stamps like the ones for Harry Potter as a way to get kids interested in the postal service.
The USPS gave Kathie Lee and Hoda the first look at the stamps during the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” show (see below).