Saturday 25 November 2017

Harry Potter and the philatelists' moan

Nick Allen, Los Angeles

His own letters arrive by owl but the character of Harry Potter is now at the centre of a row involving some of America's most influential philatelists.

The US Postal Service is releasing 100 million stamps featuring the boy wizard, his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and myriad monsters and villains created by J K Rowling.

But the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, which was set up 56 years ago and helps the postal service decide what to put on America's stamps, is outraged.

Its members recently walked out of a meeting and wrote a letter of complaint to the Postmaster General, saying they had not been consulted.

Their ire has been stirred by a number of factors, including that Harry Potter is a British rather than American creation and that the stamps feature stills from the Potter films, rather than illustrations.

Opponents of the decision to use Potter believe it is symptomatic of a move towards celebrities featuring on stamps in place of national parks and bucolic scenes. John Hotchner, former president of the American Philatelic Society and a former committee member, told the Washington Post: "Harry Potter is not American. It's foreign, and it's so blatantly commercial it's off the charts.

The Postal Service knows what will sell, but that's not what stamps ought to be about." (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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