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Wait for Stamp Cut to 5 Years Post-Death

November 15, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The wait before a notable person who has died can be honored on a U.S. postage stamp is being cut to five years, half what it had been.

Postmaster General John E. Potter announced the change Wednesday at a meeting of the postal governing board.

``For more than three decades we have had a rule requiring notable Americans be deceased 10 years before they could be recognized for commemoration on a postage stamp. We created this rule to make certain their legacy stood the test of time,″ Potter said.

He said the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, which decides what subjects will appear on stamps, recommended the change to five years.

``In this era of instant communications, I think this is a reasonable suggestion and it will allow us to honor a subject’s lifetime achievements while their memory is still relatively fresh in the public’s eye,″ Potter said.

The change will take effect Jan. 1. It does not affect former presidents, who are commemorated on a stamp on their first birthday after their death.

Several political leaders have been pressing for an exception to the 10-year rule for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, who died last year.

Most of next year’s stamp subjects have already been decided, but cutting the wait to five years means the possibility of a stamp opens up for people who died in 2002, such as comedian Milton Berle, singers Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney, golfing legend Sam Snead, designer Bill Blass, sports heroes Ted Williams and Johnny Unitas, and jazz legend Lionel Hampton.

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