The new solar eclipse stamp that can change its image when touched should be a hit with both collectors and those who want something different on the mail, aficionados say.
“You can call it a gimmick, but that’s called marketing,” said John Owen of Forest Acres, president of the Columbia Philatelic Society. “It’s very innovative.”
The stamp is being released for one of the year’s biggest events. At 2:41 p.m. Aug. 21, there will be a coast-to-coast total eclipse beginning in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.
Columbia will get 2 minutes and 36 seconds of darkness – more than any other S.C. city, and the longest total eclipse for a metro area on the East Coast.
With the new stamp, heat from a finger can change the image from a totally black sun at the height of the eclipse into an image of the moon, officials say.
Copies of the stamp, the first of its kind in the United States, will be available Tuesday.
Postal officials are using technology developed overseas in which ink overlays change color with heat and light, Owen said.
The stamp reverts to the original image after it cools, officials said.
A map of the eclipse path across the nation will be on the back of the stamp.
The stamp is one of a series of mementos for the eclipse. Prints, T-shirts, earrings and other items related to the event already are steady sellers at the S.C. State Museum, spokesman Jared Glover said.
Postal officials and Owen’s club are joining forces to sell stamps and promote collection as a hobby during a celebration at the museum taking place the weekend before the Aug. 21 eclipse.
The glasses necessary to view the eclipse safely likely will join other mementos, some officials said.
“I can see those glasses doubling as a souvenir,” said Andrea Mensink, spokeswoman for Experience Columbia SC, a local tourism bureau.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483