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Harry Potter Is Not Casting a Spell on Stamp Collectors

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Muggles may not be able to have their Christmas cards delivered by owls, but the new Harry Potter stamps from the U.S. Postal Service are a close second.

The United States Post Office recently began offering Forever Stamps emblazoned with the faces of Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest of the cast of the Harry Potter films. There are 20 different stamps in the new collection, meaning that Potter fans will have plenty of choices when it comes to deciding whether friends should get Slytherin or Hufflepuff stamps on their greeting cards. You can even send Grandma a thank you card with a Lord Voldemort stamp on it if her present warrants such treatment.

Not everyone is as happy as we are about the Potter stamps, though. “Harry Potter is not American,” John Hotchner, a former president of the American Philatelic Society, told the Washington Post. Hotchner served on the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, which advises the Postal Service on new stamp designs, until 2010.

When choosing Harry Potter to decorate stamps, the Postal Service bypassed the usual channels, rankling the Committee’s members not only with Potter’s British origins, but with its mass market appeal. “It’s foreign, and it’s so blatantly commercial it’s off the charts, Hotchner told the Post. “The Postal Service knows what will sell, but that’s not what stamps ought to be about. Things that don’t sell so well are part of the American story. Apparently philatelists are classicists at heart.

But after years of declining revenue as email takes the place of letters, the USPS needs to change its focus toward stamps that are more commercial, Postmaster General Patrick R. Don ahoe told the Post. The cash-strapped agency hopes Harry Potter can perform a little magic for their bottom line, especially if Harry and his crew give Elvis Presley a run for the title of top seller. Elvis currently holds the record, having sold over 700 million stamps.

RELATED: Click Here to See the Cast of Harry Potter in 2001

Daniel Radcliffe
Evan Agostini/Getty