WASHINGTON (AP) -- Just as the post office was hoping to promote going green, it finds itself red-faced.
It turns out that a first-class stamp featuring the Statue of Liberty is based on a photo of a Las Vegas replica of the statue.
Postal Service spokesman Roy Betts said 3 billion stamps have been printed and they won't be pulled from the market. The 44-cent forever stamp has been on sale in coils since December and is to be released in booklet form.
The actual Statue of Liberty has appeared on more than 20 stamps previously, Betts said.
The mistake, first reported by Linn's Stamp News, comes to light just as the Postal Service is issuing a new set of stamps urging protection of the environment by going green. Those stamps promote actions such as composting, saving water, recycling and planting trees.
In its news release in December announcing the stamp, the Postal Service said the Statue of Liberty was shown in a close-up photograph of her head and crown.
Post office press materials referring to the stamp have now been changed to say: "Raimund Linke's close-up photograph of the Lady Liberty replica at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada appears on the stamp art. The original Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor."
Linn's, a weekly magazine for stamp collectors, noted that the stamp shows a rectangular patch on the crown of the statue. But the patch doesn't appear on the actual statue.
In addition, the magazine said, the eyes, eyelids and eyebrows on the replica appeared more sharply defined than on the original statue and the hair was different.
Postal Service: http://www.usps.com and http://www.usps.com/green
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)