It’s not every day that a new Elvis Presley stamp comes out, and the Toast Post Office will make the most of the occasion Wednesday when a commemorative stamp dedicated to “the king” is released.
The new stamps will go on sale Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the facility on N.C. 89 in the Food Lion shopping center. The office is closed for lunch from 1 to 2 p.m., and stays open until 4 p.m. after that.
“We will also be serving refreshments that day as well,” longtime Toast Postmaster John Palmer announced regarding Wednesday’s event at that location.
It is the only post office in Surry County which will be celebrating the stamp release in such a way, Palmer said, and also will offer a new CD for sale featuring Elvis’ greatest hits along with some previously unrecorded material.
Visual displays might also be part of the event, with Elvis impersonators possibly dropping by as well.
Activities at the Toast Post Office will coincide with Wednesday’s official dedication of the new Elvis Presley Commemorative Forever stamp at Graceland, the Presley home in Memphis, Tennessee. It will be attended by his ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, as part of Elvis Week at Graceland, where fans are expected to line up to buy the stamps.
Although the music icon died 38 years ago this month, the admiration for Elvis Presley among the common man is undying — which has coincided with tremendous public anticipation over the new stamp locally.
“I can’t begin to tell you how many fans have asked for Elvis stamps,” the Toast postmaster said. “I’ve been there since ‘98, and ever since then every year, multiple times you have customers coming up to the counter asking, ‘how can I get an Elvis Presley stamp?’”
Only one other U.S. postal stamp has been issued in honor of Presley, which occurred 22 years ago and sold for 29 cents each. The new issue bears a 1955 black-and-white portrait of a young Elvis, a photo taken by William Speer.
With recent news and word-of mouth reports about the upcoming release creating a buzz among both stamp collectors and Elvis fans, the Toast Post Office has stockpiled its supplies in anticipation of Wednesday’s opening day of sales.
Palmer said more than 400 sheets of the new stamps will be available there. “I think we’ll be fine for several days,” he added of the anticipated demand.
Panes containing 16 Elvis forever stamps with selvage (a border area) will be sold for $7.84 each, along with the CD for $9.99. It is to be available in limited quantities at select locations, including the Toast Post Office, and online along with other Presley products.
“Even if they don’t use them,” the postmaster said of the Elvis stamps, “so many people want to get their hands on them because there is such a love of his music.”
Releases of commemorative stamps rarely draw such interest, according to Palmer, who recalls that those dedicated to comics characters, baseball and movie legends James Dean and Humphrey Bogart have been among the more popular issuances of recent years.
But the staying power of Elvis Presley occupies a unique place in American pop culture, the Toast postmaster agrees.
“Well, you know they call him the king of rock and roll,” he said.
“Just his name carries weight.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.