Post office sticks with latest flaw in Grand Canyon stamp

WASHINGTON - First, the U.S. Postal Service had to destroy 100 million Grand Canyon stamps because the caption put the natural wonder in Colorado, not Arizona.

Now that the corrected version is on sale, postal officials have admitted another glitch: The dramatic photograph on the stamp is flipped, giving a mirror image of the real view.

This time, there are no plans to recall or destroy the 60-cent air-mail stamps, Postal Service spokesman Don Smeraldi said today.

"We're sticking with it," Smeraldi said. "No matter how you look at it, the Grand Canyon makes a beautiful postage stamp."

The "corrected" stamps, part of a series highlighting American landmarks, went on sale Jan. 20. It wasn't long before a ranger at Grand Canyon National Park called postal officials to point out the mistake, Smeraldi said. The photo shows Lipan Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon under orange-hued storm clouds.

The photographer who took the picture, Tom Till of Moab, Utah, could have caught the error if he had received an advance copy of the stamp design, said Ann Carter of Till's office.

She said Till was touring the Middle East and could not be reached for comment.

In May, the Postal Service said it had destroyed all 100 million Grand Canyon stamps with the Colorado error. At the time, the trade paper Linn's Stamp News estimated that reprinting the stamps cost about $500,000.