USPS accidentally issues Vegas Statue of Liberty stamp

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How fantastically hyperreal: Turns out the United States Postal Service's brand new Statue of Liberty stamp, seen below, accidentally features an illustration of the Lady Liberty replica at Las Vegas's New York-New York casino as opposed to the real statue in New York Harbor. A philatelist and fan of the NYC statue noticed the error and informed Linn's Stamp News. They investigated and published the above comparative photos, with the replica at top left. From the New York Times:
 Images 2011 04 15 Us Stamp Stamp-Popup “We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway,” said Roy Betts, a spokesman (for the USPS). Mr. Betts did say, however, that the post office regrets the error and is “re-examining our processes to prevent this situation from happening in the future.”

The service selected the image from a photography service, and issued rolls of the stamp bearing the image in December. This month, it issued a sheet of 18 Lady Liberty and flag stamps. Information accompanying the original release of the stamp included a bit of history on the real Statue of Liberty. Las Vegas was never mentioned. The whole mess was exposed by the stamp magazine, which this week ran photographs of both statues.

To the average tourist, there are obvious differences. The Las Vegas statue is half the size of the real Statue of Liberty. And of course, they are in different cities. But it takes a real student of Lady Liberty to notice the contrasts in a stamp-size photo of her head. The hair is different. The replica’s eyes are much more sharply defined. A rectangular patch – a plaque, maybe? – is on the replica’s center spike.

"This Lady Liberty Is a Las Vegas Teenager" (NYT, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

"Statue of Liberty on U.S. stamp is a replica standing outside Las Vegas hotel and casino" (Linn's Stamp News)



  1. This is the kind of meta-mistake that makes me bend over and salute my stars-and-stripes boxer shorts.

  2. somebody at USPS not doing their homework…but kudos to the replica fabricators for fidelity…

  3. They “would have selected this photograph anyway” if they knew it wasn’t the actual statue?


    Plus, the stamp photo looks like she’s about to faint from boredom.

  4. The biggest difference between the two statues is that the Vegas one is a single mom with two kids and has a really bad boob job.

  5. Well, for me the giveaway was the observation deck windows in her crown. On the Vegas version, they are obviously just painted on.

  6. Haha, “Google (Images) Search Term: Lady Of Liberty”… 2, fourth photo. Good to see the USPS staff are efficient

  7. Wow. This is a great example of how we stop looking closely at familiar objects because we think we already know what they look like. Here is a more direct comparison image of the Vegas Liberty stamp and real Liberty side by side.

    Aside from the differences already mentioned, from a sculpting perspective, the Vegas statue has a squatter, flattened face with less defined bone structure and shallower eyesocket/brow area. The nose shape is blunter and the details of the upper eyelid and brows are sharper, but at a quick glance, I can understand how all that might not be noticed.

  8. i don’t get the brouhaha. i didn’t think the stamp was supposed to be a photoreal representation anyway. i thought it was, you know, an artist’s take on it.

  9. i think this is more appropriate. the old stature of liberty represents the american dream, upward mobility, freedom, all that obsolete constitutional crap. the vegas one represents reckless fiscal policy, decadence, greed, etc. when u think of it that way, which one is more applicable, really.

  10. All these undocumented aliens look alike to me.
    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  11. The replica is on the RIGHT. You have it wrong in the article. The one on the left is the real one the one on the right is the Vegas baby!

    be well; peace…dan

  12. Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  13. Give me your chips,
    your quarters,
    Your huddled masses yearning to eat free (at our 24 hour buffet!)

    1. Yeah, the Statue of Theocracy has some subtle differences even government employees could spot… Further, every time I drive by that abomination, I wonder, “wouldn’t it make more sense to demand, ‘America return to Great Eagle Spirit’ or some such?”

    1. The Boy Scouts distributed over 200 replicas of the Statue of Liberty to celebrate their fortieth anniversary in 1950 (that’s one of them that you linked to). Here’s a site that tracks the location of many of them, with pictures.

  14. I heard today that one of the biggest stamp mistakes ever was in 2000 when the post office issued a stamp of the Grand Canyon, with a caption that stated “Colorado.”. That one was recalled and destroyed. This one… Is just funny. Luck, be a lady of liberty tonight!

  15. Boy, either the air in Vegas is much cleaner than NYC, or the clean the surface of the replica regularly.

  16. “Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the ‘good life,’ whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.”
    — Hunter S. Thompson

  17. The Supreme Court ruled shortly after the millennium that lascivious drawings of children could constitute child pornography. Moral: For images of sufficien emotive power, origin is irrelevent. Consequence: Whether original, nouveau, or even entirely CG, if attractive and moving, any image of Lady Liberty is appropriate.

  18. It’s been claimed that the NYC statue’s face was modeled after Bartholdi’s mother. The Vegas version looks 20 years younger.

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