Mo. card-maker recognized on postage stamp

Sunday, May 9, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The newest U.S. mail stamp features the work of a Missouri card-maker.

The stamp features a watercolor painting of a white woven basket with purple pansies and is the best-selling and longest-running card sold by Hallmark Co. The Jefferson City News Tribune reported that the painting will be one of the Postal Service's 2010 love stamps.

Before it was a stamp, the painting was used for a famous Mother's Day and thinking-of-you card. Painted in Kansas City, Mo., more than 70 years ago by Dorothy Maienschein, the "pansy card" is the company's best-selling and longest-running card. It was first sold in 1939.

Since Hallmark began tracking sales of the card in 1942, roughly 30 million have been sold. The greeting card originally sold for 5 cents and now costs 99 cents.

It ended up on a stamp because the U.S. Postal Service allowed Kansas City-based Hallmark to pick one of their cards for the love stamp.

Kristin Maienschein Boyer said she knew even as a child that her grandmother could draw anything.

"I was just so excited, and I immediately wished of course that she, and my dad, too, could have been here to enjoy that," Boyer said. "She couldn't have imagined that this little card could have touched so many people and become their most popular card."

Boyer said her grandmother's inspiration for the watercolor painting was from a basket of flowers someone brought to her when she worked at Hallmark in the 1930s. The light purple pansies are pictured in green foliage.

Maienschein worked for Hallmark for about four decades before retiring in the late 1970s. Maienschein died in 1981, when Boyer was 9.

"She just went to work every day and she loved Hallmark. She loved drawing," Boyer said.

The stamp featuring the greeting card was unveiled during a ceremony in Kansas City.

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