Coastal breezes gently bend sea oats while palmettos stand erect against a gray sky on the South Carolina Statehood stamp - the first commemorative issued with the new first-class postage rate.

Three palmettos are featured on the new South Carolina adhesive. Sea grass sways at the foot of the trees. The palmetto is South Carolina's state tree. State trees are prominent in the design of two previous statehood issues - Georgia and Michigan.South Carolina was the eighth state to ratify the Constitution. The stamp shows the state's ratification date - May 23, 1788. "South Carolina" appears at the bottom of the stamp. "25" and "USA" are in two lines in the upper right corner.

First-day cancellations are available in the two usual methods.

You may purchase the stamp at your local post office and affix it to your own envelope. Send to: Customer-Affixed Envelopes, South Carolina Statehood Stamp, Postmaster, Columbia, SC 29201-9991. Your request may be postmarked no later than June 22. No remittance is required.

If you prefer to have the USPS affix the stamps, enclose a money order for 25 cents per stamp and send to: South Carolina Statehood Stamp, Postmaster, Columbia, SC 29201-9992. Deadline is June 22.

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The 25-cent "Flag over Yosemite" stamp, a coil stamp, is now ready for release. Featured is the U.S. flag, a dense forest of ponderosa pine and the famed Half Dome, Yosemite's striking example of glacier-carved granite. "USA" and "25" appear in the lower right corner. "Yosemite" is printed along the bottom left of the stamp.

Here is how the get your first-day cancellation:

Collectors wishing to affix their own stamps to envelopes may buy the stamps at their local post offices, place them on their envelopes, and send to: Customer-Affixed Envelopes, Flag over Yosemite Stamps, Postmaster, Yosemite, CA 95389-9991. Envelopes must be postmarked by June 20.

To have the Postal Service affix the stamps, enclose a money order or personal check for 25 cents per stamp and send to: Flag over Yosemite Stamps, Postmaster, Yosemite, CA 95389-9992. The deadline is June 20.

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Stamp collectors may want to plan a vacation with a special visit to Washington, D.C., in November 1989.

At that time, "World Stamp Expo `89," the first stamp show ever hosted by the U.S. Postal Service, will take place at the Washington Convention Center.

The exhibit will open Friday, Nov. 17, and will close Monday evening, Nov. 20. It will reopen Friday, Nov. 24, and will remain open until Sunday evening, Dec. 3. Hours for the entire show will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Expo will be divided into four segments - Mail Delivery of the Past, Mail Delivery of the Future, Postal Stationery and Junior Fiesta.

The exhibition will be held in conjunction with the 20th Congress of the Universal Postal Union. Delegates from some 200 nations and territories have been invited to attend. The last time the UPU met in the United States was in 1897, when 55 nations were represented.

If you wish further information about this event, write to: World Stamp Expo `89, Box 1989, Homewood, IL 60430-8989 USA.

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Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, marks its 40th year of independence with the issuance of a new 75-cent stamp and an 8.50-rupee adhesive.

The Portugese were the first Europeans to colonize parts of the island in 1505. They were followed by the Dutch in 1656 and the British in 1796. British rule came to an end in 1948 when Sri Lanka became an independent member of the British Commonwealth.

The 75-cent stamp shows a group carrying the national flag. A map of the country is in the background. The 8.50-rupee shows a lion carrying a sword. The map of the country is in the background with the numeral "40" seen prominently.