What does it take to transform an ordinary postage stamp into a Disney Villains Forever Stamp?

Mummy's Dust
Black of Night
Old Hag's Cackle
Scream of Fright
A Blast of Winds
A Thunderbolt

Now begin thy magic spell.

Not that complicated but perhaps just as painstakingly detailed are the new United States Postal Service Forever Stamps featuring some of the beloved Disney villains.

The Postal Service took the wraps off their newest collectible stamps on July 15th at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. The sheet of 20 Forever Stamps celebrates the rich legacy of the Walt Disney Studio's Ink and Paint Department by featuring some of the classic Disney villains to ever stir up trouble on the animated motion picture screen.

The 10 villains featured on the postage stamps are: Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Honest John from Pinocchio, Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, the Queen from Snow White, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast and Scar from The Lion King. The characters are featured on a sheet of 20 stamps against a blue backdrop and sell for $9.90 per sheet.

Postmaster General Megan Brennan joined Disney officials in dedicating the stamps at the expo adding that the new stamps highlight “the pioneering spirit of the Ink and Paint Department that brought many of these characters to life.” Brennan noted that “these Forever Stamps are our way of saying Disney villains will forever entertain us and serve as a tribute to Disney's artistry and storytelling skill.”

“You heard about Disney's famed vault. Well, Disney went into the vault to create these stamps, digitizing the original animation drawings exclusively for the Postal Service,” Brennan told those gathered at the D23 Expo ceremony. The Post Master added that “given each drawing originally showed the character in motion, Disney re-drew some of the poses to generate a crisper image for the stamp.” Brennan touted that the result of this process resulted in a unique set of new images created exclusively for the Forever series.

The stamps were created by Postal Service art director Derry Noyes working closely with Disney Creative Director David Pacheco and the Disney Studio's Ink and Paint Department.

“The villains get the best roles,” Brennan declared to a captive audience. “They steal every scene. After all who can take their eyes off Cruella De Vil or the vain Evil Queen in Snow White or Captain Hook. They are so devious that you have to pay attention to their every move,” Brennan proclaimed.

The villains are the first Disney bad guys to get their own postage symbol but not the first Mouse House characters to be honored by USPS. Not a character but the “Old Maestro” himself was the first to grace a postal stamp. Walt Disney appeared in September 1968 on a six-cent stamp honoring his contributions to America and the world. First Day ceremonies were held in Marceline, Missouri, Walt's boyhood home that he fondly held close to his heart. It would be 36 years before another U.S. postage stamp would honor the contributions of Disney.

On June 23rd, 2004, the Postal Service released The Art of Disney – Friendship series, a sheet of 20 self-adhesive stamps featuring Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Simba and Pinocchio and their friends. At that time, Post Master General John Potter noted that the stamps “captured the spirit of friendship as it appears in the art, the imagination and the creative tradition of Walt Disney.” A year later on June 30th 20 stamps were issued entitled The Art of Disney – Celebration featuring Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Alice in Wonderland, Ariel and Snow White. The second set featured some of Disney's most beloved characters enjoying festive activities.

April 21st, 2006 featured Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Lady and the Tramp and Belle and the Beast in the Postal Service's The Art of Disney – Romance collection. The following year the cellophane was taken off The Art of Disney – Magic set on August 16th, 2007 featuring Dumbo and Timothy Mouse, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, Aladdin and Genie and Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice. The collectible stamps continued in 2008 with The Art of Disney – Imagination showcasing Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie, Princess Aurora and the good fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, Pongo and one of his pups and Mowgli and Baloo.

Mary Walsh, managing director, Animation Research, Walt Disney Animation Studios hoped that the Disney villain series “will generate the same sense of fun and enchantment for the collector that our Disney films have been providing audiences for over 90 years.” If the rush to the USPS kiosk outside the expo floor after the presentation was any indication of interest, the stamps most certainly will be highly collected and treasured.

If you want to go the more collectible route, consider framed artwork featuring the sheet of ten villains mounted against a background image of one of the villains. Each framed piece is 12” by 15” and features a quote from the Disney villain and First Day of Issue details. Each retails for $29.95. Also for your collectible consideration is a Disney Digital Color Postmark First Day Cover. The item includes ten unique digital color postmarks each featuring a villain's sidekick to pair with its coordinating Disney Villain stamp, as well as stamp title, and the date and location of the stamp issuance. Act fast though these items are available for a limited time.

So as you wait patiently in line at your local United States Post Office, don't be surprised if you see some the Disney Villains staring at you. The stamps are available at post offices nationwide and commemorative products can be obtained online at usps.com/shop. If you don't see them on display you may have to ask the clerk behind the counter for the stamps.