Las Vegas is full of secrets. And what happens there is supposed to stay there. Unless you're the United States Postal Services. See, the USPS recently issued a Statue of Liberty stamp. But instead of using the real Lady Liberty in New York, the stamp features the replica located outside Vegas's New York-New York Casino. Oops.
The New York Times explains the mix-up:
The post office, which had thought the Lady Liberty “forever” stamp featured the real thing, found out otherwise when a clever stamp collector who is also what one might call a superfan of the Statue of Liberty got suspicious and contacted Linn’s Stamp News, the essential read among philatelists.
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.
The postal service is using the old "we would have done this all along" line. Spokesman Roy Betts told the Times: “We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway.” Right.
So what exactly is the difference between the the two statues? At first, they seem trivial. But, as the Times points out, they're there:
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.
Gawker has pictures of the Vegas one:
And here's the true Lady Liberty in New York:
Still, the post office is sticking by its decision. Rather than change the picture, it's simply changing the description that accompanies the stamp. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch told the Times just what he thinks about that.
“It simply means the post office is doing a stupid thing," he said.