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Postal Service seeking living stamp nominees

Who would you put on a stamp? Charlie Sheen? Lady Gaga? Yourself?

Hoping to boost sagging revenue, the U.S. Postal Service on Monday abandoned its long-standing rule that stamps cannot feature people who are still alive and is asking the public for suggestions.

It's a first that means living sports stars, writers, artists and other prominent -- or not-so-prominent -- people could take their places in postal history next to the likes of George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Marilyn Monroe.

"This change will enable us to pay tribute to individuals for their achievements while they are still alive to enjoy the honor," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

But it seems to be at least as much about money as admiration.

For years, the post office has been facing severe financial problems due to the growing use of email. A burst of interest in stamp design and collecting -- which the Postal Service is seeking to promote partly through social media -- could bring in new dollars, since stamps that are collected rather than used for postage provide added revenue.

Poking fun at the Postal Service's money woes, comedian Stephen Colbert has been pushing to become the first living person depicted on a government-issued stamp. His Comedy Central website proposes a "Farewell to Postage" stamp with a photo of him holding up a smartphone that shows an email telling the Postal Service "See Ya!"

Judging by initial public reaction in interviews Monday, Colbert faces competition.

Cyndi Scarlett, 54, of Alexandria, Va., who works in humanitarian development, touted her choice of Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs to be the first living person on a stamp.

Elizabeth Saunders, 38, a former educator who lives in Washington, said she believes first lady Michelle Obama deserves the honor.

Justin Pierce, 29, a consultant from Arlington, Va., had a TV personality in mind for the first stamp: actor Charlie Sheen, who was fired from the show "Two and a Half Men" last season. "He's an American icon," Pierce said.

Since Jan. 1, 2007, the Postal Service has required that a person be deceased five years before appearing on a stamp. Before that, the rule was 10 years.

The post office is inviting suggestions for new stamps through Facebook, Twitter, a Postal Service website and by mail to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Development, Room 3300, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, D.C. 20260-3501.

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