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New stamp features 'upbeat' Reagan

Feb. 10, 2011 at 12:22 PM

PLANO, Texas, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A Texas artist designing the commemorative stamp for President Ronald Reagan's centennial birthday says he went for an "upbeat" look for the former president.

"He's a very upbeat guy," Bart Forbes of Plano said. "When he had his guard down, he always seemed to be smiling."

Forbes, 70, who has 20 stamp designs to his credit, used a number of photos supplied by former first lady Nancy Reagan to start sketching out the design for the stamp that went on sale Thursday, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The final design features a smiling Reagan set against the landscape of his beloved Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, Calif.

"He loved his California ranch so much that it seemed like an appropriate symbol," Forbes said.

"They wanted a nice contrast" from a stamp released shortly after Reagan's death, which showed him in a jacket and tie, he said.

The stamp was unveiled in December at Reagan's presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif.

Forbes said the former first lady was pleased with the stamp.

"She's very happy with the stamp," Melissa Giller, spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan Foundation, said of Nancy Reagan. "She as well as all of us here at the foundation are quite pleased and think it captures his spirit."

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