Post Office owes $3.5M for using wrong Statue of Liberty on a stamp

Enlarge / Original Statue of Liberty is on the left. Robert Davidson’s Las Vegas replica is on the right. (credit: Charles E. Rotkin/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images, George Rose/Getty Images)

A sculptor who created a replica of the Statue of Liberty for a Las Vegas casino was awarded $ 3.5 million in damages last week after the US Postal Service (USPS) accidentally used a photo of his statue—rather than a photo of the original statue in New York harbor—on one of its most common stamps.

If you bought a “forever” stamp between 2011 and 2014, there’s a good chance that it showed the face of the Statue of Liberty replica that sculptor Robert Davidson constructed for the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The Post Office licensed a photo of Davidson’s statue from the image service Getty for $ 1,500, initially believing it was a photograph of the original statue. (The license only covered the rights to Getty’s photograph of the statue—not the statue itself.)

The stamp with the resulting image was released to the public in December 2010; it took four months before anyone pointed out the mistake to the Post Office. In March 2011, a spokesperson said that the USPS “still loves the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway.” The Post Office continued using the photo for almost three years before retiring it in January 2014.

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