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This image provided by the U.S. Postal service shows a new postage stamp commemorating Nevada's 150th birthday, unveiled Thursday May 29, 2014 in Las Vegas. The design is an oil painting of Fire Canyon, which is part of Valley of Fire State Park in southern Nevada. Reno artist Ron Spears painted the landscape. (AP Photo/US Postal Service)
Stamp celebrating Nevada’s 150th unveiled
First Published May 29 2014 07:25 pm • Last Updated Jun 03 2014 05:40 pm

Las Vegas » A new postage stamp commemorating Nevada’s 150th anniversary features the coppery red sandstone formations of Valley of Fire, the state’s first state park.

Dignitaries including Gov. Brian Sandoval and U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller met Thursday to pull the curtain off the stamp design, an oil painting by Reno artist Ron Spears. The "forever" stamps will be available Friday at post offices nationwide for 49 cents apiece; they will be effective even after future price increases.

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"One of the things, among many, that I’m most proud of is the majesty of our state," Sandoval said at the ceremony, which was held at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas. "I don’t know how anybody was able to capture that majesty like you have, Mr. Spears, and thank you very much for doing that for us."

Spears is the lead artist for slot machine manufacturer International Game Technology and has illustrated dozens of video games. He sketched landscapes throughout the state before postal officials narrowed the field to the colorful Valley of Fire in southern Nevada.

Spears staked out the formation at sunrise in the fall to capture the scene.

"I wanted to be at Fire Canyon when the sun broke over the horizon," he said. "It only lasts a few moments, but seeing the rocks come to life as the morning sun hits them is definitely worth getting up for."

The stamp ceremony is one of some 300 special events surrounding Nevada’s birthday on Oct. 31. As part of the festivities, officials have released a series of limited-edition silver statehood medallions, designed an anniversary license plate and baked a massive Nevada-shaped birthday cake. They also are raffling off a commemorative motorcycle.

"It’s a feel-good time," said Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, chairman of the sesquicentennial committee. "People are in a good mood."

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