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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Star Wars stamps unveiled in US
The stamps were launched by Star Wars characters

Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are among the characters featured on a set of US stamps marking 30 years of the Star Wars films.

A set of 15 stamps is being issued as a poster, and members of the public will be asked to vote for their favourite.

The set will go on sale on 25 May, shortly after the basic US postage rate is raised to 41 cents (21p).

Earlier this month, 400 postboxes were decorated to look like R2-D2, the robot from the landmark sci-fi saga.

The US Postal Service (USPS) launched the stamps at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, where the first Star Wars movie was screened on 25 May 1977.

'Blockbuster status'

The winner of the public vote will be reissued later in the year on its own sheet.

USPS Stamp Services director David Failor said the stamps could be as popular as Elvis Presley stamps issued in 1993.

"We believe these stamps have the potential of reaching the blockbuster status of the Elvis stamp, a milestone only the 'Force' could attempt to surpass," he said.

More than a million people voted by mail to choose their favourite Elvis stamp 14 years ago.

According to the financial magazine Forbes, director George Lucas's Star Wars franchise has generated $20bn (10.2bn) in sales around the world, including films, videos and spin-off merchandise.

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