This is one of the stamps Dr. Frederick “Ted” Bayer painted for a coral reef series from the country of Haiti. Dr. Bayer passed away earlier this week. This stamp is part of his legacy.
The image depicts the deep-sea scleractinian cup coral Stephanocyathus diadema, one of the most ornate and beautiful cup coral skeletons. The skeletons are small. Most specimens could fit easily in the palm of your hand. Stephanocyathus is known from 220-2553 m, S. diadema from 795-2553 m, so it is the deepest in its genus of 14 spp. (S. Cairns, NMNH, pers. comm.).
It’s remarkable that Dr. Bayer put a deep-sea coral onto a postage stamp in the Haitian 60’s. This would be the only time that many people would ever see an image of a deep-sea cup coral on a stamp, or anywhere else for that matter … except for now, … of course. You think it’s worth more than “1.5 gourdes” these days?