Hot Rods Forever stamps. Above image courtesy USPS. Images below from author’s collection.
If you’re car crazy like me then you’ll collect anything and everything that has an image of an old car on it. Be it a poster, glass, pitcher, postcard or ashtray, if it’s embellished with the illustration of an automobile, I’ll buy it. Postage stamps, too.
Collecting stamps has long been a wonderful pastime. Stamps are usually inexpensive to buy, easy to find and, most importantly, don’t take up much room. Usually stamps are placed in albums for easy access, viewing and safe keeping, but if there’s a stamp – or plate block of stamps – that you greatly admire, then placing them in a frame and hanging it on the wall in your office or den makes perfect sense. Their unique designs are such that stamps make intriguing artwork that everyone can appreciate.
Like any other object that people collect, the possibilities are nearly endless. This is especially true of stamps, simply because every country in the world issues their own different stamps, and they do so every year. So if you want to start collecting automobile stamps, be advised that there are literally hundreds – if not thousands – of stamps that have been issued throughout the world with all sorts of automobiles on them. From classics and antiques, to muscle cars and hot rods, and all sorts of racing cars, the variety is practically endless.
Soon we will start showing some of the more unique automotive stamps that have been issued, but first let’s take a look at First Day of Issue envelopes.
In philately circles – that’s the term used to describe those who study and collect postage stamps – A First Day Cover is referred to as an FDC. This is nothing more than a plain white envelope, about 6.5 inches in length, with a stamp on the upper right corner that is cancelled on the exact day that the U.S. Postal Service initially placed that stamp on sale. In most cases there is also a round postal marking in the center of the envelope about the size of a quarter that registers the city and state of issue, month/day/year and a registration number on the bottom. And some sort of illustration commemorating what the stamp is all about.
These Classic Cars First Day Covers were issued back in 1988, and can still be bought today for around $3 to $5 each. The main FDCs included a green 1928 Locomobile, yellow 1929 Pierce-Arrow, red 1931 Cord , and a yellow 1935 Duesenberg. This particular FDC has the Locomobile stamp but the illustration of a 1932 Duesenberg, and the words “Hemmings Motor News” printed on the very bottom. I don’t know much about this FDC as I found it in my desk drawer when I first started at Hemmings back in 1998, but it was an official U.S. Postal issue.
The other FDCs shown here includes one from England which honors the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It was issued in 2007 and shows six significant Formula 1 cars of notable British teams. They include the 1962 BRM P57, 1957 Vanwall 2.5L., 1963 Lotus 25 Climax, 1973 Tyrrell 006/2, 1986 Williams FW11 and 1976 McLaren M23.
The Bilar FDC was issued in Stockholm, Sweden in 1997, and depicts illustrations of a Volvo Duett, ’55 Chevy Bel Air, Porsche 356, Citroen Traction Avant, Saab 96, and a Jaguar E-type.
In May 2011 the U.S. Postal Service issued this First Day of Issue to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. The stamp depicts the winner of that first race back in 1911, the Marmon Wasp.
Hot Rods were finally recognized in 2014 when this FDC was issued on June 6th. Illustrated in black with flames it was odd that a rear view of the car was chosen, but it does illustrate well what hot rods are all about.
American muscle cars are quite popular when it comes to automobile stamps, not only in the U.S. but in many other countries as well. When this 1966 Pontiac GTO stamp was issued, the FDC was post marked from Daytona Beach, February 22, 2013.
All of these First Day Covers can still be purchased from a variety of companies specializing in stamps and FDCs. Just do a Google search for First Day Covers and you’ll be amazed as to what you’ll find.