1987 17.5c Transportation Series: Race Car, 1911

# 2262 - 1987 17.5c Transportation Series: Race Car, 1911

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U.S. #2262
1987 17.5¢ Racing Car, 1911
Transportation Series

  • Pictures the winning car of the first Indianapolis 500
  • First stamp issued for the pre-sorted ZIP +4 rate, a rate that had been available since 1985

Stamp Category:  Definitive
Series: 
Transportation
Value: 
17.5¢, pre-sorted to ZIP +4
First Day of Issue: 
September 25, 1987
First Day City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana
Quantity Issued: 
43,300,000
Printed by: 
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: 
Engraved
Format: 
Coils of 3,000
Perforations:  10 vertical
Color:
  Dark violet

 

Why the stamp was issued:  This stamp was issued to cover the rate for mail pre-sorted to the ZIP code plus four additional digits. 

 

About the stamp design:  Tom Broad created this stamp image of a Marmon Wasp, the car that won the first Indianapolis 500 race in 1911.  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation provided the photos he used as reference. The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee also considered the 1903 Winton Bullet car for the stamp design, but the Wasp was their top choice.

 

Special design details:  This stamp was made available with and without a precancel.  The precanceled stamp is US #2262a.  Precancels are stamps canceled before being sold, to make mailing faster and cheaper for customers with large amounts of mail.  Bulk mailers use precancels, then pre-sort their mail and save money.  The precanceled stamps are usually produced in larger numbers. The non-precanceled stamps are usually produced for collectors and to be used as add-on postage for overweight packages.

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for this stamp was held on the first day of the INDYPEX stamp show at the Convention-Exposition Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The original Marmon Wasp was on display at the ceremony and remained on the show floor for the remained of the stamp exhibition.

 

Unusual fact about this stamp:  A total of 26 imperforate error pairs have been discovered to date.

 

About the Transportation Series:  On May 18, 1981, the USPS issued the first stamp in the Transportation Series, US #1907, picturing the Surrey, a doorless four-wheeled carriage. For the first time in US history, a coil stamp featured its own unique design rather than simply copying that of the current definitive stamp. Over 50 more coil stamps would be issued over the course of the next 15 years, each picturing a different mode of transportation. All of these types of transportation were used since American independence.

The various denominations provided face values to exactly match the rates for several categories of Third-Class mail (bulk rate and quantity-discounted mail). As the rates changed, new stamps with new values were added. Never before had a stamp series included so many fractional cent values.


The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed most of the stamps in the Transportation Series, although private contractors printed a few. All but a few of the later stamps were produced by engraved intaglio. Differences in precancels, tagging, paper and gum provide a large number of varieties.


Scott Catalog separates the Transportation stamps into four groups. The stamps in the first group (#1897-1908) generally have the denomination in small type with a “c” next to it. These stamps were printed on the Cottrell rotary press, which joined together two plates to make a sleeve. The gaps between these plates created depressions where ink would collect and create joint lines on the stamps. Later issues were printed on a different press and didn’t have these joint lines.


The second group (#2123-36) had larger numbers with no “c.”  The third group (#2252-66) was similar in appearance to the second group, but service inscriptions were added to the designs. These stamps also used a variety of paper and gum as well as different types of tagging. The fourth group (#2451-68) marked the end of fractional values. Now bulk mailers would use either the 5¢ or 10¢ stamp and then pay the difference from the actual postage rate.


The last stamp in the Transportation Series, the 20¢ Cog Railway, was issued on June 9, 1995, at the TEXPEX ’95 stamp show in Dallas, Texas. This marked the end of the largest US definitive series up to that time. Three new series would eventually replace it – American Transportation, American Culture, and American Scenes. Additionally, the Great Americans would go on to become the largest American definitive series.

 

History the stamp represents:  In 1911, the Marmon Wasp became the winner of the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Designed by Howard Marmon, this unique vehicle had its motor up front under the hood (most motors were hung on the rear axle), used a double-frame suspension system, and was the first to use a rear-view mirror. 

 

The Indianapolis 500

On May 30, 1911, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway held its first 200-lap, 500-mile race, dubbed the Indianapolis (or Indy) 500.

 

One of Indiana’s biggest attractions is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, initially built for automotive research and to test new car models. After breaking ground in March 1909, it was completed in August of the same year. The first weekend of racing took place that same month, but immediately encountered tragedy – several crashes resulted in five deaths. To fix the problem, the entire track was resurfaced with 3.2 million bricks, with the last one made of gold. This earned the racetrack the nickname the “Brickyard.”

 

Over the next year, thousands of people came out to the speedway to watch a variety of races. The largest was the Decoration Day (today’s Memorial Day) weekend race in 1910. After that, attendance dropped and the speedway’s owners decided to focus on a single race. They first considered a 24-hour race or perhaps a 1,000-mile race, but ultimately selected 500 miles as the race could be completed before dark. For the first race, they offered a $25,000 prize.

 

The inaugural race came on May 30, 1911. A total of 40 drivers entered the race, including Ray Harroun, a retired racecar driver and engineer for the Marmon Motor Car Company. He came out of retirement for the race with his Wasp, a unique vehicle that had its motor up front under the hood (most motors were hung on the rear axle) and used a double-frame suspension system.

 

Harroun drove his Wasp around the track at an average speed of just over 74 miles per hour. Several people accused him of recklessness, as he was the only driver in the race without a spotter riding alongside to alert him to oncoming traffic, and his Wasp featured a new-fangled contraption known as a “rear-view mirror.” Harroun went on to become the first winner of the Indy 500 with a time of 6 hours, 42 minutes.

 

The Indy 500 has been held almost every year since except during the World Wars. Over the years, the bricks slowly disappeared as parts of the track were paved with asphalt. In 1961, all but a three-foot-wide section of brick at the start/finish line was paved. The three-foot strip is a tribute to the “yard of brick,” or “Brickyard.”

 

The Indy 500 is now limited to vehicles featuring open wheels known as “Indy Cars.” Foreign drivers gradually made the Indianapolis Speedway their primary base and the race gained international fame. Advances in technology added excitement, with speeds now exceeding 225 miles per hour.

 

Many Indy 500 traditions have developed over the years, including patriotic songs, pork tenderloin sandwiches, and a superstition against eating peanuts. Perhaps the most famous is the Indy’s call to action – “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

 

For over 100 years, fans have thronged to Indianapolis for the thrill of watching “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The annual Memorial Day event attracts some of the biggest names in auto racing along with about 400,000 enthusiasts from around the world. Today, the speedway is the world’s largest sports facility.

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U.S. #2262
1987 17.5¢ Racing Car, 1911
Transportation Series

  • Pictures the winning car of the first Indianapolis 500
  • First stamp issued for the pre-sorted ZIP +4 rate, a rate that had been available since 1985

Stamp Category:  Definitive
Series: 
Transportation
Value: 
17.5¢, pre-sorted to ZIP +4
First Day of Issue: 
September 25, 1987
First Day City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana
Quantity Issued: 
43,300,000
Printed by: 
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: 
Engraved
Format: 
Coils of 3,000
Perforations:  10 vertical
Color:
  Dark violet

 

Why the stamp was issued:  This stamp was issued to cover the rate for mail pre-sorted to the ZIP code plus four additional digits. 

 

About the stamp design:  Tom Broad created this stamp image of a Marmon Wasp, the car that won the first Indianapolis 500 race in 1911.  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation provided the photos he used as reference. The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee also considered the 1903 Winton Bullet car for the stamp design, but the Wasp was their top choice.

 

Special design details:  This stamp was made available with and without a precancel.  The precanceled stamp is US #2262a.  Precancels are stamps canceled before being sold, to make mailing faster and cheaper for customers with large amounts of mail.  Bulk mailers use precancels, then pre-sort their mail and save money.  The precanceled stamps are usually produced in larger numbers. The non-precanceled stamps are usually produced for collectors and to be used as add-on postage for overweight packages.

 

First Day City:  The First Day ceremony for this stamp was held on the first day of the INDYPEX stamp show at the Convention-Exposition Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The original Marmon Wasp was on display at the ceremony and remained on the show floor for the remained of the stamp exhibition.

 

Unusual fact about this stamp:  A total of 26 imperforate error pairs have been discovered to date.

 

About the Transportation Series:  On May 18, 1981, the USPS issued the first stamp in the Transportation Series, US #1907, picturing the Surrey, a doorless four-wheeled carriage. For the first time in US history, a coil stamp featured its own unique design rather than simply copying that of the current definitive stamp. Over 50 more coil stamps would be issued over the course of the next 15 years, each picturing a different mode of transportation. All of these types of transportation were used since American independence.

The various denominations provided face values to exactly match the rates for several categories of Third-Class mail (bulk rate and quantity-discounted mail). As the rates changed, new stamps with new values were added. Never before had a stamp series included so many fractional cent values.


The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed most of the stamps in the Transportation Series, although private contractors printed a few. All but a few of the later stamps were produced by engraved intaglio. Differences in precancels, tagging, paper and gum provide a large number of varieties.


Scott Catalog separates the Transportation stamps into four groups. The stamps in the first group (#1897-1908) generally have the denomination in small type with a “c” next to it. These stamps were printed on the Cottrell rotary press, which joined together two plates to make a sleeve. The gaps between these plates created depressions where ink would collect and create joint lines on the stamps. Later issues were printed on a different press and didn’t have these joint lines.


The second group (#2123-36) had larger numbers with no “c.”  The third group (#2252-66) was similar in appearance to the second group, but service inscriptions were added to the designs. These stamps also used a variety of paper and gum as well as different types of tagging. The fourth group (#2451-68) marked the end of fractional values. Now bulk mailers would use either the 5¢ or 10¢ stamp and then pay the difference from the actual postage rate.


The last stamp in the Transportation Series, the 20¢ Cog Railway, was issued on June 9, 1995, at the TEXPEX ’95 stamp show in Dallas, Texas. This marked the end of the largest US definitive series up to that time. Three new series would eventually replace it – American Transportation, American Culture, and American Scenes. Additionally, the Great Americans would go on to become the largest American definitive series.

 

History the stamp represents:  In 1911, the Marmon Wasp became the winner of the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Designed by Howard Marmon, this unique vehicle had its motor up front under the hood (most motors were hung on the rear axle), used a double-frame suspension system, and was the first to use a rear-view mirror. 

 

The Indianapolis 500

On May 30, 1911, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway held its first 200-lap, 500-mile race, dubbed the Indianapolis (or Indy) 500.

 

One of Indiana’s biggest attractions is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, initially built for automotive research and to test new car models. After breaking ground in March 1909, it was completed in August of the same year. The first weekend of racing took place that same month, but immediately encountered tragedy – several crashes resulted in five deaths. To fix the problem, the entire track was resurfaced with 3.2 million bricks, with the last one made of gold. This earned the racetrack the nickname the “Brickyard.”

 

Over the next year, thousands of people came out to the speedway to watch a variety of races. The largest was the Decoration Day (today’s Memorial Day) weekend race in 1910. After that, attendance dropped and the speedway’s owners decided to focus on a single race. They first considered a 24-hour race or perhaps a 1,000-mile race, but ultimately selected 500 miles as the race could be completed before dark. For the first race, they offered a $25,000 prize.

 

The inaugural race came on May 30, 1911. A total of 40 drivers entered the race, including Ray Harroun, a retired racecar driver and engineer for the Marmon Motor Car Company. He came out of retirement for the race with his Wasp, a unique vehicle that had its motor up front under the hood (most motors were hung on the rear axle) and used a double-frame suspension system.

 

Harroun drove his Wasp around the track at an average speed of just over 74 miles per hour. Several people accused him of recklessness, as he was the only driver in the race without a spotter riding alongside to alert him to oncoming traffic, and his Wasp featured a new-fangled contraption known as a “rear-view mirror.” Harroun went on to become the first winner of the Indy 500 with a time of 6 hours, 42 minutes.

 

The Indy 500 has been held almost every year since except during the World Wars. Over the years, the bricks slowly disappeared as parts of the track were paved with asphalt. In 1961, all but a three-foot-wide section of brick at the start/finish line was paved. The three-foot strip is a tribute to the “yard of brick,” or “Brickyard.”

 

The Indy 500 is now limited to vehicles featuring open wheels known as “Indy Cars.” Foreign drivers gradually made the Indianapolis Speedway their primary base and the race gained international fame. Advances in technology added excitement, with speeds now exceeding 225 miles per hour.

 

Many Indy 500 traditions have developed over the years, including patriotic songs, pork tenderloin sandwiches, and a superstition against eating peanuts. Perhaps the most famous is the Indy’s call to action – “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

 

For over 100 years, fans have thronged to Indianapolis for the thrill of watching “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The annual Memorial Day event attracts some of the biggest names in auto racing along with about 400,000 enthusiasts from around the world. Today, the speedway is the world’s largest sports facility.