2018 50¢ Sparkling Holidays: Santa Holding Card
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: October 11, 2018
First Day City: Pigeon Forge, TN
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided Booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 1,000,000,000
When Haddon Sundblom was hired to illustrate Santa Claus for Coca-Cola advertisements, he faced a challenging task. he had to reinvent one of the most well-known holiday figures of all time.
Like any artist faced with a new subject, Sundblom made extensive use of reference images. At the beginning, Sundblom's model for Santa Claus was his retired salesman friend, Lou Prentiss. However, Prentiss was only Sundblom's model for a short time before, unfortunately, passing away. After that, Sundblom began using his own face for a reference by painting while looking in a mirror.
As Sundblom created more holiday ads for Coca-Cola, he decided to include more than just Santa. Around 1959, Sundblom started illustrating other figures such as children, dogs, and elves. As with Santa, Sundblom used real life models for his new subjects. He based the children on two young sisters in his neighborhood (depicting one as a boy for the sake of balance). Sundblom also used his florist's poodle as a model a few times.
It is easy to see that Sundblom's inspiration from life had a profound effect on his paintings. They were highly detailed and made Coca-Cola and their Santa advertisements an iconic part of the holiday season.