By Charles Snow
“IT’S OFFICIAL!!! I am very proud, honored and truly excited to finally announce the release of my second series of five stamps for the United States Postal Service in 2022!”
This dizzying quote comes from artist Tom Fritz of Newbury Park, California, who shared his excitement on his Facebook page back in early November 2021, shortly after the USPS first announced that his paintings of five classic pony cars would appear on postage stamps. These five perpetual stamps will be issued August 25 in conjunction with the Great American Stamp Show in Sacramento, California.
Undoubtedly, Fritz will take his great enthusiasm with him while participating in the show.
Three respected philatelic organizations – the American Philatelic Society, the American Topical Association and the American First Day Cover Society – are co-hosting the August 25-28 show.
An official First Day Ceremony for the non-denominated (60¢) Pony Cars Forever Commemorative Stamps is scheduled for 11 am Pacific Time at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center at 1400 J St. in Sacramento.
The center is home to the Great American Stamp Show, the nation’s largest annual philatelic gathering, bringing together dealers, collectors, exhibits and more.
Scott Bombaugh, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of the Postal Service, will serve as the Dedication Officer.
Collectors wishing to attend the free public ceremony must register with the USPS. According to the USPS, each participant may invite up to three guests.
The following pony cars are depicted on the stamps, from top to bottom of the Postal Service preliminary draft shown here: 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302, 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, 1969 Chevrolet Camero Z/28, 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT and 1969 AMC Javelin SST.
According to the USPS, Fritz created his oil-on-panel paintings of the pony cars using photographs as reference. Zack Bryant and Greg Breeding, both from Charlottesville, Virginia, served as designer and art director, respectively.
Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd., one of two contract printers for the postal service (the other being Banknote Corporation of America), offset printed 45 million Pony Cars stamps (9 million of each design), totaling 2.25 million pages 20 were processed for sale in post offices; stamp fulfillment services in Kansas City, Missouri; and other locations authorized by the USPS to sell postage stamps.
The Postal Service’s preliminary graphic for the window shown here shows the Pony Cars stamps arranged in four columns of five stamps each, with the stamps in different positions in each column.
The year, make and model of the vehicle appear in the lower left or lower right corner of the stamps. “FOREVER” and “USA” are labeled in the upper left and upper right corners, respectively.
“Pony Cars” is printed in capital letters above the header of the 20’s box. The colorful designs of the stamps stand out against the black selvedges and header.
Ashton Potter used five colors to print the Pony Cars stamps: the four process colors – black, cyan, magenta and yellow – and a cool shade of gray known as the Pantone Matching System 6C.
Different shades of gray can be seen in the background and in the shadows cast by the cars on the stamps.
Fritz’s paintings give each of the five cars a realistic moving effect.
For example, the Dodge Challenger draws smoke from its rear tires and burns rubber when the car accelerates at high speed.
The Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar are shown cornering hard, causing the cars to lean in the opposite direction of the turn.
On April 17, 1964, the public got its first glimpse of a new breed of car when Ford Motor Co. introduced what would later become known as the first Mustang pony car, the brainchild of Lee Iacocca (1924-2019). . In 1961 he first envisioned what would become one of the most popular cars in the world.
According to Classic Pony Cars, Iacocca’s “vision was a car with seating for four, bucket seats, a floor-mounted shifter, no longer than 180 inches, weighing less than 2500 pounds, and selling for less than $2500.00.” .
Many months of meetings and marketing surveys followed before Iacocca secured funding for the Mustang in 1962. The first production model galloped off the assembly line on March 9, 1964.
In the decades that followed, other automakers would join the stable of pony cars.
You don’t have to look back too far to find Fritz’ dynamic automotive artistry on US postage. In 2013, the Postal Service issued five stamps (Scott 4743-4747) featuring five of his muscle cars: the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, the 1966 Pontiac GTO, the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500, the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS and 1970 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda.
The 2013 Muscle Cars and this year’s Pony Cars stamps are the third and fourth sets, respectively, in the Postal Service’s America on the Move series, which first came into sight in 2005…
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