By Charles Snee
“IT’S OFFICIAL!!! I am extremely proud, honored and genuinely excited to finally announce the 2022 release of my second series of five stamps for the United States Postal Service!”
This stunning quote comes from artist Tom Fritz of Newbury Park, California, who shared his excitement on his Facebook page in early November 2021, shortly after the USPS first announced that his paintings of five classic pony cars would appear on brands. These five perpetual stamps will be issued on August 25th in conjunction with the Great American Stamp Show in Sacramento, California.
No doubt Fritz will carry his strong enthusiasm with him as he attends the show.
Three respected philatelic organizations – the American Philatelic Society, the American Theme Society and the First Day Cover Society of America – are co-hosting the show from August 25-28.
An official first-day ceremony for the nondenominated (60¢) commemorative perpetual Pony Cars is scheduled for 11 a.m. PT at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, located at 1400 J St. in Sacramento.
The center is home to the Great American Stamp Show, the nation’s largest annual philatelic gathering that brings together dealers, collectors, exhibits and more.
Scott Bombeau, the Postal Service’s chief technology officer and executive vice president, will serve as the dedication official.
Collectors wishing to attend the free public ceremony must register with the USPS. Each participant can invite up to a maximum of three guests, according to the USPS.
On the stamps, from top to bottom, on the preliminary Postal Service artwork shown here are the following pony cars: 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 paintings of the ponies using photographs as reference. Zach Bryant and Greg Breeding, both of Charlottesville, Virginia, were the designer and art director, respectively.
Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd., one of two contract printers for the Postal Service (the other being the Banknote Corporation of America), offset printed 45 million Pony Cars stamps (9 million of each design) which were completed in 2.25 million panels of 20 for sale at post offices; Brand Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, MO; and other locations approved by the USPS to sell stamps.
The preliminary Post Office window graphic illustrated 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 of manufacture, make and model of the vehicle appear in the lower left or lower right corner of the stamps. “FOREVER” and “USA” are written in the upper left and upper right corners, respectively.
“Pony Cars” is printed in block letters at the top of the window header of 20. The colorful designs of the stamps stand out against the black borders and header.
Ashton Potter used five colors to print the Pony Cars stamps: the four process colors – black, cyan, magenta and yellow – and a shade of cool gray designated as Pantone Matching System 6C.
Different shades of gray can be seen on the marks in the background and the shadows cast by the cars.
Fritz’s paintings give a realistic motion effect for each of the five cars.
For example, the Dodge Challenger emits smoke from its rear tires, burning rubber as the car accelerates at high speed.
A Ford Mustang and a Mercury Cougar are shown performing hard turns, causing the cars to lean against the direction of the turn.
On April 17, 1964, the general public saw for the first time a new breed of automobile when Ford Motor Co. introduced what would be known as the first pony car: the Mustang, 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 that would seat four people, have bucket seats, a floor-mounted shifter, be no more than 180 inches long, weigh less than 2,500 pounds, and to sell for less than $2500.00.’
Many months of meetings and marketing research followed before Iacocca secured financing for the 1962 Mustang. The first production model rolled off the assembly line on March 9, 1964.
Over the following decades, other automakers would add to the pony car stable.
You don’t have to look too far back to find Fritz’s dynamic automotive mastery of American marques. In 2013, the Postal Service issued five stamps (Scott 4743-4747) featuring his paintings of five muscle cars: 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, 1966 Pontiac GTO, 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500, 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 kits, respectively, in the Postal Service’s America on the Move series, which first appeared in 2005.
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