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Hot Rods Stamps Roar Into Post Offices

First Day Ceremony is held at the National Street Rod Association’s
Street Rod Nationals East Plus Auto Show
by Lloyd A. de Vries

(Click Pictures for a Larger View)

The first day ceremony on June 6, 2014, began with a surprise performance by a group of energetic dancers, as the NATS-East public address disk jockey played rock ‘n roll standards from the 1950s and early 1960s.

Every seat was taken.

Photo courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS

The event was well covered by local media, with interviews previewing the stamp ceremony on the local morning news shows and crews from all the local stations at the ceremony. However, the cameraman in the center works for the U.S. Postal Service!

Earlier, the Postmaster General had given me an interview on the overall U.S. stamp program.

Photo courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe — who is an auto aficionado himself, and even owns a 1966 Corvette Stingray — introduced local postal employes who own their own deuce coupes, as well as Cary Brick, the former member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee who recommended and advocated the Hot Rods issue, as well as other recent automobile stamps. Together, they unveiled the new stamps, as the two classic autos in front of the stage revved their engines. (Notice the exhaust smoke on the left.)

Then Barry Meguiar (pronounced “McGuire”), host of “Car Crazy Television” (whose videos are also on YouTube) and president of Meguiar’s Car Wax products spoke, calling autos the greatest American ambassador, universally acclaimed through the world.

“People love America because of hot rods,” he said, especially the deuce coupe “and now we have a postage stamp” featuring that car.

Meguiar thanked “our car guy postmaster” general, Donahoe, and challenged the audience to “make this the most collected stamp in the history of the Postal Service.”

Donahoe gave interviews to local media after the ceremony, such as this one with a local TV reporter.

Then Donahoe entered one of the hot rods parked in front of the stage, and led the annual NATS-East parade through the streets of York, Pa. Autographing the ceremony programs (below) was delayed until he returned.

Center and right photos courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS
Stamp sales were brisk throughout the day, both before and after the ceremony. (I didn’t check during the ceremony.) Cancellation requests were less busy, but many of the customers buying stamps also bought souvenirs, such as first day covers and framed art.
Center and right photos courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS
Cancellations were provided on the spot, and among the best I’ve seen at a first-day ceremony.
Photos courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS
There were many souvenirs available at the event. Shown in the photo on the left are ceremony programs, a parking pass and admission ticket for USPS guests, and two of the Dragon Cards I serviced. Note that the vertical-format card has a pictorial postmark for the event itself. The other Dragon Card has the standard First Day pictorial postmark.

At the top left is a free photo postcard that was being offered in one of the tents of the USPS complex at the auto show. Few people were taking advantage of it: It was in the back, behind the stamp sales, with no signs. The proprietors of Bosco are independent contractors, and say they may do other first day ceremonies, but have none on their schedule at the moment.

Here’s a closer look (photo, right) at the promotional postcard and the self-adhesive backing that could be used to make it into a postcard. Of course, FDC collectors made it into a first day cover!

On the right is a fan that was handed out to those attending the event, to which I affixed the stamp and first-day circular date stamp cancel.

By this point, I had switched hats, from journalist to first day cover servicer. Note that the vertical-format card has a pictorial postmark for the event itself. The other Dragon Card has the standard First Day pictorial postmark.

Photo courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS

The autographing session, as mentioned, was held about two hours after the first-day ceremony had ended. First, apparently, Donahoe and Meguiar had to clean up the sign in the autograph booth.
Photo courtesy Daniel Afzal, USPS Photos courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS

Left to right, Donahoe, Brick and Meguiar autographed the sign, then got down to work.

Photo courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS

All in all, an excellent first day ceremony in central Pennsylvania.

Photo courtesy Mark Saunders, USPS

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