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Indianapolis 500 Centennial Celebrated on Forever Stamp

May 22, 2011
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05/23/11 Ray Harroun, winner of the first Indianapolis 500, begins racing his Marmon “Wasp” through the nation’s mail stream Friday in the form of 50 million First-Class Mail Forever stamps to celebrate 100 years of racing at the iconic brickyard.

The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at the Speedway as a prelude to Fast Friday, the qualification runs for the 100th Indianapolis 500.

“At the Postal Service, we understand the power of our stamps in celebrating American history and culture — in this case, the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in dedicating the stamp. “I won’t be so bold as to predict the winner of the race, but I will predict that 50 or 100 years from now the U.S. Postal Service will issue another stamp to commemorate the next milestone anniversary of this great event.”

Joining Donahoe in dedicating the stamp were Greg Ballard, Indianapolis mayor; Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president; Duane “Poncho” Carter Jr., 1974 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year; and Dave Calabro, Indianapolis Motor Speedway announcer.

“We’ve eagerly been awaiting this day since the United States Postal Service announced the commemorative stamp honoring the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 last December,” said Belskus. “It’s a great honor and an important part of our Centennial celebration that the iconic image of the Marmon ‘Wasp’ will be seen on mail sent from coast to coast.”

The First 500

On May 30, 1911, approximately 80,000 spectators gathered at the Speedway to witness the first running of the Indianapolis 500. Driving a Marmon “Wasp” he designed, Ray Harroun beat 39 other drivers to win with a time of 6 hours, 42 minutes and 8 seconds. A century later, the Indy 500 has become an American cultural phenomenon rich in ceremony and tradition and is hailed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The car was built by the Indianapolis-based Marmon Motor Car Company and included one of Harroun’s own inventions, the rearview mirror. Today, it is a prime attraction at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

The Indianapolis 500 Forever Stamp is always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

Indianapolis 500 Stamp

Postmaster

125 West South Street

Indianapolis, IN 46206-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by July 20, 2011.

Ordering First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic Catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment

Dept. 6270

U.S. Postal Service

PO Box 219014

Kansas City, MO  64121-9014

Ordering the stamp and related products

In addition to the stamps, there are seven philatelic products available for this stamp issue. Many of these items will be on sale at the race. Customers can order all stamps and products online at www.usps.com/shop, by calling 1-800 STAMP-24, or by using the mail-in order form in the USA Philatelic Catalog. Customers can subscribe to the catalog at www.beyondtheperf.com, www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 1-800 STAMP-24.

§         467261, First-Day Cover, $0.88.

§         467265, Digital Color Postmark First-Day Cover, $1.60.

§         467271, First-Day Issue Collection  – 10 1/2″ x 9″ folder that includes a mounted sheet of     stamps, an official First-Day-of-Issue ceremony program, and a Postmark Card that includes both the official black and digital color first day of issue postmarks, $16.95.

§         467291, Ceremony Program, $6.95.

§         467292, Stamp Deck Card, $0.95.

§         467294, Stamp Deck Card w/Digital Color Postmark, $1.95.

§         467299, Cancellation Keepsake - includes a sheet of stamps w/Digital Color Postmark First- Day of Issue Cover, $10.95.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations

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