The US Postal Service came out with its list of 2006 commemorative stamps and one series will feature old American motorcycles. Of course you can make your own, too.
From the announcement:
With the issuance of the American Motorcycles stamps, the U.S. Postal Service recognizes the role of motorcycles in American culture with four stamps that feature digital illustrations of a 1918 Cleveland, a 1940 Indian Four, a 1965 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide, and a circa 1970 chopper.
The single-cylinder Cleveland motorcycle depicted on this stamp was built by the Cleveland Motorcycle Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
Advertisements claimed that this motorcycle, which featured a 2.5-horspower, single-cylinder motor, could travel 75 miles on a single gallon of gasoline and reach speeds of up to 35 to 40 miles per hour. Weighing around 150 pounds and selling for $175, the Cleveland was both lightweight and affordable, making it a popular motorcycle of its time.
The model for the “Cleveland 1918” stamp artwork is a 1918 Cleveland A2 owned by Penny Nickerson of Long Island, New York.
The motorcycle depicted on this stamp was made by the Indian Motorcycle Company. The 1940 entry in a series of deluxe, four-cylinder motorcycles known as the Four, this streamlined bike featured skirted fenders that partially covered the wheels, a controversial design innovation that soon became an Indian trademark.
The model for the illustration featured on this stamp is a motorcycle owned by Michael and Larry Spielfogel of New York City. It is depicted in the deep red color often associated with Indian motorcycles.
With features such as whitewall tires, extensive chrome, large fenders, and spacious fiberglass saddlebags, the Harley-Davidson featured on this stamp is considered by many to be one of the company’s most iconic motorcycles. Known as the Electra-Glide, this model was first manufactured in 1965, when its new features included a push-button electric starter.
The model for the illustration featured on the Harley-Davidson 1965 stamp is a motorcycle owned by George Tsunis of Port Jefferson, NY.
The name “chopper” derives from the process of removing, or “chopping,” unnecessary or unwanted components from a motorcycle. The term often indicates an extensively customized motorcycle with such features as a stretched frame, stepped seat, and raised handlebars. Typically, the frame has been stretched with an extended-length fork leading to the front wheel.
Especially prominent during the 1960s and 1970s, choppers follow in a tradition of earlier customized motorcycles that were known as “bobbers” for their shortened, or bobbed, fenders.
The circa 1970 chopper featured on this stamp was invented by the stamp artist in consultation with professional chopper builders. Although lacking various safety features such as mirrors and turn signals that are required today, this chopper would have been legal to ride circa 1970.
The digital illustrations featured on the American Motorcycles stamps were created by Steve Buchanan of Winsted, CT. The illustrations are based on existing restored motorcycles, reference photographs, and consultation with owners and experts; however, some colors and design features have been altered for artistic purposes or to maintain historical accuracy.
Remember, you don’t have to take what the postal service decides to put on a stamp, you can make your own motorcycle stamps with a photo your own motorcycle, with you on the stamp, too, actual legal stamps you can use to send your mail. Check it out.