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Postal Service's Classic Cycles Kick-Start World's Premier Motorcycle Rally

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STURGIS, SD - August 8, 2006: The first of 85 million classic "American Motorcycles" commemorative stamps, guaranteed to cross the country for just 39 cents, started their journey by kick-starting the 66th Anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally today. The 1918 Cleveland, 1940 Indian Four and 1965 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide that modeled for the stamps were showcased at the event. The fourth stamp, depicting a circa 1970 Chopper, was computer generated by the stamp artist. The "American Motorcycles" stamps will be available to cruise among the nation's 37,000 Post Offices beginning Tue., Aug. 8, 2006.

"We understand the power our stamps have in helping to celebrate our American culture," said James C. Miller III, Chairman of the presidentially appointed Postal Service's Board of Governors, who dedicated the stamps. "These motorcycles are iconic classics that represent the sense of freedom that is America."

Joining Miller in dedicating the stamps were Sturgis Mayor Mark Zeigler and the owners of the cycles depicted on the stamps.

"The City of Sturgis is very excited the United States Postal Service has chosen to release the 'American Motorcycles' stamps at the kick-off of the 4th Annual Mayor's Ride during the 66th Anniversary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally," said Zeigler. "We're honored to have the opportunity to partner with the Postal Service and welcome them and the owners of the motorcycles used on the stamp images."

Also participating in the event were Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds (R), Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) and Special Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs, Maggie Grant.

1918 Cleveland

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This single-cylinder cycle was built by the Cleveland Motorcycle Manufacturing Co. of Cleveland, OH. Advertisements claimed this 2.5- horsepower, single-cylinder motor could travel 75 miles on a gallon of gas and reach speeds of up to 40 mph. Weighing around 150 lbs. and selling for $175, the Cleveland was both lightweight and affordable, making it a popular motorcycle for its time. The Cleveland A2 that modeled for the stamp is owned by Penny Nickerson of Long Island, NY, and was used for dispatch duty in World War I.

1940 Indian Four

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This 1940 four-cylinder streamlined bike features skirted fenders that partially covered the wheels, a controversial design innovation that soon became an Indian motorcycle trademark. The cycle that modeled for this stamp is owned by Michael and Larry Spielfogel of New York City. It is depicted in the deep red color often associated with Indian motorcycles.

1965 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide

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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 Harley that modeled for the stamp is owned by George Tsunis of Port Jefferson, NY.

c. 1970 Chopper

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" on a computer by the stamp artist in consultation with professional chopper builders. Although lacking various safety features such as mirrors and turn signals that are usually required under current laws, 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. Some colors and design features have been altered for artistic purposes or to maintain historical accuracy.

For information on the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, visit: During the rally, cycles that modeled for the stamps will be on display at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum beginning Saturday, August 5th, To see the stamps and learn the story behind the stamps, visit the USPS motorcycle page by CLICKING HERE.

Philatelic Products

Beyond the host of retail products available during the rally, there are six philatelic products available.

460463 -- First Day Cover -- $3.08
460465 -- Digital Color Postmark Random Single -- $1.50
460468 -- Digital Color Postmark Set of 4 -- $6
460467 -- Prints (set of 4 prints/poster/folder w/4 stamps) -- $14.95
460499 -- Digital Color Postmark Keepsake (Pane w/4 DCP) -- $13.80
460486 -- Framed Block of 4 Stamps -- $12.99

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark

Customers have 30 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, by telephone at 1-800-STAMP-24, and at the Postal Store Web site at

They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

820 Kinship Road
STURGIS SD 57785-9998

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 September 6, 2006.

How to Order First-Day Covers

Stamp Fulfillment Services 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 1-800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

DEPT 6270
PO BOX 219014
KANSAS CITY MO 64121-9014

Since 1775, the United States Postal Service and its predecessor, the Post Office Department, have connected friends, families, neighbors and businesses by mail. An independent federal agency that visits more than 144 million homes and businesses every day, the Postal Service is the only service provider delivering to every address in the nation. It receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services. With annual revenues of $70 billion, it is the world's leading provider of mailing and delivery services, offering some of the most affordable postage rates in the world. The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 46 percent of the world's mail volume -- some 212 billion letters, advertisements, periodicals and packages a year -- and serves ten million customers each day at its 37,000 retail locations nationwide.