Here’s a late-night quickie for you. As I was researching a fabulous forthcoming entry, I stumbled across this USPS release from last month and was so knocked out by the design, I had to share it with you at once.
Wilt Chamberlin is the first (!) NBA star to be featured on a US postage stamp. Can’t say I know much about the man or his career, but I have learned he was 7’1″ tall. That’s 215.9cm to the rest of us. (Hi America! Join us in the 21st Century sometime. It’s lovely, everyone speaks English, and everything is divisible by ten.)
So how does one depict such a literal and metaphorical giant on a stamp?
Was that as good for you as it was for me?
The two designs are sold joined (it’s called “se-tenant” in the biz) but the effect is magnified when they’re enjoyed separately.
Everything about the beautiful artwork and the design just lifts the eye into the stratosphere. The stretched body, the fingertips grasping for the ball in the Philadelphia stamp, and that typography – in raw millimetre terms, that’s got to be the tallest, skinniest writing I’ve ever seen on a stamp. (Americans, millimetres are an awesome thing FROM THE FUTURE.)
These are ‘Forever’ stamps – you can buy them now, but use them at any time in the future. Put another way, the US Postal Service needs cash fast and has found a way to get people to pay years in advance for postal services they will never actually use. (Australia Post is at it too now.)
The stamps are twice the height of the original ‘Liberty Bell’ Forever stamp, also pictured as a guide to what’s usually expected in this world.
It’s a bit gimmicky, of course, but no doubt Wilt is a worthy subject, and good on the USPS for doing something a bit different without going too tacky. I hope Australia Post releases a circular stamp when it FINALLY makes David Boon an Australian Legend in honour of his international beer-drinking career.
The stamps were designed by the USPS’s Antonio Alcala using artwork by Kadir Nelson. Tremendous work, gentlemen. A fine tribute. File under Respect.
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© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities
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