DCSIMG

Air Force Thunderbirds Stamp

32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp
32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp
32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp

This Air Force 50th anniversary stamp showcases the Thunderbirds jet demonstration squad. Like other lithographed stamps, it includes elements to defeat photocopying, including unreadably small text called “microprinting.” The stamp was also the first in the United States to use Scrambled Indicia®, a feature visible only through a special lens. In August 1997, a month before the stamp was issued, 10 full panes were flown on the space shuttle Discovery; the panes were also flown by the Thunderbirds themselves. One of these Discovery panes is included in this exhibition.

Design and Production Model

Digital printout of the 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp design, signed by Postmaster General Marvin Runyon
Digital printout of the 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp design, signed by Postmaster General Marvin Runyon

Digital printout of the 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp design, signed by Postmaster General Marvin Runyon

Production model of 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp pane
Production model of 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp pane

Production model of 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp pane

Microprinting and Scrambled Indicia®

Microprinting of UNITED STATES AIR FORCE on all four jets, THUNDERBIRDS on tail of bottom left
jet, on 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp
Microprinting of UNITED STATES AIR FORCE on all four jets, THUNDERBIRDS on tail of bottom left jet, on 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp

Microprinting of UNITED STATES AIR FORCE on all four jets, THUNDERBIRDS on tail of bottom left jet, on 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp

Scrambled Indicia® pattern (facsimile) from 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp
Scrambled Indicia® pattern (facsimile) from 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp

Scrambled Indicia® pattern (facsimile) from 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp

Stamp Decoder™ lens
Stamp Decoder™ lens

Stamp Decoder™ lens

The Discovery Pane

32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp
32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp, one of 10 panes flown aboard space shuttle Discovery and by U.S. Thunderbirds prior to September 18, 1997 issue date. On loan from the United States Air Force.

32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp, one of 10 panes flown aboard space shuttle Discovery and by U.S. Thunderbirds prior to September 18, 1997 issue date. On loan from the United States Air Force.

Letter certifying flight of stamp pane on space shuttle Discovery, August 7-19, 1997.
Letter certifying flight of stamp pane on space shuttle Discovery, August 7-19, 1997, shuttle mission STS-85, signed by Stephen S. Oswald, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Shuttle, National Air and Space Administration. On loan from the United States Air Force.

Letter certifying flight of stamp pane on space shuttle Discovery, August 7-19, 1997, shuttle mission STS-85, signed by Stephen S. Oswald, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Shuttle, National Air and Space Administration. On loan from the United States Air Force.