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
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
Scrambled Indicia® pattern (facsimile) from 32¢ 1997 Air Force Thunderbirds stamp
Stamp Decoder™ lens
The Discovery Pane
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, 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.