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These stamps are off to the races

Summertime is here, and the living is easy.

In all parts of the country it's vacation time. Some people are camping, fishing, hiking, and traveling. Many who live near water areas, such as oceans, lakes and rivers enjoy boating.

If you are a boating enthusiast, you will want to see a new set of four stamps featuring vintage mahogany speedboats, scheduled for issuance by the U.S. Postal Service in August.

These new stamps showcase photos of four of the nation's historic wooden motorboats. These watercrafts, still in use today, were built by four different manufacturers. The stamps show the following crafts: Frolic, a 1915 Hutchinson Brothers launch; Dispatch, a 1931 Garwood Triple Cockpit runabout; Thunderbird, 1939 Hacker-Craft commuter boat; Duckers, a 1954 Chris-craft Racing Runabout.

The 1915 Frolic is powered by a 110-horsepower, six-cylinder Chrysler Crown engine. The attractive 30-foot craft was custom built. This popular touring and commuter craft was offered with a four- or six-cylinder marine engine capable of reaching 30 mph.

The Garwood Triple cockpit runabouts are considered some of the finest produced by this boat building firm. The runabout appearing on the stamp has a 650-horsepower, 12-cylinder Rolls Royce engine. The boat named Dispatch is now located at her Lake Tahoe, Calif., berth.

The 1939 Hacker-craft named Thunderbird is a 55-foot commuter featuring a stainless steel cabin top. It was built by millionaire George Whittell, who was fascinated with the latest aircraft, automobile and boat technology.

The Racing runabout exemplified Chris-Craft speed and design in 1954. Duckers has a 158-horsepower, six-cylinder Chris-Craft Hercules engine.

Of the four boats modeled for the stamps, only one was totally restored by the owners themselves. Bill and Nancy Kehoe of Loomis, Calif., are vocational school teachers in the Sacramento area. They rebuilt their 1954 Chris-Craft Runabout.

So, how did the U.S. Postal Service select these boats to be on stamps? Carl Herrman, USPS stamp director, took all the pictures dockside and showed them to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, for their selection.

Boats are not the only popular mobile machines portrayed on stamps during the last few years. In 2005 the USPS issued a set of 10 stamps illustrating sporty cars of the 1950s.

In 2006 the Postal Service issued four stamps featuring vintage motor cycles: the Indian of 1940, the Cleveland of 1918, the Chopper of 1970, and the Harley Davidson of 1965.

Further information on any of these stamps and first day covers for the 2007 speedboat stamps may be obtained from the Philatelic Services by calling toll free (800) STAMPS 24.

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