Arago: 17-cent Dog Sled

17-cent Dog Sled

An Alaskan dog sled was the subject of the 17-cent coil stamp issued August 20, 1986, in Anchorage, Alaska. The denomination represented the rate for the second ounce of first-class mail, and the stamp replaced the 17-cent Electric Auto coil stamp issued in 1982.

Initially, the Dog Sled stamp was produced only in coils of 100 because adequate supplies of the Electric Auto stamp remained in coils of 500 and 3,000 as well. There was no precanceled version.

The stamp's design was prepared in pen and ink and featured a frontal view of a sled without reins or traces. It was probable that the earliest types of sleds were used in the Middle East to haul materials over bare ground. They are still found in many parts of the world where snow-covered terrain limits other forms of transportation.

In North America sleds were first used by the Inuits, who fashioned wood, bone, and rawhide into sleds that were both lightweight and durable. Because of their loyalty and strength, dogs were most often used to haul sleds over snow. Pulled by a team of Alaskan huskies, dog sleds transport up to 1,000 pounds across hundreds of miles of glacial terrain.

Over the years, dog sleds have been put to a large number of uses, including mail delivery. And as a sport, dog sledding continued to grow in popularity. Events such as the 1,049-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Trail Race provide drivers with the unique opportunity to test their skills and the endurance of their teams in fierce competition with both opponents and the environment.

The stamp was designed by Lou Nolan of McLean, Virginia. Art director was Derry Noyes; design coordinator for the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. Typographer was Bradbury Thompson. Engravers were Edward P. Archer (vignette), Gary J. Slaght (lettering), and Michael Ryan (numerals) of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The intaglio process was used.


Postal Bulletin (July 31, 1986).

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