A Cinderella-Stamp Commemorative Issue
The image above is displayed twice its actual size. The stamp itself is 1 X 1.75 inches.
In cooperation with Francis Gary Powers junior, T.H.E. Hill has designed a Cinderella Stamp to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the U-2 Incident which took place on 1 May 1960. In the foreground, the stamp depicts Francis Gary Powers suited up for a flight in the "Dragon Lady." In the background, a U-2 can be seen climbing to altitude for a mission. The stamp is denominated 50, recalling the fifty years that have passed since the U-2 Incident. The first day of issue will be 1 May 2011, to coincide with the anniversary of the Incident.
Powers is wearing an old-style pressure suit, required for missions that reach 70,000 feet. U-2 pilots have to be physically strong, because the U-2 was designed long before the fly-by-wire air frames that multiply a pilot's movement of the controls like power steering helps a driver control a car.
"The U-2 is all cables and pulleys," says Lt. Col. Kevin Quamme, who manages the U-2 program for the Air Force. "There are no hydraulic assist controls. At relatively higher speeds, it's basically like trying to drive an 18-wheeler without power steering."
Though the design of the airframe is over fifty years old, the iconic U-2 is still flying missions. While the Air Force had intended to ground the U-2 in 2011, delays in the production of the replacement, a pilotless drone known as Global Hawk, combined with the continuing need for battle-field surveillance in Afghanistan will keep the U-2 flying.
The first U-2 flight was in 1955. Its classified reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union provided President Eisenhower with vital intelligence on the Soviet military. The U-2 makes a cameo appearance in Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary in one of the intercepts that the tunnel was collecting. The U-2 program was so closely held, that Kevin at first did not know what the designation U-2 meant. Once the Chief of Base told him what it was, the fact that Khrushchev knew about it was immediately reported.
Powers was exchanged for Colonel Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (1903-1971) across the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin on February 10, 1962. The USSR commemorated Abel with a five-kopek stamp in 1990 as a part of their series of Soviet Intelligence Officer stamps. The series for that year also included Kim Philby (1912-1988), a member of the spy ring now known as the Cambridge Five.
Francis Gary Powers has never been similarly honored on a US stamp. The current Cinderella stamp issue somewhat remedies this oversight.
The drawing of Colonel Abel for the stamp was done by B. Ilyukhin.
T.H.E. Hill designed a "Glienicke Bridge" T-shirt as a part of the celebrations of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The text on the shirt reads: "Not just for spies anymore. Thank a Cold War Vet." The design features the four-language sign that used to be displayed at the Western end of the Bridge: "You are leaving the American Sector at the center of the bridge."
The Francis Gary Powers U-2 Pilot Cinderella Stamp comes in a sheet of 15, with fine (7 perforations/cm) and correctly perforated stamp corners on high-quality glossy, water-activated gummed paper. Cinderella Stamps are not valid for postage.
Sheet of "Francis Gary Powers U-2 Pilot" Commemorative Cinderella stamps in a Vario 1S stamp stock page.
YourStamps is the the Cinderella-Stamp printer for this project. They are located in Berlin.
To order your sheet of "Francis Gary Powers U-2 Pilot" Commemorative Cinderella stamps
signed by Francis Gary Powers, Jr.,
simply click on the PayPal button below.
One sheet of stamps is only $14.95, plus $2.50 shipping.
Limit two (2) shipped to one address.
No additional shipping charge for a second sheet to the same USA address.
Stamps ship in a photo mailer in a Vario 1S stamp stock page.
T.H.E. Hill is also the designer of the "Americans in Berlin" sheet of Cinderella stamps,
and the author of Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary.
while you are here, please take some time to learn more about both these productions.