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,
The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Construction of the Berlin Wall Cinderella stamps,
and The Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Permanent Buildings on Teufelsberg Cinderella Stamps,
as well as the award-winning author of three novels about Berlin.
While you are here, please take some time to learn more about all these productions.