Stamps: Vintage Mahogany Speedboats
August 2007

From USPS website

If you've always wanted to own a boat but could never afford one, you'll be able to cruise away for the price of a First-Class stamp next summer when the Postal Service issues stamps celebrating vintage mahogany speedboats. These four stamps showcase the polished mahogany and gleaming chrome hardware that characterize the nation's historic wooden motorboats. These vintage watercraft, still in use today, were built by four manufacturers. The stamps depict these boats:

  • Frolic, a 1915 Hutchinson Brothers launch.
  • Dispatch, a 1931 Gar Wood triple cockpit runabout.
  • Thunderbird, a 1939 Hacker-Craft commuter boat.
  • Duckers, a 1954 Chris-Craft Racing Runabout.

The selvage — or decorative area around the stamps on the pane of 12 stamps — features a recent photograph of Miss Columbia by Benjamin Mendlowitz. The boat is a modern re-creation of the original Miss Columbia, designed by George F. Crouch and built in 1924. Robert Devens of Green Cove Springs, FL, owns the replica and berths her for the summer on the Muskoka Lakes of Ontario, Canada.

1915 Hutchinson Brothers Launch
A popular style for touring and commuting, the long-deck launch was offered with a four- or six-cylinder marine engine capable of reaching 30 mph.

Powered by a 110-horsepower, six-cylinder Chrysler Crown engine, the attractive 30-foot craft on the stamp was custom-built in 1915 by Hutchinson Brothers Boat Co., Alexandria Bay, NY. Frolic owners Bill and Tish Kartozian of Danville, CA, dock her on Lake Tahoe.

1931 Gar Wood Triple Cockpit Runabout
Gar Wood 33-foot triple cockpit runabouts are considered some of the finest runabouts produced by the famous boatbuilding firm in Marysville, MI. Elegant and powerful, these craft were offered with either a Scripps V-12 or a Gar Wood Liberty V-12 engine and were capable of exceeding 50 mph.

Manufactured in 1931, the runabout appearing on the stamp has a 650-horsepower, 12-cylinder Rolls Royce engine. Named Dispatch, she is owned by Tom and Maurine Turner of Carnelian Bay, CA. Her Lake Tahoe berth is next to Turner's Gar Woods Grill and Pier Restaurant.

1939 Hacker-Craft
Based on the streamlined designs of John Hacker, Thunderbird is a 55-foot commuter boat featuring a distinctive stainless-steel cabin top that was built for millionaire George Whittell, who was fascinated with the latest aircraft, automobile and boat technology. Enamored with the lines of his personal DC-2 airplane, Whittell requested Thunderbird's hull and cockpit be built to resemble the fuselage of his twin-engine aircraft. Built in 1939 by the Huskins Boat Co. of Bay City, MI, Thunderbird's original twin 550-horsepower Kermath engines were replaced in the 1960s with twin 1000-horsepower Allison V-12 aircraft engines. The Hacker-Craft is owned by Joan Gibb of Incline Village, NV, and is berthed in the original boathouse built and designed by George Whittell in 1940 for the Thunderbird. The boathouse is connected to the main house by a 600-foot tunnel that was blasted through granite at the Thunderbird Lodge Historic Site on LakeTahoe.

Learn the fascinating story behind this nautical classic at:

1954 Chris-Craft Racing Runabout
A steady seller since 1936, the Racing Runabout exemplified Chris-Craft speed and design through 1954. Updated after World War II, the 19-foot model features a split cockpit and gleaming deck hardware. With its 158-horsepower MBL engine, this craft can exceed 40 mph. Chris-Craft runabouts remain a popular model among classic boaters who enjoy their sporty performance.

Duckers, built in 1954 in Cadillac, MI, has a 158-horsepower, six-cylinder Chris-Craft Hercules engine. She is owned by William and Nancy Kehoe of Loomis CA, who boat with her on Lake Tahoe and the Sacramento Delta.