US Stamps

By Jay Bigalke

Two Wilt Chamberlain stamps to debut Dec. 5 in Philadelphia

November 13, 2014 02:05 PM

  • Two United States Wilt Chamberlain commemorative forever stamps to be issued Dec. 5 in Philadelphia, Pa.

  • The pane of 18 Wilt Chamberlain commemorative forever stamps.

Seven-foot 1-inch NBA basketball star Wilt Chamberlain will be honored Dec. 5 with two new forever stamps.

The stamps will debut during a 7 p.m. Philadelphia 76ers/Oklahoma City Thunder game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

The Postal Service will offer a limited number of single tickets to collectors who wish to attend the event. Collectors should e-mail before Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. There is a limit of one ticket per e-mail request, and tickets are not transferable after being confirmed.

Tickets to the game are also available for sale to the general public on the team’s website

The extra-tall Wilt Chamberlain commemorative stamps each measure a little more than 2 inches tall. Artist Kadir Nelson created the two illustrations for the stamps. One stamp shows Chamberlain in a Philadelphia Warriors uniform, and the other shows him wearing an L.A. Lakers uniform. USPS art director Antonio Alcala designed the stamps and the pane.

The stamps will be sold in a pane of 18 with selvage on the left side reading “Wilt Chamberlain • 1936-1999.” On the right side of the pane, there is a black-and-white photograph, taken by Ken Regan, of Chamberlain leaping.

“The 7-foot-1-inch center dominated the NBA for more than a decade, setting a plethora of individual records,” according to the Postal Service. “As a pro, he led his teams to two NBA championships, and in 1962 he scored an NBA record 100 points in a single game.”

Chamberlain was born Aug. 21, 1936, in Philadelphia. While attending Overbrook High School, he played on the basketball team for three years. He was 6-foot 11-inch at the time.

During his high school playing years, he scored more than 2,200 points and was nicknamed “Wilt the Stilt” by a reporter. Chamberlain wasn’t a fan of the nickname.

He attended college at the University of Kansas and played for the Jayhawks beginning in 1956. In 1957, his team made it to the NCAA finals.

After college, in 1958, Chamberlain spent a year as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team.

In 1959, he started his NBA career with the Philadelphia Warriors. He was named NBA rookie of the year and most valuable player.

In 1962, Chamberlain became the first NBA player to score 100 points in a game, a record that still holds to this date. He also holds the record for most points scored in one season, 4,029 in 1961-62. His career with the Warriors continued after the team moved to San Francisco in 1962.

He returned to Philadelphia in 1965 to play for the 76ers. During his time with the 76ers, they won the NBA championship in 1967.

In 1968, Chamberlain was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, and in 1972, the team won the NBA championship. Chamberlain retired in 1973.

In 1978, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He died Oct. 12, 1999, in Los Angeles.

The Banknote Corporation of America, for Sennett Security Products, produced 50 million Wilt Chamberlain stamps.

Press sheets, both with and without die cuts, will be issued. Each press sheet consists of eight panes and sells for $70.56. A total of 1,000 press sheets with die cuts and 1,500 without die cuts will be available.

Technical details for the Wilt Chamberlain forever stamps appear below.

Nondenominated (49¢) Wilt Chamberlain commemorative forever stamps

FIRST DAY— Dec. 5, 2014; city— Philadelphia, Pa., and nationwide.

DESIGN: artist— Kadir Nelson, San Diego, Calif.; designer, art director and typographer— Antonio Alcala, Alexandria, Va.; modeler— Donald Woo.

PRINTING: process— offset with microprinting; printer and processor— Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products, Browns Summit, N.C.; press— Alprinta 74; inks— cyan, magenta, yellow, black; paper— phosphor tagged, overall; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 50 million stamps; format— pane of 18, from 144-subject cylinders; size— 0.84 inches by 1.93 inches (image); 0.98 inches by 2.07 inches (overall); 9.25 inches by 6.88 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “S” followed by four single digits; marginal markings— plate numbers (front); “©2014 USPS,” USPS logo, plate position diagram, barcode, promotional text, NBA information, Wilt Chamberlain biography (back); USPS item No.— 472404.

First-day cancel ordering information

Standard ordering instructions apply. Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Wilt Chamberlain Stamps, Retail Manager, Philadelphia Metropolitan District, 3190 S. 70th St., Philadelphia, PA 19153-3244. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by Feb. 3.

The Postal Service’s set of two uncacheted first-day covers for the Wilt Chamberlain forever stamps is item No. 472416 at $1.86.