US Stamps

Johnny Cash steps up to the microphone for May cartoon contest

Apr 27, 2021, 9 AM
The cartoon caption contest image for May is the Johnny Cash stamp issued June 5, 2013, in the Music Icon series. Entries must be received by May 28 for a chance to win a prize.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

The United States Postal Service honored Johnny Cash (1932-2003) on a forever commemorative stamp issued June 5, 2013 (Scott 4789) in the Music Icons series.

A singer, songwriter, musician and actor, Cash used his fame to serve as a voice for those who had made some mistakes in their lives. He often used the theme that others could find redemption as he had done after abusing drugs and alcohol in the early years of his career. He also took up the cause of the American Indian.

His resonant bass-baritone voice and his penchant for dressing in black (which earned him the nickname “The Undertaker” from some of his fellow musicians) were distinctive, but his songs made him into a legend. Performing free concerts in prisons starting in 1958 also caught the attention of the American public.

Songs he recorded ranged from somber to advisory to hilarious. My favorites include A Boy Named Sue and One Piece at a Time. The latter song tells the fictional story of a Detroit auto plant worker who over time smuggles car parts out of the plant and builds a “ ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ‘54, ’55, ’56, ’57, ’58, ’59 automobile.”

He sold 90 million records during his career and was inducted into the Country Music, Rock & Roll, and Gospel Music halls of fame, among others.

So, the “Man in Black,” another of his nicknames, lived a full and varied life.

His presence on a U.S. stamp testifies to his iconic stature.

The Johnny Cash commermorative will be the cartoon contest stamp for May. Put yourself on the stage at a concert and tell me what you think Cash might be thinking or saying about his causes, his stamp, stamp collecting, the political scene, or whatever else comes to mind.

Entries with a touch of humor or irony stand the best chance of winning the contest.

There will be two prizes given to the winners: one for the best philatelic line and one for the best nonphilatelic line.

Put your entry (or entries) on a postcard if possible and send it to me, John Hotchner, Cartoon Contest, Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125; or email it to If you send an email, it is essential that you include your postal mailing address.

For each winner, the prize will be a 13-week subscription to Linn’s (a new subscription or an extension). Entries must reach me no later than May 28.

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