The TT of Assen and philately
On the last Saturday of June it will happen again: the TT is held on the circuit of Assen. Fortunately this year old-fashioned named 'Dutch-TT' and not named after some sponsor! Thinking of the coming TT, I realised that meanwhile there is quite a lot philatelic material related to the Dutch TT. This put me up to make an overview of it.
The oldest link that I found has been described earlier in MFN newsletter 48, from June 1999. In this newsletter was an article about labels. Although not really philatelic, these predecessors of our modern stickers look so much like stamps that I (and without doubt other motorcycle philatelists) see them more or less as part of my collection. I don't know when a label of the TT has been issued for the first time. I have 3 of them, from the years 34-35-36, and in the article is another one from 33 visible. There are 2 more labels in the article, but due to the bad quality of the image the year is not readable.
It is funny that these labels show that the TT has not always been held on the last Saturday of June! The 10th TT was on June 23rd 1934, thus the last-but-one Saturday of June. The 11th TT was held on July 6th 1935, and the 12th on July 11th 1936.
A second link is formed by the mobile post offices that the Dutch PTT has had over the course of time. Also this subject has been described in an MFN newsletter, by coincidence also in number 48.
The first mobile post office, based on an American Chevrolet freight truck, has been used for the first time at the TT in 1939! Unfortunately the car was lost in the second world war. An image of the mobile post office is saved on a postal card from that time.
In April 1952 the PTT had a new mobile post office ready, and also this one was used for the first time at the TT, on June 28th 1952. According to the article this was a great success, and it was used often by both spectators and drivers. Looking at this success, there must probably be some surviving postal items carrying the date stamp of the TT. However, they will be hard to recognise as they probably have no place named in the stamp, but the text 'Autopostkantoor'.
Really philatelic are the cancelation stamps. On the occasion of the 40th TT in 1965 PTT made a flag stamp. This was repeated for the 50th TT in 1975. Funny is that these cancelation stamps were not only used in Assen, but probably in the whole country. As far as I know, there are no TT cancelation stamps from other years.
Off course the TT-office of the Circuit of Drenthe organization sends out a lot of mail, and for that they have used franking stamps. Naturally they have seized the opportunity to do some advertisement on these stamps, as can be seen on the next image. Although I only know this version, it would not surprise me if different stamps have been used over the years.
As we all know, the Dutch post has never been really motor minded. Therefore they have never issued a TT stamp. In meantime however there are a few stamps which are related to the TT.
In 2002 TPG issued a series of 12 province stamp sheets. Each sheet contained 12 identical stamps that depict the province's flag. Between each 2 stamps was a label with something specific for the province. For Drenthe TPG obviously thought that the TT could not be omitted. Therefore the lowest tab contains an image of Valentino Rossi, celebrating one of his many victories while standing on his motorcycle. Below the picture the text (in Dutch) 'nine corners to the left, fourteen corners to the right'.
A creative MFN member has seized this opportunity to make his own First Day Cover in a limited edition of 15 pieces. On the cover amongst others the TT logo and an aerial photograph of the circuit.
The next stamp that is related to the TT is 'Fast Wim', from the collection sheet with the 10 nicest personalised stamps of 2003. Although the racing driver on the stamp, Wim Theunissen, never has participated in the TT, the picture has been made on the TT circuit.
Not earlier than in 2009 there was a real hit. That year the sheet 'Beautiful Assen' appeared in the series 'Beautiful Netherlands'. On the stamp itself there are 2 drawn racing motor drivers, with the accompanying text 'First race TT Assen' (in Dutch). The 2 depicted motorcycles carry the numbers 19 and 25, together the year of the first TT.
Further on this quite loud sheet a drawing of the circuit, and several texts that have something to do with the TT. More information can be found in the article that Hans de Kloet wrote (in Dutch) about this issue in newsletter 88.
And in this era it is bound to happen that there are also personalised stamps with relation to the TT. Up to now we have 1 in our overview, made by Eric Mulder. On the stamp he put an image of Valentino Rossi, celebrating his 100th victory after the TT in 2009.
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