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Old Cars

The "Noland Adams" 1953 Chevrolet Corvette NCRS Duntov Award 99.8 USPS Stamp Car Crosses the Auction Block for the First Time Ever at Russo and Steele Scottsdale

“Automobiles have always been a clever way of celebrating American history and culture”. This statement was made by Patrick Donahoe, Deputy Post Master General and Chief Operating Officer for the United States Postal Service. You might be asking yourself, “What do the collector car hobby and the postal service have in common?” The story of how this 1953 Corvette made its way onto a USPS Government Issued Stamp is extremely rare and truly remarkable. Mark Saunders of the USPS said, “Just to put it into context, we see over 50,000 stamp ideas every year and only use 20.”

The story begins with the Corvette connoisseur himself, Noland Adams. This is a household name for automobile enthusiasts, especially those who pay particular attention to Corvettes. Noland purchased a 1953 Corvette, number 284 in 1955. This began his 43 year ownership and legacy.

With over 40 years of experience as a Corvette owner, restorer, historian, and author, Noland Adams is considered to be one of the country’s foremost Corvette authorities. His works include a series of books, “The Complete Corvette Restoration & Technical Guide” (Volume I: 1953-1962 and Volume II: 1963-1967). These two guides are considered to be the bibles of Corvette restoration. Noland also wrote “Corvette, American Legend”, which covers the original dream car prototype and 1953 production. The follow up series includes “1954 and 1955 Production”, “1956 Production”, “1957 Racing and Production Details”, and “1958-1960 Variations”.

Adams has hosted a series of restoration videotapes, written hundreds of articles for Corvette related magazines, and has given numerous presentations on Corvette restoration all over the United States as well as Canada, Sweden and England. A consultant to the model car industry, Adams was the technical advisor on Monogram’s 1953 Corvette model car kit and Franklin Mint’s 1953 Corvette model. He is known world-wide for his knowledge of Corvette development heritage and technical understanding. Holding the 4th membership in the National Corvette Restorers Society, Adams has been involved with Corvette for over 45 years. He attends many Corvette shows and functions each year, sharing his Corvette expertise and knowledge with Corvette enthusiasts everywhere.

The story continues with a 10 year frame off restoration that was completed in 1999 by Noland and his good friend, Don Mulenhoff. The restoration included the best Corvette experts in the world, who came together and contributed 2,667 hours in order to complete the 1953 masterpiece. Noland’s Corvette went on to earn the Bloomington Gold Award, NCRS Top Flight, NCRS Performance Verification awards, and the NCRS Duntov Mark of Excellence Award, scoring 99.8%.

Just two years after the completion of that restoration, Mid American Motorworks orchestrated a massive grassroots movement called the “Corvette Stampede”, in which 100,000 signatures were gathered in order to petition for the United States Post Office to create a Corvette stamp. If approved, the stamp would be created to honor the 50th Anniversary of Corvette. The Corvette stamp idea was 1 of 20 approved out of 50,000 stamp ideas submitted.

The remarkable connection between the collector car hobby and the United States Postal Service was made in 2003, when Noland Adams was asked to serve as a technical consultant for the making of the 1953 Corvette stamp. If there is one thing you should have grasped in this story thus far, it’s that Noland knows Corvettes, so who better to ask than the Corvette connoisseur himself, to ensure that the 1953 Corvette drawing was accurate. Noland accepted this top secret mission with the graphics company contracted by the US Postal Service. He was sworn to secrecy and permitted to share information about the stamp with only one person until the artwork was approved – his lovely wife.

The preliminary drawings Noland began to review were based off of his very own 1953 Corvette. With his keen eye and attentiveness to every detail, Noland was able to make several suggestions that would improve the drawing to be used in the making of the postage stamp. In order to get the headlights just right, Noland took additional photos of his Corvette. He also found a paint sample that perfectly matched the white of his Corvette, which was a creamy white, not the white of a refrigerator. The mission was eventually completed and the 1953 Corvette stamp was born.

Finally released in 2005, the United States Postal Service debuted the stamp at Mid America Motorworks Corvette Funfest. Noland Adams and his 1953 Corvette were present for the unveiling at Mid America as well as for the unveiling in Detroit, MI at the 2005 Michigan State Fair. Again, Noland will be present at Russo and Steele’s 12th Annual Scottsdale Auction, as his 1953 Corvette that he built his legacy on crosses the auction block for the first time since Noland purchased the automobile in 1955. This consignment is sure to get all enthusiasts’ stamp of approval! Noland will also be onsite with Russo and Steele January 18th and 19th, sharing his Corvette expertise and knowledge with enthusiasts. Noland’s experience as a Corvette owner, restorer, historian, and author as well as the significance of his 1953 Corvette is an important piece of American history and culture that all automobile enthusiasts will enjoy.

Check out Russo and Steele’s new website for updates and additional information.  For additional information on this automobile or to request high resolution images please contact Stephanie Quinn at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 602.252.2697.

About Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions
Russo and Steele Collector Automobiles is one of the nation’s premier collector car auctions; specializing in the world’s finest European sports cars, American muscle cars, hot rods and customs.  Its two auctions each year attract clients all over the globe not only because of its reputation for stellar collector automobiles, but also unique auction experiences unattainable at any other collector car auction in the world.  Its auction events take place with its signature auction in Scottsdale, Arizona every January, and Monterey, California in August.  Additional information please visit www.russoandsteele.com or call 602.252.2697.