Young Dino Artist Wins USPS Design Competition

As part of its rollout of a new series of stamps depicting the life of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the U.S. Postal Service issued a call for artists to design a special cancellation stamp. On Saturday, a Leesburg resident was celebrated as one of the national winners.

Nicklas Smyser, an 8-year-old Cool Springs Elementary School student, was alerted to the contest by a relative who works at the post office in Sterling. He submitted his artwork in April, and the family sort of forgot about it until the surprise notification came that his design was selected as the winner from submissions throughout the Capitol Metro region.

Nicklas is a qualified dinosaur enthusiast who can easily name dozens of them. His drawing depicts a somewhat friendlier looking version of the often menacing carnivore.

Leesburg PostmasterTimothy S. Lloyd helped celebrate the accomplishment by throwing a party in the lobby of the Catoctin Circle station Saturday morning.

Leesburg Postmaster Timothy S. Lloyd helps Nicklas Smyser cancel the first T. rex stamp during a ceremony Saturday.

“You were chosen from a lot of people. You’re a really good artist,” Lloyd said. “We appreciated in Leesburg that you’re here because we’re the only one that has this. We’re the T.rex station.”

In addition to receiving a framed display of his design,Smyser was given the opportunity to make the first cancellation with the new stamp.

Lloyd said the stamp would be permanently preserved in a vault by the postal system.

Available in sheets of 16 stamps, theTyrannosaurus Rex series includes four illustrations. One isa face-to-faceT. rexapproaching through a forest clearing. Another shows the same young adultT. rexwith a youngTriceratops,both dinosaurs shown in fossil form. The third and fourth stamps depict a newly hatchedT. rexcovered with downy feathers and a bare-skinned juvenileT. rexchasing a primitive mammal. The “Nation’sT. rex,”the young adult depicted on two of the stamps, was discovered on federal land in Montana and is one of the most studied specimens ever found. Its remains will soon be on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps with original artwork by Julius T. Csotonyi, a scientist and paleoartist.

Leesburg’s Nicklas Smyser designed the T. rex cancelation stamp.
Leesburg Postmaster Timothy S. Lloyd and Nicklas Smyser during a ceremony Saturday.

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