Since 1974 or in the second year of Iditarod Race history, Iditarod dog teams have carried mail over the Iditarod Race, also known as the Iditarod National Historic Trail, as a part of regular participation in the race itself. The original purpose of establishing the Iditarod Trail was to create a positive communications link with the outside world. The original historic trail from Seward (MilePost #0) to Nome (MilePost #938) had it's direct routing which took all of 938 miles to deliver the US Mail. There were many other camps and small mining communities along the way that mandated longer trip tickets on connecting trails for the delivery of freight and mail.
The Iditarod (ITC) receives more than $25,000.00 annually in cachets (merchandise) which is sponsored by the Nome Kennel Club for the benefit of Iditarod. The trail mail is available through The Nome Kennel Club, Box 1892, Nome, Alaska 99762, and USA. During the finishing of the current year's race. Upon completion of the race the balance or the bulk of the unsold mail, is then turned over to the Iditarod Trail Committee for their final disposal at "ITC-TRAIL MAIL, P.O. Box 870800, Wasilla, Alaska 99687-0800, USA". $16.00/Cachet - Mailed in the USA.
The Nome Kennel Club has the only complete sets of trail mail (1974 - 1998) known to exist and they are available for $2,990.00 each set via registered, insured mail, U.S. Postal service. The year that limits complete sets is 1978 when only 975 total cachets were taken over the trail and a goodly portion are known to have long departed existence. Back to the NKC Merchandise page
Art work for the cachets has been donated by renowned artists: Bill Devine (2x), Linnea Burmeister (2x), Jon VanZyle (4x), Tammy Burgh, Martha Fishbach, Dianne Widom, Ruth Rockwell, Sue Firmin, Roy L. Brown, Greg Bill, Peggy Fagerstrom, Charles Gause, Theresa Daily, Urtha Lenharr, Anita Decreeft, William D. "Bill" Droke, Heidi Hansen, Chris Rowe, Lee Tenhoff, Leo B. Rasmussen and once again by Iditarod's most famed artist Jon VanZyle who has done this year's design and artwork for the 1998 cachet (#25). Artists interested in participation can contact or write Leo Rasmussen, Music Mart, Box 2, Nome, Alaska 99762 -0002, USA. Also available is a print of all of the Iditarod mail to go over the trail starting with 1974 - 1997…available from the NKC for $40 -$50 mailed insured.
The first year (1974) of mail (cachets) on the trail was a joint project of the U.S. Postal system and a few volunteers from the Iditarod. Come 1975, the weight of the project had been more of a burden than a fund raiser for Iditarod and the original participants diverted their efforts to other things to do for the race. The Nome Kennel Club, which had just successfully funded the historic carriage of a symbolic packet of cachets earlier that spring asked for authority from Iditarod Trail Committee to do the Iditarod Trail Mail (cachet), which, was granted by the ITC. The Nome Kennel Club has continued that participation for and with the Iditarod since the 3rd Iditarod Race (1975 - 1998) under the chairmanship of Leo B. Rasmussen and whole pile of volunteers.
Stats on the Mail on the Trail
|1974||55,000||52,000 known to go over trail, 1200 per musher (#10 + Pack)|
|1975||2,050||50 per musher, 12,000 destroyed by the US Post Service|
|1976||2,350||50 per musher|
|1977||2,450||50 per musher|
|1978||975||25 per musher|
|1979||1,375||25 per musher|
|1980||1,550||25 per musher|
|1981||1,620||30 per musher|
|1982||1,620||30 per musher|
|1983||2,040||30 per musher|
|1984||2,345||35 per musher|
|1985||2,135||35 per musher|
|1986||2,555||35 per musher|
|1987||2,432||38 per musher|
|1988||2,444||47 per musher|
|1989||2,700||54 per musher|
|1990||3,456||45 per musher|
|1991||3,456||48 per musher|
|1992||3,800||50 per musher|
|1993||2,967||43 per musher|
|1994||4,200||60 per musher|
|1995||4,060||70 per musher|
|1996||2,700||45 per musher|
|1997||2,385||45 per musher|
|1998||2,560||40 per musher|
**Strange things that pack too!
There have been other things that officially go over the trail and all of these have been packed along with the mail. Packed in 1986 - Diphtheria vials and serially numbered dog booties; 1987 - serially numbered dog booties; 1988 - Jon VanZyle posters; 1989 - Alaska correspondence program's student study lesson; 1990 - a student study project from the Lake City, Iowa Elementary School System; 1991 - Nome Elementary School Student project; 1993 - A special document in celebration of the 20th year of mail on the trail; 1995 - A special educational project of elementary students in Oviedo, Fla.; 1996 - 3 student elementary school projects, 1. Nome Elementary School, 2. State of Oregon student project and 3. A state of Florida student project; 1997 - Nome Elementary competitive educational project grade 1 - 6. Elementary educational projects from Ohio and Florida; 1998 - elementary education project from Nome, AK., Oviedo, FLA. & N. Palm Beach, FLA.
Silver Anniversary of Mail on the Trail
** Pricing of Mail**
1st Place - Minimum Bid of $50 at banquet
2nd Place - Minimum Bid of $40 at banquet
3rd Place - $30; 4th Place - $20, 5th Place - $15;
6th through last - $12.00/cachet all in Nome. (Within 24 hours of completing the race all mushers get a 24-hour option to buy 1/2 of their mail packet at the going rate and get one cachet for carrying the mail).
Highest average 1st Place price was Martin Buser - 1997 $460.00/cachet
** Like everything of Iditarod the mail just doesn't happen, it too is done by volunteers. Thanks goes to Nome Kennel Club Membership and all the volunteers whom help including the Nome Postmaster and staff who help year after year to get the job done. Thanks to all from Leo B. Rasmussen and the Nome Kennel Club!
Nome Kennel Club Cachets Information
The Nome Kennel Club Cachets have been the project of Leo Rassmussen, Box 2, Nome, Alaska 99762. Leo has been dedicated to the entire process. A selection of an artist, dealing with a printer, making sure the cachets are given to the musher in Anchorage, postmarked and collected in Nome, and auctioned at the finishing banquet. There are no single cachets available previous to 1992. They are available only in complete collections of cachets.
Mr. Leo Rassmussen offers cachets for sale on behalf of the Nome Kennel Club. He can be contacted at Rasmussen’s Music Mart, P.O. Box 2, Nome, Alaska 99762-0002 (907) 443-2798 or Iditarod Trail Committee, P.O. Box 870800, Wasilla, AK. 99687-0800, Telephone number (907) 376-5155