Race cachet of Balto & Togo, 1999

Race cachet of Balto & Togo, 1999

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Description (Brief)
Race cachet created by the donor, Jona Van Zyle, for the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. This was carried over the original Serum Run route by Colonel Norman Vaughan and his group of mushers as an educational and recreational trip to Nome. The envelope is signed by all of the participants of that adventure. This cachet pays homage to the early history of the original purpose of the sled dog which was to provide mail and supplies for early settlers and is carried by each musher during the race.
The ‘Serum Run’ refers to the outbreak of diphtheria which hit Nome in 1925. The outbreak began just as the harbor at Nome was frozen over for the winter and while air travel was becoming more widespread in the Alaskan wilderness, the only plane available at the time had a frozen engine and was unable to fly. The Alaska Railroad was used to bring the needed anti-diphtheria serum north from Anchorage to Nenana; it traveled the last 700 miles to Nome through a chain of twenty sled dog teams in just over five days. This relay followed the old mail route along the Iditarod Trail. The sled dog teams included Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog Togo who traveled the longest leg of the relay handing off the serum to musher Gunner Kaasen and his lead dog Balto. It was Kaasen and Balto who arrived in Nome and delivered the much needed serum catapulting Balto into the history books as the most famous sled dog of all time.
Jon and Jona Van Zyle are both artists who live outside of Anchorage and have raised sled dogs for many years. Jon has been a supporter of the Iditarod since it beginnings and ran the race in 1976. Jon produced the first official poster for the Iditarod in 1977 which was such a huge success he was voted official artist of the Iditarod in 1979, a position he holds to this day. Jona also contributes her artistic talents to the race by designing logos for the Junior Iditarod and race cachets for the Iditarod and personal cachets for various mushers.
Currently not on view
Object Name
race cachet, sled dog racing
date made
Van Zyle, Jona
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 6 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in; 16.51 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Dog Sled racing
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Sport and Leisure
Sled Dog Racing
Sports & Leisure
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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