Friday, March 31, 2006

Postcard Heaven

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports postcard collecting ranks No. 3 in popularity in the U.S., behind coin and stamp collecting.

In a story about Danny Danielsen's store, AA Paper Collectibles, the paper says, it's like stepping back in history.

"It's wall-to-wall collectibles - mainly postcards. Thousands and thousands of postcards - of buildings, advertising, unidentified people, motels, street scenes, lakes, mountains- going back to the late 1800s."

Danielsen, 63, who has been collecting cards since a 1978, is shown above going through some of his inventory.

To read the entire article, click here.

To learn more about postcard collecting, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 30, 2006

WNS Numbering System

Developed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP), the WADP Numbering System (WNS) was introduced on 1 January 2002 with the aim of creating a database of all authentic postage stamps issued by UPU member countries and territories on or after that date.

Only those postage stamps that, once received by the International Bureau (IB) of the UPU have undergone the process of verification of authenticity and registration will be attributed a WNS number and added to the WNS website.

On the site you can search either by country or topic.

To go to the WNS website, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Doorways to history

Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, Conn. ran a nice story over the weekend about members of area stamp collecting clubs — the Bridgeport Philatelic Society, the Nutmeg Philatelic Society in Stratford and Valley Philatelic Society in Shelton.

In the article, staff writer Ariane Rasmussen says that not only colorful images found on stamp serve as doorways to history, knowledge and friendships, but also they link the collectors themselves through their interests and their memories.

For George Ostrowski, secretary of the Bridgeport Philatelic Society, stamp collecting provides a powerful reminder of his father.

"We went to different expositions. In 1966, he took me down to Washington, D.C., for an international show. In 1976, we went to Philadelphia for a show, but he passed away before we made it out to the Chicago show in 1986," Ostrowski said.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New date and time for Stamp Talk

Nancy Clark's popular "APS Stamp Talk" radio show on has a new day and time!

Tomorrow will begin the new show time of 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. After this show, the program will air live on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in the same time slots.

On her program Nancy will interview Ron Robinson, the new chairman of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee; Patricia Stilwell Walker, Juror and Meeting Planner for Washington 2006; and Nicholas Carter, APS Treasurer and Technology Chief for Washington 2006. An insider's view you can share!

Listen live at and participate by phone at 888-327-0061 or e-mail Nancy before or during the show at "APS Stamp Talk" archives are available 24/7 on the Internet at
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hoban double and joint issue

I just received the May 2006 issue of Scott Stamp Monthly. In it, editor Michael Baadke writes about how the Postal Service is "recycling" stamp designs. He says that using the same design over again with a different denomination is nothing new and that USPS will continue the tradition this year with both the Purple Heart and Ronald Reagan stamps.

However, in 1981 "something very strange happened," says Baadke.

"A stamp for White House architect James Hoban was scheduled for release two weeks before a postage rate increase. That may not have been the best way to plan it, the follow-up decision was simply weird."

He goes on to write, "The Postal service printed nearly identical Hoban stamps and released them on the same day: one valued at 18c that would be worthwhile for about a fortnight, and another valued at 20c that could be used after the rates went up."

One possible explanation for this was that the Hoban commemorative was the first joint issue with Ireland and the Postal Service simply wanted to have a stamp that would be around awhile.

For more on Hoban and the double and joint issue, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It's a wrap

High school students were filming a movie in the Fernandina Beach post office in Florida when the police showed up believing a hostage crisis was in progress. According to The Florida Times-Union, police cordoned off the block, cleared nearby buildings and surrounded the post office.

Apparently the postmaster had given permission for the school group to use the post office after hours. But someone saw the teens carrying what they thought were real guns. When no one repsonded to phone calls to inside the building, a SWAT team was called in.

The postmaster explained the situation to officers and after 15 minutes, the officers retreated and the students were allowed to go home. A police spokesperson said it's unlikely criminal charges will be filed. The students, however, may be asked for some reimbursement.

The film's teenage director said he'll probably never work in that town again.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, March 24, 2006

Prototype Mail Pouch

This month's National Postal Museum's Object of the Month is the prototype mail pouch...not mail bag... not mail satchel...not mail sack...MAIL POUCH!

According to the museum's Web site, mailbag is the generic term used to describe any bag that carries the mail, but more specific words can be used to illustrate a bag’s function – and postal mailbags have had many different functions.

A mail satchel is an over-the-shoulder style bag that letter carriers use while delivering mail along a route.

Mail sacks are used to carry second-, third-, and fourth-class mail.

Mail pouches are made of a heavier weight material than mail sacks and are designed to lock; pouches are used to transport first-class and registered mail, as well as domestic or military airmail.

Based on physical appearances, the prototype mailbag would most likely be classified as a mail pouch, but because it was not used as a pouch, it is referred to by the generic term.

Catcher pouches were designed exclusively for railway mail and had metal rings at each end to attach to a mail crane and catcher arm to be picked up by moving rail cars. In the mid 18th century, letters were put in saddle bags designed to fit around a horse’s saddle. In the 19th century, both newspapers and letters were placed in a portmanteau, a round, side-opening, leather bag.

For more on the Prototype Mail Pouch, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ice Age animals

A new set of stamps featuring Ice Age animals has been launched from an English tourist attraction which celebrates its connection with the woolly mammoth.

The Shropshire Star reports that Royal Mail’s latest set of stamps features beasts that roamed Britain some 13,000 years ago. The woolly mammoth is known to have existed in Shropshire county which is located about 200 miles northwest of London.

The Secret Hills Discovery Centre has a special display dedicated to the ancient beast and a replica of its skeleton.

Pictured above is the Discovery Centre manager Jo Bickerton and postman Michael Powell with the giant stamp outside the centre.

For more on the complete set, click here.

For a releated story that appears on the London Natural History Museum Web site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Bring'Em Home" Stamp

According to the Village Voice, a new anti-war stamp/label was unveiled at Monday night's "Bring 'Em Home Now!" concert at Manhattan's Hammerstein Ballroom.

The stamp was designed by Andrew Boyd, one of the founders of the spoof group Billionaires for Bush, who said he got the idea from online sites that allow people to create their own stamps.

The stamps cost a dollar each, with proceeds going to fund the vets and military families on the "Bring 'Em Home Now!" tour.

"Perfect for mailing petitions to Congress or posting your tax returns," Boyd said.

To order, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Free USPS publications

In the March 27th issue of Linn's Stamp News, Insider, columnist Les Winick, writes that the Postal Service is offering a free 28-page booklet titled, Sources of Information on Post Offices, Postal Employees, Mail Routes and Mail Contractors.

He reports that "one free copy of this handy reference source may be obtained by writing to Historian, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza,S.W., Washington, D.C. 20260-0012. Ask for publication No. 119."

That and a lot of other collector related items can also be downloaded from the USPS website as either a PDF file or in HTML. These include;

Pub. 39 - Coloring and Activity Book [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 100 - The United States Postal Service An American History 1775 – 2002 [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 119 - Sources of Historical Information on Post Offices, Postal Employees, Mail Routes, and Mail Contractors [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 153 - People and Places of the Pacific: A Celebration on Stamps [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 192 - Tips for Collecting Stamps [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 295 - Hispanic People and Events on U.S. Postage Stamps [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 354 - African Americans on Stamps [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 512 - Women on Stamps [PDF] [HTML]

Pub. 528 - Veterans and the Military on Stamps [PDF] [HTML]

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, March 20, 2006

Crops of the Americas

Artist Steve Buchanan of Winstead, CT did the illustrations for the new Crops of the Americas stamps using slide photographs made by his wife, Rita.

Buchanan also did the artwork for the 34-cent Carnivorous Plants stamps.

The new stamps, which depict corn, chili peppers, beans, squashes and sunflowers, were released last week at the American Stamp Dealers Association's Postage Stamp Mega Event at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

According to All Headline News, "It's the first taste of postal fame for corn, beans and squash. This is the third time sunflowers have appeared on a U.S. stamp. They were featured as the state flower of Kansas in 1982 and again in a set of wildflower stamps in 1992. Chili peppers appeared in a wreath in the 1998 Christmas stamps."

The definitive stamps will be issued in three formats: A vending booklet of 20, a double-sided convertible booklet of 20 and a coil of 100.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Freelance writer and dedicated dog lover, Eve Carr writes about Owney, the mascot of the U.S. Railway Mail Service in the The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg,VA).

The cute Irish terrier mutt was considered a good luck charm by Railway mail clerks in the late 1800s . At a time when train wrecks were all too common, no train Owney rode was ever in a wreck. They adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags on his collar.

Carr says, "By Aug. 19, 1895, the postal dog had become quite famous, and he then embarked on his most adventurous trip: a journey around the world"

"Traveling as Mr. Owney, 'registered dog' on trains and steamships, he made his way from Tacoma, Wash., to Canada, Mexico, across Europe, China, Japan, Suez, Algiers and the Azores ... "

After he died, postal clerks collected money for his preservation by a taxidermist. Owney has been on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. since 1911.

To read her entire article, click here.

For more on Owney, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

Advertising on stamps

The Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln,NE) and Long Beach Press-Telgraph report that the US Postal Service is expected to decide shortly on whether to launch a test program that would allow advertising on postage.

In the Federal Register, the postal service said the program could launch as early as next week. Executives at stamp companies expected it to start no later than the end of April.

It's part of the agency's effort to make postage more popular in an era when e-mail has been reducing the volume of first-class mail. The test would be an expansion of an existing program in which authorized Web sites allow people to personalize postage with photos.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Rarities around every corner

Tom Fortunato, Washington 2006 media communications chairman, reports that there will be rarities around every corner at the upcoming world philatelic exhibition being held May 27 through June 3 at the Washington, DC Convention Center.

Tom writes, "Individual U.S. items include the reuniting of the Alexandria 'Blue Boy' cover with its content, a love letter penned in 1847; the proof panes of the 5 cent and 10 cent U.S. 1847 issue; and the Dawson Hawaiian Missionary cover of 1852 bearing a 2 cent and 5 cent Missionary stamp with pair of 3 cent U.S. stamps."

There will also be two Court of Honor exhibits which include small selections from The Royal Philatelic Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Collection of His Serene Highness The Prince of Monaco, Albert II.

Aerophilately and astrophilately rarities will also be well represented. Perhaps most famous are blocks of the "Inverted Jenny" issue of 1918 in a display showing 16 of the 100 known examples. These will be complemented by plate proofs of the issue’s vignette and frame courtesy of the National Postal Museum. Viewers will also see mail carried on the Hindenburg and in space.

For more information about these exhibits or the exhibition in general, check out the Washington 2006 web site at
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

According to the U.K.'s Stamp Magazine, the Irish Post Office – AN Post - issued a stamp a few years back picturing St. Patrick in vestments which were invented 500 years after his death!

The publication reports, "The error was immediately picked up on by keen stamp collector Reverend Peter Hanna, from County Cork, who claimed: ‘The stamp that is said to feature St. Patrick is clearly a sham’.

Rev. Hanna points out, "The white bearded cleric wearing the mitre of a bishop and a chasuble could not possibly be an accurate image. We don’t know what St. Patrick wore, but it certainly wasn’t these robes. People abroad who see this stamp think it is an authentic image as it is coming from Ireland – but it is not. The image is created by modern popular culture and is in no way traditional."

What's even more amazing is that the Irish Post Office admitted its mistake by saying, "We are aware that St. Patrick would not have worn clothes like the ones depicted on the stamp. But our aim is to feature an immediately recognizable image of St. Patrick and this is it. This is how the majority of St. Patrick statues look."

AND apparently this isn't the first time they've goofed historically!

To read the entire article, click here.

For more about Irish stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:02 PM

Kenya's post office tree

The East African Standard in Nairobi,Kenya reports that a "post office" tree is now set to regain its significance after almost 40 years...and could become a national monument.

The 300-year old, 50-foot fig tree was used as a message drop off point by insurgents in their struggle to oust British colonists in the 1950s.

Villagers hid letters and requests for supplies in various parts of the trunk.Known as the "Kimathi Post Office," the tree is being recognized as a significant historical site.

Kenya gained its independence in 1963.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:50 AM

Thursday, March 16, 2006

USPS recognized for artistic excellence

Yahoo Finance and PR Newswire report that U.S. Olympic athletes weren’t the only ones winning gold medals this winter!

Three stamps from the Postal Service’s 2005 stamp program received some gold-medal recognition for artistic design and excellence. The Cloudscapes, Lewis and Clark Bicentennial and Pacific Coral Reef designs received top honors at Creativity 35 — an annual competition honoring bright ideas in graphic design. The USA Philatelic Fall 2004 and Spring 2005 catalogs were also given an award.

In all, USPS earned 20 prizes from a variety of top graphic design publications and organizations. The awards were given by publications and organizations such as Communications Arts magazine, PRINT magazine, American Institute of Graphic Arts as well as Creativity 35.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More than a mere hobby

"Philately has grown from being a mere hobby to becoming a serious investment option in India," writes Anima Balakrishnan in The Hindu, India's National Newspaper.

"Though still bearing the cross of being a child's hobby, philately is now being approached with a newfound seriousness by discerning investors. Like Art, stamp collectors believe these little pieces of paper can be a good investment option," says Balakrishnan.

The article points out that, according to a survey of the U.S. based Salomon Brothers Investment Bank, philately is said to be the fourth best investment over an 80-year period. Land, gold, shares of stock are one, two and three.

"Philately is not taken seriously in India," says P.R. Krishnan, Secretary, The Philatelists' Coimbatore. "People are often shy to even admit they are stamp collectors. It is a knowledge-based hobby (since each stamp tells a story) and is predominantly collector-based."

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Post Fiji

While many postal companies around the world are struggling, Post Fiji has a different story to tell.

Although mail volumes decreased over the past few years, the company recorded all time high earnings in some of its core business activities and new diversification initiatives.

According to the Fiji Times, the Fiji Post recorded a $1.69 million profit and paid a dividend of a little over $700,000 last year.

"Apart from the company's wide-ranging services such as locksmiths, letterboxes, card services and other support services, two existing products that experienced substantial growth was the advertising mail, AdPost and SmartMail, Post Fiji's document and information management service. " reports the Times.

For more on this story, click here.

To visit the Fiji Philatelic Bureau on-line, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mail artists do their thing

The Houston Chronicle reports that mail artists never know what they'll find in their mailbox.

New York graphic artist Mark Bloch has sent and received his share of weird mail over 30 years. He's gotten a piece of the Berlin Wall, a brick, a piece of toast, a platform shoe long after disco had died as well as mailed home fries in a soggy box.

Paola Morsiani, curator of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, is quoted in the piece as saying mail art springs from the Utopian idea that everyone can make art and that art connects people all over the world.

Bloch reports, "Right now Spain is huge into mail art. They are in their golden age of mail art. China may be next. The original idea — no galleries, no museums, the address is the art, anyone can do it — is very attractive to young people, and when they hear about it they want to do it."

Apparently part of the fun is entertaining postal workers.

"The post office is so boring and regimented and restricted and conformist," fellow mail artist Beth Jacobs says. "We like to bust up the routine of the postal workers. White envelopes are just abhorrent to the mail artist's nature."

Mail artists and others are invited to send their work — drawn, printed or painted onto an envelope, parcel or postcard — to the Tate Modern Gallery, London, on or before April Fool's Day. The style, subject matter and media are open to the individual's discretion. Send to: April Fool's Day Mail Art Exhibition, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 PM

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ban on mailing tobacco products considered

The Associated Press reports that U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (New York) is charging that the U.S. Postal Service is not doing enough to halt the illegal shipment of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco across the country.

Schumer, joined by New York Attorney General, said he will introduce legislation next week in the Senate that will impose fines of at least $1,000 per offense and possible jail time for anyone convicted of mailing cigarettes through the Postal Service.

"The U.S. Mail has become the last refuge for online cigarette merchants and it's time that this loophole be closed," Schumer said.

Several states, including New York, have laws prohibiting or restricting the shipment of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco directly to consumers. The online trade allows children to buy them and customers in general to avoid paying the taxes levied on them.

Schumer said the federal legislation would ban the mailing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, just as liquor, firearms, explosives are now.

He noted that in the past year, delivery companies including FedEx, UPS and DHL have agreed to stop shipping cigarettes.

Gerry McKiernan, a spokesman for the Postal Service, said unlike the other delivery services, federal statutes govern how items may be mailed.

"If you put a stamp on it, we have to deliver it; we have no choice," McKiernan said. "Once you seal it, we can't open it. The stamp seals the package against inspection unless you have a search warrant."

McKiernan added that in areas of the country that are known shipping points for tobacco, window clerks have been directed to ask customers if their package contains cigarettes and whether the appropriate taxes have been paid.

He declined to specifically comment on Schumer's legislation, saying the USPS attorneys would first have to review it.

Shown above is Slovenia's 3-tolar Stop Smoking Week postal tax stamp (Scott #RA3) of 1992 which was required on all mail posted during Sept. 14-21, 1992.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Meteorite stamp

Austria will get a little star dust when the Austrian Post Office launches a stamp sprinkled with real meteorite powder, in a "world premiere" on March 24.

Six hundred thousand copies of the stamp have been made so far. Each stamp will contain 0.03g of star dust, according to the Austrian Post Office.

"The powder comes from a 19kg meteorite found two years ago in Morocco that we crushed through a special process," Post Office spokesperson Michael Homola told reporters.

A collector bought the stony meteorite, also known as a chondrite, after it was authenticated by Vienna's Natural History Museum, Homola said, without explaining how much the operation cost.

"One thing is certain, we are the first in the world to incorporate real meteorite powder in a postal stamp," the spokesperson said.

For more on this story, click here.

For more about meteorites on stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, March 10, 2006

Every cover has a story

The American First Day Cover Society is holding their annual "Every Cover Has a Story Contest" now through June.

They hope to encourage young people to become novice "cover exhibitors" by doing a short write-up (100 words) about a cover that means something special to them. The cover can be a first day cover, a special event cover, or any other interesting envelope that went through the mail. It can be from anyone or any place. They do not have to make the cover themselves.

The contest is open to young people in five age groups: 8 and younger, 9 to 11, 12 to 14, 15 or 16, and 17 or 18. Their age at the time of the contest deadline is what counts. Exhibits should be mailed to arrive not later than June 15, 2006. Each contestant may enter only once.

By the way, this is a great way to introduce young people to the hobby. Just by showing them some covers and telling about them you might spark their interest. Then ask if they would like to enter a contest where they could win a prize.

If you want to be extra nice, you can award them your own prize just for entering. A start-up stamp collecting kit, a trip to the post office and an ice cream sundae. You get the idea.

The American First Day Cover Society (AFDCS) is a volunteer non-profit and non-commerical organization serving the needs of First Day Cover collectors, cachetmakers, and dealers. Founded in 1955, the society now has a membership of nearly 3,000 active first day cover collectors, including hundreds of collectors who design and manufacture their own cacheted FDCs.

For more information on the contest, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A hunting we will go

In yesterday's Milford Daily News (Milford, MA) columnist James Johnston writes about an article that appeared in Linn's Stamp News recently.

The article talks about how Vice-President Cheney did not purchase a $7 hunting stamp (not the $2 Liberian version shown above) prior to his ill-fated Texas hunting expedition. While hunting, Cheney wounded his friend Harry Whittington - who also didn't buy one.

Johnson, a stamp collector for 57 years and freqent contributor to Linn's takes Senior Editor Rick Miller to task for making excuses for Cheney.

Miller pointed out that the law setting a separate fee for this particular bird stamp was only enacted in 2005 and that Cheney might not have known about it.

To which Johnson responds, "The fact remains that the Cheneys of this world never feel that laws were made for them. Laws, according to the psychology of such plutocrats, were made for common folks to obey."

From there it gets worse - A LOT worse. To read the entire column, click here.

For more on duck stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Salk and Sabin honored on definitives

Drs. Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin are being recognized by the Postal Service today with the nationwide release of definitive stamps in their honor.

Salk and Sabin were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 for their independent work in developing the first safe and effective vaccines against polio.

As part of the Distinguished Americans stamp series, Salk will be featured on a 63-cent stamp and Sabin will be featured on an 87-cent stamp. Both stamps will be sold in pressure-sensitive adhesive panes of 20.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wedding stamps and a fashion show

What’s a stamp issue ceremony at a bridal store without a fashion show?

With the stamp enlargements as a backdrop, models displayed a variety of gowns for the crowd at the first day of issue ceremony held last week at the Kleinfeld, bridal salon, in New York City.

Shown above unveiling the "Our Wedding" stamps are, from left Kleinfeld co-owner Ronald Rothstein, a Kleinfeld model, USPS Vice President and Consumer Advocate Delores Killette, The Knot Sr. Editor Kathleen Murray and wedding cake creator Sylvia Weinstock.

And if that wasn’t enough, store designers set up a window display of a beautifully-gowned mannequin standing next to the new stamps and holding some of the “Our Wedding” stationary now being offered by the Postal Service.

The "Our Wedding" stamp booklet was designed by Michael Osborne (who created the geometric "Love" stamp) features 63-cent stamps for invitations up to two ounces and 39-cent stamps for replies and thank-you notes .

The $20.40 combination booklet contains 20 with the 39-cent denomination and 20 stamps valued at 63 cents. The $7.80 convertible booklet has 20 stamps with the 39-cent rate.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, March 06, 2006

Finding the Icehouse Cover

On tomorrow's APS Stamp Talk, host Nancy Clark will be talking with Charles Berg, owner and CEO of the Stamp King stamp shop in Chicago.

Berg has been in the philatelic and mainstream media lately as the man who "rediscovered" a one-of-a-kind piece of postal history known as the "Ice House" cover.

Worth upwards of $1 million, the cover was brought into his shop by an unsuspecting couple who thought they might get a few dollars for it. Well... to hear what happened after that tune into the show!

Also on the show will be "The Wizard of APS Headquarters" Brian Krasinski, APS Director of Computer and Information Services and Bonnie Farmer, Deborah Franklin re-enactor, "The Woman Behind Ben's Success"

APS Stamp talk with Nancy Clark airs live every other Tuesday 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM Pacific time (10:00-11:00 Eastern) on Past shows are also archived on the site.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:40 AM

A strange breed of fish

The British News.Telegraph quotes George Orwell (1984, Animal Farm) as having once described stamp collectors as: "a strange, silent, fish-like breed, of all ages, but only of the male sex; women, apparently, fail to see the peculiar charm of gumming bits of coloured paper into albums."

In the article, Paul Fraser, chairman of Stanley Gibbons, says he feels that "the age of the childhood stamp collection may be drawing to a close, squeezed out by other interests."

He points out it takes time for children to learn how to put together a stamp collection and that children have lots of other options now. He added that they needed help from their parents and that this was not always forthcoming.

"Parents used to spend a lot more time with their children, and they don't have time now," he said.

But Britain's stamp issuer, Royal Mail, said more children than ever were signing up to collect its products.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hooray for Bollywood!

Today is the Superbowl of cinema: The Academy Awards.

In Hollywood (not too far from where I live) this evening gleaming, golden Oscars will be handed out to movie stars, directors, producers and a bunch of other folks who make films.

Oh sure, there have been lots of famous Hollywood people on postage stamps, but what about 'Bollywood' actors, actresses, producers, directors, etc?

What's 'Bollywood' you ask?

According to MousePlanet. com. "At the broadest definition, Bollywood is the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India."

"Bollywood has its own traditions and conventions, the most obvious of which is that almost everything is a musical, melodrama is the standard, and it is very clean (from a sexual point of view)"

To see some more Bollywood stamps like the one shown above (Scott, India #1476-77) which honors Satyajit Ray and his film Pather Panchali, click here.

To find out more about what's happening in Bollywood, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 PM

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Old Post Office bulletin board gets new life

Two and a half years ago, the Boca Grande, Florida, Post Office stamped out a decades-old tradition when postal service inspectors said the community bulletin boards in the lobby had to go.

According to the local newspaper, The Boca Beacon, "Although the boards had been in the post office for years, the post office big shots who came to the island from Tampa said they didn't like some of the notices that they found posted in the lobby."

The boards, despite the protests of islanders, were taken down and thrown away.

Well, not exactly thrown away.The Beacon rescued both boards, and this week one of them returned to active duty.

Not at the post office.The board is attached to the north side of the Boca Beacon office.

The paper says, "It's available for the community to use - to promote events or to find a babysitting job. It's your board - everyone's board. Feel free to use it."

Right on!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, March 03, 2006

Israeli Post Office Changes Hands

According to Arutz Sheva - Israel National News, the post office has reorganized as the Israel Postal Company, a state corporation that is required to charge customers the Value Added Tax (VAT).

The new firm said it would hike the price of stamps only nine to 12 percent instead of the charging the full 16.5 percent VAT. A regular domestic letter now costs 1.50 shekels (32 cents), about 13 percent more than the previous rate. A postcard will cost the same.

The current Postal Authority has 5,380 employees, including 2,000 postmen and a fleet of 1,100 vehicles.

For more on this story, click here.

For a look at the history of the Israel Postal Authority, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Today in History

On March 2, 1877, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, even though Tilden had won the popular vote.

According to Washington Press, modern first day cover collecting began with the Fourth Bureau Issue of 1922-26. President Hayes (shown above) was on the first stamp, SC #563, of the series and was issued on October 4, 1922.

Besides appearing on U.S. postage stamps...
  • Hayes was the first president to take the oath of office in the White House.
  • Hayes was the only president whose election was decided by a congressional commission.
  • Hayes was the first president to travel to the West Coast during his term as president.
  • Hayes was the first president to have a telephone in the White House.
  • Hayes was the first president to have a typewriter in the White House.
  • Though other presidents served in the Civil War, Hayes was the only one to have been wounded - four times!
  • Hayes began the "Easter Egg Roll" for children on the White House Lawn (1878) - a tradition which still continues on the Monday after Easter.
  • Lucy Webb Hayes was the first wife of a president to graduate from college,
  • Lucy Webb Hayes was the first wife of a president to be called "First Lady"

To learn more about Rutherford B. Hayes, click here.

To see other U.S. Presidents on stamps, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

USPS to sponsor postal history awards

Starting in 2007, the United States Postal Service will sponsor the Rita Lloyd Moroney Awards for scholarship on the postal history of the United States.

Cash prizes are being given to encourage scholarship on the history of the American postal system and to raise awareness about the significance of the postal system in American life.

The award is named after Rita Lloyd Moroney who conducted historical research for the Postmaster General in 1962. She then served as the first official historian of the U.S. Postal Service from 1973 to 1991.

Submissions ned to have been published, accepted (in the case of theses and dissertations), or presented (in the case of conference papers), in a three-year period prior to the application deadline

Submissions for the 2007 prize must be postmarked by December 1, 2006. No late entries will be accepted. For more information, click here.

(Shown above is the first United States postage stamp which was issued in 1847. On it is the first Postmaster General appointed under the Continental Congress - Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was appointed on July 26, 1775. For more on the history of the Postal Service, click here.)
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM