Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kewl kangaroo cover

Quick! Where's this cover and cancellation picturing a kangaroo from?

If you said Australia, you'd be wrong.

It's from Korea. I didn't know they had kangaroos in Korea, let alone kangaroos that collect stamps.

Speaking of stamps from Korea...according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, an 8-year-old student from Manila has won the grand prize in an international stamp design competition sponsored by the South Korean government.

To read the entire story and see her winning entry(which pictures a computer and not a kangaroo) , click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, April 29, 2006

UPU helps improve postal services

The Accra Daily Mail - Accra, Ghana reports, "The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations specialized agency, the world's second-oldest international organization has over the past five years financed nearly 280 projects worldwide such as bringing postal services to outlying areas, primarily in least advanced countries."

"Through its Quality of Service Fund (QSF), the UPU has increased its postal development aid eight-fold, earmarking 60 per cent of its annual budget of more than $29 million for projects in developing countries."

"The QSF is financed from a supplement to dues paid to the UPU, by industrialized countries in particular. The dues system, managed by the UPU, is used to compensate member countries for the delivery of incoming international mail. In 2004, 6 billion postal items were sent beyond national borders."

"Predating the UN by seven decades, the UPU was founded in 1874, the second-oldest international organization after the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It is the primary forum for cooperation between postal services, setting the rules for international mail exchanges among its 190 members."

"Each year, 5 million employees process and deliver 430 billion domestic letter-post items, some six billion international items and more than 5.4 billion ordinary parcels. "

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Friday, April 28, 2006

UN postal archives sale in question

According to Fox News, "Auditors from the U.N.’s investigative arm, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), are currently putting the last touches on an investigative report that has taken months to complete, and that aims to determine exactly what happened — and why — to the U.N.’s rare and much-admired collection of materials that belong to the United Nations Postal Administration."

"The collection included original artwork for U.N. stamps, unique so-called die proofs to test the faithfulness of design reproduction, printing proofs and other rarities, along with hundreds of thousands of other stamps, reflecting many of the most colorful aspects of U.N. history."

"The postal archive sale may be yet another instance of what Paul Volcker’s investigation into the Oil-for-Food scandal described as “systemic problems in United Nations' administration,” involving lack of accountability, oversight, or even basic clarity in the organization’s activities. Despite the historic importance of the postal archive, senior U.N. officials contacted by FOX News professed to know nothing about it — including some in departments specifically charged with approving or blocking the dispersion of U.N. historical material."

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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

USPS considering another price hike

The Federal News Service says, "You may soon be feeling the burn of rising gas prices at the post office. "

According to their report, Postmaster General John Potter is considering another price hike because of climbing fuel prices and may file a proposal for another the increase as early as this month."

"The increase would pay for higher gas prices, increases in pay and health benefit costs. Since 2002, the price of fuel and electricity have increased by more than $2 billion a year," Potter says.

There is no word yet on how much the new stamps would cost, but the new price could take effect in early spring 2007.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Rural mail carrier fired on his first day

According to the Fort Wayne, Ind. Journal Gazette, Eric Larson, a rural mail carrier, was fired on his first day on the job because he ran into a fence. Larson (shown at the right in his car) blames it on a lack of training.

The post office says though there are hazards to being a rural mail carrier, the agency emphasizes safety and gives drivers the training they need.

The article goes on to say, "Postal officials and even union officials said they couldn’t talk about Larson’s case specifically, but they insist safety is a top concern."

"In the greater Indiana region, which includes most of the state, there are 1,820 rural routes that cover 25 million miles a year, and in fiscal 2005 there were 196 accidents, according to Lori Thomas, a spokeswoman for the post office."

"The job pays something more than $14 an hour, and carriers, who have to drive their own cars, get 40 cents a mile. People who do it say it’s a great way to make a living."

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Washington 2006 update

Tom Fortunato, Washington 2006 Media Communications Chairman, writes, "The American Stamp Dealers Association is sponsoring a 'What's in Your Attic' service all 8 days of the show for casual collectors and the public."

"Experts will review not only stamps and stamp-bearing envelopes and documents, but other ephemera collectibles such as postcards, trade cards, stock and bond certificates, etc. and give an approximate value for them."

Also of interest...

A number of the A-frames being used for competitive exhibits will be available for sale at $125 each through the American Philatelic Society. Individual parts and hardware are also being offered. A complete pricelist is online, or can be requested by email to

For full information about Washington 2006, including an up-to-date schedule of meetings, seminars, and first day ceremonies, go online to, or write to Washington 2006, PO Box 2006, Ashburn, VA 20146-2006.

Questions may also be emailed to
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, April 24, 2006

Canadian postman-soldier killed

The Toronto Sun reports that Lieut. William Turner, 40, looked far more like a soldier than a mailman. Turner, a Torontonian, volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, leaving behind the routine of his civilian life as a letter carrier.

According to the paper, "Turner's civilian life prepared him better than most for the rigours of Afghanistan. After walking for hours each day on his rounds as mail carrier, he would lace on his shoes to train as a long-distance runner. "

He was killed on Saturday along with three other soldiers in the worst one-day combat loss for the Canadian army since the Korean War.

In a related article the Sun reports, "The last time the Canadian army suffered a one-day loss of this scale was in April 2002, when four Canadian soldiers were mistakenly bombed by a U.S. fighter jet.

"Before that, army historians would have to reach back to May 1953, when the Royal Canadian Regiment suffered a horrendous one-day combat loss during the Korean War. About two dozen Canadians died while holding off an enemy attack. "

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

Decontaminated postal items

According to the Jerusalem Post, a unique collection of stamps and other postal materials that underwent decontamination to prevent the spread of anthrax, the Black Plague, cholera and other diseases will be on display at the Jerusalem International Conference Center, May 8 - 11.

The collection belongs to Dr. Hedy Feivel, whose items (including a letter sent from Venice in 1459) survived spraying with vinegar, ironing and other attempts at decontamination.

Organized by the Israel Postal Company's Philatelic Service and the Israel Philatelic Society, collections are being brought from the U.S., Sweden, Denmark and Greece, and other countries.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on biological agents and the mail, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Royal Mail losing £100m a year

The U.K.'s Sunday Times reports that Alan Cook, the recently appointed managing director of the Britain's Royal Mail Group , has been touring Britain meeting the nation’s sub-postmasters and mistresses and to see how he can stem losses of £100m a year.

According to the Times, "Cook is the man charged with securing the future for the country’s 14,500 post offices. It is a tough task: not only is the network losing about £100m a year, but its position as the government’s cashier — doling out cash to pensioners, mothers and the unemployed — is being eroded as benefits are paid directly into bank accounts. If Cook is to save the nation’s post offices, he has to find a new role for all the sub-postmasters and mistresses across the country. "

As a cost-cutting measure, post offices have been closing at a rate of over 300 a year. This has caused quite a stir - particularly in the rural areas of the country.

Among some of the innovations Cook is looking at is mobile post offices as well as “mini-branches” in pubs and police stations.

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

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pictorial cancellations and other secret stuff

Not many clubs and community organizations know they can have their own pictorial cancellation simply by asking for it.

Designed by sponsors and organizers of events, they feature wording or graphics relating to the particular event, anniversary or celebration. However, before they can be offered to the public, the cancellation must be approved by the U.S. Postal Service.

Once approved, the cancellations are available at temporary philatelic (stamp) stations staffed by Postal Service employees. The cancellations are only offered for 30 days after their release.

Linda Moak, USPS customer relations coordinator at the Colonie Center post office in Albany, New York, says that more than 1,000 celebratory postmarks are issued every year across the country.

"It's a great way to get the community involved in the event," says Moak. "And it's a great way to get people involved in stamp collecting in general."

For a handy 8-page guide to postal rules (including information about special cancellations) that the Postal Service doesn't publicize, click here.

(Be sure to check out Section 164.22 - Cooperation with Collectors. You might want to keep it handy next time some over eager clerk wants to cancel your letter or package beyond recognition.)
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Friday, April 21, 2006

Students help promote USPS

The Hamden, CT, Journal reports that four students from Quinnipiac University have made it to the semi-final rounds of the “P.R Professional Experience Contest,” with their proposal for a public relations campaign for the Postal Service.

The contest is another way USPS is promoting direct mail and online products such as NetPost Services and Click-N-Ship to the 18-to 30-year-old age group, according to Northeast Area Public Affairs and Communications Manager Debra Hawkins.

"We’re looking for ways to better communicate with this demographic,” Hawkins said. Quinnipiac is up against Dowling College, Fairleigh-Dickinson University, Montclair State University, New York University and the State University of New York at New Paltz. An awards ceremony will be held in New York in May, the article said.

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

Thursday, April 20, 2006

eBaying at work can get you canned

According to, Boris Gorfinkel, a data processing technical analyst for the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs , was suspended for five days without pay after investigators determined he had spent a minimum of seven hours visiting eBay on 16 of 54 days.

Gorfinkel, a stamp collector, said he had searched the site for stamps as well as for English and Russian books.

Following an investigation, one other individual was fired and several others were reprimanded for eBaying at work.

Let's be careful out there!

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

San Francisco earthquake

Yesterday marked the 100th Anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake. On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 a.m., the earth shook for almost a minute and was followed by a series of catastrophic fires that burned for three days and destroyed more than 500 blocks in the heart of the city.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, conservative estimates have put the quake’s death toll at more than 3,000 — with some estimates as high as 6,000 — mostly in the city of San Francisco. Between 225,000 and 300,000 people were left homeless with property damage estimated then at $400 million (about $8.2 billion in today’s dollars).

According to the Postal Service, as soon as the fire was under control Post Office employees were back at work — selling postage and offering money order services to the beleaguered city. Telegraphic services were so badly crippled that 10,000 telegrams were deposited with the Post Office for delivery.

"A letter from then San Francisco Postmaster Arthur Frisk to the Postmaster General recounts the extraordinary efforts of ordinary employees to help get their city back on its feet. Perhaps nothing sums up the tradition of community service exhibited by USPS employees as this excerpt from Fisk’s opening paragraph: 'Immediately after the shock, I visited the main Post Office and found the building considerably damaged . . . and the clerks of the night shift on duty and willing to continue to work.” Click here to read the full text.

The San Francisco District is offering two items in honor of the centennial — a limited quantity commemorative envelope for $5, and a copy of Frisk’s letter with a 39-cent Liberty stamp and centennial cancellation for $15. Or get both for $20. To order, send check or money order to: Earthquake Centennial, PO Box 880188, San Francisco, CA, 94188-0188.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Border Dispute reports that a South Carolina greeting-card maker, International Stamp Art Inc. (ISA), claims that it has trademarked the perforated border around the artwork of U.S. postage stamps -- and that the U.S. Postal Service has violated the company's rights.

At issue are not the stamps themselves, which the Postal Service has copyrighted, but postcards showing pictures of stamps that the company, International Stamp Art Inc., and the Postal Service each sell.

ISA lawyer James J. Wolfson said the Postal Service has and can publish the stamp art without infringing on the trademark. He noted that when the post office created cards of its best-selling stamp, Elvis Presley, it did not print the border around the artwork.

Wolfson said ISA shared card ideas and marketing plans with the post office and then the Postal Service cut off contact.

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

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Queen's mailman

The BBC reports that the postman who delivers mail to the Queen at her Balmoral estate has unveiled a new stamp to celebrate her 80th birthday.

Andrew Bloor has served the Royal household on behalf of Royal Mail for 23 years. Bloor is shown with one of eight stamps which are being issued for the Queen's birthday- April 21. Mr Bloor said he thought the set of stamps captured her personality well.

The postman said he had met the Queen on several occasions, often when she was walking her dogs or riding her horse in the grounds of the estate.

"The few times I have met her over that time she has always been relaxed, down-to-earth and very nice."
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Post Office gears up for "Tax Day"

Post offices around the country this weekend are gearing up for last minute tax filers. Many will be offering extended hours and additional staffing on Monday.

San Francisco District Manager Winnie Groux spoke of steps being taken in her district to prepare for this weekend in the USPS Link.

“We know that the days leading up to Tax Day, April 17 this year, are traditionally hectic. It’s our second busiest time of the year, so we’ll have district employees directing foot traffic in our lobbies much the same way they did during the Christmas holiday,” said Groux.

“And we’re making sure our vending machines and Automated Postal Centers are ready so we can capture every revenue penny our customers want to spend.”

For more on mailing your tax return, click here.

To find more about taxes and stamp collecting (including how to take a deduction for losses), click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Posted aboard R.M.S. Titanic

At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. The massive ship, which carried 2,200 passengers and crew, had struck an iceberg two and half hours before.

Titanic was more than the largest and most luxurious vessel of her time. She was also an “R.M.S.,” a “Royal Mail Ship.”

During Titanic’s frantic final hours, the ship’s postal clerks, along with steward Albert Theissinger and several others, desperately tried to save the 200 sacks of registered mail by dragging them to the upper decks and possible safety. Theissinger was the only survivor to recall seeing the mail clerks alive.

Shown above is a rare cover which was postmarked aboard ship. According to the The Titanic Historical Society, mail that was stamped with this particular frank is very rare only several have turned up and coincidentally were going to this same address in Washington DC.

The National Postal Museum has an interesting online exhibit, Posted Aboard R.M.S. Titanic, which can be viewed by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wall Street Journal editoral irks USPS VP

The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial in yesterday's paper titled, Going Postal, about mail service in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The WSJ wrote, "In Katrina's aftermath we've heard a lot about government 'incompetence,' mostly from people who have a bone to pick with the Bush Administration. But it seems likely that the private delivery companies would have outshone the Postal Service regardless of who was in the White House. Some things the private sector simply does better."

In response, USPS Public Affairs and Communications Vice President Azeezaly S. Jaffer (shown in picture) has fired off an angry letter to the WSJ and has urged all USPS employees to do the same.

Jaffer gets upset every time he hears or sees the expression, "going postal." He feels if you are going to use it, it should be a positive - rather than a negative - thing. He also doesn't like the media slamming the Post Office.

Jaffer's letter dated April 13 reads in part, "Surely The Wall Street Journal can do better than it did today with the editorial, 'Going Postal.' Using this discredited phrase to suggest that somehow Postal Service employees in New Orleans and other hurricane-devastated areas didn’t do their absolute best is nonsense, complete and utter nonsense. Let me tell you what “Going Postal” is really about."

He then goes on to list many things postal employees in the days following the devastation and how, in many cases, they went above and beyond.

To read Jaffer's letter to the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Help stamp out Mike's depression

Moved by a friend's depression, Tony Radford of Liverpool, England has launched a philatelic campaign with a twist.

Knowing that his best friend, Mike, is a keen stamp collector, Radford decided to collect some stamps online for him.

Like many people these days, Mike does not receive much mail, especially from foreign countries. So Radford decided to ask friends for their stamps.

Then he had the idea of creating a web page and sending-out a SOS across the web, asking friends to ask their friends to visit his web page.

To visit Radford's site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Anne Frank exhibition

"Anne Frank: Her Life in Letters" exhibition opened this week at the Amsterdam Historical Museum.

According to an Associated Press story out of the Netherlands, "It is the first time the letters have been collected in one place for public display. They include all but a few of the surviving letters Anne is known to have written."

Among the stained and tattered letters and postcards is an envelope on which she drew a stamp.

More than 100,000 Jews - 70 percent of the community in the Netherlands - were deported to camps after the German occupied the country in May 1940. Most died in gas chambers, and were among the 6 million Jewish victims of Nazi genocide.

The Franks, along with the Van Pels family and another man who lived in the Prinsengracht "secret annex," were betrayed by an unknown informant and arrested in August 1944.

Anne died in the Bergen-Belson concentration camp in 1945. She was 14.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on the exhbition (which can be seen thru September 3), click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Machin head nominated to be an icon

According to the UK's Stamp Magazine, the Machin head of Queen Elizabeth II has been nominated as a British cultural icon.

"The head joins the cup of tea, saying 'sorry' and the Routemaster bus, as well as the Penny Black and the postbox, on the website"

Icons is a Department of Culture, Media & Sport initiative, aimed at being a rich resource of material about the British people and their cultural heritage.

Steve Gardam of the British Museum & Postal Archive, who nominated the Machin, is quoted as saying, "It was designed to be iconic. It still looks as fresh as it did [when it was first issued]. Can you imagine anything else on a definitive?"

If you want to help the Machin become a Great British icon, log on to click here, search for Machin and then cast your vote!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Virtual Stamp Club & Washington 2006 of Fort Lauderdale, FL reports that The Virtual Stamp Club (VSC) will operate a "Computers in Philately" booth at "Washington 2006," the World Philatelic Exhibition being held May 27-June 3.

During the eight-day event, VSC president Lloyd de Vries says, "We expect to offer Internet access, demonstrations of software and Web sites, and informal lectures by publishers."

De Vries is quoted in the write-up as saying, "Computers are such an integral part of stamp collecting now. We use them for communication, for cataloguing, for commerce, for exhibiting, for research. We hope to show all these facets at Washington 2006."

The article also says the VSC also plans a series of interviews, informal talks and demonstrations. An advance schedule will appear on the group's Web site -- -- as "a work in progress." Daily updates will be made at the booth and online.

Volunteers are also needed to staff the booth and to help out during the show.

For more information, contact de Vries by e-mail at or go to
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"Sugar Ray"

The Associated Press reports that according to his son, "'Sugar Ray' Robinson would have considered being featured on a postage stamp "an honor for him, an honor for God and an honor for the community."

A new 39-cent stamp, designed to resemble a vintage fight poster of the 1940s and '50s, in honor of Robinson was released Friday night in ceremonies at New York's Madison Square Garden in conjunction with the 2006 Golden Gloves boxing competition.

Robinson reigned as the undefeated world welterweight champion from Dec. 20, 1946, until Feb. 14, 1951, when he won the world middleweight title for the first of five times.

"Sugar Ray" (whose real name was Walker Smith) announced his retirement from boxing on Dec. 18, 1952, but he returned to the ring at the beginning of 1955. He continued to box until retiring for good at the end of 1965.

Shown above is a panel from a USPS poster size mailout to the press inviting them to attend the Golden Gloves and first day ceremony on April 7.

Mine arrived April 8. Oh well.

For more on "Sugar Ray" and other boxers in the International Boxers Hall of Fame, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ben Franklin on stamps

Four 39-cent stamps depicting Benjamin Franklin’s accomplishments as a printer, statesman, scientist and postmaster and will be released today.

Art director, designer and typographer, Richard Sheaff used historical elements from Franklin’s life to create the stamp collages shown above.

Design elements in the Postmaster stamp include: a graphic device used by the Boston Post-Boy newspaper; a 1775 colonial postal cover and dated postmark from Marlboro, MD; an 18th-century painting by Charles Wilson Peale after a portrait by David Martin. A reference at the bottom of the stamp refers to Franklin’s personal franking signature, “B. Free Franklin, Postmaster.”

Benjamin Franklin holds the unique distinction of being second only to George Washington as the most popular subject to be commemorated on U.S. postage stamps with over one-hundred stamps issued with his likeness on them since 1847.

Shown below is a picture of Ben Franklin composed of about 1800 stamps. For a closer look at the section over his right eye, click here.

For more on Benjamin Franklin and stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Friday, April 07, 2006

Stamps on wine

According to, winemakers Michel Castillon and his son, Jérome, decided to name one of their wines on their French Chateau l’Ermitage ‘Victor Castillon Rouge’ in tribute to Michel’s father, Victor.

What’s even better is that they have chosen a 1922 registered letter to serve as the label. The letter was addressed to Victor Castillon and stamped with a 25-cent ‘Little Sower’

For more on wine on stamps, e-mail David Wolfersberger ( who is the point of contact for the American Topical Association's Wine on Stamps Study Unit.

Also check out their Web site,
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Postman Pat

According to a USPS press release, Entertainment Rights, one of the UK’s leading independent media groups specializing in the ownership of children’s and family programming, characters and brands, has secured a promotional agreement with the Postal Service for "expansive" marketing and promotional activity of Postman Pat.

Today’s agreement marks the beginning of a range of activities designed to build Postman Pat (who has his own television series on the HBO Family channel) into a leading children’s character in the United States.

The Postman Pat character will debut live in the U.S, for the first time when he attends Washington 2006. At the event, there be a special Postman Pat screening area and Postman Pat giveaways for children.

For more information on Postman Pat’s involvement in Washington 2006 and the Postman Pat outreach pack visit
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Creating a record of your collection

Everyone should have some sort of record of their collection for insurance purposes. It can be a simple as scanning (or photocopying) certain items or pages in your album or as complex as having photos and information in a laptop computer.

Having such a record will also allow you to take your "collection" with you to club meetings or stamp shows. That way you'll be able to see what you have and what you need - without worrying damaging or losing anything.

You might also want to have some software to manage your collection. On the low 'do-it-yourself' end you can create a simple spread sheet in Word, Excel or Access. There's also some good commercial software available these days that's fairly inexpensive.

One of these is SCOTT™ licensed StampManage from Liberty Street Software. At $59.95 ($49.95 for the downloaded version) , it will manage, value and analyze your stamp collection.

William Sharpe wrote in Linn's , "StampManage is an elegant, full-feature Windows inventory program for United States and Canadian stamps............The program allows you to enter more information about your stamps than any other inventory program I've come across."

To learn more and for a free download free trial, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Remote control mail

According to CC News, a Portland,Oregon based company has come up with a remote control mail service. The new service allows users to manage their postal mail like they do their e-mail, from any computer in the world, any hour of the day.

Users of the service are able to redirect their postal mail and can then go online to view scanned images of envelopes in their now-virtual postal mailbox. With a click of a mouse users can then selectively choose which mail pieces to have opened, scanned and presented electronically, which to shred or recycle, and which to transfer to another user or have forward-shipped to another location such as home, field office or hotel.

Dr. Ken Lynn, former Assistant Postmaster General of the US Postal Service is quoted as saying, “Not since the introduction of email and cell phones has there been such an innovation in communications technology that people can experience first-hand. On-paper communication is still pivotal in our society, despite the advances of digital alternatives, but now businesspeople and consumers can finally roam free anywhere in the world and still remain in touch as if they had never left their home base.”

For more information, go to
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Monday, April 03, 2006

1856 British Guiana celebrates 150th anniversary

The Stabroek News in Georgetown,Guyana reports that tomorrow will mark the 150th anniversary of the 1856 British Guiana one-cent black on magenta being postmarked and used.

Reporter Lennox J. Hernandez writes, "The survival of the only known copy, which bears the cancellation date of April 4, 1856, is rather fortuitous. Since its discovery in 1873, the stamp has passed from one famous stamp collector to another, whilst eluding the collections of many others, including that of the British Royal Family."

Once the world's most valuable stamp, it lost its standing in 1996, when an 1855 Swedish stamp was sold for $2.3 million, surpassing the Black on Magenta's value of $935,000. In January, the stamp slipped fell to third place when an 1867 United States Franklin Z-Grill stamp was effectively valued at nearly $3 million!

Shown above are enhanced pictures of the stamp. The original is not as clear and is considerably more faded.

To read the entire article and learn more about the stamp and its fascinating history, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Youth Stamp Day

Stamp columnist John Weigle of the Ventura County (Calif.) Star reports that the Goebel Senior Center Stamp Club will be hosting a Youth Stamp Day later this month.

Specific activities will include an introduction to collecting; a survey of various postal items; soaking and drying stamps; using tongs and hinges; topical collecting of interest to youngsters; placement of stamps on album pages (a stamp bingo game); locating stamps in a catalog and placing them in an album; posters and displays; identifying foreign countries from stamps; designing cachets for the Jim Henson and the Muppets stamp; placing stamps on a map; and a cachet contest.

There will also be free publications and references, a pick and choose table and gifts and prizes for each child, including beginners' collecting kits and glassines of stamps.

What's your club doing to encourage young people to collect stamps?
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Babe Zaharias

I recently watched the 1952 Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn film, Pat and Mike.

In the film, Tracy is a shady sports promoter and manager while Hepburn is a star athlete who competes in a women's national golf competition against Babe Zaharias.

While movie was fairly entertaining, I couldn't help thinking that neither Hepburn or Tracy have been honored on a U.S. postage stamp but Zaharias has.

On six occasions, Zaharias was named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year and in 1950, she was voted Woman Athlete of the First Half of the 20th Century in an Associated Press poll. She was also the highest ranked woman on ESPN's list of the 50 top athletes of the 20th century.

For more on Babe Zaharias click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM