Sunday, December 31, 2006

Company seeks combine "snail" mail and e-mail

John Cook, a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, writes in his Venture Capital Notebook column, that a local company, DocumentCommand, is looking to combine traditional and electronic mail.

Cook writes, "It is doing this by transforming incoming mail into electronic formats, allowing customers to access and view their mail over the Internet."

He quotes DocumentCommand Chief Executive Ron Wiener as saying, "When you are a road warrior out at a conference, you have eFax, you have your cell phone, you have your voice mail, you have e-mail. But you still have to go back to a desk to get your postal mail. You still have one analog tether in your communications world."

DocumentCommand plans to roll out addresses for seven other U.S. cities -- including Seattle, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- as it sets up partnerships with mail-sorting facilities in the next nine months.

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

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Stamp shortage in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) is facing a severe shortage of stamps according to an on-line article posted on the Columbo Page.

Postal officials were frantically looking forward to the arrival of 7.5 million new stamps by air cargo earlier this week as they do not have stamps for customers to mail greeting cards.

The country needs an average of 34 million stamps per annum and the government owned State Printing Corporation cannot meet more than a half of the demand. As a result,he Sri Lanka Postal Department has to import around seventeen million stamps a year.

Click here to read the entire article.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:55 PM

Friday, December 29, 2006

British announce new stamps for 2007

The Manchester, England Evening News quotes Julietta Edgar, head of special stamps at the Royal Mail, as saying, "Special stamps mark great moments, famous anniversaries and important cultural themes.

"They are miniature pieces of art and history rolled into one, and this year's stamp programme promises some really stunning images."

New stamps in January will feature Beatles album covers, while others later in the year will include underwater sea life, British inventions that changed the world, the abolition of the slave trade, British Army uniforms, the centenary of the Scout Association and the country's longest running TV show.

The Sky At Night, which has been broadcast for 50 years, will be one of the stars of the 2007 stamp program.

Sir Patrick Moore, who has been presenting the show since the very first episode in 1957, has chosen six of his favourite celestial objects for the stamps, which will be issued in February.

The diamond wedding anniversary of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be marked in October.

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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald R. Ford, 1913 -2006

Shown above is an autographed Inaugural First Day Cover postmarked August 9, 1974 from the Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection.

After Richard Nixon became the first President to resign from office, Ford was sworn in as President on the same day Nixon left the White House.

Ford died yesterday at the age of 93.

The Gerald Ford Library and Museum reports the late president was an avid stamp collector.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

King of the postage stamps

This year's Wonders of America set climbed to second place in the most popular stamps, but Elvis is still the King, according to a US Postal Service survey.

The Associated Press is reporting, "Some 124.1 million of the 1993 Elvis Presley stamps were saved by Americans, according to the post office, which does an annual survey of 10,000 households to determine which stamps are most popular."

Following Elvis and the Wonders of America in popularity were Wildflowers, 1992, 76.1 million stamps saved; Rock & Roll/Rhythm & Blues, 1993, 75.9 million and DC Comics Super Heroes, 2006, 73.0 million.

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Postman to philatelist

"Throughout the country’s war of resistance against French colonialists in the late 1940s, Vietnamese stamp collector Hoang Chau Ky [right] carried his stamp collection with him." writes Minh Huong of the Vietnam News Agency.

Huong reports, "From humble beginnings as a postman during the war of resistance, Ky recently earned the highest status in the stamp-collecting world when his collection was named the most valuable in all of Ha Noi last year."

Stamps with images of President Ho Chi Minh (shown at left)that were printed on rice paper are among the most valuable in the collection.

Ky’s bedroom reflects his dedication to his hobby. It’s so scattered with stamps that it resembles a bird’s nest, with only the bed free of stamps.

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

Monday, December 25, 2006

World's first Christmas stamp

Pictured on the left is what many believe to be the world's first Christmas issue.

Issued by Canada in 1898 (Sc# 85), its purpose of issue,however, was not for Christmas but rather to commemorate the introduction of imperial penny postage on Christmas Day, 1898, according to Kathy Ward of the Christmas Philatelic Club.

So what was the world's first Christmas stamp? To get Kathy's opinions, click here.

Also, click here to visit Wikipedia's wonderful web page on Christmas stamps.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good year!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Love me, love my stamp

Ken Martin, American Philatelic Society deputy executive director is quoted in a UPI story about do-it-yourself postage stamps as saying, "We take an inclusive view of the hobby."

"There are always traditionalists who will complain, but we think one of the great things about stamp collecting is that you determine what you want to collect."

According to the write up, 'Vanity stamps' have sparked debate among philatelists with purists saying they are actually metered postage labels, not official U.S. stamps, because there are rules for official postage illustrations.

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

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Letters to Santa

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that “much like the happy ending of the Miracle on 34th Street, when the Post Office saved Santa Claus, the Postal Service saved Christmas” for 4-year-old twin boys this year.

Eric and Evan Gilmore sent letters to Santa, but Eric’s was accidentally returned and stamped “Return to Sender.”

The article said USPS spokesman Tim Ratliff made up for the snafu by hand-delivering Santa’s responses to the boys, as well as two postal teddy bears, coloring books, a picture of Santa with their letters and books about the Post Office’s history. The article said the brothers have received a great deal of attention from the media, including an invitation to appear on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Speaking of which...According to the USPS News Link a segment featuring New York’s “Operation Santa” program will air nationwide on ABC’s Good Morning America Weekend this Sunday, Dec. 24.

New York’s letters to Santa program — at 80 years, the nation’s oldest — began with postal employees reaching into their pockets to purchase gifts for young letter writers facing a bleak Christmas. Last year, program volunteers answered approximately 85,000 letters.

Shown above in a USPS photo is Good Morning America anchor Marysol Castro, left, getting advice from Santa on how to answer the Big Guy’s mail.

The show airs at 8 a.m. ET.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stamp collection kept in secret room in garage

A New Zealand man has sold his 900-volume stamp collection with a catalogue value of $7 million according to

The site reports Ray Walkham (shown on left) quietly built a collection of up to 700,000 stamps which he kept in a secret room in his garage.

Walkham, who has collected stamps for nearly 70 years and whose collection is reputed to be the largest in the country, did not say how much he was paid.

However, he is quoted in the article as saying, "I didn't get any pleasure buying just single stamps. I used to buy accumulations and collections and sort through them. If I found a good item, that gave me a real kick."

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

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Inverted Jenny being given away has announced an unprecedented promotion to give away a rare Scott # C3a Inverted Jenny stamp (shown at left), which according to a company press release, has a catalog value of $275,000.

To participate in the giveaway, entrants simply need to enter online. You can enter once a day until the promotion's closing date of December 31. is an online marketplace and community connecting stamp dealers and collectors around the world; offering auction, fixed price, and store inventory listings as well as free tools and services.

For additional information, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Address detectives

According to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, Royal Mail been forced to hire an extra 3,000 workers to decipher bad handwriting on an estimated 400 million poorly labelled packages and envelopes.

The 3,000 extra staff, known as "address detectives" will join 1,400 permanent staff employees who decipher addresses that cannot be read by the Royal Mail's automated sorting machines.

Postwatch, the U.K.'s postal watchdog, says five million Christmas cards are destroyed each year by the Royal Mail because they do not have a deliverable or return address marked on them.

Bad spelling, illegible handwriting and neglecting to include the postcode have been highlighted as reasons for post not arriving at its intended destination.

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

There's a new Web site called which offers its members the ability to upload photos of their stamp and other collections.

According to Collectica president Michael Dworecki, “Collectica’s goal is to create a global collectors’ community.”

In a press release announcing the new site Dworecki says, "Our free software and easy-to-use collection management tools will make it simple for collectors to share information and post photos of the objects they are most passionate about.”

In addition to collection management software, also offers social networking tools such as clubs, blogs, forums, and news and event information to allow collectors to come together and discuss topics of interest.

To check it out, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Post Goes Pop

The Canadian Postal Museum's The Post Goes Pop exhibit highlights the wealth of postal imagery found in popular music, books, movies, TV programs, and advertising.

The exhibition explores the source of the imagery, how it is used, and how it compares to the current reality.

Featuring a wide array of artifacts and activities, if you visit in-person you’ll also be able to watch movies and TV clips, and even sing a popular postal-themed tune!

Now through January 6, 2008 near Ottawa.

Click here to visit the museum's homepage.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, December 17, 2006

USPS gearing up

On Monday, an estimated 2.4 million pieces of mail are expected to move through the Postal Service's Orlando Distribution Center according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Kate Wiley, the manager and lead executive of the Postal Service's Central Florida District is quoted in an article by Sentinel staffer Erin Ailworth,"Everyone wants to get that card, that gift, that package as close to Christmas as possible," Wiley said.

"They are going to jam the system up because they know the Postal Service is going to get it out."

In a related story on the Tampa Newspapers Web site, it's reported that the USPS predicts that Monday will be the busiest mailing day of the year and Wednesday will be the busiest delivery day of the year.

It's expected that more than 900 million pieces of mail will move through the U.S. Postal Service on Monday, Dec. 18. About 280 million pieces of that total will be cards and letters. This is an increase of about 230 million in volume over the average mailing day."

Shown above in a Orlando Sentinel photograph is District operations supervisor Mark Dorman helping to move along packages on the automated package processing systems (APPS) at the Orlando distribution center for the United States postal service.

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

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Two-tailed cat stamp - what is it?

Dan Watson writes to say his grandmother was interested in stamps and found these "Two-tailed cat stamps" among her collection. She had marked them as "rare."

Dan says he can't find any information and was wondering any Round-Up readers might shed some light on these.

Originally, I thought it was a color shift of some sort but the black is not shifted elsewhere as you can see in the close-up. Scott does not list it as a variety.

Anyone have any ideas as to what caused this and what it might be worth?

If you do, write me at
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 15, 2006

Update on Beatles stamps

Ian, Val & John Billings of Norvic Philatelics in the UK have added to their Web site the first of the sponsored postmarks for the Beatles stamps which are scheduled for release on January 9, 2007.

Also pictured are the official FDC, the presentation pack (which for the first time includes both a set of stamps and a miniature sheet), and the Royal Mail stamp cards which many will turn into pseudo-maximum cards by affixing the matching stamp to the front and having them cancelled with a selection of postmarks.

To see all the stamps, covers and cancellations available, click here
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New V.P., Public Affairs and Communications

Postmaster General Jack Potter has announced the appointment of Joanne Giordano as Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications.

Giordano was Senior Vice President, Communications, at America’s Promise — The Alliance for Youth, founded by General Colin Powell.

She also spent 11 years with communications consulting firm Burson-Marsteller in their New York and Singapore offices, rising from account representative to vice president and leaving the firm in 2001 as Global Client Leader.

“During her time at Burson-Marsteller, Joanne was instrumental in generating a great deal of positive publicity for USPS during our 1992 Olympic sponsorship,” Potter said. “So she is no stranger to the Postal Service.”

Giordano replaces Azeezaly Jaffer who resigned in disgrace last summer (see Round-Up posts of July 3 and 26).

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jessica Helfand

The Hartford Courant of Hartford, CT reports, "Since her recent appointment to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, Jessica Helfand has yet to be mobbed at the supermarket by folks angling to get their pet causes on a postage stamp."

Helfand (shown above) is a graphic-design artist who lives in Canaan and teaches at Yale University. She was appointed to the committee last fall.

According to writer William Weir, "The committee celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. Typical of its low-profile approach, David Failor, executive director of stamp services for the U.S. Postal Service, says no big events commemorating the occasion have been planned. They might have a private dinner."

"Helfand, who was nominated by former committee member Meredith Davis, professor of graphic design at North Carolina State University, figures the breadth of her interests in design helped secure her appointment. She's one of four artists who founded, a popular blog that takes on all matters of design."

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Let it snow, let it snow and keep moving.

The USPS Newslink reports, "The recent spate of bad weather that struck most of the country was particularly harsh in the central U.S., where snow and ice conditions caused road closures, utility blackouts and other hardships."

Shown above, in a photo by Bruce Symes of the Iola Register, is letter carrier Nanette Henke as she braves the elements to deliver the mail in Neosha Falls, Kansas.

“It doesn't really bother me," she said of the blinding snow and bitter cold. "If you keep moving, it's not too bad."
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

Vietnam's oldest stamp collector

Pham Van Thiem, 85, is possibly Vietnam's oldest stamp collector according to VietNamNet Bridge. In an on-line article, Thiem is reported to have more than 200,000 stamps from 185 countries and territories.

Unfortunately, he has stopped collecting because of old age.

"I relive my past through each stamp," he said.

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

Monday, December 11, 2006

Perfumed stamps

"Conscious of the waning popularity of snail mails in the age of e-mails, India now plans to perk up its service with perfumed stamps", according to Daily News & Analysis of Mumbai,India

"The first ever perfumed postage stamps in India, having the unmistakable fragrance of sandalwood, are in the offing."

"As sandalwood is an integral part of Indian heritage, which needs to be treasured and conserved, the Department of Posts is issuing a perfumed postage stamp to commemorate this national treasure," the department said in a press release.

The Rs 15 perfumed stamps will be formally released on December 13. The department claims its fragrance would last for over a year.

France, New Zealand, Thailand, Switzerland, Bhutan, Norfolk Island and others have issued perfumed stamps. Shown above is a rose-scented sheetlet issued earlier this year by Australia.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Postmaster sparks kids' interest in stamps

The Kent County Times reports that Postmaster Gary Laprocina recently visited youngsters at the Dreamland Learning Center in West Warwick, Rhode Island. He came to spark their interest in stamps and share some stories.

According to Laprocina, "You would probably be surprised at how many people actually do make requests for certain stamps," he said.

"The requests appear to be, for the most part, age and gender specific. It is mostly older gentlemen that always insist on getting flag stamps, where as the younger generation prefers the newer stamps."

Laprocina brought Paul Ferrick, a West Warwick postal carrier, along with him during his visit to the learning center. With Ferrick's help, Laprocina told the youngsters in the classroom setting how letters get from one place to another and all over the world and finally reach their destination.

Laprocina and Ferrick spoke about their uniforms, their bags and some of the other accessories they have incorporated into their uniforms as a result of certain conditions - a dog spray for self-protection is an example of one of those items.

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

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Iraqi postal staff end training course in Iran

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, a group of Iraqi postal employees have completed their first training course in the southwestern city of Khorramshahr.

The 12-member group were familiarized with latest developments in postal activities during the training, said the city's post office head Hamid Soleymani.

He said that the printing of Iraq postage stamps, as requested by its present government, and the training of its staff in postal work in Iran were indicative of growing Iran-Iraq postal relations.

The official recalled that before Iraq launched its eight-year war on Iran (1980-1988), postal exchanges between the two neighboring states were carried out by the Khorramshahr post office.

Shown above is one of first stamps (Scott #5, 1923) issued by Iraq under the British mandate. It shows the ruins at Ctesiphon.

For more on the postal history of Iraq, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 08, 2006

USPS CardStore

You can now send holiday greetings with the simple click of a mouse at home or at work through the USPS online CardStore.

Customers can chose from more than 50 holiday card designs, upload an address book, add postage and hit the send button. The Postal Service takes care of the rest.

"It takes a few minutes and allows you to gain hours of time with friends and family," said Nick Barranca, USPS vice president, product development. "CardStore makes shopping for and completing holiday cards quick, easy and convenient. No lines. No headaches."

A number of traditional, religious, interfaith, multi-cultural and non-denominational cards are available. You can also enclose a gift card from retailers, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, and Barnes & Noble.

Show above is an interfaith holiday card which features make-believe stamps as its motif. There are several other non-holiday cards (although they could be used for holiday greetings) available in which actual stamp designs are used.

To visit the CardStore, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The future of stamp collecting

The Northwest Explorer of Tucson, Arizona, featured stamp dealer Dale Williams (shown at left), owner of American Stamp and Coin Company and several other collectors, in an article about the future of stamp collecting.

He's quoted as "begrudgingly" admitting that the Internet might indeed be the future of stamp collecting.

"Why pay for all this overhead" he asked, referring to his store's utility and rental expenses, "when you can sit at home in your bathrobe - or naked - and sell from your computer?"

Williams doesn't want to close shop and work just on the Internet. People enjoy coming into the store, he said, and they trust him as a dealer.

"This store is a kind of a dinosaur."

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

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's a fake

A stamp used to mail an absentee ballot in Broward County, Florida that was thought to be a rare find worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is definitely a fake, the The Associated Press reports.

An incorrect number of border perforations and its thickness, printing method and inexact colors show it is a forged Inverted Jenny, said Mercer Bristow of the American Philatelic Society.

"The color, to me, was off. It looked more bluish-green than the blue of the genuine," Bristow said. He examined the stamp for almost an hour at Broward County's elections office, comparing it with an authentic one and other forgeries.

The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum wants it anyway.

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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Madonna and Child with Bird

The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson,AZ reports that this year's "Madonna and Child with Bird" Christmas stamp once belonged to a local couple's grandmother.

The 25-by-18 1/2-inch painting by artist Ignacio Chacón of Cuzco, Peru, was among the Spanish Colonial art she purchased at the time when she was in Peru. Her husband, a U.S. Navy Captain, Frank Barrows Freyer, was stationed there to help the Peruvian government on naval issues.

According to the article by Stephanie Innes, when the family returned to the United States, she obtained a special waiver from the president of Peru under its National Treasures Act to bring the painting, which was completed about 1765, as well.

Before she died in 1969, the grandmother decided to donate her art collection to the Denver Art Museum, where it is on permanent display as part of the Frank Barrows Freyer Collection, named after her husband.

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

Monday, December 04, 2006

Holiday gift ideas for stamp collectors

Stamp columnist Joseph Bakes of the Newark, NJ. Star-Ledger suggests some gift ideas for stamp collectors in an article that appeared in yesterday's paper.

Among the suggestions... "The American Philatelic Society -- -- offers gift memberships, a "Famous U.S. Stamps" calendar for 2007, collecting supplies and books, such as the Encyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp Collecting."

The National Postal Museum -- -- a division of the Smithsonian Institution, also offers gift memberships.

For someone who has begun a collection, a thoughtful and useful gift would be a subscription to a stamp publications, such as the weekly Linn's Stamp News (, available through the mail or online.

Other ideas that come to my mind include a gift certificate from Subway Stamp Shop, a gift subscription to Scott Stamp Monthly or Gibbons Stamp Monthly,or perhaps the best idea of all...COLD HARD CASH!

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

Sunday, December 03, 2006

World Trade Center mail

According to the Associated Press and other sources, the U.S. Postal Service announced yesterday that hundreds of pieces of mail addressed to the World Trade Center still arrive each day.

The Postal Service said the mail is probably from companies who have not updated their mailing lists. As a result, the post office has accumulated stacks of mail addressed to people who used to work in the towers.

Officials say most of the mail will be returned to the sender, while some will be sent for shredding. The WTC, which used to have its own zip code, collected more than one million pieces of mail each week.

Shown above a returned to sender handstamp collected from the World Trade Center. The stamp was last used on September 11, 2001, the day of the attack on the World Trade Center.

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

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Museum offers free Bob Hope cancellation

Jay Bigalke of Linn’s Stamp News reports that the General Patton Memorial Museum is offering a free pictorial cancellation honoring the famous comedian and the United Services Organization (USO).

Hope entertained thousands of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and other conflicts. He is synonymous with the USO and the men and women who served in the United States armed forces.

According to Linn’s to obtain a copy of the cancellation dated Nov. 11, 2006, “Affix correct postage on an envelope or postcard of your choice and address it to yourself or someone else. Insert cardstock of postcard thickness in the envelope to protect against bending in envelopes to protect against bending.”

Then place the postcards or envelopes in a larger envelope and send it to:

Veterans Day Station
45805 Fargo Street
Indio, CA 92201- 9998, Nov 11.

Requests must be postmarked before Dec. 11 to qualify.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Friday, December 01, 2006

Common stamp makes for an award winning collection

The Kansas State Collegian in Manhattan,KS, ran a nice article and a great photo (see left) on Tim Lindemuth, editor of K-Stater magazine for the K-State Alumni Association, and a member of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors.

According to the article, Lindemuth has exhibited his collection ,which is primarily made up of the 1981-85, 20-cent, "Flag over the Supreme Court" stamps,in both national and international shows.

Lindemuth is quoted as saying one day he hopes win a Reserve Grand or Grand National award and go on to the Champion of Champions competition.

Reporter Nicole Johnston writes, "Although he has collected stamps for 50 years, it wasn't until the early 1980s that Lindemuth became involved with competitive exhibiting of his stamps."

"I became bored with collecting and wanted to do something different," he said in the article.

"I thought, I think I can do that, but I'm going to do it with a modern stamp because so many of the exhibits are the classics, where many people have paid a lot of money and have been collecting for a very long time. I felt like a pioneer blazing a new trail."

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