Saturday, March 31, 2007

Churches to be used as post offices in U.K.

The Mid Sussex Times in the U.K. reports that retired postmistress Anne Hillwood,78, made her own "cover" of stamps for David and Clare Holmes, who recently gave the local post office a makeover.

According to the article, "The stamps on Mrs Hillwood's creation, which is displayed in the post office, depict key points in the development of the postal service and also reflect local activities such as morris dancing, cycling, and cricket."

At a time when many post offices in the U.K. are closing their doors because of government cutbacks, Mrs. Hillwood is happy to see the one in her hometown supported and thriving.

Apparently things have gotten so bad that Britain’s Sunday Telegraph reports "the Church of England is soon to issue guidelines to parishes throughout the United Kingdom recommending that churches across the country are used as post offices."

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

Friday, March 30, 2007

USPS announces new 41-cent stamps and postal stationary

USPS has released photos and background information on 13 new stamps and postal stationary items that will reflect the new rate changes taking effect May 14.

They include;

American Flag 2007 (coil)
41 cents – on sale May 6

Florida Panther (post card price)
26 cents – on sale May 12

Horses (stamped envelope)
41 cents – on sale May 12

Pineapple (stamped card)
26 cents – on sale May 12

Big Horn Sheep (2nd ounce price)
17 cents – on sale May 29

Hagåtña Bay (international price)
90 cents – on sale June 1

Okefenokee Swamp (Canada/Mexico price)
69 cents – on sale June 1

Harriet Beecher Stowe (3rd ounce price)
75 cents – on sale June 13

Air Force One (Priority Mail)
$4.60 – on sale June 13

Marine One (Express Mail)
$16.25 – on sale June 13

Margaret Chase Smith (2 ounce price)
58 cents – on sale June 13

Beautiful Blooms
41 cents – on sale August 10

41 cents – on sale August 17

For photos and additional information on the new stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Star Wars stamps and contest

Fifteen new 41-cent Star Wars stamps by artist Drew Struzan were unveiled yesterday at Mann's (formerly Grauman's) Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, where the first Star Wars movie opened nearly 30 years ago.

Shown above in a USPS photo, from left, Darth Maul, Lucas Licensing President Howard Roffman, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Letter Carrier Neosia Morris, Princess Leia, USPS Stamp Services Manager David Failor and R2-D2.

The stamps feature images from all six movies in the Star Wars saga: Luke Skywalker; Han Solo and Chewbacca; Princess Leia Organa with R2-D2; C-3PO; Yoda; Queen Padmé Amidala; Obi-Wan Kenobi as seen in Episodes IV through VI; Anakin Skywalker battling Obi-Wan Kenobi; Darth Vader; Emperor Palpatine; Darth Maul; Imperial Stormtroopers; Boba Fett; the Millennium Falcon; and an X-wing fighter.

The back of the stamp sheet includes extensive text describing the dramatic roles that each featured character or vehicle plays in the Star Wars saga.

Of the 15 images on the Star Wars stamp sheet, the Postal Service is inviting the public to vote on its favorite. The stamp receiving the most votes will be honored with the issuance of a single stamp, which will be for sale later this summer.

Voting for the most popular Star Wars stamp will take place online through May 23.The winning stamp will be announced at the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the sheetlet on May 25 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Passport Club

The Passport Club, a nonprofit organization, is an individualized, sequential, geography program for schools. Its main purpose is to help students learn some, or all of the world's countries over the course of a school year, and to meet essential academic learning requirements for geography. It also promotes strong parent involvement in the school.

Finally, the program introduces postage stamps as a valuable educational tool for teachers, and an interesting and enjoyable hobby for students.

The program was designed by a grade school teacher and built out of enthusiasm for geography. It began at Centennial Elementary in Olympia, Washington, in September, 1994, with 400 students. In the fall of 2006, there were more than 110 schools in twelve states using the program. Over 25,000 passports were ordered. The Passport Club has also been used at American schools in Shanghai, China and Penang, Malaysia.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Liberty Bell on new 'Forever' Stamp

The new Forever stamp was previewed yesterday at the National Postal Forum, a trade show for advertising, marketing and mailing executives.

Featuring the Liberty Bell image and the word “forever,” the stamp will be good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future — regardless of price changes.

Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer John E. Potter said the Liberty Bell was selected because it resonates as one of the nation’s most prominent and recognizable symbols associated with American independence.

According to a USPS press release, the Forever stamp will be available in booklets of 20 through, by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 and in Post Office lobbies nationwide beginning Thursday, April, 12.

Customers may also purchase the stamps in Post Office vending machines beginning April 14. Forever stamps will be available through Automated Postal Centers May 14. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) will begin offering the Forever stamp in sheets of 18 later in May.

Once prices change May 14, the Forever stamp will remain on sale at the 41-cent First-Class one-ounce letter price until the next price change. The Forever stamp will then be available at the new price.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

Monday, March 26, 2007

Private carriers replace postal workers

The New York Times reports private contractors are delivering mail in New York, Florida, and Oregon. Relatively uncommon, they serve only 6,400 of the Postal Service’s roughly 250,000 routes nationwide, according to the paper.

Patricia McGovern, a regional spokeswoman for the Postal Service, is quoted in the article as saying hiring a nonunion worker was cheaper than using a regular letter carrier, in part because they provides their own transportation and must send or pay for a replacement if they cannot work.

McGovern said private carriers, who work about an hour and a half a day and earn approximately $16,800 a year, are hired only for new housing developments where there is no existing route.

Needless to say, local representatives of the National Association of Letter Carriers are not happy about this.

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

Sunday, March 25, 2007

41 cent Purple Heart stamp?

Lisa Hoffman of Scripps News reports, "It took a mighty effort last year, including bulldog tenacity by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. And the Military Order of the Purple Heart won its battle to get the U.S. Postal Service to re-issue the special, first-class Purple Heart stamp when postage prices last rose. Now, with first-class stamps set to increase from 39 cents to 41 cents this spring, the group hopes the postmaster general will issue the stamp in perpetuity, in honor of those who have shed blood on the battlefield for their country."

Formed in 1932, The Military Order of the Purple Heart is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Composed exclusively of Purple Heart recipients, it is the only veterans service organization comprised strictly of “combat” veterans.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.

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

Saturday, March 24, 2007

End of British slave trade commemorated on new stamps

The BBC and several newspapers report that Royal Mail has just issued a set of six stamps commemorating the end of the Atlantic slave trade in 1807.

Shown here is one of the stamps featuring Granville Sharp, whose chance encounter with an African slave led him to become a key campaigner against slavery.

MP William Wilberforce, slave Olaudah Equiano, campaigner Thomas Clarkson, writer Hannah More and trader Ignatius Sancho are also depicted in the set.

The East End Advertiser quotes Royal Mail's Melanie Corfield a saying, "The Abolitionists galvanised people from all walks of life. Their struggle led to an Act of Parliament in 1807 which brought an end to an inglorious period in history."

According to the write-up on the BBC website, "More than three million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic in the 18th Century, before Parliament passed the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, banning the trafficking of Africans as slaves."

However, it goes on to say Britain's act to abolish slavery itself was not passed until 1833.

For more on Sharp and the new stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, March 23, 2007

R2-D2 collection boxes gobble up mail

The USPS reports that last week, "From the mildly curious to the seriously obsessed, postal patrons — and Star Wars fans — pointed, paused and posed with the droid-like boxes."

According to USPS NewsLink, in Newport News, VA, local business manager Dick Sweetman has a R2-D2 collection box in front of his store. “I've had cars stopping out here,” he told the Hampton Roads Daily Press. “People roll down their windows to look.”

Shown above in a USPS photo, unidentified Jedi Knights, Imperial Storm Troopers and Princess Leia gather round their favorite droid at an undisclosed location. However, from the background it looks like it's at Hollywood Blvd. and Orange St. next to the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

If you have one in your town. Have someone take your picture with it and I'll post it on the Round-Up. You can send it to me at Five five get a free pair of Round-Up tongs. Be sure to include your mailing address and where the box is located.

To see more pictures of R2-D2 mailboxes around the country, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Department store mogul turned Postmaster General

John Wanamaker (1838-1922) was appointed Postmaster General under President Benjamin Harrison on March 5, 1889. He served in that position for four years.

It was during Wanamaker’s administration, the Post Office Department issued the first U.S. commemorative postage stamps. The 15-stamp series commemorating Columbus’s voyage were issued in time for the World Columbian Exposition of 1893.

According to the National Postal Museum,"The stamps were an immediate hit with the growing numbers of stamp collectors in the U.S. and abroad. Wanamaker faced Congressional criticism over the new program as a waste of funds, but collectors eagerly purchased and saved the stamps. Two billion Columbian stamps were sold for a total of $40 million and the commemorative stamp program is still going strong."

Prior to serving as Postmaster General, Wanamaker was a pioneer of the American department store and was founder of the famous Philadelphia department store that bore his name.

Shown above is a portrait of Wanamaker painted by Leopold Seyffert(1887-1956). Seyffert created the painting for the Post Office Department in 1919, a quarter century after Wanamaker left office.

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Postcards were the e-mails of the 19th century

"The postcards from the 19th century are like the e-mails of today," so says Yoel Amir, 72, an electrical engineer and stamp collector, who specializes in collecting picture postcards from 19th-century Israel.

"Around 1880 paintings began to be printed on postcards, which increased their popularity and relayed visual, in addition to textual, information," says Amir, whose collection consists of postcards dating from 1880 until 1930, a period during which the art of photography was gaining momentum and printing methods were improving.

An article on the Ha' Web site points out that since painters found it difficult to earn a living from their canvases alone, painting on postcards became an accepted way for increasing their income.

Shown above is 19th century Spanish portrait postcard by an unknown artist.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New postal rates to take effect May 14

The Postal Service Governors has approved an increase in the price of a First-Class stamp to 41 cents, authorized the issuance of the Forever Stamp, approved shape-based pricing and set a May 14 implementation date for these changes. However, they delayed implementation of periodicals and requested reconsideration for some mail classes.

According to the Associated Press, James C. Miller III, chairman of the postal board, said the forever stamp could go on sale as soon as next month, at the 41-cent rate. Miller said in a telephone interview that there is no limit on sales of the forever stamps but noted they are generally intended for consumers and won't be produced in the massive rolls often used by businesses.

The paper reports each additional ounce will cost 17 cents, down from the current 24 cents. Postcards will be 26 cents, up from 24 cents.

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

Monday, March 19, 2007

Canada's philatelic faux pas - St. Lawrence Seaway Invert

Randy Boswell of CanWest News Service reports in the Edmonton Journal, "Canada's philatelic faux pas worth a boatload of nickels."

According to Boswell, "The most embarrassing stamp snafu in Canadian history is set to go under the spotlight at a landmark auction in Britain, where an extremely rare, unused quartet of the famous "Seaway invert" -- a 1959 five-cent issue featuring an upside-down image celebrating the friendship between Canada and United States -- is expected to fetch more than $60,000."

"The block of four being sold by Sotheby's in May belonged to the late Sir Gawaine Baillie, a British aristocrat and 1960s motorsports celebrity who amassed one of the world's most valuable stamp collections before his death in 2003," writes Boswell.

According to the article, "Baillie's collection is being liquidated in a record-smashing series of 10 sales that began in 2004, including one New York auction last year that saw a single, ultra-rare example of Canada's most famous stamp -- the 'Twelve-Penny Black' of 1851 -- purchased for nearly $250,000, double the predicted price."

Click here to read the entire article.

For more photos and information on the "Seaway Inverts," click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sneak peek at new USPS delivery vehicles

Here's a sneak peek at one of the new mail delivery vehicles the USPS Board of Governors recently approved.

According to one report, the vehicle, known as a "LLV (Long Life Vehicle)" has a sunroof and a backup video camera with in-dash screen. Their useful life is reported to be somewhere in the 20 -25 year range.

For more pictures and commentary, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Stamp honors Longfellow bicentennial

The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring the 200th anniversary of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's birth Thursday.

Katherine Tobin, a member of the USPS Board of Governors, spoke at the issuance ceremony, which took place at the American Stamp Dealers Association show in New York. Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, “Longfellow is not only a great poet, he also did as much as any author or politician of his time to shape the way 19th-century Americans saw themselves, their nation and their past.”

Longfellow is the 23rd honoree in the popular Literary Arts commemorative stamp series, joining other American literary giants Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Herman Melville and John Steinbeck.

The stamp, which was designed by Kazuhiko Sano, features a portrait of Longfellow based on an 1876 photograph with background art evoking scenes from Paul Revere's Ride, one of Longfellow's most famous poems.

Shown in the USPS photo above,are, from left, 2006 Poetry Out Loud NJ State Champion Teika Monai Chapman, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia, USPS Governor Katherine Tobin, American Stamp Dealers Association President Eric Jackson and USPS Stamp Services Manager David Failor.

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

Friday, March 16, 2007

R2-D2 mailbox announcement confirms rumors

Associated Press and other news sources are reporting that R2-D2 collection boxes will temporarily replace approximately 400 boxes in highly visible locations across the country today to promote "an exciting new adventure" on which the U.S. Postal Service is embarking on with Lucasfilm Ltd.

USPS Chief Marketing Officer Anita Bizzotto said the R2-D2 deal didn’t involve any payment to Lucasfilm and the cost of overhauling the collection boxes was minimal. The marketing alliance with Lucasfilm is designed to promote a stamp commemorating the 30th anniversary of Star Wars which is set to be unveiled March 28.

According to a USPS press release, "Customers can, of course, drop mail into them just like any other of our 280,000 collection boxes, but there’s a striking difference visually. Not only do the R2-D2 boxes look like the ever-popular Star Wars character, they feature the address of a website that gives clues about the real meaning behind this unprecedented promotion —"

"Hopefully fans will remember that these are real mail boxes, with real mail inside, and will face a serious federal offense if they try to steal one," writes Dustin [no last name given] on

Click here to view teaser for more on the USPS "Star Wars" promotion slated for March 28.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 15, 2007

USPS postal history prizes awarded

According to a USPS press release, a university professor and a college student will receive prizes for those who publish works highlighting U.S. postal history.

Professor David M. Henkin, Department of History at the University of California-Berkeley and Jesse Vogler, College of Architecture, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX will receive the first Rita Lloyd Moroney Awards from U.S. Postal Service representatives in recognition of their important undertakings.

Professor Henkin's book, The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America merited the Senior Prize, while Vogler's paper, Correct and Perfect: Post Office Design Guidelines and the Standardization of the National Postal Landscape, received the Junior Prize.

The Rita Lloyd Moroney Awards are designed to encourage scholarship on the history of the U.S. postal system and to raise awareness about the significance of the postal system in American life.

They include the Senior Prize ($2,000) for work published by faculty members, independent scholars, public historians, and other non-degree candidates and the Junior Prize ($1,000) for work written or published by undergraduates or graduate students.

The awards are intended for scholarship on any topic on the history of the US postal system from the colonial era to the present — including the history of the colonial postal system that preceded the establishment of the United States postal system in 1775.

Though submissions must be historical in character, they can draw on the methods of disciplines other than history, for example, geography, cultural studies, literature, communications or economics. Comparative or international historical studies are eligible if the United States postal system is central to the discussion.

U.S. Postal Service officials will present the awards later at ceremonies in Berkeley and Lubbock. Rita Lloyd Moroney, the awards' namesake, began conducting historical research for the postmaster general in 1962 and later served as the U.S. Postal Service historian from 1973 to 1991.

Click herefor additional information on these awards and application instructions.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tune in to APS Stamp Talk

Nancy Clark, host of APS Stamp Talk, writes to say she has a "real mix" on the show this afternoon.

Paul Bourke will talk about setting up an electronic stamp shop. Then Janet Houser discusses the American Philatelic Society's spectacular summer stamp seminars. AND, as an added bonus, former railroad post office clerk Sidney Fingerhood will share some tales from his years on the rails.

The show airs live at 4 p.m. EST on If you can't make it in person, click here and you can listen to this and past shows whenever it's convenient.

Also, mark your calendars for the show on March 28th. Nancy says it's going to be a "doozey."

American Philatelic Society presidential candidates, Nick Carter and Ken Lawrence be discussing some pretty important issues that will not only affect the future of APS but of the hobby as well.

Incidentally, Nancy recently won the American Philatelic Society’s 2006 Ernest A. Kehr “Future of Philately” Award. Established in 1991, the Kehr Award recognizes a philatelist who, for at least five years, has made philately attractive as a hobby to newcomers, worked directly with newcomers, especially young people or developed and administered programs to recruit newcomers.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stamps are third-biggest seller on eBay

According to Julia Kollewe of the Guardian Unlimited , "A surge in internet sales, particularly from America and the far east, helped boost annual profits at Stanley Gibbons, the world's oldest stamp dealer, by a third last year."

Interest in stamps these days is "huge", said chairman Paul Fraser, pointing out that they have now become the third-biggest seller on eBay.

" At the top end of the market, the outlook is extremely good," he said. "Material is getting scarcer and scarcer."

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

'Philately,' 'cruciferous' win state spelling bee

An eighth-grader won the 80th Annual Alabama Spelling Bee sponsored by The Birmingham News after correctly spelling "philately" and "cruciferous."

The first five people who can correctly use BOTH in a single sentence will receive receive free pair of tongs!

E-mail your entries along with your mailing address to
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, March 12, 2007

Stocks vs. 'Forever' stamps as an investment

Tom Barlow of AOL's Blogging Stocks wondered how investing in "Forever" stamps would stack up against the stock market. So he figured it out.

Tom writes, "First, I went to the Inflation Calculator to see how the postage stamp has tracked against the value of our money. I did some digging, and found that the first stamp, issued on March 3, 1863, sold for 03 cents. It reached a dime in 1974, 20 cents in 1981, and 30 cents (actually, 32 cents) in 1995. Happily, I found that the original 03 cent stamp should cost 58 cents today, so we're getting a bargain. Even 1985's 22 cent stamp should cost 41 cents today."

"Next, I looked at how the value of a Forever stamp would have fared if I had been able to buy one in 1997. At that time, the stamp would have cost 32 cents. If I held it until the 41cent rate takes effect, I could realize a measly 28% profit (before taxes) over the ten-year span."

His conclusion? "Stamps may be a better place for my money than penny stocks or the lottery, but they can't lick the good old stock market."

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

Sunday, March 11, 2007

R2D2 mailboxes and other sites are reporting that in honor of Star Wars' 30th anniversary, these R2D2 mailboxes will be replacing the familiar blue ones across the nation.

As far as I can determine there has been no official word on this and these Star Wars stamp and mail box reports are beginning to strike me as a some sort of publicity stunt.

We'll see.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Canadian Braille stamp needs support

The Montreal Association for the Blind (MAB) is requesting Canada Post issue a Braille stamp to commemorate its 100th anniversary — and they are looking for public support - reports the Montreal based Chronicle.

Alan Dean (shown above)is spearheading the drive. Dean is blind and serves on the MAB’s members committee. He initially made the request about six years ago — and he is hoping Montrealers [and others] will write Canada Post this month in support of the Braille stamp, which would be the first of its kind issued in North America.

According to the article, Canada Post will likely make public what commemorative stamps will be issued in 2008 in late May or June

To send a letter to the Canada Post stamp advisory committee, mail it to: 2701 Riverside Dr., Ottawa, Ont., K1A 0B1.

Shown above is Dean with Braille stamps from Brazil and Croatia.

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

Friday, March 09, 2007

U.S. to issue "Star Wars" stamp? says they've gotten word that the USPS will be announcing official U.S. postage paying tribute to the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars" later this month.

According to the announcement posted on their Web site, the following information comes from an "anonymous" insider.

March 16: R2-D2 will make news in many major cities across the U.S.

March 28: Star War stamp designs will be unveiled in Los Angeles.

May 25: Stamps will go on sale after the first day of issue ceremony.

One further note, the site says, "Fans will play a role in the production of one of the stamp designs."

Shown above is one of several Australian "Star Wars" souvenir sheets which was released at the Star Wars Convention in Indianapolis in 2002.

According to, the sheet sold out in quickly, "...leaving 100s of Thousands of Australian Stamp collectors and an estimated 2 Million Star Wars fans without these stamps for their collections."

May the force be with you.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Recount for Hershey "Guess and Win" contest

The USPS News Link reports, "Typos happen. Just ask the sweepstakes company responsible for managing Hershey’s 'Guess and Win' contest. It turns out that when the company announced the number of Hershey’s Kisses it took to fill a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box as 2,576, it was 1,000 higher than the actual number — 1,576."

According to their write-up, "People wrote in and queried the firm handling the sweepstakes. So, the firm opened up the official chocolate-filled Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and conducted a recount — twice. When they realized a clerical error had been made, they selected another winner based on the new total. That second lucky winner has been notified."

The USPS blurb said the company who handled the promotion also made good on their promise to the original winner as well.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Norway's postal service ranks poorly

Norway's postal service, Posten Norge, has been ranked as among the worst in Europe. It's also among the priciest according to Aftenposten.

A recent survey of European postal services showed that only 82.4 percent of first-class, so-called "A" letters mailed in Norway were delivered on time last year. The Norwegian postal service is supposed to deliver domestic first-class mail overnight.

Only Latvia and Germany had slower postal service than Norway. Twenty other countries had faster service.

Meanwhile, postal rates just went up. It now costs NOK 7 (about $1.10) to mail a domestic letter in Norway.

Shown above Norwegian letter carrier struggles through snowdrifts last week.

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

Monday, March 05, 2007

Post offices remove clocks

Barry Shlachter of McClatchy Newspapers reports USPS is on a drive to standardize the look and feel of all 37,000 of its retail locations. And part of that makeover involves removing all the clocks from customer-accessible areas.

Stephen Seewoester, a Dallas spokesman for the Postal Service, is quoted in an article by Shlachter that appears on the Centre Daily Times Web site as saying, “We want people to focus on postal service and not the clock.”

"It's silly," said Leonard Berry, a retailing and marketing leadership professor, who is also quoted.

"I guess they think people don't have watches."

"Removing the clocks is actually removing a service," Berry said. "Research consistently shows people think they wait in line longer than they actually do whether there's a clock there or not. It's better to invest in making sure the wait time is shorter by improving operational efficiencies."

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:44 PM

Celebrating chocolates

In January, the U.S. Postal Service marked the 100th anniversary of Hershey's Kisses with a 39-cent "Love" stamp.

Now, Canada Post celebrates a confectionery centennial of its own -- that of Richard Purdy's 1907 chocolate shop in Vancouver, British Columbia according to Richard Carr, stamp columnist for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Richard reports earlier this month Canada issued a $2.50 commemorative envelope with an image of a Purdy's assortment box (shown above). In the upper right hand corner, is a single stamp which features a chocolate wrapped in foil with Purdy's logo embedded in it.

Designer Katie Deering of Canada Post's Graphic Design Group is quoted in the column as saying the hardest thing about working on the stamp "was not eating the chocolates."

To read Richard's column and learn more, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, March 04, 2007

British artist shows Iraq war dead on stamps

In a front page story in the Los Angeles Times, Kim Murphy reports, "In every war that Britain fights, the Imperial War Museum selects an artist to render that one image. Steve McQueen was chosen for the task at the start of the Iraq war, and he struggled for months to come up with it. Then he realized that it didn't have to be just one image. It already was many."

Murphy goes on to say, "He imagined the faces of Britain's war dead printed in the serrated frames of postage stamps. Peering out from under a stack of bills. Stuck on the envelopes of birthday cards. Lying silently in sheets in desk drawers."

"McQueen, 37, winner of Britain's prestigious Turner Prize for visual artists in 1999, went to the Ministry of Defense in 2005 for help in obtaining photographs of the dead. The ministry refused to provide the addresses of families of the 115 soldiers who had died by that time, forcing him to go on without its official sanction," writes Murphy.

According to the article, a full-time researcher was hired to locate the families, win their support and collect photographs for the stamps.

"The response was far from the distress the Defense Ministry had predicted. Of the 115 families contacted, 98 responded with photos, four declined and 13 didn't answer. Eighteen British soldiers have died since then. McQueen chose not to include them because he considers the pain too fresh."

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

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Students collect used stamps to support Seeing Eye dog

The Hunterdon Review of Lebanon,New Jersey, reports "...20,000 already-postmarked stamps collected at the High Bridge Middle School by January will translate into food and care costs for Star, a Seeing Eye dog that the students and their supporters earned with stamps collected over the previous decade."

The stamps were clipped off business and personal mail by current students at the grades 6-8 school. Former students, teachers, grandparents, moms also clipped and contributed stamps which were turned over to a mixture dealer in Easton, PA.

The school's guidance counselor, Ann Walton, is quoted in the article as saying she doesn’t know how much money the 20,000 stamps will raise. However, this year’s annual stamp collection broke all previous records.

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

Friday, March 02, 2007

Internet stamp scam

According to Mike Brunker of MSNBC, for the past nine years thousands of altered postage stamps have been sold to unwitting collectors on eBay and other Internet auction sites.

Brunker writes, "More striking than its longevity, though, is that the mastermind has never been charged with a crime, even though his identity apparently is known to eBay security, law enforcement officials and some of the nation’s leading stamp experts."

"The rip-offs have been occurring intermittently on eBay and other auction sites since at least 1998, generating millions of dollars in illicit profits for the mastermind, according to the collectors, who have united under the rubric Stamp Collectors Against Dodgy Sellers, or SCADS."

Shown above, George Kopecky shows one of his many files that illustrate how the eBay forger alters stamps before reselling them for a profit.

He's quoted in the article as saying, “I’m just a collector who got a little pissed off by what I saw as criminal activity going on with impunity.”

To read the entire story (along with a slide show) click here.

For a related article by Sheryll Oswald, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:40 PM

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Taiwanese collectors compete for newly issued stamps

The Taipai Times reports "excited" stamp collectors lined up in front of the Taipei Post Office yesterday to be among the first to acquire a set of stamps issued by the Taiwan Post Co.

"But enthusiasm soon turned into anger as police tried in vain to prevent unruly queuers from sneaking forward in the line to purchase a second set of stamps," writes
Staff Reporter Shelley Shan.

Apparently, customers were only permitted to purchase two to four stamps at a time, but most collectors wanted to buy the entire set of 20 stamps. Despite complaints and minor conflicts, the first batch of stamps bearing the name "Taiwan" were sold out almost immediately at many post offices.

Shown above, an unidentifed woman shows off the new stamps at the Taipei Post Office.

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