Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chinese stamps and postal history on display

The Shanghai Daily reports stamp exhibits by collectors from 19 provinces around China were on display at the Pudong New Area Citizen Center this past weekend.

According to Chen Guoqiang, official of the Pudong New Area Philately Association, the show's organizer, hundreds of stamps, each with different styles, are being shown including postal receipts.

One set of receipts shows how expensive postal fees were in China in 1993.

"Costs of postal services were relatively high during the early 1990s," said Chen. "So additional postal fees were required in that period. The collection actually records that history."

"I love these stamps," said Sun Xinyi, one of the visitors. "I would like to share my own collection with more people next time."

Nearly 10,000 people have visited the exhibition so far.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America

Award-winning postal historian David Henkin will be the featured speaker at a public lecture and book signing today from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.

Henkin, a University of California, Berkeley professor of history, is one of two winners of the first Rita Lloyd Moroney Award, created by the Postal Service to recognize excellence in scholarship on the history of the U.S. postal system and to raise awareness about the significance of that system in American life.
Henkin's book, The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America, merited the Senior Prize ($2,000) for work published by faculty members, independent scholars, public historians and other non-degree candidates.
According to a review of the book on, "Americans commonly recognize television, e-mail, and instant messaging as agents of pervasive cultural change. But many of us may not realize that what we now call snail mail was once just as revolutionary. As David M. Henkin argues in The Postal Age, a burgeoning postal network initiated major cultural shifts during the nineteenth century, laying the foundation for the interconnectedness that now defines our ever-evolving world of telecommunications. "
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vanity ZIP codes

Peter Lauria of the New York Post reports that the USPS is weighing of the idea of vanity zip codes.

He writes, "Vanity ZIP codes could be a gold mine for the United States Postal Service.

Just days after upscale department store Sakes Fifth Avenue convinced the USPS to give it a vanity ZIP code for its shoe department, the always cash-strapped postal service said it was exploring the idea of using vanity ZIP codes as a way to generate additional income."

According to ABC News, it is the first time the USPS has included letters in a ZIP code. It is also the first time a single floor of a building has its own code - 10022-SHOE. . ABC says the Postal Service has also developed a special barcode, or meter strip, that is designed to look like a shoe.

Lauria goes on to say, "If vanity ZIP codes are even half as popular as vanity license plates, the potential revenue impact for the USPS could be huge."

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

Monday, May 28, 2007

In Flanders Field

Shown above is a 1948 commemorative honoring Moina B. Michael, founder of the Memorial Poppy.

Beginning around 1915, during the First World War, red paper poppies were sold and worn on Memorial Day in order to raise money for the rehabilitation of soldiers wounded in combat and as a way to remember those who gave their lives for their country.

According to the Returned Services Association of New Zealand, the red poppy's (also known as the Flanders Poppy) dates back to the Napoleonic Wars because were the first plant to grow in the churned up soil of soldiers' graves in the area of Flanders, Belgium.

Since then they have served as a symbol of resurrection and remembrance.

For more on Moina B. Michael and the Memorial Poppy, click here.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The 'Force' was with him and the good side won

The Associated Press reports that Yoda defeated Darth Vader in voting to choose which "Star Wars" character would get their own stamp.

According to the AP, "With about half a million votes cast, the diminutive force for good topped the evil Lord Vader by about 10,000 votes, according to postal officials."

The decision was announced Friday night at a 3-day Star Wars convention being held in Los Angeles

Fans voted on the USPS website and picked their favorite stamp from the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars sheetlet which was released earlier in the day.

The Yoda stamp will be re-issued later this year as an individual stamp. Shown above is a USPS photo of a horizonally formatted Yoda stamp. The Yoda stamp on the Star Wars sheetlet is vertically formatted. Otherwise, the two are the same.

Click here for Star Wars stamps on tee-shirts, coffee mugs, and other neat stuff.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Businesses cool to customized postage

Will Wade of the New York Times reports, "For decades, advertisers imagined that if only the legal barriers against commercial images on postage stamps came down, they could do great things on envelopes. "

He goes on say, "Those obstacles went away last year, when Congress swept aside a law against advertising on stamps and the United States Postal Service authorized businesses to use postage for marketing purposes. "

However, businesses are still cool to the idea of using customized stamps primarily because of the additional cost involved with purchasing the stamps from a third party such as, Endicia, Zazzle and Pitney Bowes.

According to Wade, the Postal Service says that about 17 million custom stamps were produced from the start of the government's fiscal year in October to the end of April, and that only about 18 percent of them were for businesses.

Some exceptions are mentioned in the article including a Hollywood publicity firm that sent out invitations to screenings with stamps that featured images from five movies, including Dreamgirls and World Trade Center in advance of this year's Academy Awards presentation.

Wade also mentions that CBS put some of its television stars on stamps last year to promote its fall lineup.

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

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bigger than Elvis?

Today is the big day for Star Wars fans throughout the galaxy...or at least in your hometown.

USPS is releasing 15 different Star Wars commemorative stamps that feature images from all six movies. Approximately 30 million sheets, which each contains the 15 stamps, have been printed.

The Defiance Crescent News in Defiance, OH quotes Steve Gorka, Defiance postmaster as saying "I think, personally, with the large base of Star Wars fans out there, it might be one of the largest single interest stamp events we've ever seen. There are rumors it might surpass the Elvis Presley stamp."

"They really are an attractive group of stamps," Gorka said in the article by Lisa Nicely.

Gorka added that the presale of the stamps via the national postal service website have hit a record with approximately 183,000 sheets sold. Pre-orders started 30 days in advance of the general sales and are not shipped until sales begin.

According to Gorka, the display and posters promoting the stamps cannot be given out afterward. "We've had customers and employees ask for any of that memorabilia including the display, but because of the licensing agreement with Lucas Films all of those materials must be destroyed at end of the display period."

One Star Wars stamp, voted on by the public as the favorite stamp, will be also be announced today. It will be issued as a single stamp later on in addition to inclusion in the Star Wars stamp set.

As of Wednesday, the postal service said it has received more than a half a million voters. The top two vote getters were Yoda and Darth Vader, with Yoda having had a slight lead earlier this week.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cat 'terrorizes' mail carriers in Canada

This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and the United States Postal Service is working to educate Americans about dog bite prevention.
According to National Association of Letter Carriers, an average of 10 letter carriers in the United States suffer dog-related injuries each delivery day.

However in Canada, dogs don't seem to be as big a problem for mail carriers as cats - especially a black one named Shadow who is shown above.
Featured in newspapers and news broadcasts across the country, postal carriers alleged Shadow hid under a porch and hissed at them.
An article in the Winnipeg Free Press reports a letter was sent by Canada Post to Shadow's owners stating in no uncertain terms that "...they would have to pick up their mail at a postal outlet about four kilometres away due to unsafe access."
However, neighbours and caretakers of the black cat said accusations against the docile creature were inconceivable.
A compromise was reached when Shadow's once open-sided porch was boarded up and a Canada Post supervisor came out and approved the location as being safe for mail carriers to return.
Kathi Neal, Canada Post spokeswoman, is quoted in the article as saying, "Our goal is to always work with our customers to ensure safe mail delivery and we're delighted the situation has been resolved favourably."
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Priority mail goes 'green'

The blue and white packages of the U.S. Postal Service are getting 'greener' according to an article in Federal Times.

Postal Service spokeswoman Joanne Veto is quoted by reporter Daniel Friedman as saying all of USPS Priority and Express Mail packages are now made with 100 percent recyclable paper. About 500 million such packages worth $6 billion are used each year.

"Though the agency already uses recycled paper for some packages, the move to 100 percent represents a big switch.

"In the works for about two years, the change necessitated rewriting contracts with about 200 suppliers to require them to alter the composition of the paper they provide."

According to the report, the new packages include 60 separate material components and 1,400 individual ingredients. The switch, however, is “cost neutral” to both vendors and the agency.

Postmaster General John Potter and other agency officials will discuss the environmental benefits of the switch at a May 30 news conference and luncheon.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Great Britain to issue Harry Potter stamps

Reuters U.K. reports the Royal Mail's Head of Special Stamps Julietta Edgar said seven first class stamps will be released in July honoring J.K Rowling's Harry Potter. The stamps will use artwork from the Bloomsbury editions of the seven Harry Potter books.

According to the report, "The bespectacled hero appears with an array of dragons, the Hogwarts Express train and his flying Ford Anglia. A five-stamp miniature sheet featuring the Hogwarts school crest and those of its four houses will also be available."

The stamps go on sale on July 17, four days before the publication of the seventh and final book: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 21, 2007

New stamps previewed at military open house

Shown above on Sunday at the annual Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland are Air Force Col. Margaret H. Woodward, commander of the 89th Airlift Wing; David Failor, the U.S. Postal Service's executive director of stamp services; and Marine Col. Andrew W. O'Donnell Jr., commander of Marine Helicopter Squadron One, with the new Air Force One and Marine One stamps.

The stamps go on sale June 13. The Air Force One stamp will be issued for priority mail and will cost $4.60 each. The Marine One stamp will be used for express mail and will cost $16.25 each

According to Gerry J. Gilmore of the American Forces Press Service, Failor thanked the Air Force for hosting the stamp preview, noting 185,000 U.S. Postal Service employees are military veterans.

Failor is quoted as saying, "Their expertise and dedication have helped us deliver record service and performance for our customers." The postal service, he added, coordinates closely with the military to ensure that letters and packages reach servicemembers deployed overseas.

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

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cameron Diaz on stamps

According to, actress Cameron Diaz was in for a surprise during an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show earlier this week when host Jimmy Kimmel presented her with her own set of stamps!

The site reports, "Kimmel discovered that the actress has been honoured with postage stamps in both the Democratic Republic of The Congo and Kyrgystan, and showed off the sets during the programme.

A stunned Diaz said, "What? No way..! If I put all of these on me, like, could I mail myself to Kyrgystan?"

For more celebrities on stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:35 PM

Collectibles and stamps go crazy

Reporter Sharon Reier of the International Herald Tribune writes, "Charles Shreve is a stamp specialist whose Shreves Philatelic Galleries in Dallas will handle the June auction of a major British stamp collection by Bill Gross, chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., to benefit Médecins sans Frontières. Shreve sees the current collectors' mentality as a positive development."

Shreve (shown above) is quoted as saying, "The last time collectibles and stamps were starting to go crazy, the dynamics were completely different. Back then, inflation was rampant and people were enticed to go into anything besides cash as an investment. When that happens, prices are vulnerable because people are driven only by investment potential."

According to the article,"... prices for stamps and coins slumped through the mid-1980s after the U.S. Congress prohibited holding stamps and rare coins as investments in tax-free retirement accounts."

"We saw the first decline in a generation," Shreve said.

He went to say " the market is totally driven by collectors with an insatiable desire to own the best. I am amazed at how much money they are willing to pay for the best. It has been that way for the last half dozen years."

The newspaper reports, "The 200-stamp Gross collection features the largest privately held block of uncanceled penny black stamps, the first adhesive-backed stamps ever issued, conservatively estimated to be worth $400,000 to $500,000. The entire collection may raise more than $4 million."

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

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dodgy stamps

U.K.'s Daily Mail headlines with "Royal Mail's first-class error spells payday for stamp collectors."

According to the paper, "Royal Mail was forced to recall thousands of its Glorious England stamp sets, which were to be released on St George's day, because the Isle of Wight was misspelt "Isle of White".

Postal workers attempted to recall every set and destroy them but up to 100 are believed to have gone into circulation.

Stamp dealer Allan Grant was one of hundreds of philatelists who received their stamps early. He received an urgent message telling him to send them back.

Grant is quoted as saying, "We had to return all of ours, but there were a lot of post offices that didn't get the letter to withdraw them in time and members of the public bought them."

The Glorious England stamps, which come on a self-adhesive backing, were printed in France although the error is understood to have been made in England some months before the printing process began according to the article.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tom Engeman, 'Forever' stamp designer

Tom Engeman, designer of the 'Forever' stamp, got a nice write up in the Baltimore Sun this week.

Reporter/ columnist Jean Marbella interviewed Engeman,73, who told her he designed the stamp several years ago.

"'s his 16th or 18th or so stamp, he's lost count - and it was 'banked,' as many designs are, until needed."

According to the article,"...among his designs are stamps commemorating the World War II Memorial in Washington (2004, 37 cents, with the memorial in white with blue shadows, against a sunset sky) and the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian (1996, 32 cents, the red sandstone "castle" against a golden sky)."

Engeman is quoted as saying his favorite design is one of a series of four stamps sold to nonprofits to use in their mailings, featuring a red butte with blue shadows against a yellow sky.

"It's simple and bold," he said. "It's hot."

"The other three - depicting a wetlands, a sea coast and a mountain - are small gems as well," writes Marbella.

Shown above is a Frederick News-Post photo showing Engeman signing envelopes at a post office near his home in Maryland on Monday.

According to the article that appeared along with the photo, "When Tom Engeman was in grade school, his uncle George gave the budding artist a collection of stamps. That gift shaped his life over the next 60 years."

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lamborghini stamp

Erin Mays reports on that the Italian Post Office is honoring one of the country's most well-known brands, Lamborghini, by issuing a commemorative stamp in its honor.

According to Mays,"The 85-euro-cent stamp will hit post offices first in Lamborghini's hometown, Sant'Agata Bolognese, before it is offered at offices throughout the country. The campaign is part of Italy's recent efforts to pay homage to the country's greatest moments and products."

"The stamp features Lamborghini's golden bull against a black shield background, which looks very similar to the badge affixed to the much-celebrated Lamborghini Miura, built between 1966 and 1973."

"Any tribute to that masterpiece would surely find a spot in our stamp collection -- if we had one," says Mays.

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Propaganda and espionage philately

Sergeant Major Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)points out on his Web Page, "Propaganda and Espionage Philately" on, that since WWI there have been probably about 300 different propaganda stamps, most produced by Great Britain, the United States, and Germany.

According to Friedman, the Russians did not produce propaganda stamps. Instead, they printed dozens of propaganda postcards, many with a forged imprinted stamp.

On his Web page, Friedman defines the difference between a "propaganda parody" and an espionage forgery.

Friedman writes, "In the former, one government will take the stamp of an enemy or occupied government and change the stamp in such a way as to make a political statement and perhaps cast aspersions at and ridicule enemy leaders or occupation forces. These stamps are designed to be recognized for what they are, an attack on the enemy. In the case of the espionage forgery, one government has produced a stamp that is a perfect imitation of the enemy stamp to be used to mail propaganda or instructions to people in the enemy or occupied country. These stamps are part of a secret operation and not meant to be recognized."

Shown above is one of Friedman's favorites - the German parody of Great Britain's 1935 1/2 pence dark green Silver Jubilee stamp. Note that Jewish is misspelled.

To learn more about Propaganda and Espionage Philately, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 14, 2007

Higher postal rates could shape up as trouble

The San Diego, CA, Union-Tribune reports when new postal rates go into effect today, consumers and businesses might feel as if they are traveling through another dimension – a dimension not only of weight and distance but also of shape.

That's because the U.S. Postal Service is instituting a new pricing system that focuses on the shape of an item rather than just its weight.

As result it may be the source of a great deal of confusion and frustration among customers and postal workers alike.

Jennifer Davies, Union-Tribune staff writer, quotes Kate Muth, vice president of the Association of Postal Commerce, a trade group for companies that use the mail as their primary form of communication as saying, “It's enormously complicated."

"The forever stamp took everybody's eyes off of how hard this is going to be on businesses. When companies are watching every penny to stay profitable, it's a real big deal.”

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

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Discounted stamps beat the postage increase

Dan Pritchett, director of marketing for Logos Bible Software, thinks he's found a way to beat the postage increase that takes effect Monday.

According to Dan on his company's blog, "I went over to my local stamp and coin place and made a deal with them. They agreed to hand-apply the correct postage to my statement envelopes when they had down time if I agreed to buy my postage from them. Sounded like a no-brainer to me. They sold the postage to me for 10% off face value and applied it for free. Now I am saving 10% on all my postage and getting the labor for free in an expense category that I originally thought there wasn't a penny to be saved in."

He goes on to write, "As a bonus, it seems like my invoices and statements are being opened more often. When my customers see the rare and often antique hand-applied postage stamps, they know a real person had to touch this envelope and not just a postage-meter or bulk mailer."

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

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Settlement of Jamestown

To mark the 400th anniversary of first English settlement in America in Jamestown, Virginia, the Post Office has issue a stamp souvenir sheet.

The stamp (shown above) features a painting of the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, the three ships that carried the first settlers to Jamestown. Artist Griffith Baily Coale completed the painting in 1949.

On the front of the sheet is a painting of the settlement along with a single 41-cent stamp. On the back are 19 more.

NewsChannel 3 of Hampton Roads, Virginia reports that Captain Christopher Newport's expedition (which included Captain John Smith), left the docks near London on Dec. 20, 1606 and arrived in Virginia on April 26, 1607.

According to the television station's Web site, "The three-sided stamp depicts the three ships that brought colonists to the banks of the James River four centuries ago. The stamp is shaped like a triangle, as was the fort raised by the Jamestown settlers shortly after their arrival in 1607."

For more on the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mom's Special Stamp

The Lakeland,Florida, Ledger suggests when you go to mail your Mother's Day card, you get a Breast Cancer Research stamp to put on it.

According to the paper, "First issued in 1998 after congressional approval, the 45-cent stamp does more than just cover the first-class postage rate of 39 cents.Of the remaining 6 cents, about 4 cents go to the National Institutes of Health and 2 cents go to the Department of Defense. Both do research into breast cancer and both were designated by Congress as the recipients of the extra money collected."

The paper also says, "...that this is the last Mother's Day the stamp can be used without adding increased postage. The Postal Service will release its new Breast Cancer Research stamp Monday. It will cost 55 cents, reflecting the 2-cent increase in first-class postage that also takes effect Monday. The stamp increased 10 cents in cost because of mandates in the legislation that require the increase in the stamp's price be more than the first-class postage increase."

Shown here also is a Breast Cancer Research stamp issued by Hungary in September, 2005. It is almost identical to the US design which was used with permission from the U.S. Postal Service.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. The National Cancer Institute says that breast cancer is still the most common cancer among women, but that more women die from lung cancer. More than 2 million women have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Another million do not know they have it.

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

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Postal employees' homes destroyed by tornado

Shown here, members of the Kansas National Guard and Postal Inspectors raise an American flag over the rubble of the Greensburg, Kansas, post office.

A 1.7-mile-wide Category F-5 tornado — with winds estimated at 205 mph — destroyed about 95% of this farming town on Friday. The storm caused at least 10 deaths and destroyed the town’s Post Office.

According to the USPS NewsLink,three postal employees who lived in Greensburg lost their homes.

If you'd like to help, the Postal Employees’ Relief Fund assists postal employees affected by major natural disasters.

To learn more and make a donation, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Letter carriers collect food for the hungry this weekend

The nation's largest food drive celebrates its 15th anniversary while helping millions of Americans.

On Saturday, May 12, letter carriers around the country will join forces with Campbell Soup Company as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger! food drive.

Now in its 15th year, the Stamp Out Hunger effort is the nation's largest single-day food drive, having collected more than 765 million pounds of food since its inception in 1993.

To help Stamp Out Hunger!, simply leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to your mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on May 12. Food items should be in non-breakable containers, such as boxes and cans. Local letter carriers will then collect donations from homes across the city and deliver them to the Salvation Army food bank.

According to America's Second Harvest --The Nation's Food Bank Network, 35 million people are food insecure, hungry or at risk of hunger. Approximately one in four people in a soup kitchen line is a child.

For information about the 15th Annual Stamp Out Hunger! effort in your community, ask your letter carrier, contact the post office or go to
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oldest postmaster...not mistress

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer Verna Naylor,91, is the postal service's oldest female postmaster and the second oldest member of the Postal Service's staff of 700,000.

Reporter Cliff Radel says a recent database search by the post office gave 'The Oldest' title to 92-year-old Chester Reed, a mail handler in San Bernardino, California.

Naylor is quoted in the articles as saying she is a "postmaster," not a "postmistress," because she's a master of what she does.

She has been the Bentonville, Ohio postmaster since 1968 when her husband, Harry, when he died. He had been postmaster since 1948.

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

Monday, May 07, 2007

Basel Dove

Shown here is a copy of a 'Basel Dove' which is being auctioned off this week by the Rapp auction house in Switzerland.

On the website, Rapp Ohmann said, "The auction would attract collectors dealers, agents who buy for others, and even people who weren't collectors but who wanted, for example, a Basel Dove - the world's first tri-coloured stamp, which has become something of a magnet."

The 'Basel Dove' was issued Switzerland in 1845. It features a white embossed dove carrying a letter in its beak. Now regarded as a beautiful and classic stamp, it was unpopular when it was issued and was withdrawn soon after its release.

According to the site, Rapp has an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as having had the world's largest stamp auction back in 1980.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Philatelic cookies

Good Fortunes, a Postal Service licensee, is offering more than 30 stamp images to celebrate Mother's Day on May 13.

According to a USPS press release, "Flowers, the popular Love stamp series, teddy bears and candy hearts are available to adorn the tops of cookies."

USPS Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Anita Bizzotto is quoted as saying, "We're encouraging people nationwide to send a little love to Mom, whether they deliver a plate of cookies in person or send a box of cookies through the mail. Of course, a card is always welcomed as well."

Orders are filled usually the day after they are received. Orders received by 1 p.m. Pacific time are filled that day. Shipping is limited to the continental United States

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

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

In Spanish, cinco de Mayo means "fifth of May," and is celebrated throughout the United States and in some parts of Mexico.

On May 5, 1862, some 4,000 Mexican troops were victorious over a French army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico. In the United States, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to be known as Cinco de Mayo and is often incorrectly thought of as Mexican Independence Day.

Actually, Mexico won its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 - nearly 50 years earlier!

So why is Cinco de Mayo so important in the history of Mexico? According to the RiverDeep Web site...

  • It marked the beginning of the end of European occupation in the Americas.

  • It filled the Mexicans with pride and paved the way for nationwide reforms.

  • It symbolized the right of the people to defend themselves against a powerful, foreign invader.

Shown above is a seldom seen pair of Cinco De Mayo stamps issued by Mexico in 1962.

Shown here is the first Cinco De Mayo stamp issued by the United States in 1998. It was re-issued in 1999 with a 33-cents face value.

For more on Cinco de Mayo, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, May 04, 2007

Stamp Addicts

The Stamp Addicts is a club which was founded in November of 2000 mainly as a portal to distribute free stamps to people around the world.

It has turned into a full-fledge, cost free club, where members get to share experiences, stories, finds, ideas, and stamps. Members can also create their own virtual stamp and photo albums on the site.

Shown above is a send-up of a stamp one of the moderators created for April Fool's Day last month and which is being sold to provide funds for the Scarborough Philatelic Society in the UK.

To visit Stamp Addicts, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Environmentalists on stamps

Today marks the 88th birthday of legendary folk singer and environmentalist Pete Seeger.

Born on May 3, 1919, Seeger was the son of a musicologist and a musician.

Seeger left Harvard university in 1938 and travelled throughout the United States studying music and learning from other folk singers such as Woody Guthrie.

In 1940, Seeger organized the Almanac Singers, and in 1948 he formed the Weavers. Both groups, along with Seeger, are credited with revitalizing folk music and increasing its popularity.

A leftist activist who was blacklisted and charged with contempt of Congress; Seeger has supported a variety of civil-rights, antiwar, environmental, and other causes.

Shown above is a miniature sheet from Palau (a group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines) honoring Seeger and his efforts to clean up New York's Hudson River.

In August 1997, Palau issued three souvenir sheets commemorating vessels of the sea. Two of the sheets honored the late Jacques Costeau, and the third featured Pete Seeger in recognition of his work on the Clearwater.

Happy Birthday Pete!

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

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Forever stamp probably not a good investment

The Associated Press is asking the question - Does it make financial sense to buy up packs of the U.S. Postal Service's Forever stamp?

The answer - it depends.

"If you buy the Forever stamp and rates go up, the value of the stamp arguably goes up. So it might seem a good bet to buy up a bunch of Forever stamps to lock in the lower rate," writes AP staffer Vinnee Tong.

However, Tong points out,"...because by buying stamps that you don't use right away, you would be giving up the chance to use that money in another way. Economists call this an opportunity cost. Instead of sinking money into stamps that sit in a drawer until you finally get around to writing your holiday cards or thank-you notes, that money could be better used elsewhere, such as in an investment vehicle where it would earn more."

Columbia University business school associate professor Harborne Stuart is quoted in the article as saying, "I wouldn't buy it as an investment because it's a lousy investment."

Stuart, a professor in the school's Decision, Risk & Operations Division, said that while hoarding the stamp might not make financial sense, it might still appeal to the risk-averse consumers among us.

"If someone's going to torture themselves after the post office raises rates, for them, maybe they should buy a few extra," he said.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 2:22 PM