Friday, August 31, 2007

Former First Lady to dedicate husband's stamp

Former First Lady Betty Ford will join Postmaster General John E. Potter today to dedicate the stamp bearing her late husband's image in Palm Desert, Calif. A similar dedication ceremony will occur simultaneously in Grand Rapids, MI, at the President Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

“President Ford would be so grateful for the magnificent honor that the Postal Service has created in tribute to his decades of service to the American people,” said Mrs. Betty Ford in a USPS press release.

Mrs. Ford will be joined at the ceremony by her children Jack Ford and Susan Ford Bales and by several of her grandchildren. President and Mrs. Ford's son Michael Ford will dedicate the stamp in Grand Rapids. President Ford's brother, Richard A. Ford, is also scheduled to be at the Grand Rapids first day ceremony.

“We owe President Ford an immense debt of gratitude,” said Postmaster General Potter, “as a man who put his nation first; as a man who was guided by what he read in his heart, and as a man who succeeded in his goal to make this great government work for the good of all Americans.”

Stamp artist Michael J. Deas of Brooklyn Heights, NY, created the stamp under the direction of stamp designer Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thurn und Taxis board game

Want to take a break from sorting, soaking and mounting your stamps? Well, the board game Thurn and Taxis may be just the thing.

According to reviewer Greg Schloesser, "Set in the infancy of the German postal system, the board game Thurn and Taxis challenges players to construct postal routes across the country. Longer routes are initially more lucrative, but establishing postal stations in as many provinces and cities as possible is also a profitable goal. The player who best able to accomplish these tasks shall rise to the German equivalent of 'Postmaster General' and be renowned in letter-carrier lore for posterity."

Produced in 2006 by Rio Grande Games of Rio Rancho, N.M., there is also an expansion game - Thurn and Taxis: Power and Glory Expansion with additional routes.

Thurn and Taxis won the 2006 Spiel des Jahres award given to the best family game of the year published in Germany. The Spiel des Jahres is probably the most prestigious award a game can win. reports, 'The new routes run between Holland and Sachsen – between Preußen and the free cities. The players build new postal stations in order to provide fast service for important letters to the many new customers in the north. Hard-working postal carriers add horses to their carriages to enable them to travel farther and more safely, which will help the separated Preußen provinces to achieve power and glory."

To watch a video about the game, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

India post offices looking to sell books

In an effort to increase services and boost revenues, India Post is planning to sell books at post offices.

Zeeshan Shaikh of the Hindustan Times reports, "You could soon pick up the latest Robert Ludlum bestseller or a copy of the latest exploits of boy-wizard Harry Potter at your city’s head post office."

Shaikh quotes Postmaster General (Foreign Post and Marketing) Col KC Mishra as saying, “In today’s competitive environment, it is important to provide utility services to customers."

"Many publishers do not have access to markets in the hinterland. We will provide them that access,” Mishra said.

India Post is looking for tie-ups with all major publishing houses and would get a commission on every book sold.

However, customers are sceptical according to Shaikh.

According to, the Indian Postal Service, with 154,000 post offices, is the most widely distributed post office system in the world (China is next, with 57,000).

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Postcards still popular

Reporter Michelle Lee of the Press of Atlantic City website reports, "...despite the stiff digital competition, the old-fashioned postcard still thrives."

Postcard stamps sold in America remained steady at about 5 million over the past five years, said Raymond Daiutolo, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman.

In 2006, almost 6 million postcard stamps were sold

Donald Brown, founder of the Institute of American Deltiology, a postcard research center in Myerstown, Pa., is quoted in the article as saying, "While millions of postcards still go through the mail, that pales in comparison to the billions mailed in the "golden age," from 1898 to 1918."

According to Brown, picture postcards started with the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. They grew in popularity because people were able to purchase something in print that illustrates some aspect of our life, art, culture, hobbies, or travels and towns.

In Atlantic City, a popular seaside resort on the east coast of the United States, 17 million postage stamps were sold in 1911, most used for postcards, Brown said, quoting the book "Picture Postcards in the United States", 1893-1918."

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

Monday, August 27, 2007

Small European Postal Administrations Cooperation (SEPAC)

The Small European Postal Administrations Cooperation (SEPAC) group of post offices will launch their first joint stamp issue on 1 Oct., according to the Malta Independent.

The member post offices in the SEPAC Group are Aland Post, Faroes Post, Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau, Post Greenland, Guernsey Post Ltd, Iceland Post, Isle of Man Post, Jersey Post Ltd, Liechtenstein Post Corp., Malta Post, Monaco Post and San Marino Post.
The theme chosen by the SEPAC membership for the first joint stamp issue is 'scenery'.
Each postal administration may interpret this theme in their own preferred manner and 11 of the 12 post offices (San Marino Post is not taking part in 2007) will participate.
A special SEPAC joint stamp issue folder (shown above) will also be issued.
Entitled 'Beautiful Corners of Europe', this folder will contain one SEPAC logo stamp from each of the 11 participating post offices. Each stamp will be at the first class postage rate to European destinations.
For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Britain's secret post office

Can you keep a secret?

The Bletchley Park, England post office went undercover during the Second World War when it served as a mailroom for the 12,000 people involved in breaking German and Japanese codes using a captured German "Enigma" machine.
Thanks to them, Allied Forces were provided with vital information that probably shortened the war by 2-3 years thus saving millions of lives...on all sides.
"The secret was so well kept that the majority of those that worked there said nothing about their work until a 1998 TV documentary revealed all," according to a write-up on its Web site.
Today, it is open to the public and is a re-creation of how it looked in the 1940’s. It also publishers a number of limited edition first day covers.
To visit the Bletchley Park post office Web site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rugby stamps

To mark the release of two Irish stamps featuring rugby player Paul O'Connell, the website takes a look at the philatelic history of Irish players and rugby stamps.

According to the site, the first Irish players to appear on postal stamps were Barry McGann, Colin Grimshaw and Donal Canniffe when the Irish Post Office issued a set of two stamps commemorating the Centenary of the IRFU in 1974.

In 2001, South Africa issued a stamp (shown here) honoring Dr. Tom Crean who was a medical hero of the Boer War. Dr. Crean was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Boer War and the DSO during World War 1.

He ALSO won 9 Irish caps (1894 – ’96), was on the Irish second Triple Crown winning teams of 1896 and toured South Africa with the 1896 Lions, playing in all 4 tests.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Friday, August 24, 2007

Million dollar stamp collection stolen

The Yuma Sun of Yuma, Arizona reports that a million-dollar stamp collection belonging to a deceased collector whose possessions were being moved has been stolen.

Edwin Cherry's stamp collection was mysteriously taken sometime between Wednesday night and dawn Thursday morning from a parked and locked rental van. His coin collection had also been burglarized but his furniture and other possessions were otherwise untouched.

Bonnie Collins, Cherry's cousin and one of his few remaining relatives, is quoted in the article as saying, "Some of Cherry's stamps dated back to the 1800s. Every decade of the 20th Century was represented in his stamps."

Cherry never had his collection appraised so its actual value is unknown. Collins said they were going to assess the value after they had settled things with his will and returned to Prescott Valley. In addition to keeping an eye on local pawn shops, the family is calling stamp and coin dealers in San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson to alert them.

According to a interview with Cherry published on Sept. 23, 1999 in The Yuma Daily Sun (shown above), he was a former U.S. Postal Service employee who commemorated American history through his collection.

Cherry, 84, passed away Aug. 10 just two weeks before his collection was stolen.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Revisiting an old hobby

News Editor Bill Laforme of the Citizen Online writes he used to be a stamp collector.

After purchasing a sheet of the new James Stewart stamps, he shares some thoughts about the hobby and why he stopped collecting besides the fact his wife thinks "the hobby ranks somewhere up there with watching paint dry and collecting old toenails."

He says, "There are plenty of reasons why stamp collecting seems to have fallen by the wayside as a major hobby. Everything is electronic now, and younger people are far more inclined to be collecting the latest video games or downloading music instead of bothering with stamps. Perhaps the old Philatelic Society needs a stamp-collecting rapper or a digitally animated postage-loving penguin to be introduced to America, pronto."

"I also wonder," he writes, "if stamp collecting lost some public appeal along the way because the world has changed so much. For example, as a kid in 1982, there was a certain mystique to stamps from the Iron Curtain countries, the dreaded Soviet Union, and those offbeat African nations that had only been around for a couple of decades at the time, not to mention the former colonies that had existed before them. There are more countries in the world now than there were back then, but this hasn't done much for stamp collecting."

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Parcel tags and labels

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that according to the logic that if anything exists it will be kept by somebody, parcel tags and labels are now collector's items. In some cases they are worth "astonishing amounts of money."

According to the paper, "Underneath most big city railway stations is a labyrinth of dimly lit tunnels where small red tractors used to drag around wicker baskets on wheels full of brown-paper parcels to be loaded onto trains."

"Each of those parcels had its own label or tag with an address, a series of stamps and stickers to ensure prompt and accurate delivery."

Shown above is a rare two-shilling first watermark stamp and associated stickers and labels. This exceptional piece of postal history was sent from Tasmania to Switzerland in 1913. It's now worth more than $10,000.

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

British troops to get free postage on parcels

The London Times reports that families sending parcels to troops out in Afghanistan and Iraq have been granted free postage by Royal Mail after a public appeal on their behalf by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army.

During a public television appearance, Gen. Dannat (shown above) made it clear he was “irritated” that families of soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq had to pay postage on their parcels.
According to an on-line article, "The instant response from the chairman of Royal Mail, following General Dannatt’s televised remarks from Afghanistan on Sunday, was welcomed last night by the Ministry of Defence."
Allan Leighton, Royal Mail chairman, is quoted as saying he wanted to see “our frontline troops get as much support as possible."
To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 20, 2007

S.S. Lane Victory museum needs Merchant Marine material

Yesterday, I travelled aboard the S.S. Lane Victory, a World War II Liberty Ship and floating museum berthed at San Pedro, CA. It is owned and operated by the Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II.

Each year, thousands of visitors come aboard and take an exciting 6-hour cruise out to Catilina Island where a aerial dogfight is staged between vintage US and German aircraft. Berthed in San Pedro,CA. The ship has been used in countless movies and television shows and is open to the public throughout the year.

The S.S. Lane Victory was built in Los Angeles in 1944. It served with distinction and valor in the latter part of World War II, Korea, (Chosin Reservoir Operation), and Vietnam and returned home after 44 years.

It was named after Isaac Lane, a black man who rose from slavery to become a Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church and founded Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee in 1882. His granddaughter christened the ship in 1945.

But what's this all got to do with stamp collecting?

While aboard, I spoke to Larry Crawford, who runs the ship's museum. Not finding any stamps or covers commemorating the Merchant Marine, I asked, "Why, no stamps or covers?" Larry told me he doesn't know where to get them.

Well hello!

Folks here's a chance for us promote stamp collecting and patriotism all at the same time! For starters, I'm going to send Larry a blow up of the Merchant Marine stamp (Scott # 939) shown above, which was issued on Feb. 26, 1946 in the District of Columbia.

I'd love to find some first day covers to go along with it for display in the museum.

If you have any or other Merchant Marine philatelic material you would like to donate or sell, please let me know. You can contact me at and I will pass the information on to Larry.

For more about the Merchant Marine on stamps, click here.

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

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stamp machines headed for dump

According to Bill Rufty of the Lakeland, Florida Ledger, stamp vending machines, like the one shown here, are going the way of the 5-cent post card.

Rufty reports by Sept. 15, the machines will be gone in post offices across the nation.

Lesley Corban, information officer for the Postal Service in Lakeland, is quoted in the article as saying the machines are headed for the scrap heap because they break down often and are costly to maintain.

"It really is not going to be that much of a change. It is going to be a good change," she said.

Corban said people have many options to obtain postage stamps besides buying them at post office windows.

"There will be enough stores around carrying stamps, like Publix," she said. Stamps also can be ordered through the Internet, by phone or through the mail. Software is available to produce stamps on home computers. And the automatic parcel post station, which will weigh your mail and print a stamp, will remain.

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

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Postcard history

According to an article on, the postcard dates back to 1865 when German Post Counsellor Heinrich von Stephan designed the first one even though many people had their doubts about sending "open" cards via the post.

Norbert Mankiewicz, 63, a noted Berlin philatelist and trader in German picture postcards, is quoted as saying that in the early history of postcards there was no space for penning messages or endearments, so Germans created "space" of their own by writing above, beneath or down the sides of cards.

It wasn't until around 1906, when there was a huge boom in postcards in Europe, that was space provided on the reverse left-hand side of the card where one could write a greeting.

Shown above is a early German postcard from 1905.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Friday, August 17, 2007

Speaking of Disney...

The new 41-cent Art of Disney: Magic stamps were dedicated yesterday at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

According the USPS News Link, the Disney relationship with USPS began in the summer of 1918, when Walt Disney sorted and delivered mail in the Chicago Post Office. Mickey Mouse worked for the Post Office when he starred in the 1933 animated short, “Mail Pilot.”

USPS first saluted the achievements of Walt Disney on a stamp in 1968. As mentioned in my previous post, the stamp featured a parade of children, hand-in-hand, appearing from a tiny castle to surround a portrait of Disney.

The “Magic” stamp pane is the fourth honoring the art of Disney.

The first, issued in 2004, was on the theme of friendship. The second, issued in 2005, focused on celebrations. The third, issued in 2006, recognized the art of romance. Each time, USPS art director Terry McCaffrey collaborated with the Disney team to design the stamps.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Walt Disney

Wade Sampson of posted an interesting piece on the site about Disney artists, Paul Wenzel and Bob Moore, who designed the 6-cent Walt Disney commemorative stamp.

The stamp was released on Sept. 11, 1968 in Walt's hometown of Marceline, Mo. Shown above is a First Day Cover which today catalogs for $25.00.

Sampson says, "The stamp was issued almost two years after Disney's death in December 1966 and that was highly unusual at the time. The rules have changed, and now anyone honored on a U.S. stamp must be dead for at least 10 years. The only exceptions are U.S. presidents, who can be honored as early as their first birth anniversary following their death."

According to Sampson, "When Ronald Reagan became governor of California in 1966, one of the things he did was to eloquently promote through correspondence with the Postmaster General of the United States the creation of a commemorative Walt Disney stamp.

Interestingly, no Disney cartoon characters appear on the stamp with Walt because of copyright issues.

"Since the stamp would be used on letters traveling all over the world, we worked into the design our world-wide characters from 'It's a Small World'," Moore told Sampson in 1983 interview when he questioned him about the final design.

Sampson goes to say, "The success of the stamp inspired another stamp featuring the likeness of Walt Disney. Two years later, in 1970, the tiny European Republic of San Marino issued a set of stamps showing Mickey, Donald, Goofy Uncle Scrooge and five others including one stamp with a picture of Walt Disney and a scene from "Jungle Book," the last animated film in production when Walt passed away."

"This was the first time in the history of postage stamps, to the best of my knowledge and research, that animated characters had appeared on official postage stamps."

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

Check out the new website.

Headquartered in Australia, its free and very easy to use. Seems like a good place to share your favorite philatelic items and meet other collectors.

Besides my personal pages, I've started a stamp collectors club on the site.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Post offices hit by high-tech thievery

David Bowermaster of the Seattle Times staff reports on an "... illegal stamp-buying scheme appears to be a novel breed of identity theft, one that blends high-tech thievery, online commerce and the retro currency of the U.S. mail."

Using stolen credit card numbers and adulterated gift cards , three men from California were able to repeatedly buy 3,200 booklets of stamps worth nearly $24,000 from vending machines such as those shown here in 11 different post offices in the Seattle area in July.

Many of the booklets were reportedly being fenced on eBay as discounted postage according to an another article by Ed Dickson that appears on the American Chronicle website.

According to Dickson, customers used to be able to buy dozens of books of stamps per transaction from the automated postage machines, but the Postal Service has since limited the number to try to fight such fraud.

He suggests if you spot this type of activity during a visit to the Post Office, you can report it to the Postal Inspectors, here.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

State flag stamps

The Associated Press and other media outlets are reporting that the U.S. Postal Service will salute the flags of every state in the union, its five territories and the District of Columbia next spring with the first 10 of the 60 "Flags of Our Nation" first-class coiled stamps.

In a USPS press release, Postmaster General John Potter is quoted as saying. ”These beautiful symbols of democracy are educational treasures that make for a great introduction to stamp collecting. As one of the world’s most popular hobbies, stamp collecting is an activity the entire family can enjoy.”

The release went on to say, "The unfurling begins in alphabetical order next spring with the debut of stamps honoring flags of Alabama through Delaware — including the Stars and Stripes — followed by 10 more in the fall — District of Columbia through Kansas. The waving continues in 2009 and 2010 to complete the 60 stamp designs. Four of the six groups of 10 will include a Stars and Stripes stamp. The definitive stamps will be arranged alphabetically in strips of 10 and sold in coils of 100, with 10 strips of 10 designs in each coil. "

Artist Tom Engeman of Brunswick, MD, created the flag stamps to include state seals and coats of arms. In addition to the flag art, each stamp design includes artwork that provides a “snapshot view” of the state or other area represented by a particular flag.

In most cases, an everyday scene or activity is shown, but occasionally the view is of something less commonplace —rare wildlife, perhaps, or a stunning vista. Unlike some previous multi-stamp issuances, this series is not limited to official animals, flowers, or products, nor is it meant to showcase well-known buildings, landmarks, or monuments.

In 1976, a sheet of 50 state flag stamps were issued as part of the Bicentennial celebration.

Shown above is the United States flag which will be among the first issued. The adjoining artwork depicts the “spacious skies” of “America the Beautiful,” by Katharine Lee Bates.

To see pictures of others in the group, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 13, 2007

Nine Queens

In case you missed it when it first came out in 2000, Nine Queens is a taut, entertaining Argentine thriller about counterfeit postage stamps.

According to Liz Braun's review on the JAM! ShowBiz website, "Nine Queens is a beautifully paced set-up, with enough going on around the main narrative to make all the characters three-dimensional. The film has no violence -- this is all about suspicion, psychological tricks, trust and cunning."

Directed by Fabian Bielinsky, Braun goes on to say, "The script is so well-written that the names David Mamet and Alfred Hitchcock are already being thrown around for reasons of favourable comparison."

She goes on to say, "Nine Queens has also already won a boatload of awards, winning just about everything at the Argentine Film Critics Awards as well as the Museum of Modern Art's New Directors/New Films award of last year and an MTV Argentina People's Choice Award."

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

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New Vatican website and philatelic museum reports the Vatican has activated a new website aimed at tourists, pilgrims as well as stamp and coin collectors.

The portal allows visitors to buy recently relased Vatican stamps together with an online catalog of past issues.

Shown above are stamps marking the opening of the new Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Museum which will be released in September.

The museum will showcase the entire Vatican City philatelic and numismatic production from 1929 to date, including a wide selection of postmarks, sketches, typographic plates, plasters, bronze casts and other items illustrating the different stages in the productions of stamps and coins.

The museum will also feature a collection of philatelic material and postal history (1852-1870) relating to the Papal State. The paintings on display in the Museum are all original artists’sketches used to create stamps, postcards and aerograms.

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

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Louis Comfort Tiffany - An American Treasure

The Louis Comfort Tiffany 41-cent commemorative stamp went on sale this past week.

Shown here, it features an image of a leaded Favrile-glass window designed by Tiffany for a Brooklyn cemetery mausoleum. Titled Magnolias and Irises and dating to around 1908, it was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1981 by an anonymous donor.

According to a USPS news release, the stamp art is considered a "detail" of the window, since the original photograph, selected by art director Derry Noyes, had to be very slightly cropped on all four sides to fit the stamp format.

The Tiffany stamp is the seventh in the U.S. Postal Service American Treasures series. The series was inaugurated in 2001 with the Amish Quilts stamp pane. It showcases beautiful works of American fine art and crafts. The 2002, 2003 and 2004 issuances featured artwork by John James Audubon, Mary Cassatt and Martin Johnson Heade respectively. The theme returned to textiles with the issuance of the New Mexico Rio Grande Blankets stamp booklet in 2005 and the Quilts of Gee's Bend booklet in 2006.

For more on Louis Comfort Tiffany, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, August 10, 2007

Team Iraq

The USPS News Link reports retired Bedford, NJ, Postmaster Rick Squindo, a member of a team of USPS employees that helped restore the postal system in Iraq, has died of cancer.

Squindo was a member of the postal team that opened the new Iraqi Post International Service Center (ISC) at the Baghdad airport in 2004.

Before the team arrived, Iraq had not sent international mail for 15 years. Within a week of opening, the Baghdad facility had received seven tons of in-bound mail. The team also helped Iraq resume its membership in the Universal Postal Union.

Iraq's new postal code system was introduced the same day the ISC opened. "In effect, we ZIP-coded the entire country," Murphy said. "It took six months, working with an Iraqi team aligning the country and converting the system to Arabic."

When new Iraqi stamps were issued — the first ones without pictures of Saddam Hussein — the team created a special First Day Cover. They had 1,800 made and sold them for a modest $5 each. The covers sold out in less than an hour.

According to the USPS, they raised about $9,000 — 13.8 million Iraqi dinars — and donated it to the Iraq Memory Foundation, a three-fold project to collect oral histories of the Iraqi people, acquire and conserve historical artifacts, and to preserve records that document actions of Saddam Hussein's government.

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

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Postage aficionados are onto something

Ethan Smith writes in his Oregon based, Williamette Week Online blog, "When it comes to stamp collectors, it's easy toss around labels like nerd or geek or virgin....[but] these misunderstood postage aficionados are onto something."

Promoting the APS Stamp Show 2007 in nearby Portland this weekend, Smith pens, "Stamps are like tiny, inexpensive posters commemorating American culture and history. And they don't need tacks."

He goes to say, "Some stamps even raise important societal questions. Like Kwanzaa stamps, which keep us asking, 'That's like black Christmas, right?' Or Korean War stamps, which make us wonder, 'Was that before or after Vietnam?' And, of course, stamps play an important role in our economy. For giant corporations like Disney and Warner Brothers, stamps are a perfect venue for government-endorsed product placement."

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

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Australia Post to release "Brangelina" stamp

Superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are about to join the Queen, the Pope and the nation's sporting heroes by being immortalised on an Australia Post stamp according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper reports, "The Hollywood A-List couple were featured on the cover of a recent best-selling edition of New Idea, the magazine which last week received top honors at the 10th Annual Magazine of the Year Awards in Australia."
Australia Post, as major sponsor of the awards, plans to reproduce the best-selling New Idea cover (shown above) in the form of a 50c stamp.
It shows Pitt and Jolie with their newborn baby girl Shiloh.
A New Idea spokesman is quoted in the article as saying, "I don't know of any other country in the world that has ever had Brad and Angelina on a stamp. Whatever the case, these stamps are sure to become instantly collectable and be sought after by philatelists around the country."
The magazine itself reports, "Australia Post bestowed upon New Idea a very limited edition stamp sporting its most famous cover from the past year. This stamp is legal and can be used on mail in Australia, but will not be available to buy. "
Sounds like it may just be a limited edition, personalized postage (computerized label) rather than an actual government issued stamp.
If anyone has anything more on this, e-mail us at
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The "Elvis" of all wooden vessels

The Nevada Appeal reports, this week, the United States Postal Service will pay tribute to one of Tahoe’s most elegant and historical icons at the annual Concours D’Elegance that opens Aug. 9. The Thunderbird, a luxurious wooden boat commissioned by Captain George Whittell was called by some "The Queen of Lake Tahoe" or the "Elvis of all wooden vessels".

Reporter Julie Brown writes, "The stamps — depicting a 1931 Gar Wood Triple Cockpit Runabout, a 1954 Chris-Craft Racing Runabout and a 1915 Hutchinson Brothers Launch in addition to the 1939 Thunderbird Hacker-Craft — were released nationwide last week, after their national unveiling in Clayton, New York on Aug. 4."

Bill Watson, executive director of the Thunderbird Lodge that Whittell built on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe is quoted as saying, “That stamp becomes a tiny little paper ambassador ... capturing all of [Lake Tahoe’s culture and history] on a tiny little package that goes everywhere.”

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

Monday, August 06, 2007

Only one other country issued more stamps than US in 2005

Denise McCarty reports in the Aug. 6 edition of Linn's Stamp News only the Ivory Coast issued more stamps and souvenir sheets in 2005 than the United States. This is according to a recently relased survey conducted by Michel-Rundschau, the German-language magazine published monthly by the producers of the Michel stamp catalogs.

The top ten postal administrations that issued the most stamps in 2005...

Ivory Coast, 417
United States, 184
Japan, 175
Grenada, 167
France, 161
Australia, 156
Singapore, 151
Mexico, 139
Romania, 137
The Marshall Islands 135

Also on the list of 270 postal entities...

Great Britain, 108
Canada, 83
United Nations ( New York), 27

A total of 10,941 stamps and souvenir sheets were issued worldwide in 2005 according to the survey. This total represents 415 fewer stamps than were issued in 2004 and 6,603 fewer than were released in 2000, the year with the highest total (17,544).
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The House of Twelve Roofs.

The Brunei Times reports Brunei postal authorities recently released a set of stamps commemorating the 100th anniversary of "Bubungan Duabelas", the House of Twelve Roofs, which is widely regarded as one of the oldest - if not the oldest - buildings in Brunei.

The site of Bubungan Duabelas goes all the way back to the mid 19th century and dates from the two treaties that Brunei and Great Britain signed in 1846 and 1847.

In July, 1907, the house was built and became the British Consulate.

On December 31, 1941, Lt General Kawanguchi of the Japanese Army invaded Brunei and used the "Residency" as his headquarters. Surprisingly, during the Allied Forces bombing of Brunei during the mid 1940s, the Residency was spared.

The Residency was repaired after the war and in 1959, the Duke of Edinburgh stayed there. In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II held an investiture there. By 1971, the Residency was known as the High Commissioner's Residence and not as the "Residency". The British High Commissioners stayed there until 1984 when Brunei gained its full independence.

In 1998, the Brunei government signed a joint project agreement with UK to turn "Bubungan Duabelas" into a permanent and dynamic exhibition centre in commemoration of the relationship between Brunei and UK.

Reporter Rozan Yunos points out that the $1 stamp shows a photo of an older building, built in 1890, now demolished, of a British Consul Agent's house rather than the current structure.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:17 PM

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Award winning exhibit at APS Stamp Show

According to the Portland, Oregon, Jewish Review, Dr. Leslie Bard (shown here) will display "A Study of Airmail Rates from Palestine to the Americas 1933-1948" at the APS Stamp Show 2007 at the Portland, Oregon Convention Center, Aug. 9-12.

Reporter Deborah Moon writes, "A teenage interest in Israeli stamps has evolved into a retirement hobby resulting in an award-winning philatelic exhibit exploring postal rates from the British Mandate of Palestine to the Americas in 1933 to 1948."

Bard is quoted in the article as saying, ""From 1933 to 1939, air travel and airmail developed in parallel and were intertwined. Air travel was in many cases only economically possible due to government contracts for carrying mail."

Bard points out that during those years, finding covers from Palestine to the United States and Canada is no big deal. But, covers to Central and South America can be quite rare.

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

Friday, August 03, 2007

Colin Powell to attend Purple Heart Stamp dedication ceremony

General Colin L. Powell, US Army (Retired) is scheduled to participate in a dedication ceremony for the 41-cent Purple Heart stamp on Aug. 7 at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

According to a USPS press release, "Two soldiers will receive the Purple Heart medal during the ceremony."

The stamp image features a photograph by Ira Wexler of one of two Purple Hearts awarded to James Loftus Fowler of Alexandria, Virginia. Fowler was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marines and was serving as battalion commander of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, when he received this Purple Heart in 1968 following action close to the Ben Hai River on the border between North and South Vietnam.

This is the third issue of the Purple Heart definitive postage stamp. The Purple Heart stamp was first issued on May 30, 2003 and was reissued May 26, 2006.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Purple Heart medal.

It is also the 225th anniversary of the Badge of Military Merit, the predecessor to the Purple Heart medal, which was established and awarded by General George Washington on Aug. 7, 1782.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to members of the U.S. military who have been wounded in combat or to the next of kin of those killed in action.

According to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization for combat-wounded veterans, the medal is “the oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first award made available to the common soldier.”

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

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Trains on stamps

Al Peterson, writes on his Rail Philatelist website, "If you are interested in railway philately or railroad paper memorabilia you have come to the right web site."

The site includes a Railroad Philately exhibit which started as a one-frame exhibit for his local stamp and railroad clubs. In it are examples of train stamp errors including the one shown above.

Issued in May of 1944, Scott 922, commemorates the 75th anniversary of the completion of the 1st transcontinental railway and the Golden Spike ceremony that accompanied it.

If you look closely, you'll notice that the American Flag is blowing in one direction and the smoke and steam from the train another.

Click here for more trains on stamps.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM