Saturday, May 31, 2008

U.S. Postal Inspectors Get Their Man AND the Money

U.S. Postal Inspectors have done something they’ve never been able to do before — they returned money to a U.S. victim that was illegally obtained by an overseas scammer.

According to the USPS News Link, Chicago Division Inspector in Charge Tom Brady presented a $4,500 check to Chris Shepherd, a St. Louis woman who was scammed when she used an Internet dating site.

Shepherd began what she thought was a “love” relationship online with a man who claimed to be a U.S. citizen. He told her he needed money to come to the United States from Nigeria, so she mailed him $4,500 in cash concealed in a book — complying with his explicit instructions.

Thanks to fraud-education initiatives between Nigeria and the Postal Inspection Service, Nigerian officials intercepted the mailing before the money reached the scammer. Then, they arrested him. “This is the first time I’ve seen the victim of a scam like this get the money back,” Brady said.

Online dating is a common venue used by scammers to target Americans. Other victims are tricked into cashing counterfeit checks or reshipping packages overseas.

Shown above, Inspector in Charge Tom Brady returns money to scam victim Chris Shepherd.

To learn more on how NOT to be a victim, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, May 30, 2008

Free Stamp Collecting Guide

Professional Stamp Experts (PSE) of Newport Beach, Calif. has created a simplified system for building a basic collection of United States postage stamps by major design type.

Entitled, "A Guide to U.S. Design Numbers (USD), 1847- 1947," the new collection-building structure focuses on 435 regular-issue U.S. postage stamps that were issued from 1847 to 1947 and intended for use on letters or parcels.

The full-color, 56-page booklet has photos of the stamps and a cross listing of the USD numbers and their corresponding numbers in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

Free copies of the booklet now are available to collectors, stamp clubs and dealers.

For a free copy of "A Guide to U.S. Design Numbers, 1847 – 1947," contact Professional Stamp Experts, P.O. Box 6170, Newport Beach, CA 92658. Phone: (949) 567-1346. E-mail: Online:

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cool Careers

Doctors, tattoo artists, and movie stars were among the winning stamp designs submitted by students from 12 elementary schools in Canada.

The Compass website reports that more than 592 entries were received in the 12th annual Postage Stamp Design Contest, which was held to celebrate Canada's Heritage Week, February 19-25.

According to the site, "This year's theme, Cool Careers, promoted a lot of thought and class discussion among the students about their plans for the future."

Sponsors of the contest handed out certificates to all who entered. Medals and prizes were given to the winners during visits to all of the 12 participating schools.

Entries were displayed at the Avalon Region Heritage Fair and at the St. John's Philatelic Society Exhibit in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Shown above, one of the winning entires.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

World's Most Valuable South American Stamp Collection

A collection of historic, early South American postage stamps from the 1800's, valued at $5 million or more, will be offered in a public auction in New York City on June 5 and 6.

According to a press release put out by the Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, "The world's most valuable private collection of South American postage stamps, assembled over four decades by a retired college professor who now lives on an island, will be offered in a public auction in New York City and online on June 5 and 6, 2008. One 1840's item from Brazil is expected to sell for more than $1 million."

Scott R. Trepel, President of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc. of New York City is quoted as saying, "The sale is named 'The Islander Collection' because the anonymous collector lives on an island outside the United States. He's a retired professor of economics who has lived on three islands, and whose love of stamp collecting started when he was child."

Shown above, the most famous and valuable item in Brazilian philately, the "Pack Strip," named after a previous owner - Charles Lathrop Pack. The strip has two 30-reis and one 60-reis stamps joined together.

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tune in to APS Stamp Talk

Nancy Clark has invited me to be on her popular, long running Internet radio show APS Stamp Talk this Wednesday, May 28.

It is quite an honor to be on her show.

Nancy is an experienced exhibitor,international level judge, author, editor and past Director and Treasurer of the American Philatelic Society. She is a founding member of a local club, a state federation and a national-level stamp exhibition.

I'll be following Omar Rodriguez, a world-class exhibitor!

Nancy says, "He'll be talking about his acting career and how philately fits into his schedule. He'll just be arriving back from ISRAEL 08 that morning where he exhibited."

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.

The live call-in number 1-877-474-3302. You can also email Nancy at in advance with any questions or comments.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 26, 2008

Senators Urge "Forever" Purple Heart Stamp

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, along with a bipartisan group of seven Senators, has called on the United States Postal Service to issue the Purple Heart stamp on a permanent basis as a “forever” stamp.

In a letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter, the Senators praised the reissuance of the Purple Heart stamp at the new 42-cent First Class rate but urged that the stamp be made permanent to honor servicemembers and veterans who have received the Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving with one of the U.S. Armed Services, has been wounded or killed.

In a news release Senator Webb, a Marine combat veteran, who received two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War writes, “This is a most appropriate way to honor past and future recipients of our nation’s oldest military decoration.”

The Senators all support the Perpetual Purple Heart Stamp Act, a measure introduced last year by Senator Clinton that would require the Postal Service to issue the stamp on a permanent basis as a “forever” stamp.

To read the entire release, click here.

Remember the fallen on this Memorial Day 2008.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mail plane crashes in Montana

The Billings Gazette reports a mail-plane crashed in Billings, Montana early Friday morning.

Gazette Reporter Molly Priddy writes, "The plane carried mostly first class mail, but there was priority and express mail as well. The mail came from all over the country, was probably mailed within the last three days and most was bound for zip codes beginning with 594 and 595."

According to the paper, postal officials originally thought most of the 4,000 pounds of mail was contained at the crash site however mail was scattered throughout the area.

The Postal Service has three teams searching for bits and pieces of mail. They are being helped out by residents who found letters and other debris from the crash on their property.

Shown above,Jerry Brulott, manager at the main post office in Billings picks up mail Friday morning about a half a mile from the site where the plane crashed. The pilot was killed.

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

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Coils bring "dizzying" prices

The Auction Publicity website reports that,"Two-Day sale at Philip Weiss auctions realizes a record $5.2 million as rare stamps, Peanuts comic strips and more bring dizzying prices."

The auction took place last weekend, May 17-18, in Oceanside, New York.

According to the write-up,"The key to the weekend’s success was Part 2 of The Newport Stamp Collection, which featured some of the most rare and coveted philatelic U.S. examples in existence."

It goes on to say, "Part 1 of The Newport Collection made headlines when, on February 9, an unused 1869 24-cent inverted stamp, #120, one of only four known, soared to $1.271 million. It was a new record for a U.S. invert and the highest price ever paid for a single U.S. stamp. Part 2 did not record any million-dollar stamps, but many strong sellers did cross the block. Part 3 will be held sometime in September."

The top lot of the sale was a 1908 2-cent vertical coil pair, with original gum (Scott Catalog #321). Valued by Scott at $375,000, the stamps – the rarest coil in U.S. philately, with only four pairs known – sold for an astounding $644,100. The stamps, depicting George Washington, had been graded Extremely Fine. A small crease didn’t deter bidders, who were impressed by the exceptional centering.

The second top lot was another coil pair – two 4-cent stamps from 1908 depicting U. S. Grant (Scott Catalog #314A) – that changed hands for $497,200. The horizontal pair, with original gum, had been graded Extremely Fine and was one of only six unused pairs known. And of those, this is the finest centered pair. The last time a pair hit the auction block was 1975 (hammer price: $30,000).

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

Friday, May 23, 2008

German Post Accidentally Prints Nazi Stamp

The Deutsche Welle web site is reporting Germany's national postal system inadvertently printed a set of stamps featuring a picture of Nazi leader Rudolf Hess.

According to the site, Neo-Nazis used a customized postage stamp service offered by German mail carrier Deutsche Post to issue 20 stamps. Post spokesman Dirk Klasen at the company's offices in Bonn is quoted as saying, "It was a slip-up. We are very sorry about it."

The stamps are considered to be embarrassing to Germans, who are anxious to live down the country's Nazi past

Hess, who served as Hitler's deputy before he flew to Britain in 1941 on an apparent peace mission, was tried at Nuremberg for war crimes and sentenced to life in Berlin's Spandau prison. He committed suicide in 1987 at age 93 according to a Reuters report on the mixup.

Earlier this year, the company intercepted a request to have stamps printed featuring Hitler as a small child.

Deutsche Post began offering the customized stamp service, Plusbrief Individuell, in February. It allows clients to upload a digital photograph of a loved one or a commercial product. A week later they receive printed, post-paid envelopes showing the same picture.

Deutsche Post is now going to review its oversight procedures.

Shown above is a postcard on the The History Buff web site bearing both Hitler's and Hess's autographs under their pictures.

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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

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posted by Don Schilling at 9:31 PM

Save the Hedgehogs

Pupils at a British school have donated a deluge of stamps to aid the efforts of local veternarians to help hedgehogs stay healthy according to the North Devon Gazette.

Saving stamps for charity has been a popular appeal at the school for several years and approximately 25,000 arrived courtesy of the school as part of Hedgehog Awareness Week.

While the vets are continuing to collect used stamps, a new stamp appeal, which will run until Christmas,is on behalf of a local children's hospice.

Stamps can be posted to: Stamp Appeal, C/O David Butt, Braunton Community College, Braunton, EX33 2BP.

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

China sells stamps to help earthquake victims

The Associated Press is reporting special stamps to help raise funds for earthquake victims have gone on sale in China.

Featuring three interlocking hearts on a red background, the stamp has a value of 17 cents but sells for 32 cents.

China's official Xinhua News Agency says 13 million of the special stamps will be on sale through June 20. All proceeds will be donated to the disaster areas.

The set of stamps is the seventh in China to be issued as a form of community donation. It is the second stamp released to help fight disasters, according to Shanghai Post.

The death toll from the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province is 34,073 and continues to climb. Almost 250,000 have been injured and many more left homeless.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, says donations for disaster relief have reached $1.5 billion.

Shown above in a Shanghai Post photo, a stamp collector takes a close look at stamps bought by Lin Minwei (left). Lin was the first to buy the stamps.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

The Postal Service is asking dog owners across America to show their letter carriers some love this week by making sure their pets are in separate rooms with closed doors before accepting mail.

That’s a key message as the Postal Service launches National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 18-24.

Last year, dogs attacked more than 3,000 letter and rural carriers nationwide. The 2007 total is 63 less than a year earlier, thanks to the Postal Service’s aggressive community outreach effort.

Joining USPS once again this year are the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Letter Carriers

Last year, the district with carriers suffering the most dog bites was Houston (103), followed by Santa Ana (86), Sacramento (82), Los Angeles (71) and Big Valley (69).
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blue Mailboxes Do a Disappearing Act

The Houston Chronicle reports USPS continues to cut costs by pulling their familiar blue mailboxes from street corners nationwide.

According to the article, as more people use computers to communicate, there are fewer letters to be mailed. As the Postal Service raises the cost of sending a letter, it also is trying to cut costs of collecting them by pulling boxes from street corners nationwide.

Victoria L. Coman and Hannah Wolfson of the Newhouse News Service quotes Nancy Pope, historian at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum in Washington as saying, ..."blue street boxes have been around since 1970 or 1971, when the Postal Service moved out of the president's Cabinet to become a semiprivate agency. Before then, the boxes were olive drab, and earlier than that, there were small letter boxes attached to urban lamp posts."

Pope didn't have specific numbers, but she said the peak for mailboxes was probably in the 1980s before e-mail became popular.

Before they disappear all together, you may want to send a photo of your neighborhood "Blue Box" to

Like the now almost extinct payphone, pictures of mailboxes are being archived for future generations.

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

Sunday, May 18, 2008

World's First Beaded Stamp

Singapore has created the world's first beaded stamp according to Rosie Milne of UK's Telegraph.

She recently visited a "pre-opening bash" for the new Peranakan Museum and learned of the stamp (shown here).

Peranakan refers to people of mixed race, whose ancestors were foreign-born men, and local Singapore women. The Museum has the most extensive collection of Peranakan beadwork in the world.

Rosie writes, "It cannot be said that the Peranakans were (or are?) people of restrained taste. When it came to decoration, their general approach seems to have been: more is more."

"Nonyas (Peranakan women) used brilliantly coloured miniscule glass beads to create intricate, and gloriously gaudy, designs on anything they could get their hands commemorate opening the Post Office has manually affixed tiny so-called "caviar" beads, onto the $5 stamp to recreate the delicate texture of Peranakan beadwork."

"My press pack contained one of these stamps – it shows a prancing deer."

To read the entire article, click here.

To get a downloadable brochure about the stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New Uniforms for Australian Posties

The Cowra Guardian reports that a new Australia Post posties uniform has been created in an effort to help reduce the number of skin cancer victims across Australia.

According to the paper, "The highly visible, long sleeve orange shirts along with three quarter length or full length pants as well as gloves hats or helmet flaps ensure the extra safety of Australia Post delivery people. Australia."

Post Delivery manager Steve Follers is quoted as saying, “It was just a matter of time before we got them. Years ago sun protection wasn’t thought about. Now we have sunscreen, UV resistant clothes, sunglasses and gloves, which is great."

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

Friday, May 16, 2008

Franklin Institute Donates Rare Stamp Collection

It is being reported (a bit belatedly) on the website that, "The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum has received a well-known stamp collection from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The Harry L. Jefferys collection, which includes an inverted Jenny and numerous other philatelic rarities, was bequeathed to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1948 by insurance executive H.L. Jefferys. It has been in storage at the Institute for decades."

According to the report (which is based on an early April press release), "The Harry L. Jefferys collection consists of U.S. stamps, covers, proofs and essays and is particularly strong in the 1851-1857 issue. The collection includes full panes of the one-cent and three-cent 1851 issue and the twelve-cent 1857 issue, as well as scarce positions of the one-cent 1851 issue, including positions 7R1E and 99R2. The collection includes a three-cent 1851 issue with double impression and a four-cent Schermack Type III coil single. Also included are several printing errors, including plate position No. 2 of the 1918 inverted Jenny airmail stamp."

Cheryl Ganz, curator of philately at the National Postal Museum, is quoted as saying, "We are honored to include these new additions in our ever-growing collection. Items such as the intact panes of the 1851 and 1857 issue are quite rare, and the double impression of the three-cent 1851 issue is one of only three known copies-it is the one cited by Carroll Chase in his famous study of classic U.S. stamps."

Shown above, the April, 2006 unveiling of the four commemorative stamps
honoring Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bill Gross CNBC Interview

Larry T. Nix, stamp collector and the Library History Buff, reports that the morning Squawk Box program on CNBC had a segment this morning on the stamp collection of Bill Gross of PIMCO who is auctioning off part of his collection for charity tomorrow.

Bill Gross is the bond king but also the world's most accomplished stamp collector according to CNBC.

Click here to view video clip.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:41 AM

An Accidental Stamp Collector

Ben Beversluis writes in The Grand Rapids Press, "My name is Ben and I'm a philatelist."

He confesses he's "an accidental philatelist" with a stamp collection of confusing proportions.

He says, "I found that inadvertent collection in the top left drawer of the old roll top desk. That's the drawer -- we all have one, don't we? -- with the rat's nest of odd stationery, return labels and old stamps."

"Boy, I found stamps. Three tattered "American Kestral" one-centers. Seven "Holiday Cookies" at 37 cents. An "Art of Disney Celebration" with Mickey, Snow White and the Little Mermaid. And assorted flag motifs. I found 60 in all, of 13 different varieties. Lick-and-stick and self-stick. Among them were at least seven different values -- and three with no postage amount indicated."

"Now I just need to clean out that corner drawer -- those "Conestoga Wagon 1800s" (37 cents), the three fawn stamps (19 cents), the Madonna and Child Christmas collection (34 cents) and two "Antique Toys" worth who knows how much."

An unnamed Postal Service official in Washington is quoted in the article as saying the value of unused postage in the hands of the public is more than $1 billion.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dr. Edward Trudeau - Phthisiologist

As part of its Distinguished Americans series, the U.S. Postal Service has released a new 76-cent stamp that honors Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau (1848-1915), the founder and first president of the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, the precursor to the American Lung Association.

In a press release from the American Lung Association, Bernadette Toomey, President and CEO, American Lung Association is quoted as saying, "Dr. Trudeau was a true pioneer who led a public health movement and remained focused on the ideal that we can overcome a disease through coordinated research, education and advocacy."

Dr. Trudeau dedicated his life to researching and treating tuberculosis, a highly infectious disease that at one time killed one in seven people in the U.S.

Dr. Trudeau, a phthisiologist, dedicated his life to researching and treating tuberculosis, a highly infectious disease that at one time killed one in seven people in the U.S.

Phthisiology is the study of tuberculosis.

The stamp was designed by Howard E. Paine of Delaplane, Virginia, and created by Mark Summers of Waterdown, Canada. As a reference, Summers used a photograph of Dr. Trudeau provided by the American Lung Association.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Born Again Stamp Collector

Michael Mitchell, a well known and respected performer of songs of stories about Canada, has rediscovered stamp collecting after finding his "dusty" old stamp album in a closet.

On his blog, he writes, "I used to spend hour after hour pouring over stamps from all over the world learning things about many countries that no longer even exist. After a couple of days of re-kindling a bit of my past from long ago — I was hooked!"

"Now I take small sections of my collection to work on in hotel rooms, ferries, I’d work on it on airplanes if those darn seats weren’t so small. Yes, my wife Moira has now become a stamp widow. But it really does give me something to relax and unwind with at the end of the day instead of turning on the TV."

"Now I’m on a quest to add to my collection. If anyone has out there has a dusty old stamp album that want to get rid of, drop me a line at We’ll work out a deal."

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

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why We Collect Stamps

American Philatelic Society (APS) Executive Director Peter Mastrangelo reports on the APS Stamp Collector Survey in the May issue of The American Philatelist

According to Peter, “Why we collect stamps is no different for either group as a whole, but we found that there was a significant variance for one subset of collectors: those under fifty years of age differ in their reason as to why they collect stamps."

He goes on to give a few examples:

• Twenty-five percent of all of those surveyed indicated that “history” was a major reason why they collected as compared to 48 percent for those under age fifty.

• Thirty-three percent of those over fifty emphasized that a major reason they collected stamps was because of the “relaxing” nature of the hobby (compared to 10 percent of all those surveyed). This same group also enjoys the hobby because they find it challenging and intellectually stimulating (14 percent versus 5 percent of all those surveyed).

• The general population of respondents (20 percent) emphasized that they collected stamps for the “overall enjoyment” as compared to 7 percent for those under fifty years of age.

• Each group seems to be almost equally captivated by the artwork and beauty of stamps as well as the opportunity to learn about other countries and people.

• Those under fifty are more inclined to cite the “hunt and discovery” aspect of stamp collecting as a major motivator in their interest in the hobby.

To read the entire survey, click here.

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

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Woman Behind Mother's Day

On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother's death, Anna Jarvis of West Virginia held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday.

In 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing Mother's Day, emphasizing women's role in the family.

In 1934, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Mother's Day stamp with the image of the 1871 painting Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist's Mother (which is popularly known as Whistler's Mother )by American-born painter James McNeill Whistler. In the lower left hand corner of the stamp is a vase of white carnations.

Jone Johnson Lewis on the website writes that because Jarvis felt the holiday was becoming too commercialized, she campaigned against the stamp. She persuaded President Roosevelt to remove the words, Mother's Day (which was apparently in the original design) but not the white carnations. The slogan "In Memory and In Honor of the Mothers of America," was used instead.

Anna Jarvis used carnations at the first Mother's Day celebration, because carnations were her mother's favorite flower. Wearing a white carnation is to honor a deceased mother, wearing a pink carnation is to honor a living mother.

As a side note, according to a report in the March 19, 1934 edition of Time magazine, postal officials had trouble deciding whether to take quite a bit of artistic license and have Whistler's mother hold a bouquet of carnations rather than having a vase as an added element.

Happy Mother's Day!

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

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gordon Morison

Gordon Morison was featured in an article that appeared on Maryland's website last month.

Morison, 77, was responsible for the U.S. Postal Service’s stamp program for more than 20 years, from 1971-92. He has overseen developments in the stamp world ranging from the advent of the self-stick stamp to the development of the famed Elvis stamp. But for Morison, stamps aren’t only a way of sending a letter — or a bill — they’re also a way of looking at changing historic and social times.

Morison first became interested in stamps as a teenager. The last woman on his newspaper delivery route was an avid stamp collector and inspired him to get involved according to staff writer Erin Donaghue..

Morison is quoted in the article as saying, "She dragged me in to see her collection, and the next thing you know I was spending my allowance on stamps."

The hobby would lead him to his position at the United States Postal Service, and eventually, the position of Assistant Post Master General in 1978.

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

Friday, May 09, 2008

Rate Change

Editor and Publisher in an article about postage rates going up on Monday, refers to the website that features the 2007 "The Wizard of Id" cartoon strip shown below.

By the way - Please contact your local newspaper editor if you would like to see the "Wizard of Id" in your hometown newspaper.

For more information on the rate change and ways to save money from Pitney Bowes, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Power of The Letter campaign

The website Cable360 reports, "A marketing campaign touting two patriotic letter writers would seem a no-brainer for the U.S. Post Office, but it was not so at the outset."

In an article,HBO Campaigns for The Power of the Letter , reporter Seth Arenstein explains how the concept of letter writing to promote the HBO mini-series John Adams arose.

Apparently the appeal of The Power of the Letter campaign was not immediately apparent to the USPS. HBO's proposal was just one of many the USPS receives.

Joyce Carrier, the Postal Service's manager of channel advertising is quoted as saying, "We're approached all the time by everything from movie studios to any consumer product you can imagine."

After much discussion and concessions, the whole thing got worked out to the satisfaction of both parties.

The Power of The Letter campaign marked the first time in USPS history that post office receipts carried a promotional message; it directed consumers to

The John Adams quote — "Let us dare to read, think, speak and write" — was printed on 3.75 million post office receipts. The quote, and the Power of the Letter URL, also appeared as a postmark, known as a postal cancellation, on 3 billion pieces of mail during the period.

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

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Business Booms at World`s Highest Post Office

At 5,135 meters Mount Everest's post office (shown here) claims to be the world's highest according to the Javno website.

In the past it served the occasional climber or tourist but now business is booming thanks to the Olympics. The prospect of an Olympic torch in the area brought in the crowds according to the site.

The postmaster, Ci Ren Ping is quoted as saying, "We've made a special stamp [cancellation] to mark the Olympic torch relay. It was made with the approval of Olympic officials but we're not allowed to use it until we get the say so from Beijing so at the moment it's locked in the safe."

To read the entire article and watch a video made at the post office, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

She's Got It Licked

New Zealand's Timaru Herald reports, "It takes a few years to get a decent-sized stamp collection, but after a lifetime of collecting, Temuka's June Taylor has it licked."

When asked how many stamps she had in her collection, Taylor told the reporter, "I don't have a clue...thousands."

Shown here at a recent New Zealand stamp fair, Taylor is quoted in the article as saying, " get a colossal collection of stamps doesn't mean you have to get a lot of letters."

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

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stamp Caddy

Fellow philatelic blogger Tony Servies of Greenback, Tennessee has come up with a Stamp Caddy that's perfect for working on your collection while watching TV.

Tony writes on his blog, Stamps of Distinction, "Let's face reality. Sometimes we want to work on our stamp collection, but we don't want to sit at the kitchen table far away from our family or our favorite ballgame on TV. But most of us would like our coffee tables uncluttered with the mish-mash of tools that are necessary for the pursuit of our hobby. My solution was to buy a tool caddy like the one pictured."

He goes on to say, "This handy tool is made of rigid plastic and it is easy to stuff quite a few stamp tools in it. In mine, I have a spare set of tongs, an envelope of stamp hinges, a magnifying glass, a collection of glassine envelopes, a pen and pencil, watermarking tray and fluid, and a small group of collection cards. I also include a few envelopes and stamps in case I am working up a trade with one of my trading partners. If you were to look into mine right now, you would also find my latest packet of stamps that I have traded for and am in the process of mounting in my albums."

"Obviously, not everything that I need for working with my stamp collection will fit into such a small space. I usually have a 'red box' with stamps in it nearby, and of course the current album I am working in. But it does save me several trips back to my "official" stamp collection work area looking for that new pack of hinges, or the watermarking fluid, or whatever. I just carry the caddy into the living room, plop down on the couch while my wife is busy working on her hobbies. When finished, it is easy for me to pick up my tools and carry it back to my normal work area."

Thanks Tony! Great idea!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 05, 2008

Help Stamp Out Hunger

This Saturday letter carriers across the nation will help stamp out hunger by collecting non-perishable food items and delivering them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters across the country.

An estimated 35 million people are at risk of hunger in America, including 12 million children. Since 1993, the Postal Service and the National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) have partnered on this campaign to stamp out hunger. It has grown to become the world's largest, single-day food drive, collecting more than three-quarters of a billion pounds of food since its inception.

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

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain

The Canadian Broadcasting Network (CBC) website reports the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain recently celebrated an anniversary.

Mike Symington,a former news camerman, and now a technical operator in the CBC's London bureau writes, "April 23, 1851 saw the birth of Canada's first stamps and the impetus for the British club. Unveiled to a burgeoning populace mid-way through the 19th century, when Canada was still 16 years away from becoming a country, three stamps saw the light of day: The 3p Beaver, the 6p Prince Albert and a 12p Queen Victoria."

Club President Graham Searle is quoted in the piece as saying this group of collectors, formed in the 1930s in a Glasgow coffee shop, has been getting together pretty continuously since not long after the Second World War.

"Boys of a certain age look for things to collect and stamps were cheap and fairly plentiful," Searle points out.

According to Symington,"A 3p Beaver stamp in excellent condition can sell for around $34,000, while the very rare 12p Queen Victoria in excellent condition will fetch $260,000, showing that the market has moved beyond boys to bankers."

Shown above, a Canadian 3p Beaver which was one of the world's first "thematic" stamps.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New APS Member eNewsletter

The American Philatelic Society (APS) has launched a new eNewsletter for its members.

Called the APS Special E-Delivery, it features a variety of information and articles including a helped wanted for philatelic experts to serve as examiners for the American Philatelic Expertizing Service Authentication Committee.

Areas of expertise needed are...

Australia and States
British Africa
British Asia
British Commonwealth (general)
British Guiana
Canada and Provinces
Columbia French Colonies
Great Britain
Indian Convention and Feudatory States
Italy and States and Colonies
Malaya and States
Netherlands and Colonies
Spain and Colonies

Interested individuals, should contact: Mercer Bristow, Director of Expertizing, 100 Match Factory Place Bellefonte, PA 16823 814-933-3803 ext 205.

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

Friday, May 02, 2008

Airmail Service Flag

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the nation’s first regularly scheduled airmail service.

Shown here, the first airmail flag featured a pair of wings on either side of a globe. The globe indicates the Department’s intentions to develop the service not only nationally, but internationally as well according to the National Postal Museum's website.

In May of 1918, airmail service was limited to trips between Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York City. These flights used Army Air Corps pilots and borrowed airplanes. On August 12, the army pilots were replaced by post office pilots.

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

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Purple Heart stamp reissued at new rate

The Postal Service has reissued the Purple Heart stamp at the new First-Class Mail rate of 42 cents.

First released in 2003, the Purple Heart stamp features the medal that the Military Order of the Purple Heart says is “the oldest military decoration in the world.” The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S. military wounded or killed in action.

On Aug. 7, 1782, General George Washington issued an order that established a badge of distinction for meritorious action. First known as the Badge of Military Merit, the award was distinctive because it was available to the lower ranks at a time when only officers were eligible for decoration in European armies. “The road to glory in a patriot army is thus open to all,” Washington wrote.

The decoration was discontinued after the Revolutionary War. But the government announced its reinstatement on Feb. 22, 1932, the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth.

The stamp features a photograph by Ira Wexler of a Purple Heart awarded to James Loftus Fowler of Alexandria, VA. Fowler, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marines, received his Purple Heart in 1968, following an action in Vietnam.

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