Monday, June 30, 2008

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" Stamp Cross Promotion

The most popular song in baseball, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” is getting its own stamp.

The seventh-inning sing-along celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and its stamp will be officially dedicated Wednesday, July 16, in a ceremony to be held on the White House lawn according to the USPS News Link.

The News Link reports, "USPS is covering all the bases for this one. The Postal Service is teaming up with Little League Baseball and Pitch In For Baseball to promote the stamp in communities across the nation. Pitch In For Baseball’s mission is to share the great American pastime with kids all over the world. The two organizations collect and give used baseball equipment and other assistance to young people around the world. Their motto: “Let your equipment play extra innings.”

It goes on to say, "Postmasters from coast to coast are being asked to plan a homerun event to sell the stamp and encourage their customers to collect “gently used” or new baseball equipment — mainly baseball gloves. The new Priority Mail Large Flat Rate box is perfect for shipping old gloves, and the new online Click-N-Ship discounts will make it easier and more affordable for customers to send equipment to Pitch In For Baseball. "

For more information, see the "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" Postmaster kit in the latest Postal Bulletin.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Colorado Mountain in Wyoming?

Denver's TV 7NEWS' website,The, reports, "Colorado's new flag stamp that went on sale two weeks ago as part of a new national stamp series may have a major problem: the mountain is in Wyoming. "

As seen above, the stamp shows the Colorado flag, with evergreen trees and a snowy mountain.

But, a sharp-eyed 7NEWS viewer from Fort Collins thought the mountain outline depicted on the Colorado stamp looked distinctively familiar. He thought the mountain on the stamp is 13,620-foot Mount Helen in Wind River Range of Wyoming.

Al DeSarro, with the U.S. Postal Service, is quoted as saying the artwork "was not based on any specific picture of a mountain," and was supposed to be a generic representation of a mountain -- not a specific mountain in Colorado.

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

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Doane Cancels

According to Gary Anderson, "Doane Cancels" were the Post Office Department's first attempt to improve postmark legibility by issuing rubber handstamps.

On Anderson's website he says, "The name honors Edith R. Doane a postal historian who became interested in these early 20th century handstamps in the 1950's. She published her first research findings in 1978."

Basically, there are 3 types according to Anderson.

Type 1 Doane Cancels have 5 bars with a number in them. They were issued from Aug. 28, 1903 to Sep. 28, 1903 for just one month. Approximately 1600 Type 1 Doane Handstamps were issued including the 500 experimental post offices.

Type 2 Doane Cancels have 2 sets of railroad track type bars with a number in them. They were issued from Sep. 29, 1903 until Jun. 30, 1905. Approximately 17,500 Type 2 Doane Handstamps were issued.

Type 3 Doane Cancels have 4 solid bars like a standard 4-bar handstamp cancel with a number in them. Sometimes they are very hard to see because of the green colored stamps of the period. They were issued from Jul. 1, 1905 until the fall of 1906. Approximately 12,000 Type 3 Doane handstamps were issued.

For examples and known uses, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stamps For Orangutans

Staff at UK's Blackpool Zoo are supporting endangered orangutans by collecting their used postage stamps and encouraging visitors to do the same according to the Blackpool Citizen's website.

The initiative has been organized by The Orangutan Foundation who are asking people to send in their used postage stamps to help raise funds for endangered orangutans.

Jude Rothwell, Communications Manager at Blackpool Zoo is quoted as saying, "All our visitors need to do is cut out their postage stamps, leaving approximately 1cm of paper around the stamp, and put them in the collection box at the zoo's reception and we'll send them off to The Orangutan Foundation."

Stamps collected should be sent to Orangutan Foundation Stamps, PO Box 6198, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 9XT.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Express and Priority Mail Envelopes

USPS now offers legal-sized envelopes for Express Mail and Priority Mail.

The new Express Mail envelope allows legal-sized papers to be sent — without folding — anywhere in the U.S. with guaranteed overnight service.

The new Priority Mail envelope provides two-day delivery for legal-sized documents to most U.S. locations at an even lower price. And both can be used to ship to either domestic or international recipients.

Prices for the two envelopes are based on weight and delivery zone or destination country group.

Click here for a shipping calculator to determine prices from ZIP Code to ZIP Code.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Dr. Allan Bernstein writes to say he has started a new tee shirt company called Ethnicitee. Dr. Bernstein founded the company last year and his designs take their inspiration from the world of stamps.

According to the company's state of the art website, "Ethnicitee is a clothing line designed to celebrate our cultural similarities as well differences. Through images inspired by the artistry of stamps that identify each country,Ethnicitee displays a unique and contemporary way to celebrate cultural and artistic passions."

It goes on to say, "Ethnicitee brings energy, personality and expertise to its mission by showcasing snapshots of humanity – the art of stamps from around the world – to thread cultural awareness into each wearable work of art."

The designs are most impressive and unlike anything I've seen before. I think even non-stamp collectors will like them.

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Seminar on Philately

Eighty-three individuals from both the United States and Canada are attending the Summer Seminar on Philately this week at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, PA.

The week-long event includes classes taught by knowledgeable collectors, authors, judges, exhibitors, expertizers, or other authorities. Courses consist of in-class discussions and hands-on workshops.

Among those being offered...

  • Stamp Technology

  • Stamps of the British Commonwealth

  • Evaluating U.S. Stamps in Today’s Marketplace

  • Cultural Projects in Postal History

  • Collecting the Expos

  • Computer Technology in Philately

According to Gretchen Moody, American Philatelic Society's Director of Education,the Summer Seminar series begin in 1980.

Shown above, Instructor Barbara Harrison discusses collecting picture postcards during one of the morning general sessions.

To learn more, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, June 23, 2008

Internet Philatelic Dealers Association

The Internet Philatelic Dealers Association (IPDA) has been welcomed as an American Philatelic Society (APS) Affiliate No. 260 by the APS Board of Directors, bringing the number of APS affiliates that are currently active to more than 200 according to an APS news release.

Organized in 2002,the Internet Philatelic Dealers Association has 57 members, 19 of whom are APS members. About half of these are based in the United States, but because the organization exists on the Internet, the rest of the members hail from, all over the world — Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, India, New Zealand, Indonesia, Portugal, Philippines and Belgium.

The Association was founded to allow stamp collectors to trade and interact with other collectors and dealers with the confidence that will make the Internet a safer place to interact with each other.

The Association was incorporated in Florida on February 28, 2007, as IPDA, Inc.

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

Sunday, June 22, 2008

National Postal Museum Internships

The National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. is seeking interns.

Interns work with a small professional staff on current projects in one or more of the following museum departments: Collections, Curatorial, Education, and Exhibits. Internships are offered during the spring, summer and fall semesters. Interns with a wide variety of skill levels are accepted.

In addition to the internship project, interns are encouraged to take one afternoon per week to explore current exhibitions in a variety of local museums and to talk with museum staff from all departments regarding careers.

Internships do not offer a stipend.

The National Postal Museum has no deadlines for intern applications; internships take place during the summer, fall and spring terms.

Shown above, Intern Rose Mary Stubblefield working in the NPM Preservation Office rehousing the #1 Album in the Leach Collection.

For more information about internships at the National Postal Museum , click here. You can also contact the Intern Coordinator at 202-633-5534 (voice) or 202-633-9849 (TTY).
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Post Office Flooded

The USPS News Link reports, "Iowa and Illinois aren’t the only Midwestern states struggling from the effects of too much water. In the wake of last week’s rains, the Fond du Lac River in Wisconsin also caused flooding along its banks."

According to the Link when the postmaster of the Fond du Lac, WI, post office arrived at work last Friday, she found a mess - a flooded parking lot and employees who couldn't get to the building.

"Inside the building trash cans, letter carrier satchels and office supplies floated on what looked like a lake on the workroom floor."

The Lakeland District’s retail van rolled into Fond du Lac late Friday night. By the next morning,they had moved the dry portion of her stamp stock to its safe. She got cash from Oshkosh and opened the temporary site for business.

"Saturday morning, employees reported to work at a temporary facility at the County Fairgrounds. Carriers sorted mail on tables. By Saturday afternoon, maintenance people from Fond du Lac and other offices in the area had moved mud-caked carrier cases to the temporary site. They cleaned and disinfected the cases in time for work Monday morning."

Now that the water has receded, the building will be cleaned and hopefully back to normal in two weeks.

For mail service updates in the other flood areas, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, June 20, 2008

National US Postal Service Award for Research

The University of Buffalo's UB News Center reports David A. Gerber, Ph.D. has received the National US Postal Service Award for Research for Authors of Their Lives: The Personal Correspondence of British Immigrants to North America in the Nineteenth Century .

According to a press release, 2006, NYU Press),Dr. Gerber's book analyzes the cycle of correspondence between immigrants and their homelands to uncover the critical role played by letters in reformulating personal relationships made vulnerable by separation.

Dr. Gerber is professor and chair of the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

The award carries a $2,000 cash prize and was presented to him recently at ceremony at the Main Post Office in Buffalo. A Junior Award of $1,000 was presented to a graduate student in California.

The awards honoring Rita Lloyd Moroney, historian of the U.S. Postal Service from 1973-91, are designed to encourage scholarship on the history of the American postal system and to raise awareness about the significance of the postal system in American life.

To learn more, click here.

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

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Posties told to ditch bikes for trolleys

Tom Peterkin reports in UK's Telegraph that postmen have been told to use trolleys instead of bikes, so their shoulders are not injured carrying heavy mail bags.

"All delivery offices in the county are taking part in the trial, which aims to reduce shoulder strain by replacing the bike with "high-capacity" trolleys, which can carry more mail," writes Tom.

He says the move has not gone down well with all postmen and women.

One carrier is quoted as saying, "We are absolutely baffled. They tell us it is health and safety because of the big bags we have on our shoulders but the bikes have saddle bags, so that makes no sense either.

Royal Mail responds, "It is nonsense to suggest that we are phasing out the bike. We have 30,000 nationally and the bicycle is a key part of our equipment and will remain so."

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pain at the Postal Pump, Part II

In a related story to yesterday's post, Canada's City News is reporting rising gas rices threaten rural mail service around Toronto.

Rural mail carriers say they can no longer afford to deliver the mail since they not only use their own vehicles, but don't get paid as much as carriers in urban centers according to the report.

Canada Post pays them roughly $2000 a month for gas, but carriers say that rate is outdated, and that many have to fork out as much as $400 a month extra just to get around.

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pain At The Postal Pump

The spiraling cost of gas is not only affecting regular drivers, it's also costing the Postal Service a lot of money according to the Associated Press.

AP reports, "Every time gas prices go up a penny, it costs the U.S. Postal Service an extra $8 million a year. The Postal Service paid $6.5 billion to deliver the mail last year, a half billion more than the year before."

With over 200,000 delivery cars and trucks, the post office operates the largest civilian fleet of vehicles in the country.

Shown above is a hybrid-electric mail delivery van. USPS currently has 30,000 alternative fuel vehicles that operate on compressed natural gas, propane, ethanol, and biodiesel.

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

Monday, June 16, 2008

First a Philatelist... Later a God-Knows-What

Columnists Rick Nelson and Claude Peck talk about stamp collecting in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota Star Tribune.

Nelson says "philatelist" is a creepy word but then goes on to write, "My poor father. I used to beg him to drive me from our home in Dorkville to the big stamp collector expos at the old Leamington Hotel, and I'd spend hours at Dayton's stamp and coin department. It was a big day in my nerdacious little life when the post office would preview its annual Christmas stamp designs, and I was awfully proud of my first-day-of-issue portfolio."

Nelson adds, "The USPS, bless its democratic heart, has commemorated all kinds of gay Americans: Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Lorenz Hart, Andy Warhol, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, Grant Wood. I've always been crazy about the postal version of Robert Indiana's 'Love.' There's something nicely subversive about the thought of a gay artist's most iconic work stamped on the invitations to, say, Rush Limbaugh's third wedding."

Peck likes the new Eames stamps.

"Buying those stamps may be as close as I get to owning an original Eames chair."

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

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Stamps and Sunday School

Rev. Doug Forbes writes in the Norton Mirror, "Stamp collecting can open up new worlds of adventure for our young people. It’s educational and lots of fun too."

He suggests as a Sunday school activity, "Give each student a notebook and instruct him or her write a different title at the top of each page, such as: God’s creation, interesting people, states, countries, etc. Place a large pile of stamps on the middle of the table and ask the children to use tacky glue to place stamps on the corresponding pages of their notebooks."

Not sure sure about that "tacky glue" but otherwise sounds like a great idea to get kids started in the hobby.

If you want to send him some stamps (along with some hinges!) he can be reached at

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

Saturday, June 14, 2008

$2.60 Zeppelin Among the Missing

One man has been arrested and another is being sought for allegedly stealing some $140,000 in stamps from Nutmeg Stamp Sales. Both suspects worked in the shipping department according to an article which appeared in the News-Times of Danbury, Connecticut.

Detective George Bryce, Jr. is quoted as saying, "People would purchase stamps, and as they prepared them for shipment, some would end up missing. Some of the shipments were big, so they figured, 'Who would know?'"

Among the missing items was a mint $2.60 Zeppelin (similar to the one shown above).

Reporter John Pirro writes, "The [Zeppelin] was originally purchased from Nutmeg in November by a Michigan collector who bid $6,000 at auction. The collector asked Nutmeg to ship the stamp to Professional Stamp Experts, a company in California that would grade and encapsulate it in plastic, before Nutmeg sent it to him."

But when Nutmeg went to ship the then-encapsulated stamp to the collector in December, it couldn't be found.

The investigation began in January, after Nutmeg president David Coogle and chief operating officer Lawrence Gibson reported some stamps shipped to customers hadn't made it to their destinations.

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

Friday, June 13, 2008

Spellman Museum in the running for contest

The Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History has been nominated to compete in a contest to determine the best museum for children in the Boston area according to the Weston Town Crier in Massachusetts.

The voting is sponsored by Nickelodeon TV and the Web site GoCityKids. Parents who have been to the Spellman Museum and found the visit fun and entertaining for their children may cast their vote at "". The museum is on the ballot in the "Big Kids" category.

People may vote only once and the balloting continues until June 30.

Throughout the year the museum has lots of hands-on activities that get children interested in stamp collecting. When they visit they receive a packet of stamps and tips on how to start a collection.

The museum is now preparing a special exhibit featuring the Olympics on stamps from around the world. It will open on July 4 as part of the museum’s annual Happy Birthday USA Family Day program from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information about the Nickelodeon voting, contact the museum at (781)768-8367
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rare Dalai Lama Stamp to Be Auctioned

An extremely rare Austrian postage stamp showing the face of the Dalai Lama is to be auctioned in the German city of Dusseldorf this week. It is said to be one of only 30 of its kind according to a report on the Deutsche Welle website.

The Austrian post office designed the stamp to mark the 70th birthday of the Tibetan leader in 2005, but the stamp did not go into large-scale production.

"There were only a few test prints made by hand, because a new color was being tested," a spokesman for the Austrian post office told German news agency dpa.

The Austrian post office denied reports that political pressure from China had prevented the stamps from going into production. "Many designs are tested and not pursued," the spokesman is quoted as saying.

According to the article, Auctioneers Felzmann maintain there are only 30 of the stamps in existence. The stamp had never before been offered at auction, they said. The starting price for Thursday's auction was put at 4,000 euros ($6,200).

To view an on-line catalog in which the stamp appears, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Carry On Screaming

The latest set of stamps from Royal Mail has got at least one unidentified British columnist interested in stamp collecting because it features two of his favorite series of British movies - the Hammer horrors and the Carry Ons.

Using images of the original movie posters, the stamps celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Carry On film, Carry On Sergeant (which appears on the first class stamp), and the release of Hammer's definitive version of Dracula (the 48p stamp).

Carry On Cleo is on the 50p stamp, The Curse of Frankenstein on the 56p and The Mummy on the 81p. The Carry On team's spoof of the Hammers, Carry on Screaming, makes up the set, appearing on the 72p stamp.

Writing on the Mercury website he concludes, "Unlike my Dad I've never really seen the interest in stamp collecting - though given how much his collection's worth maybe I should."

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Serbian Tennis Stamp Controversy

The ESPN website is reporting that a couple Serbian tennis players are unhappy with a new set of stamps honoring them.

Apparently women’s tennis stars Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic are on record as complaining that their stamps are of lesser value than a male counterpart as well as each other!

World No.3 and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic's stamp is valued at 46 dinars, while Ivanovic's (40 dinars), shown above, and Jankovic's stamps (30 dinars) according to the post on the ESPN website by Greg Garber.

The stamps were specially created for the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, June 09, 2008

Missile Mail

This week marks the 49th anniversary of first and last time the U.S. Postal Service attempted ‘Missile Mail’.

On June 8,1959, 3,000 letters were sent via missile mail from the USS Barbaro Navy submarine to Mayport, Florida. A letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower was included in the mail that made the 1,000-mile trip.

According to researchers at the findingDulcinea website, "Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield, who witnessed the event, considered missile mail the future. He told The New York Times, 'Before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles.'”

Although missile mail was a U.S. innovation, it was preceded by a 1931 Austrian version known as rocket mail, with which engineer Friedrich Schmiedl successfully fired 100 pieces of mail from one Austrian village to another.

For more on the missle mail experiment, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, June 08, 2008

ATA's National Topical Stamp Show

The first ten Flags of Our Nation stamps will be released on Flag Day, Saturday, June 14th during the American Topical Association's National Topical Stamp Show.

The show will take place in Clackamas, Oregon, a suburb of Portland.

In addition to the first-day event for the U.S. stamps, the show will feature a first day of issue set of stamps from Sierra Leone honoring Oregon Explorers and their Discoveries.

There will also be special cachets, cancellations, meetings, presentations, dealers and displays.

According to a press release put out by the ATA, "To entice more attendees to view the exhibits, a search among the 184 frames to find a stamp honoring the Oregon Trail will result in one lucky person winning $25 for his or her efforts."

Shown above, one of the show's cachet envelopes.

For more information on the show and the American Topical Association, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Postal History - What Is It and Why Study It?

I recently came across an interesting piece on postal history by Vernon S. Stroupe which orginally appeared in the North Carolina Postal Historian.

Stroupe asks and answers, "What is postal history? By definition, it is a study of the postal system or any part of it. This study can be approached from many directions and from diverse interests. Why should we be interested in studying postal history?"

He goes on to write, postal history is the study of:

*The political emergence of a postal system,
*The postal laws and their social effects,
*The post offices, postal routes, and transportation of the mail,
*Postmasters and postal employees and,
*Genealogy through the addressee and addressor,
*Historical context of material sent through the mail,
*Postmarks, postal rate usage and stamps.

He says, "There is almost no 'right' or 'wrong' way to collect postal history. The only mistake that a collector can make is to remove stamps from their covers, cut the backs off the envelopes, drastically reduce the size of the envelope by trimming, or in some other way destroy the cover."

Shown above, British mail carriers, circa 1882.

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

Friday, June 06, 2008

Perforate Your Own Stamps

Well-known philatelic writer and collector Janet Klug writes in Linn's, "I continue to receive complaints from collectors who are discouraged that they cannot safely soak many current United States stamps to remove them from envelopes. I have offered alternative suggestions: collect the stamps on cover, or clip them neatly from the envelopes and mount them in albums as before."

She goes on to say, "Recently I found a pair of scissors in an office supply shop that might provide an acceptable solution for those who want to collect used stamps in stamp albums."

"The scissors create a cut similar to a stamp’s serpentine die cut. Use it to trim close to the stamp, leaving a little space between the wavy die-cuts of the stamp edges and the cut of the scissors. The result will be a stamp that is still on paper but it will have the appearance of a traditionally perforated and soaked stamp."

Shown above are some stamps Janet "perforated."

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

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A World Fit For Children

According to the UNICEF website, a new postage stamp, the first of its kind, has been issued in Armenia in "an effort to reduce infant deaths worldwide."

This past February, UNICEF announced the stamp-drawing contest with the theme, ‘A World Fit for Children’. Over 600 children, most of them with special needs or living in institutions, submitted their drawings for the contest.

Eight-year-old Eduard Shahbazyan from Yerevan was the winner.

On the reverse side of the drawing he submitted, Eduard wrote: “I drew myself, my mother and my father inside the sun that spreads its warmth and sheds its light on my family. I drew my mother and my father because like the sun they give me a lot of warmth. I wish that children always feel the warmth of their mothers and fathers.”

Shown above is his winning entry.

UNICEF will receive $.10 from the sale of each stamp.

HayPost will also provide UNICEF with advertising space in its 900 post offices throughout the country, a crucial element for the success of the campaign.

To read the entire post, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:17 AM

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Queen Elizabeth To Sell Part of Her Collection

Stamps from the Queen's private Royal Philatelic Collection are to be auctioned according to The Press Association website.

Thirteen duplicates, including two mint Penny Blacks, would go under the hammer in London on June 12

In May 2001, the Queen's "swaps" raised more than £745,000 - double the expected price.

The duplicates and other unwanted stamps were sold by the Queen to raise £250,000 for a block of 10 Penny Blacks on a May 6, 1840 first-day cover.

Among the items which far exceeded pre-sale estimates was an 1861 Cape of Good Hope 1d stamp, with a printing error, which fetched £74,750 (estimate £18,000-£20,000), a block of 12 unused 2d Blue stamps which sold for £40,250 (estimate £18,000-£20,000) and a rare first-day cover, bearing a Penny Black, which realised £23,000 (estimate £6,000-£8,000).

The Royal Philatelic Collection, the most comprehensive selection of British and Commonwealth stamps in the world, is privately owned by the Queen and was inherited from her father George VI and grandfather George V, its founder.

It is not part of the Royal Collection of rare paintings, china, antique furniture and other works of art which the Queen, as Sovereign, holds in trust for the nation.

Shown above, July 1946: Princess Elizabeth looking through her stamp collection in the State Apartments at Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images)

To view the catalogue on line, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Free APS "Flags of Our Nation" Stamp Pages

On June 14, the USPS will begin a three-year, 60-stamp series of commemorative-size coils depicting flags of 50states, four territories, the District of Columbia, and four different U.S. flags, too.

The American Philatelic Society has prepared a free set of downloadable color album pages for the first 10 individual stamps along with spaces for coil strips of five.

They are available by clicking here

These are perfect for personal use or to share with others.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on how these could be best utilized to encourage would be collectors or promote the hobby, please e-mail me at

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Language of Stamps

William Cochrane writes on the Philatelic Database website, "Many letters posted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century had stamps affixed to envelopes and picture postcards in all sorts of odd positions and angles."

According to Cochrane this was due to the development in England of a ‘language of stamps,’ which soon spread around the world.

He goes on to say, "The position of the stamp on the envelope was supposed to relay a message to the receiver. I imagine that people who lived on the edge of Society found this a convenient way of expressing their feelings. I wonder, too, if spies or criminals had stamp languages of their own…"

The problem of postmarking the stamps placed on various parts of the envelope finally became so great, that postal administrations of the world introduced regulations requiring the sender of mail to affix stamps in the upright corner of the envelope.

To read the entire post, click here.

Shown above is a postcard showing the different positions and what they mean.

This and other examples can be seen along with an 2005 New York Times article that cites some modern day examples by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"Collections of Nothing"

William Davies King, a professor of theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara, "has spent his life gathering a monumental mass of miscellany, and in a new book published this week he takes a hard look at his habitual hoarding to see what truths it might reveal about the impulse to accumulate," according to a press release sent out by the university.

It goes on to say, "Part memoir, part reflection on the mania of acquisition, 'Collections of Nothing' (University of Chicago Press, 2008) begins with the stamp collection King received when he was a child. However, the long-standing philately rules regarding the care and display of postage stamp collections quickly became an oppressive burden."

So he chose instead to handle––and mangle––the stamps according to his own desires.

This proved to be the first step in his search for an unexplored, individual meaning in collecting. In the following years, he ignored rarity or pedigree and found himself searching out the lowly and the lost, the cast-off and the undesired; objects that, merely by gathering and retaining, he could imbue with meaning and even value.

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