Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Royal Mail's New Ad Campaign

Hellmail.co.uk rpeorts, "Royal Mail has launched a new advertising campaign to boost business sales. Created by Abbott Mead Vickers, famous for the Guinness "Good things come to those who wait" campaign, the ads focus on the growth partnership between Royal Mail and emerging businesses."

According to the write-up, "The new ad campaign, thought to be one of the biggest marketing campaigns by Royal Mail in some years, will appear on TV, national press, and via the internet."

Earlier this year, Royal Mail launched a new product called the 'Matter Box', aimed at informing marketing departments about the merits of physical rather than virtual marketing with a free box of goodies containing branded items.

To view the ad, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, September 29, 2008

Elliot Lake Stamp Club

Canada's Elliot Lake Standard ran a nice article earlier this month about the Elliot Lake Stamp Club and founding member Dieter Gey.

Reporter Shannon Quesnel writes, "He was eight years old and still living in what was then East Germany when he got his first stamps. This was back when the city of Berlin was divided by a wall and the country was split by a patrolled border.

"In 1953, his family sneaked across the guarded line into West Germany. His first stamp collection stayed on the other side of the Iron Curtain along with everything else the family owned."

Dieter started collecting again a few years later in West Germany and continued when he came to Canada in 1966. He came to Elliot Lake in 2001 and started up the club soon after.

Shannon also notes, "More than just a raw exchange of stamps and goods, each meeting is a social event. Members talk about stamps, what is going on in the world of collection as well as socialize. Noticeably absent at the meeting was coffee, tea or other liquids. It is a safe bet the collectors would not enjoy seeing a tall cup of water on a table covered in loose stamps."

Shown above, Dieter checks his stamp collection during a club meeting held at a local police station.

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ken Lawrence's 'Postal Evidence of the Holocaust' Collection

Philatelist Ken Lawrence of Spring Mills, Pa is featured in a New York Times article about his award-winning "Postal Evidence of the Holocaust" collection. Beginning in 1978, Ken began gathering philatelic material to and from concentration camps in response to Holocaust deniers such as David Duke who maintained the Holocaust never happened.

According to the Times, "Painstakingly, over 30 years, he researched and assembled a collection of postal memorabilia documenting the range and depth of horrors of what he termed 'the Nazi scourge.' He gathered items that showed not just the persecution of Jews and Communists but also other groups deemed undesirable by the Nazis, like gypsies and the disabled, not just in Germany but across Europe."

"His collection includes rarities like an envelope from a letter sent from Dachau in 1933, shortly after the concentration camp opened; a certified-mail receipt for a prayer book sent to a Jew in a French camp; a postal checking account receipt with a crude anti-Semitic cartoon indicating payment for a Nazi propaganda newspaper; the only known letter from Rabbi Leo Baeck, leader of German Jewry, when he was held in the Theresienstadt ghetto; cards from two previously unlisted camps in Romania; and mail sent to a Nazi doctor on trial for war crimes at Nuremberg in 1945," writes Times Reporter Matthew Healy.

The Times also reports the Philatelic Foundation has produced a DVD documentary about the collection.

Shown above, Ken pointing to Hitler stamp on camp mail during a Jewish Studies lecture at Penn State.

To read the entire article and see a slide show of some of the items, click here.

To view the entire exhibit, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Machin Head Replacement Stamps

Britain's Stamp Magazine has an interesting article online about efforts to replace Queen Elizabeth's portrait on British definitives.

According to the magazine, "In late 1981 the Post Office - through its then Design Adviser, Barry Robinson - decided to undertake work on a potential successor to the Machin design, and thus approached the experienced stamp designer Jeffery Matthews."

It goes on to say, "Even before Matthews was briefed, The Post Office had decided that new photographic studies of The Queen would be needed, to be taken by Lord Snowdon. The Queen sat for a private photo shoot in March 1982 which was either at Lord Snowdon's London studio or in Buckingham Palace, and around 200 portraits were produced."

In April 1984, however, the design work ground to a halt.

Shown above, one of the stamp designs that were considered.

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

Friday, September 26, 2008

Forever Stamps Partly to Blame for USPS Fiscal Woes

The Traffic World Online website reports that the U.S. Postal Service will ask for a 23 percent increase in its federal appropriation in the next fiscal year as it copes with a dramatic decline in mail shipping this year.

The USPS says mail volume will be down some 9 billion pieces in the current fiscal year from last year, partly because of the downturn in the American economy.

Potter told this week's meeting of the agency's governing board - The Postal Board of Governors - that the Post Office is cutting costs by reducing work hours for its employees because it must "take steps now to shore up its business."

He went on to say the agency has decided to offer early retirement — without incentives or bonuses — to thousands of clerks, mail handlers and supervisors.

The cost cutting affects workers 50 and older who have 20 years of service and employees of any age who have 25 years of service.

Potter also pointed out that the Postal Service will need more significantly more funding from the federal government to keep its operations on track. The Postal Board of Governors approved on Wednesday a $144.6 billion appropriation request for the 2010 fiscal year, up from $117.7 million the USPS requested for the 2009 fiscal year.

In a related story the Los Angeles Times says a share of the expected loss this year stems from the popular forever stamps that remain valid for first-class postage regardless of price increases. The stamps were introduced at 41 cents and sold well before last spring's rate increase. They now sell for 42 cents.

The forever stamp forced the agency to change how it accounts for stamps that are purchased but not used. Formerly that was a category dominated by collectors who save the stamps, but people buying the forever stamp tend to save it until the price goes up and then use it. Early figures indicate that the stamp may be responsible for as much as $230 million in revenue loss.

Shown above Postmaster General John E. Potter at the March 26, 2007 introduction of the Forever Stamp in Washington, DC.

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

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Retired Australian Collectors Hit The Road To Promote the Hobby

The Busselton-Dunsborough Mail reports two members of the West Australian Philatelic Council, Bernard Buckland and Peter Martin, will be touring the local area in early October, giving advice and ideas to all those who like stamps.

Buckland, a retired bishop, told the paper that the idea behind the tour was to promote stamp collecting and help those people who were collecting stamps to understand what they were doing and teach them some necessary skills.

He's quoted in the article by Rosanna Dalibor as saying, "If people want to know how to arrange their collection or improve their collection, or if people have found grandpa’s collection and want to know what is the best thing for them to do with it, we are there to advise them and help them."

He went on to say, "“This is part of our hobby. We are both into stamp collecting and we are both retired. We can give some of our time to help other people with their collecting, whether they want to start, whether they want to expand or whether they want to know how to look after the stamps.”

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

APS Board Selects Wade E. Saadi as President

Wade E. Saadi of Brooklyn, New York, was selected as President of the American Philatelic Society during a teleconferenced Board of Directors meeting September 22 at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania according to an APS press release..

Saadi was selected in a public roll-call vote that followed a tribute to President Nicholas G. Carter, who passed away September 11, and a moment of silence in Nick’s memory.

A Life Member of the APS, President Saadi previously served on the APS Board as a Director-at-Large, and more recently as Chairman of the Board of Vice Presidents, as well as chairing the APS Membership Recruiting Committee.

Saadi brings extensive financial, managerial, and real estate experience to the position, having been successful both as founder, president and CEO of an award-winning computer services/software/executive search company, and then as head of a full-service real estate office in the highly competitive New York City marketplace.

Saadi has collected the full range of United States stamps, from early U.S. issues through modern plate number coils. Recipient of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society’s Chase Cup in 1997 for a three-part article in The American Philatelist.

Saadi also is President of the USPCS, immediate past President of the Collectors Club (New York), and President of NY-2016, leading the organization of the next international philatelic exhibition to be held in the United States. Saadi was actively involved in the incubation of the “Shaping the Future of Philately” Council to promote youth philately, and has been a member since 2003 of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s Council of Philatelists, where he chairs the New Initiatives committee.

Previously, he chaired the committee overseeing the Arago® project, an online research resource at www.arago.si.edu enabling all Americans to study stamps and the history of postal operations as seen through the NPM’s collection.

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bette Davis Stamp Ceremony

Postal officials, along with friends and family of the late film icon, gathered on the campus of Boston University last week to unveil the new Bette Davis stamp .

According to the USPS News Link, USPS Chief Financial Officer and Executive VP Glen Walker said, “Bette Davis was one of the brightest lights of Hollywood’s Golden Era and one of the most decorated screen stars of all time. It’s a pleasure to celebrate the life and legacy of one of America’s finest actresses.”

Also speaking at the First Day of Issue ceremony was actress Lauren Bacall, along with Davis’ son, Michael Merrill who is quoted as saying, “This is one of the highest honors my mother could have received. She was truly the greatest American actress of all time.”

The stamp was based on a black and white still of Bette Davis made during the filming of “All About Eve” (1950).

With the introduction of the Davis stamp, the Postal Service has honored 14 actors in its Legends of Hollywood series. Film stars previously honored with their own stamps include Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Judy Garland and James Stewart.

Shown above in a USPS photo: Stamp Development Manager Terry McCaffrey; Kathryn Sermak, special assistant to Bette Davis; USPS CFO Glen Walker; Michael Merrill, attorney and son of Bette Davis; actress Lauren Bacall and Massachusetts State Senator Steven Tolman.

For more on Bette Davis, visit her official website by clicking here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stamp Collecting Rap

Here's something to brighten your Monday...

The crazies on the British version of the popular television show Whose Line is It Anyway? have come up with a stamp collecting rap. It appears on the YouTube website along with several other stamp collecting videos.

Performers include Mike McShane, Ryan Stiles, George McGrath, and Greg Proops

To check it out and get down, click here. It's listed on the left hand side.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fiji Post Promotes Stamp Usage

Radio New Zealand International is reporting Fiji’s sole postal services provider, Post Fiji Limited has temporarily put a freeze on its mailing franking machine in a bid to promote Fiji through the usage of stamps.

Fijilive indicates that the company has confirmed that all its franking machines will temporarily be removed from all post office counters.

A franking machine is a machine that prints an impression on mails, indicating postage has been paid, which qualifies it to be posted.

It can be used as an option to postage stamps.

The company, in a paid advertisement last week said the removal of the machines was part of its initiative to personalise letters and parcels by placing stamps on them to give it more value.

Post Fiji Ltd manager public relations Merelita Isimeli is quoted as saying that postage stamps, apart from paying the postage fee, promoted the countries from where it originated from and personalised items posted through the mail.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, September 20, 2008

RAF Stamps Flying High at Yorkshire Air Museum

The UK's The Press website reports the latest set of stamps from the Royal Mail has been brought to life by staff at the Yorkshire Air Museum.

The six stamps each feature a serviceman or woman representing a significant period of the RAF’s history. So employees at the museum donned outfits from the museum’s collection to launch the RAF Uniform stamps.

The Yorkshire Air Museum’s internationally-renowned uniform collection covers the history of the Royal Air Force from its formation from the Royal Flying Corps to this the 90th anniversary year of the RAF.”

This is the second in the military uniforms series, which examines the history of the uniforms of the UK’s armed services.

Shown above Mark Napier, of the Yorkshire Air Museum, dons an Air Sea Rescue helmet and stamps.

To read the entire article, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 8:21 AM

Friday, September 19, 2008

POW-MIA Recognition Day

Today is National Prisoner of War-Missing in Action (POW-MIA) Recognition Day.

It’s one of the six days each year all USPS facilities are required to fly the POW-MIA flag.

Its display at postal facilities honor the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces held as prisoners of war or missing in action.

According to the Home of Heroes website, "The design for the MIA/POW flag was never copyrighted. It became a flag that belongs to everyone, a design that hauntingly reminds us of those we dare not ever forget. Behind the black and white silhouette is a face we can't see...the face of a husband, a father, or a son who has paid with their freedom, for our freedom."

Shown here is a 1995 stamp honoring POWs and MIAs. The U.S. also issued a POW-MIA stamp in 1970.

For more on the POW-MIA flag, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pillar Boxes

Britain's Hellmail.com reports, "The first post box was erected in the British Isles in 1852. Since then the pillar box has established itself as a much-loved part of the street furniture of our villages, towns and cities."

The site goes on to say, "The British Postal Museum and Archive, as well as being a fascinating place to visit, also produces an array of postal memorabilia. Included is a series of 25 postcards - a celebration of pillar boxes through the posters in The Royal Mail Archive. The book of postcards, published by Royal Mail, celebrates the richness of this icon of community and communication through the art of posters and a special stamp issue."

Click here to order. While you're there take a look at some other interesting items that would make great holiday gifts.

For more on pillar boxes, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WWII-Era Stamp Collector Tells Tale of Passion

Ann Sperring writes in the Ocala, Florida Star-Banner,"Most people who struggled out of the Great Depression of the 1930s prefer to leave the memories of those lean and fearful years behind. Tony Burgio is an exception."

She goes on to say, "In the depths of the Depression, however, he found a lifetime source of happiness, education, achievement and pride - stamp collecting. It all began with shuffling through trash cans."

Tony (shown above) is quoted in the article as saying, ""My older brother had gotten a part-time janitorial job at a doctor's office, and he let me help him. My brother was interested in stamps, and I wanted to be like him. I would go through the trash looking for letters with different stamps. It turned out the doctor was a stamp collector and occasionally would throw out a stamp collecting magazine."

The rest...as they say...is history.

Burgio is the senior member of the Gen. Francis Marion Stamp Club of Ocala.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

USPS Website Gets Makeover

According to the USPS News Link, a simplified and easier-to-navigate USPS.com launched yesterday with a new look and feel aimed at improving customer satisfaction.

According to the report, "Visitors to the improved USPS.com homepage will notice easier-to-find links to the products and services they use most, including online shipping, package pickup and shipping supplies. In addition to the cleaner design, graphics highlighting the most popular product and service offerings will help customers navigate the site."

The changes are the first step toward improving the site. Before the redesign, the Brookings Institution ranked the Postal Service’s website fourth among all government agencies. Brookings ranked 61 government sites based on their effectiveness at using interactive features to engage the public and provide services.

USPS.com also made BtoB Magazine’s 2008 list for “The 10 Best Internets for Business to Business Customers.”

Robert Bernstock, president, Shipping and Mailing Services, is quoted as saying,“We are committed to making USPS.com one of the best government websites, and one of the best websites in the nation. These changes help guarantee that our website is relevant, customer-focused and — most important — easy to use.”

To visit the redesigned website, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, September 15, 2008

APS President Nick Carter Dead at 72

The American Philatelic Society (APS) has announced that President Nick Carter passed away on Thursday, Sept. 11 after a lengthy illness. He was 72.

The following is from Carter's obituary which is posted on The Virtual Stamp Club website...

Carter joined the American Philatelic Society in 1965, and was a member of its Expertizing Committee, specializing in British Africa. He was also a Patron of the American Philatelic Research Library.

Prior to winning election as president of the APS in 2007, Carter served two terms as its treasurer. He was also technology director and a member of the executive committee for the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition, and former treasurer and current director of NAPEX, the Washington-area World Series of Philately show.

As an exhibitor, he received gold medals at the national level for his exhibits on Nigeria and the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast exhibit (1928 issue) was entered in Washington 2006.

Funeral services are being held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Bethesda, Maryland at 11 a.m. today.

Donations in the memory of Nicholas G. Carter may be made to the American Philatelic Society, the Boy Scouts of America or to a charity of the donor's choice.

To read the entire obituary, click here.

Our condolences to the Carter family, co-workers and friends.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canada Scraps Mental Health Stamp Design

David Williams writes in the Saint John, New Brunswick,Canada Telegraph-Journal that Canada has scrapped its original design for a mental health stamp that was due to be released next month after Canada Post received quite a bit of negative feedback regarding its design.

The original stamp illustration (shown here) featured a drawing of a person's head with what appeared to be an arrow through it.

According to Williams it was reminiscent of Steve Martin's stand-up comedy routine where he wore a fake arrow.

The post office began getting complaints when the design was unveiled in mid-June. Many felt the illustration was simply inappropriate for a stamp being issued to assist those affected by mental illness.

The post office dropped the design and got the same firm that had created the original, to come up with a new one.

The new design is a digitally-enhanced photograph of a person with their back to the camera. They are, according to Canada Post, "stepping out of the shadows, using a mega-phone to broadcast the plight of mental health patients."

Williams writes the design change could have been worse.

Two years ago, New Zealand Post cancelled an entire issue of five stamps after millions had been printed when it got feedback suggesting the stamps would offend that country's native Maori people.

He points out Canada Post's original semi-postal stamp design never got printed.

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

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Postal Inspector Starring Bela Lugosi

Daniel J. Kelley writes in the Chicago Daily Observer about an old 1936 black and white film called Postal Inspector starring Bela Lugosi of Dracula fame.

Daniel describes the film as follows, "An intrepid postal employee (Ricardo Cortez) manages to foil the nefarious scheme of a disreputable nightclub owner (Bela Lugosi) to steal a shipment of used currency scheduled to be returned to the US Mint for destruction. In the same film, dedicated postal employees are seen fighting a cataclysmic flood (incorporating actual newsreel footage) in order to deliver the mail without an interruption in service. Nobody blamed the torrential rains upon global warming during the Great Depression. An actor playing Franklin D. Roosevelt is seen thanking the postal employees for their splendid work. It goes without saying this particular drama is unlikely to be updated and remade for contemporary audiences."

G. Sneider writes on the Amazon.com website, "This film, the last of Lugosi's original Universal contract, is weird, to say the least. At times it's like a compressed serial; at times it's a musical; at times it's an infomercial for the US postal service. All of this is incidental, because Lugosi is on hand, giving his characteristically intense and sincere performance. What's deplorable, however, is the print quality. It's absolutely awful, one of the worst I've ever seen on DVD. Some scenes (or, often, parts of scenes) look like they were shot through waxed paper. Would that some philanthropic movie maven would squander his inheritance on making GOOD restorations of these old gems!"

With Halloween coming this might be something you'd want to show at October's stamp club meeting or just for your own enjoyment. I think it would be a hoot.

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

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stamps - A Bad Investment?

The Scotsman.com quotes stamp dealer Robert Murray as saying that unless you're a knowledgeable stamp collector, stamps are not an investment option.

Murray, who since 1977 has run the Robert Murray Stamp Shop in Edinburgh, goes on to say, "Do not touch it unless you really know what you are doing. I have had hundreds of stamp investment portfolios bought to me and I can count on one hand the number that have been successful.

"We have seen portfolios from the market peak in 1980 that were hard to sell at 10 per cent of their market price."

According to Murray, the problem is typically that either the portfolios have been bought at the correct price but haven't proved a good investment, or too much has been paid for them (or a combination of the two).

Murray believes "If a stamp is a good investment and priced correctly it will sell because there is demand and knowledgeable people spend money on them. So if you buy one as part of an investment portfolio, you must be able to buy it somewhere else cheaper."

Murray added that potential investors should be wary of the promises set out in stamp investment promotions. For instance, he pointed out that the SG index promoted by Stanley Gibbons – which previously distanced itself from the notion of stamps as an investment – lacks the independence of, say, a FTSE index.

The guaranteed return product is similarly flawed according to Murray.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on philatelic investing, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Stamps

According to a write-up on the eHow.com website,
"Collecting 9/11 commemorative stamps is an excellent way to remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. By using a combination of online resources and local stamp dealers, you will be able to assemble a collection that will help to honor their memory."

The site reports, "Countries that issued 9/11 stamps to show solidarity with the U.S. include Israel, Mongolia, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Lesotho, St. Vincent, The Marshall Islands, The Virgin Islands, Uganda and The Bahamas."

It goes on to give 5 other tips on how to put together a collection.

Shown above, 2002 stamp from the Bahamas (SC# 1039) commemorating 9/11.

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Rarest Czechoslovak Postage Stamps in the Collection of Ludvík Pytlíček

Radio Prague reports "The Rarest Czechoslovak Postage Stamps in the Collection of Ludvík Pytlíček is the name of a new book which presents arguably the greatest collection of Czechoslovak stamps, compiled by the renowned Czech philatelist Mr. Pytlíček. The volume, launched in Prague on Wednesday, also includes the most precious Czechoslovak postage stamp of all times – a four-crown stamp from 1919 of which only a single example is known."

Shown here, it was originally an Austrian light-green four-crown stamp, it was used in the newly established Czechoslovak state. A reversed inscription that says “Czechoslovak Post 1919” was printed on it.

The four-crown 1919 stamp and other treasures from Ludvík Pytlíček’s collection, will be shown at upcoming World Stamp Exhibition Praga 2008 which takes place this weekend in the Czech capital.

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

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Former Foot Surgeon Tries Hand At Selling Stamp Related T-Shirts

The Orange County Business Journal reports, "Allan Bernstein still goes by 'Doc,' even though he’s traded the precise work of foot and ankle surgery for the fickle and trying business of growing a T-shirt company."

Allan's company, Ethnicitee Apparel Co., designs T-shirts using postage stamp art from all over the world.

Allan said in the article that he came up with the stamp idea for T-shirts while preparing for Hebrew classes he was teaching at the time when he came across a Web site that taught the Holocaust in stamps.

His best selling shirt features an Albert Einstein stamp from Israel.

While not a collector himself, Allan is quoted as saying, "Every subject known to mankind is depicted on stamps. I try to celebrate what’s beautiful and positive about the world.”

Shown above, Cayman Island stamp shirt for women which sells for about $25

To read the entire article, click here.

To order a shirt for yourself or someone you love (the holidays are coming...hint...hint), click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, September 08, 2008

Duck Stamp Includes Phone-Sex Number

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports that the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it has no choice but to reluctantly keep distributing to millions of waterfowl hunters a toll-free phone-sex number.

About 3.5 million federal "duck stamps" are affixed to a card that bears the misprinted number.

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must buy and carry the current Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp, commonly known as the duck stamp. Sales of the stamp raise about $25 million each year to fund wetland habitat acquisition for the national Wildlife Refuge System.

Rachel Levin, a Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, is quoted as saying the misprint, "an unfortunate typographical error" that her agency really regrets. She added that the agency will keep selling the $15 stamps with the naughty number because reprinting the card would cost too much.

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

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers

The authors of Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers have been awarded an unusual literary accolade for their book’s title, according to the Associated Press.

The book is the winner of the Diagram Prize in Britain for the oddest book title of the past 30 years. The award was announced last week by The Bookseller, a trade magazine that organizes the prize, which has been given out since 1978.

Among the previous winners...Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice and How Green Were the Nazis? This year's runner-up was People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead while third place went to How to Avoid Huge Ships.

Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers was published in 1994 by a British stamp-collecting organization.

Its co-author, Derek Willan, is quoted as saying he didn't consider the title odd.
"It purely describes what's in the book," Willan, 91, told the British Broadcasting Corp. "This book was issued by the Hellenic Philatelic Society of Great Britain and it is of interest to Greek philatelists."

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

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Iowa Collector Unhappy with Iowa Flag Stamp

The DesMoines Register reports Iowa resident and stamp collector Mike Pauly would like to see a coil of 100 Iowa flag stamps sold just in Iowa, and a coil of California flag stamps sold only in California and so on.

Currently postal customers just can't buy just single flag stamp. The series is sold in coils of 50 and 100.

Richard Watkins, a spokesman for the postal service in the Des Moines area, is quoted in an article by reporter Jennifer Jacobs as saying such a distribution "would just be a logistical nightmare" because there are 37,000 post offices in the country.

Pauly is also upset with the design of the Iowa stamp.

Pauly is quoted as saying, "I kind of wish the designers would be less set in their ways and depict this state in some way other than cornfields and hogs and farm women in bonnets."

For Iowa, the artist painted a cornfield with three tall cornstalks in the foreground.

Shown above, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver at the unveiling of the Iowa state stamp.

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

Friday, September 05, 2008

4th Machin cast found

UK's Telegraph reports a rare original plaster cast used to create the effigy of the Queen's head, which is used on stamps, has been uncovered.

According to the article by Richard Alleyne, only a handful of casts were ever made by renowned sculptor Arnold Machin. Three of them are kept by the Royal Mail but a fourth has been discovered in the cupboard of the artist's former studio and is to be auctioned off.

Alleyne goes on to say,"The 1966 design [shown above] is said to be so well-liked by the Queen that she has declined to have it updated and changed over the years, unlike her effigy on coinage. It is still seen on almost every British stamp today and some 320 billion copies have been made over the last 40 years, making it the most reproduced work of art in history."

The sale is at the Moat House Hotel, Acton Trussell, Staffs, on October 1.

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

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Online Exhibiting and Collecting FDC Courses

The American Philatelic Society is celebrating Stamp Collecting Month in October with two revised StampCampus online courses.

Keys To Exhibiting with Janet Klug and Ann Triggle begins October 6, while Collecting First Day Covers by Marjorie Sente begins October 27.

The six-week course Keys To Exhibiting will lead you through the critical steps of building a successful exhibit. Five lessons cover everything you’ve always wanted to know about exhibiting — from the nuts and bolts of a successful exhibit, to understanding the intriguing new classes of exhibits.

Beginners, including those who have never previously exhibited, are welcome in the course, which will nonetheless have content to stimulate and interest advanced exhibitors as well.

The cost is $75 for APS members, which includes the Keys to Exhibiting workbook and the APS Manual of Philatelic Judging: How Exhibits are Judged are required. (The 150-page APS Manual of Philatelic Judging is available separately for $9.60 on the APS Market Place.

Presented over five weeks, the five lessons of Collecting First Day Covers Part I include an introduction to FDCs, the history of FDC collecting, history and types of cancellations, types of cachets, and care of your FDC collection.

The cost for is $65 for APS members, which includes the Collecting FDCs workbook.

Register for both courses online or by calling the APS at 814-933-3803.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Cut and Paste" Masters are Today’s Stamp Designers

Bangladesh's The Daily Star reports, "Postage stamp designing is losing its appeal in recent times as many stamps are being designed by people with no academic background in fine arts or having no idea of creative design."

According to the paper non-artists like philatelists and stamp dealers are designing a good number of stamps because they have a good connection with the postal department.

Reporter Durdana Ghias goes on to say,"Lack of genuine artists' involvement, absence of regular competition or enlistment of artists, and unwritten rules for artists' recruitment and commissioning are a few reasons behind the low quality of stamp designs."

Stamp artist KG Mustafa is quoted as saying, “Unfortunately, many stamps are being designed by some 'cutting-pasting masters' by using images in computers. The gravity, depth and richness of drawings are lost."

Shown above, a variety of stamps from Bangladesh. The one on the bottom left was designed by artist Quamrul Hasan while the one next to it on the right was designed with a photograph by a non-artist.

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

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Youth Holiday Stamp Design Contest

Douglas Moss writes to say The Texas Philatelic Association (TPA) and the Dallas-Park Cities Philatelic Society (DPCPS)have begun their 20th Annual Youth Holiday Stamp Design Contest.

The contest encourages youths from ages four to eighteen to design a postage stamp to celebrate the winter holidays. The artwork can relate to any winter holiday the participant wishes to recognize. The artwork should include a denomination and country name.

Entries are required to be postmarked October 1, 2008.

The winner of the contest will have their artwork featured on the cover of the November/December 2008 issue of The Texas Philatelist, the official journal of the TPA. First, second and third place winners by age group will be recognized in a feature article in the journal.

All children who enter the contest will receive a packet of stamps. The three best entries by age group will also be recognized. Doug says they will receive additional philatelic prizes beyond the packet of stamps.

For the official entry form and more information about the contest, please go to http://www.texasphilatelic.org/. You can also contact Douglas Moss at tpeditor@sbcglobal.net or mail him 305 Saint Luke’s Drive, Richardson, Texas 75080-4830
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, September 01, 2008

FLASH - USPS Prepared for Gustav

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is working closely with various federal agencies to support state and local authorities as Hurricane Gustav ravages the Gulf Coast.

According to the Sulphur, LA Southwest Daily News, the Postal Service processed benefit checks for nearly 400,000 people in potentially hurricane impacted areas of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

These customers received their Social Security checks on Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30, rather than on September 3rd, the regularly scheduled payment day. Mandatory evacuations may have stalled delivery in some locations.

The Postal Service also has procedures in place to help customers reestablish connection with their mail as soon as weather conditions allow.

The USPS is working closely with the Social Security Administration and other agencies to continue disbursing checks that have not been received. Customers are encouraged to go to the Social Security website www.ssa.gov and click on the Hurricane Gustav link for more information.

The Postal Service encourages customers to file change of address cards as soon as they have relocated. Filing can be done in three ways:

-On line, at www.usps.com

-In person at any post office, station or branch

-By phone at 1-800 ASK USPS (1-800-275-8777)

Shown above, NASA photo of Hurricane Gustav crossing the Louisiana coast while Tropical Storm Hanna spins near the Turks and Caicos Islands.

For more on what you can do to help, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Antique Airplanes Deliver The Mail

To celebrate the 90th anniversary of airmail delivery in the United States, pilots participating in this week's Antique Airplane Association fly-in were sworn in as latter day airmail pilots.

According to the Solon,Iowa Gazette, they delivered mail back and forth between several small towns and the Iowa City airport.

Reporter Jennifer Hemmingsen writes that the Iowa City Postmaster and two postal clerks met the pilots at the airport, with a special cancellation stamp and some historic artifacts that included a leather mail pouch from the 1940s and a turn-of-the-century wage book.

Five antique planes particpated in the event. These included two early passenger planes, a World War II-era Stearman Trainer, a Waco Straight Wing and a Sikorsky Flying Boat.

Iowa City was part of the earliest airmail flights, when pilots navigated by landmark instead of radio.

Shown above in a Gazette photograph, an early American Airways Stinson Tri-motor and a 1927 Ford Tri-motor. Both planes are owned by Greg Herrick of Minneapolis.

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