Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bob Hope Stamp First Day Cancellations

The USA Philatelic Web site Beyond The Perf takes a look at the development of the Bob Hope first day cancellations shown here.

The site reports, "The Bob Hope First Day of Issue postmarks represent both what is best and what is most difficult to achieve in pictorial postmark design: an image that truly expresses the subject and is striking enough to excite collectors, yet can be rendered in the small scale and simple forms required of a cancellation. How do you convey the unique talent and larger-than-life quality of an American icon like Hope within these restricted parameters?"

It goes on to say, "Among the research materials used in the development of the stamp design was a reference file showing drawings of Hope by noted artist Al Hirschfeld. The design team had always felt that these drawings would be ideal to incorporate in the cancellations but expected that copyright and legal restrictions would prevent their use."

The first day ceremonies for the Hope stamp were held aboard the retired aircraft carrier USS Midway in San Diego on Friday, May 29, 2009 which would have been the comedian's 106th birthday.

Hope made two appearances aboard the Midway in a career launched in the 1930s and including military shows from World War II to the Persian Gulf War. He died in 2003 at age 100. His widow, Dolores Hope, celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday night in Los Angeles but was unable to attend the ceremony according to the Associated Press.

Hope was the first person recognized by Congress as an honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces, even though he never officially served in the military.

Collectors have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store Web site at, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Bob Hope Stamp
PO Box 85530
San Diego, CA 92186-5530

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by July 30, 2009.

To see the preliminary postmark designs for the Bob Hope first day cancellation, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Inverted Stamps to be Auctioned

A one-of-a-kind collection of inverted stamps of the United States and the world will be offered by Spink Shreves Galleries of Dallas and New York in a public auction in New York City on June 18 and 19.

Assembled over a half century by the late Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stock broker and money manager Robert H. Cunliffe, the collection contains more than 3,000 inverted stamps from the United States and around the world according to a press release sent out by Spink Shreves Galleries.

A limited edition set of two hardbound catalogs and custom slipcase has been prepared. Volume I is devoted to the U.S. and its possessions, Volume II features nations of the world including the British Commonwealth. The set is priced at $40 for U.S. delivery, $75 for foreign delivery.

Shown above, 1901 Pan-American four-cent (#296a) plate number strip(catalog value $550,000) described by Shreve as “one of the most spectacular rarities in United States philately;”

For additional information and pictures, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Friday, May 29, 2009

Why Does a Stamp Collector Collect?

On the now abandoned Start Stamp Collecting blog, the anonymous creator wrote about why he and others collects stamps.

He says, "Collecting is a passion. And collecting, like most passions, has the capacity to let you live in another world for a while. If I could tell you why passion allows us to inhabit another world, I would stop collecting my stamps. I just wouldn’t need to any more. Passion is as inexplicable as magic, and magic is just one of our names for the inexplicable."

He goes on to point out, "Like a child, the collector absorbed by their stamp collection 'dreams their way not only into a remote world, but at the same time into a better one.' This means that an object, no matter how individually important, can never be as significant to a collector as one."

"Completion is both the greatest aspiration and greatest apprehension for the collector because after completion there is a possibility that there is nothing. And nothing is what collectors fear most. But with stamp collectors there is not much to worry about, for as long as stamps continued to be used for mail all around the world, then there will always be stamps to go in search for. From the time that they first decided to start collecting stamps, to the point where they have reached the end of their lives, a stamp collector will have built quite the collection that not only they can go back and look through and enjoy, but that other collectors can appreciate and enjoy the dedication the collector took to building their number of stamps they have in their possession."

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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bulgaria Opens European Philatelic Exhibition 2009

The European Philatelic Exhibition Bulgaria 2009 opened in Sofia on Wednesday according to the Sofia News Agency.

The event marks the 130th anniversary of the founding the Bulgarian post and the issuing the first Bulgarian post stamps "Centimes" (1879).

The exhibition is being held at the halls of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia from May 27 until May 31, 2009.

The exhibit was opened by the Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, and is under the patronage of the Federation of European Philatelic Associations and the World Philatelic Federation.

The exhibition features top philatelic items as well as collections of the latest European postal stamps.

To visit the exhibition's Web site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making Money From Old Stuff

The Bangkok Post reports antique dealer Tatt Vanasilpa (shown here) enjoys making money from old stuff - especially stamps.

Reporter Sukhumaporn Laiyok writes, "[Tatt] began his collecting habit when he was a young boy. He was well acquainted with stamps and postcards since his father was a postmaster, and started collecting them after accompanying his father to the Charoenkrung area where a bevy of stamp and postcard retailers were located. He was so captivated by his new hobby, he spent most of his allowance on them."

According to the article,"He said he took great effort to do background research for the potential value of stamps by reading books and discussing them with like-minded people. Over time, he became more knowledgeable about stamps and finally found that his collection was very valuable both in monetary value and to him personally. He also recognised the possibility of profit in collecting rare stamps, which comes from the fact that they hold a degree of historical value from whichever country they come from."

Tatt decided to make a career change by leaving his job as a senior manager of BMW Group (Thailand) Ltd. and becoming a consultant for Eur-Seree Collecting Co Ltd, one of Thailand's auction houses.

Today he is recognised as one of the country's top experts on antiques, stamps and coins.

Click here to read the entire article.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Withdrawn Audrey Hepburn Stamp to be Auctioned

Rachel Nolan of the Associated Press reports, "A collector stands to make a tidy profit after discovering a rare stamp portraying movie star Audrey Hepburn smoking — one of a series that should have been incinerated by the German government."

According to Rachel, "In 2001, the government printed 14 million Audrey Hepburn stamps as part of a series featuring movie stars including Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo. The print run was destroyed after Hepburn's son, Sean Ferrer, objected to the cigarette holder dangling from the actress' mouth and refused to grant copyright."

She goes on to say, "But the Finance Ministry had already delivered advance copies of the Hepburn stamps to Deutsche Post for approval. Thirty of these proof copies escaped destruction when an unknown employee pocketed them and used them to send letters postmarked from Berlin."

A minimum bid of 30,000 euro ($41,959) has been set as the opening bid for the stamp at its auction today in Berlin.

This is the fifth Hepburn stamp to surface since 2004. One of the four other Hepburn stamps fetched $74,000 at an auction in Duesseldorf in 2005.

Andreas Schlegel told the Associated Press, "The rest probably ended up where most stamps do: in the trash can."

Audrey Hepburn who died of colon cancer in 1993.

Shown above, used sheet corner example of the Hepburn stamp.

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

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

In May of 2004, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp depicting the National World War II Memorial in Washngton, D.C.

The memorial honors the achievements and ideals of the men and women who served in the armed forces of the United States during World War II.

It highlights one of two 43-foot memorial arches and shows a section of a curving row of 56 pillars, each representing one of the states, territories and District of Columbia that comprised the U.S. during World War II.

The memorial itself was designed by Providence, RI, architect Friedrich St.Florian, while the computer-generated image on the stamp was created by artist Tom Engeman.

Click here to visit National World War II Memorial Web site to search the electronic World War II Registry of Americans who contributed to the war effort, or add the name of a loved one.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 24, 2009

PBS's American Stamps

American Stamps, a thirty-minute documentary about the designers and artists who create U.S. postage stamps,will rebroadcast on Wednesday, May 27, at 10:30pm EST. The program provides a behind-the-scenes look at how stamps are conceptualized, designed and produced.

American Stamps features interviews with USPS art directors Howard Paine, Phil Jordan, Derry Noyes, Carl Herrman, Richard Sheaff and Ethel Kessler. These long-time USPS associates share the details of their stamp creation process and explain the personal connections they have to the monumental characters and events they portray in miniature.

American Stamps also includes interviews with Terry McCaffrey, Manager of Stamp Design for the USPS and Wilson Hulme (1946-2007), former Curator of Philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. McCaffrey introduces the art directors and anchors the program with helpful backstory about the history of stamps in America, the criteria used in selecting stamp subjects, and how stamp artwork gets checked—and re-checked—for accuracy. Wilson Hulme discusses the fun of stamp collecting and the printing errors that can make a stamp extremely valuable.

Shown above, Art Director Derry Noyes enjoys an afternoon working at home on the front porch.

Click here to visit the American Stamps Web site for more information an a clip from the show.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Ice House" Cover To Be Auctioned

The Times of India reports, the "Ice House" cover will be auctioned off in New York City next month.

The envelope (shown above) was mailed in 1873 by an ice exporter in Boston to his office in Calcutta. It is dubbed the "Ice House" cover because it is addressed to Mr. James H. Bancroft, Ice House, Calcutta, East Indies (now India).

The stamps are from the 1869 issue of pictorial stamps, which included the first U.S postage stamps printed in two colors. The portrait of Lincoln is printed in black, while the surrounding frame with the 90-cent denomination is printed in red.

Although numerous examples of the 1869 90-cent Lincoln stamp are available to collectors, this is only one which is still attached to its original envelope according to reporter Chidanand Rajghatta.

Rajghatta pens, "It was discovered in 1914 by a collector touring India and passed from collector to collector until its theft in 1967 from the home of an Indianapolis philatelist J. David Baker, now deceased."

He goes on to say, "In 1974 the FBI recovered the stolen Baker collection, except for the 'Ice House' Cover. Most collectors thought the thieves had soaked off the 90-cent Lincoln to make it more saleable.

"In January 2006, an elderly couple walked into a small stamp shop in Chicago and inquired if three stamp items had any value. Two were worthless, but one was recognized by the dealer as having great value. After consulting another dealer, he determined that the item was the legendary stolen 'Ice House' Cover."

Baker’s widow consigned the item to Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, which has agreed to offer it for between $300,000 to $400,000 at their annual ''Rarities of the World'' philatelic auction on June 13 in New York City.

Collectors, however, are predicting it will fetch $1 million or more according to the article.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on the "Ice House" cover, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, May 22, 2009

Watermark Detection - Yesterday and Today

Leland Bell, a retired Louisville chemist who has collected stamps for 70 years, is featured in a USA Today article about carbon tetrachloride.

According to the piece by reporter James Bruggers, "For much of the 20th century, carbon tetrachloride was regarded as a miracle chemical: It was used to put out fires, degrease machines, kill bugs, dry-clean clothing and even help stamp collectors detect forgeries. From the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s, most of those uses were discontinued for health and safety reasons."

Leland,a retired Louisville chemist shown above, recalls how it helped reveal authenticating watermarks. "You'd put the stamp facedown in a little black tray, and put a few drops of carbon tetrachloride on," he says in the article. "We really didn't give it much thought."

Today, there are much safer and environmentally friendly ways.

According to the 1847usa Web site, "There are many ways to detect the presence of a watermark: dipping the stamp in water, lighter fluid (of which Ronsonol brand seems to be a favorite), or any of the new "commercial" fluids prepared for the express purpose of detecting watermarks ("Clarity" comes to mind). Of course simply holding the stamp to a bright light source at various angles may be all that is necessary."

To read the USA Today article about the dangers of carbon tetrachloride, click here.

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

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nation's Last 24-hour Post Office Window is Closing.

The Chicago Sun Times reports the nation's last 24-hour post office window is closing.

Beginning June 6, the downtown Chicago location at 433 W. Harrison St. (shown here)will be open only from 7:30 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, according to Mark Reynolds, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman who is quoted in the article.

Chicago had been the last city in the United States with a 24-hour window staffed by postal workers. New York City closed its last round-the-clock post office, The James A. Farley Post Office across from Penn Station, earlier this month.

"Demand for 24-hour service has dropped sharply in recent years. It's just changing customer habits, and a lot of people are using our Web site," Reynolds said.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bringing Back the Postal Savings System

The USPS Inspector General's blog, Pushing The Envelope, did a post recently on the Postal Savings Act of 1910 that authorized the Post Office Department “to establish postal savings depositories for depositing savings at interest with the security of the Government for repayment thereof, and for other purposes.”

According to the site, Postmaster General John A.J. Creswell first recommended a postal savings bank for the United States in 1871. But it wasn’t until the Panic of 1907, which shook the public’s trust in private banks, that the concept really gathered widespread support.

The blog goes on to say that reporter Michael Lind proposed last year in a column he wrote last year for the New York Times, that a new postal savings system be created.

The Inspector General points out that, "In more than 40 countries, posts provide some type of banking services (for example, China, Italy, Japan, Israel, Austria, Brazil, and India). In fact, during the current downturn, revenue from financial services has helped sustain some posts."

Lind argued that “the current structure of public and private finance chronically fails to address four problems: the almost 10 percent of Americans without a bank account; the concerns of all Americans about the security of their savings, the growing indebtedness of the country to foreign governments and financial institutions, and underinvestment in public assets like sewer systems and bridges.”

In his view, an updated postal savings system would address these and other issues.

Shown above, postal savings stamp block (Scott PS4) which was issued in 1911.

To read the entire post along with the pro and con comments, click here.

For more on the Postal Savings System, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cayman Islands "Stamp Camp"

The Cayman Islands Postal Service’s Philatelic Manager Karen McField visited several elementary schools recently to demonstrate the different aspects of stamp collecting and provide students with ideas on how to begin stamp collections.

The visits were part of the CIPS’ Youth Philatelic Programme, which was launched in April 2008.

Under the program, "Stamp Camp" was established to provide children with basic knowledge about the art of stamp collecting, including the proper care of stamps and the use of stamp tools.

McField presented 18 students with stamp kits (shown above). Each contained a stamp album, over 200 stamps from around the world, tweezers and a magnifying glass. During an interactive Stamp Camp session, the students participated in soaking stamps off envelopes and a question and answer session.

Teacher Melanie Scott said her students were pleased with their new tools and were happy that someone from the Postal Service took the time to talk with them about stamp collecting.

To read the entire article, click here.

Click here for some additonal background on this story.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 18, 2009

All Things Jewish

From Albania to Zanzibar, if it’s a postage stamp portraying a famous Jew or Jewish topics and themes, Montreal philatelist Issie Baum is likely to have handled it.

So says the Canadian Jewish News.

Issie is the owner-operator of Judaica Sales, an Internet business based out of his home that deals in all things related to Judaica paper collectibles.

According to reporter Kelly Putter, "It truly is all things Jewish for Baum, who claims to have the largest stock of Judaica philately in the world. While Pope John XXIII might seem an unlikely candidate, he falls under Judaica material, because he saved Jewish kids from the Nazis during World War II by issuing them Catholic birth certificates."

Issie is quoted in the article as saying, "“Not a day goes by that I don’t learn about Jewish history and people. I’m in love with philately mainly because it brings me into contact with interesting people and interesting stories. Friends joke that I’m a walking encyclopedia of Jewish history.”

Born in what was then Montreal’s Jewish ghetto, Issie started collecting stamps at age nine. At the same time, he was attending religious school with his sights set on becoming a rabbi – a dream that never materialized. His love of Jewish stamps began at his bar mitzvah, when an uncle gave him a rare and valuable set of the first stamps issued by Israel.

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

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Win a Free 2010 Classic Specialized catalogue

Scott Catalogues Editor James E. Kloetzel reports in the latest edition of Linn's Stamp News, "The cover of the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps & Covers 1840-1940, to be issued in November, has presented the Scott editors with a problem."

According to Kloetzel, "The tradition for the Scott classic specialized catalog is that only one stamp appears on its cover, and the problem is not that a suitable stamp showing a bird could not be found. The editors are split down the middle over two equally qualified and equally beautiful possibilities."

Because the editors are deadlocked in their decision making, they are asking collectors help them choose the Scott classic specialized catalog cover art this year by voting via the Internet. One voter will be selected at random to receive a free hardbound 2010 Classic Specialized catalogue which is valued at $129.99.

Shown above are the two choices: Falkland Islands (Scott 74a), the scarcer yellow-orange and black version of the well-known 5-shilling King Penguin stamp from the 1933 ½-penny to £1 Centenary set, framed in black and set against a blue background, with gold foil stamped lettering; or the Indian Native Feudatory State of Jaipur (28), the 2½-anna rose and black Blue Peafowl stamp of 1931, framed in black on the same blue background, with silver foil stamped lettering.

In order to enter you must go to Linn's Stamp News Web site and then scroll down to where it says, "Enter the 2010 Classic Cover Contest" on the left hand side.

Click here to vote. Contest ends Aug. 31.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Postal Museum in Ohio Raising Funds

The Delphos Herald reports retired Delphos, Ohio Postmaster Gary Levitt is in the process of raising funds for a local museum in Ohio in an effort to enhance local residents’ understanding of postal history.

According to reporter Mike Ford, "His long-term vision for the museum includes a Holocaust room on the second floor. He also plans to exhibit the Dr. Walter Wolery Stamp Collection, a replica of an old mail rail car and a chronological timeline of the historical development of mail delivery. Funding is the key issue the museum currently faces."

Dr. Walter Wolery, a Delphos family physician who served his community for many years, donated his personal stamp collection to the museum.

Levitt is quoted as saying, "Including the exhibits, capital improvements and things we’d like to purchase, the museum will be 11,112 square feet when it’s finished and will cost about $300,000. Right now, we’ve raised a little over $55,000 from donations and grants."

Funds were recently raised with a corned beef dinner.

Shown above, a 1959 Eschelman three-wheeled postal vehicle on display at the museum. According to the museum's Web site, this is unit number 7 of only 59 ever made. It was not a favorite with the carriers because they sat over the engine and inhaled the carbon monoxide fumes. Though this quarter-ton vehicle could hold 500 pounds of mail, they tipped over easily. Postal workers who drove the Eschelman note that the only nice thing about it was that it could actually be picked back up.

To visit the museum's Web site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Describe That Sheet in One Word or Less" Contest

Round Up reader Brent Hardy-Smith writes to say, "I currently run a blog about the applied art of illustration and I am running a competition to win a set of mint signed stamps by a famous British illustrator."

The stamps are a miniature sheet of Royal Mail's 1997 Tales of Horror and the illustrator is Ian Pollock.

Brent comments, "I found these in my loft whilst searching for something completely different and discovered that I still have two sets, I was represented by the same agent called "the inkshed" as Ian for fifteen years and he lives quite near to me."

All you have to do to enter is come up with a one-word description that, in your opinion, best describes the set.

Some of the current entries include...


The winning comment will be drawn out of a hat on May 21st.

To post your description, click here. Remember one-word or less.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Post Office-opoly

The good folks at Late for the Sky in Cincinnati, Ohio have come up with a creative way for you to become the next Postmaster General.

It's called Post Office-opoly and you too can "buy your favorite stamps, build monopolies, and increase your rent by adding Post Offices and Bulk Mail Centers."

According to the company's Web site, "Sounds easy enough, but throw in some 'over the weight limit' packages, over-stuffed mailboxes and a temperamental bulldog and
it gets a little more difficult and A LOT more fun!"

Suitable for 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up. Cost $24.95 plus shipping and handling.

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Congressman Upset with Simpson Stamps

The Roll Call Web Site reports, "Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) is not exactly delighted about seeing Homer Simpson and his family on the stamps that the U.S. Postal Service released last week."

Roll Call Staff Writer Jude O. Marfil quotes Honda as saying in an e-mail, “I’m concerned to see the prioritization of a stamp honoring a cartoon while other causes, like a stamp that I pushed USPS to issue ... get sidelined.”

Honda, a Japanese American, wants the Postal Service to issue stamps honoring the estimated 20,000 second generation Nisei who enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought with much valor and distinction during World War II.

The stamp proposal that Honda submitted got turned down by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.

“The Simpsons are undoubtedly a part of popular culture, but I question the direction USPS is headed when it pays homage to Homer Simpson over the sacrifice of our venerable Nisei veterans," said Honda.

David Failor, USPS executive director of stamp services, cites in the article USPS guidelines saying stamps will not be issued to honor individual branches, units or divisions of the military.

Apparently, the Postal Service put the guidelines in place after it issued a stamp honoring the Buffalo Soldiers (shown here) in 1994.

Since then, the USPS has been bombarded with requests from military groups to have their own stamps.

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poison and Postage Stamps

In Alan Bradley's debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, an 11-year-old chemist-detective, Flavia De Luce, takes off on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to catch a murderer in 1950s England.

With her widowed father and two older sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions—stamp collecting, adventure novels, and boys respectively, Flavia finds a body in the cucumber patch and uses her scientific knowledge to investigate the death and uncovers some dark secrets about her own family's past.

UK's Guardian says, “A strong plot, involving philately, ornithology and prestidigitation, and a wonderful supporting cast make this Canadian novelist's debut delightfully entertaining."

The plot, with its intriguing philatelic elements, is nicely ingenious and delivers a very good end, with a fun twist.

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

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stamp Prices Remain Constant Despite Price Increases

The Sacramento Bee headlines, "Peel It and Weep."

In an Associated Press report, Randolph E. Schmid pens, "It's the third year in a row that rates have gone up in May under a new system that allows annual increases as long as they don't exceed the rate of inflation for the year before. "

However, as shown in the above chart, stamp prices for the past 30 years have remained fairly constant (when adjusted for inflation) despite numerous price increases.

Other changes taking effect today:

-The postcard stamp increases by a penny to 28 cents.

-The first ounce of a large envelope increases 5 cents to 88 cents.

- The first ounce of a parcel increases 5 cents to $1.22.

-New international postcard and letter prices are, for one ounce, 75 cents to Canada; 79 cents to Mexico; and 98 cents elsewhere.

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

Sunday, May 10, 2009

10 Geeky Ways to Deliver Mail

Popular Mechanics reports, "On May 11 the price of stamps will jump another 2 cents, and in Idaho, the last continental route serviced by bush plane is about to be cut."

It goes on to say the USPS has changed its structure and delivery methods numerous times thanks to war, economic turmoil and emerging new technologies and takes a look at 10 of the geekiest ways the postal service has delivered the mail.

Included in the article by Chris Sweeney are...

  1. Mule Mail - 19th century-present

  2. Pneumatic Mail Tubes - 1893-1953

  3. The Snowbird - 1921

  4. Highway Post Office Bus - 1941-1974

  5. Victory Mail - 1942-1945

  6. The Mailster - 1957-1967

  7. Missile Mail - 1959

  8. Segway - 2002

  9. USPS and EVs - 2006

  10. Hydrogen Fuel Cell - Present

Shown above, a highway post office bus. Inspired by railroad service and designed to reduce lag time by allowing postal workers to sort parcels while in transit, the first batch of buses came equipped with distributing tables, letter cases and enough space to hold 150 mail sacks.

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

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dagwood Goes to the Post Office

Used with permission King Features, Copyright 2009
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, May 08, 2009

Simpson Stamps First Day of Issue

One of the nice things about having a blog like this is that you get invited to go to First Day of Issue ceremonies. Being able to attend yesterday's Simpsons first day was a lot of fun.

Held outdoors on the 20th Century Fox lot in West Los Angeles, the ceremony was MCed by actor Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") who is the voice of Side Show Bob in the series. Feigning disappointment that his character was not selected to appear on one of the new stamps, Grammer said it was probably just as well.

David Failor, USPS executive director of Stamp Services, who was in attendance, told me that there had been some discussion about a having a 20 stamp sheet that would have included more of the characters. However that didn't work out and there no plans at present to extend the series beyond the five current characters.

U.S. Postal Service Vice President Ground Shipping James P. Cochrane half-joked that he had been in discussions with the Simpsons creator and Executive Producer Matt Groening about having a cartoon mail carrier appear in a recurring role on the show. Cochrane, apparently a big Simpsons fan, said in 20 years of watching the show he had never seen one.

He went on say he thought it would be a great idea to have the Simpsons' dog, Santa's Little Helper, be the mailman's buddy.

Shown above, the Simpsons first day of issue cancellation, my press pass and the Simpson sound stage on the Fox Studio backlot.

Click here to view the USPS Simpson Web page where you can enter to win one of 25 Simpson posters autographed by Matt Groening, purchase Simpson stamp products and vote for your favorite stamp character.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, May 07, 2009

APS Downsizes Staff and Activities

The American Philatelic Society has announced that it is cutting back on staff and curtailing staff expenditures due to budgetary considerations.

According to a press release sent out by the APS and posted on their Web site, a Long Range Planning Committee has recommended a reduction of at least $200,000 in 2009, along with an additional cutback of at least $400,000 by 2010 in order to ensure the financial viability of the American Philatelic Society (APS) and the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL).

The first of these changes — elimination of the current Executive Director position formerly occupied by Peter Mastrangelo — was instituted April 1, at which time Ken Martin became APS Interim Executive Director.

An additional staff position, that of public relations manager currently held by Fred Baumann, is also being eliminated effective May 8 according to the release.

Other cutbacks include the elimination of the organization's 4% pension contribution, elimination of traditional year-end bonuses, and a salary freeze on all staff through 2010.

Board Member and Finance Committee travel reimbursements have been curtailed as well as paid APS staffing at most APS World Series of Philately shows.

On the bright side, a significant savings in expenditures will be realized due to a rate modification negotiated on the principal and interest on the mortgage loan on the American Philatelic Center, which dropped substantially in April.

Shown above, the American Philatelic Center, headquarters to the APS and APRL, located in Bellefonte, PA.

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

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Canada Post Bans Dog Treats

Jane Seyd of the North Shore News reports, "Some pampered pooches on the North Shore could be going into dog biscuit withdrawal this week after Canada Post banned its letter carriers nation-wide from handing out dog treats on their routes."

Lillian Au, spokesperson for Canada Post, is quoted as saying the postal corporation decided to ban dog biscuits because the cookies can contribute to making the dogs aggressive.

Au went on to say the dog biscuit ban is intended to break the "give a dog a treat cycle" being perpetuated by some carriers that results in dogs expecting treats from their postal carrier -- then getting "snarly" if they don't get one.

Apparently the postal carriers themselves are split on the issue of whether giving out dog treats is a good or bad thing. No comment from the dogs.

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

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Saddam Hussein a "No Show" at Baghdad Stamp Exhibition

The Khaleej Times Online reports the Iraqi government has banned pictures of Saddam Hussein from a stamp exhbition being held at the Baghdad Central Post Office.

"Every period is represented, from that of the Ottoman Empire to the present government. Some stamps from the Saddam era are included, but his image is unseen," according to the article.

The Director of the Office of Stamps Wathiq Mohammed Talib is quoted as saying,"“The government rejected the stamps that had portraits of Saddam Hussein because they represent the blackest hours of Iraqi history.”

Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq from 1979 until his regime was toppled in the 2003 US-led invasion. He was hanged in December 2006 for crimes against humanity.

Mohammed Dhia Taha, who has been collecting stamps for 25 years, said the government’s decision is absurd. “It is a stupid decision from a government seeking revenge. One should not deny our history.”

The exhibition was organized by the ministry to commemorate the 87th year of Iraq joining the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

Shown above, a 1989 Iraqi stamp marking Saddam Hussein's 52nd birthday.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Monday, May 04, 2009

"Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive Coming Up Saturday

Newspapers around the country are reporting post cards explaining the "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive will be delivered early this week.

Sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the U.S. Postal Service, Campbell Soup Company, Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest), Valpak, the AFL-CIO and the United Way of America, the annual event is largest national food drive.

Canned food left by mail boxes will be picked up Saturday and delivered to area food banks. Last year, more than 73.1 million pounds of food was collected nationally.

Jim Zern, member of the National Association of Letter Carriers is quoted as saying in the Flager (Florida) County News as saying, "It's extremely important. There is even more of a need this year with the number of people unemployed and hours having been cut from people's paychecks. The number of people coming into food banks has almost doubled."

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

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Collector Finds Mislaid Mauritius Stamp

The Monsters and Critics Web site is reporting that 20 years ago German stamp collector Ullrich Schulze hid a 'Post Office' Mauritius One Penny Red, which he had inherited from his father, in an album full of almost worthless German stamps and then forgot where he put it.

But while looking for something completely different, Schulze stumbled on the treasure again.

The stamp being auctioned on May 8 in Germany. Bidding for the Red is to open at 200,000 euros (265,000 dollars).

Some of the world's top collectors are expected to attend the sale, organized by the Dr. Wilhelm Derichs auction house of Cologne.

The catalogue suggests the next owner can be confident that their name will enter philatelic history, and auctioneer Roland Meiners expects several German business tycoons to attend.

According to reporter Uta Knapp, "There are thought to be only 15 of the stamps in existence and they are only exceeded in value by the legendary matching Two Pence Blue, of which only 12 are believed to survive."

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

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Draped in Honor, If Not Money

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports a Georgia man is being "draped in honor, if not money" as a result of a photo he took of a U.S. flag on his front porch.

Rick Barrentine received $70 for a photo he took which will be reproduced, stuck on envelopes or collected about 2 billion times.

Rick is quoted as saying, "“That’s no big deal. The honor of being on the stamp is really cool.”

According to reporter Christopher Quinn, Rick, creative director of a design agency, had snapped some patriotic photos in 2003 and put them up for sale on a Web site he freelances for.

The post office purchased the image off the site. However, Rick was not notified. He was unaware that the postal service selected his photo until a stamp collector called him a couple of months ago.

Rick still has the flag. It hangs in front of his house. He plans to keep it there, even though it is about to be famous.

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

Friday, May 01, 2009

Hundreds of Penny Blacks and Reds Found in An Attic

Round-Up reader Rick Leimbach fowards a story from the BBC that says 27 Penny Blacks, first issued in the UK in 1840, were found on letters in an attic.

It goes on to say the stamps, including 400 Penny Reds, were found in the property in north Wales, with many supposedly valued at £200 each.

Colin Knights, owner of Aqueduct Auctions, is quoted in the piece as asying, ""It's interesting to think what other hidden items are lying about and awaiting discovery.
We just don't know what interesting and valuable items may still get thrown away because no-one looks at them properly."

Most of the stamps were on envelopes that had holes in them because were impaled on spindles. Shown above, one of the envelopes that were found.

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