Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Zion National Park Stamp

The Salt Lake Tribune reports, "In a ceremony Sunday on the plaza outside the park's visitor center, the 79-cent international postage stamp, featuring a sandstone formation rising from surrounding slickrock, was unveiled before about 70 stamp collectors and visitors."

Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth is quoted in the article by Mark Havnes as saying the stamp is the latest in a string of events commemorating the park that was established in 1909 as Mukuntuweap National Monument before being designated a national park 10 years later.

The 229-square-mile park, with 120 miles of hiking trails, makes it the seventh most popular park in the country with 2.7 million annual visitors according to Havnes.

Ken McArthur, district manager of the U.S. Postal Service in Salt Lake City, said the Zion stamp is the second time the park has been featured on a stamp, with the first one being an 8-cent stamp issued in 1934.

Other stamps commemorating Utah parks have included Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park, two for Bryce Canyon National Park, with one featuring the Wall of Windows and the other hoodoo spires and Rainbow Bridge in Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

The image on the stamp was taken from a photograph taken by Richard Cummins of Temecula, Calif.

Shown above, Superintendent Whitworth with the new stamp.

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

Monday, June 29, 2009

Postage Stamp Pins

On the Better Homes and Gardens magazine Web site are listed lots of projects the kids can do this 4th of July weekend.

Among them are postage stamp pins, some of which are shown here.

To get started, you will need.

  • New or cancelled postage stamps

  • Straight scissors

  • Decorative edge scissors

  • Strong adhesive, such as E6000

  • Pin backs

The site gives these instructions:

1. Before beginning, refer to a postage stamp collector's book to make sure the stamps are not rare or valuable.

2. If the stamps have been used, carefully remove any paper backing. To remove, tear or cut off the upper right-hand corner of the envelope. Soak it, stamp side down, in warm water. Once the stamp falls away from the paper, let it soak for a few minutes more to remove any remaining glue. Pick up the stamp with tongs and dry it between paper towels. Place it under a heavy book for several hours. If the stamp will not peel away from the backing, trim around the stamp using decorative-edge scissors.

3. Take stamps to a photocopy shop and have them laminated. You can fit several on one sheet, leaving approximately 1 inch between stamps for trimming.

4. Cut the stamps apart if several are on one laminating sheet. Trim around each stamp using decorative edge scissors.

5. Glue a pin back to the back of the laminated stamp near the top. Let dry.

For more patriotic projects, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Seeking Sponsors for APS Stamp Talk Radio Show

Ken Martin, interim executive director for the American Philatelic Society, posts June 22 on the Virtual Stamp Club Web site, "Today APS was notified by WS Radio that the StampTalk show will be reduced in frequency to once a month for July and August and if we do not come up with a minimum of $250 a month in advertising, sponsorships or other income the show will be discontinued effective September. We would welcome hearing from anyone interested in advertising or sponsorship of the radio show."

Hosted by Nancy Clark a well known exhibitor, international level judge, author, editor and past Director and Treasurer of the American Philatelic Society. The show, which began airing on the Internet in 2005, features interviews with a variety of people involved in the hobby.

If you would like to help, Nancy at nancy@stamps.org.

To visit the APS Stamp Talk Web site where you can listen to previously recorded shows, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Soaking the Unsoakable

Going through some old American Philatelist magazines, I came across an interesting letter to the editor.

The writer lamented about how recent U.S. commemoratives were almost impossible to soak off in any sort of respectable condition and offered an alternative.

It's called Bestine.

According to the company's Web site, "Formulated for thinning rubber cement, Bestine is also a most versatile cleaner. Bestine readily cleans up inks, spray adhesive, and is an exceptional parts cleaner. Over the years, professionals have used Bestine for removing both decals and labels from all types of surfaces. But, most important, Bestine does not dissolve most plastics. It is available in 4, 16, and 32 oz.: 1, 5, and 55 gallon containers."

Instead of soaking the stamp in the tradition way, you brush the liquid on the back of the paper the stamp is affixed to. Wait several seconds and amazingly the stamp will lift off easily. I know I tryed it and it works great.

However, there is one slight problem. The stamp will still be somewhat sticky when it is removed. However, a little baby or talcum powder sprinkled on the back of it will neutralize the stickiness and it will be ready for your album.

WARNING: This product should be used with care. It should not be used by unsupervised children. It is EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. It is also harmful or FATAL if swallowed.

However, that being said so is lighter fluid for watermark detection.

Bestine can usually be found with the rubber cement in art supply stores.

To locate a store near you that carries Bestine or to order in bulk from the company that makes it, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson on Stamps

The stamp collecting world mourns the passing of pop icon and music legend, Michael Jackson.

Jackson, 50, died yesterday of cardiac arrest at his home in West Los Angeles.

Jackson has appeared on the stamps of many countries around the world and was a popular topical subject.

In her book, Michael Jackson (1993), author Lisa D. Campbell writes,"In the spring of 1986, the British Virgin Islands announced plans to release postage stamps featuring Michael Jackson. Shortly before their release,in fact after a few hundred sets were already printed, the stamps were cancelled due to regulations stating that stamps bearing the likeness of living persons must be members of the the Royal Family, not the Jackson family. Stamps with Michael's likeness were subsequently issued, however by a Caribbean Island, St. Vincent."

For more facts and photos about Michael Jackson, click here.

Shown above, British Virgin Island stamps featuring Michael Jackson that were withdrawn.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Congressman Suggests U.S.P.S Conduct Census

The Salt Lake City Tribune is reporting, "Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wants your mail carrier to count you. Chaffetz said Wednesday he will introduce legislation to marry the U.S. Postal Service temporarily with the Census Bureau so that the postal workers can help with the once-a-decade count of how many people live in America."

Chaffetz is quoted in an article by Thomad Burr as saying, "They really have the workforce in place to do this. They already go to everybody's door."

According to the article, Chaffetz proposes taking a "postal holiday," so that mail carriers, instead of dropping bills and magazines to your mailbox, would count the number of people in each household.

Burr writes, "There are 760,000 postal employees, and the Census is anticipating it will need 750,000 temporary workers to conduct the Census next year. Congress is forking out $11 billion to do the count while the Postal Service is looking at a $1 billion revenue shortfall this year."

Shown above, 1971 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Census stamp.

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Art on Stamps Web Site

The Art on Stamps Web site is dedicated to the visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpting, pottery, tapestry, enamel) as they appear on stamps.

Webmaster Victor Manta of Switzerland writes, "It provides information about new issues, offers free advertisement space, a huge free database (as a free download and also on-line), an extensive art gallery, a free Paintings and Arts on Stamps Internet Club (PASIC) membership, tips for beginners, useful links, a poll, a magazine, pages dedicated to thematic collection, to postal history and to other subjects. You will also find many images, the more recent of them being of a good quality."

In 1997, Victor founded PASIC, the Paintings and Arts on Stamps Internet Club, counting at the time over 800 members from 85 countries. PASIC is affiliated since Jan. 2000 with the American Topical Association. Victor is also the founder and the president of the Philatelic Webmasters Organization.

According to Victor, "The Paintings and Arts on Stamps is a vast theme, probably the largest of all in the topical philately. There are 28,000 unique stamps and over 3,000 sheets that are listed in the present database. The first difficulty one has when she/he tries to put together a complete database (and a stamps collection too) of all stamps issues worldwide, is to define and then to identify which stamps belong to it. The task is not simple, because almost each stamp could be considered as a (kind of) piece of art. Somebody, normally/hopefully an artist, had to design it, to bring it on paper and to choose/specify the means by which his work will be 'converted' to a stamp."

Shown above, art on stamps mosaic based on the painting "The Archduke William in His Gallery in Brussels", by David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1690).

To visit the Art on Stamps Web site, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Post Office - a Novel by Charles Bukowski

Post Office (1971),the first novel written by Charles Bukowski, is said to be an autobiographical account of the author's later years when he worked for the U.S. Postal Service.

According to a review by Michael J. Mazza on the Amazon.com Web site, "Post Office is the ultimate 'I hate this job' story. It's also an intriguing, and highly unflattering look at a quintessential American institution...On one level, Post Office seems to have much in common with a classic 'social protest' novel like Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, which also portrays the suffering and degradation experienced by the working person."

An entry on Wikipedia says, "...the book covers the period of Bukowski's life from about 1952 to his resignation from the United States Postal Service three years later, to his return in 1958 and then to his final resignation in 1969. During this time, Bukowski worked as a mail carrier for a number of years. After a brief hiatus, in which he supported himself by gambling at horse races, he returned to the Post Office to work as a sorter."

It goes on to say, "In Born into This, a documentary on Bukowski's life, Black Sparrow Press founder and owner, John Martin, supposedly offered Bukowski 100 dollars per month for life on condition that Bukowski would quit working for the post office and write full time. He agreed and Post Office was written within a month. Post Office was Bukowski's first foray into writing a novel. All of his earlier work had been poetry. Martin was actually a little worried that Bukowski would not be able to make the transition to prose. However, the fear turned out to be quite unfounded as Bukowski had no trouble writing stories about his life."

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

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stamp Millionaire

Florida's Villages Daily Sun reports Ted Harris is a stamp millionaire. It's not that Ted has a lot of money, just a lot of stamps.

According to the paper, Ted has collected more than 1.5 million stamps. He got started in 1955 when his sister gave him a starter stamp album.

"Since that time, Harris goes to garage sales looking for stamps and trades with others from around the world, usually meeting people on stamp-related Web sites," writes reporter Michael Ventura.

Ted's collection is housed in several large binders in a separate room in his house. His wife, Susan is quoted in the article as saying, "“I think it’s a wonderful thing for a retired person because it keeps him in that room."

Shown above, another stamp millionaire.

In an undated (probably 1950s) photograph on the Whitman Publishing Company Web Site, an unidentified worker at H. E. Harris & Co. helps sort out 25 million tons of stamps for the company's $1 "Big Bag of Foreign Stamps" mixture.

As far as I know, there's no relation between Ted Harris and H.E.(Henry Ellis) Harris except they both love(d) their stamps. H.E. Harris died in 1977.

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

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day.

For more on Father's Day, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Abandoned Kitten Found in Mailbox

A letter carrier in Boston got quite a surprise last week according to an Associated Press article.

Reporter Kelly Burgess writes, "When emptying a city mailbox, the carrier found an abandoned kitten among the envelopes, likely deposited through the drop opening at the top of the box."

Kelly says the 8-week-old, 2-pound kitty, nicknamed "Postina," was unharmed and was turned over to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Animal Care and Adoption Center.

"Though pet surrender has become more prevalent recently due to financial problems cited by owners, animal abandonment in Massachusetts is a crime punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and five years in prison," according to Kelly.

Shown above, "Postina" who will be put up for adoption.

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

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stamp Portraits - A Delicate Balance

USPS' online Beyond the Perf in an article titled A Delicate Balance says, "Developing stamp portraits for popular and historically significant figures often requires the Postal Service to balance competing viewpoints. Each stamp needs to feature an enduring, classic image that meets the public's preconceptions while also acknowledging the more intimate perspective of the subject's family."

It goes on to explain, "Postal Service executives, researchers and artists frequently discuss proposed artwork based on a stamp subject's public persona. However, the public usually hears little about the role of the family or estate. Their influence is profound: Often, their comments lead to minor alterations in stamp design; sometimes, their input results in a completely new piece of art."

It goes behind the scene and talks about how the phiatelic of portraits of Anna Julia Cooper, Ronald Reagan, and Judy Garland came to be.

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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Military Post Office in Iraq Dedicated to Fallen Postal Personnel

A new Army Post Office has been dedicated to deceased military postal personnel serving in Iraq,"according to an announcement on the Military Family Network Web site.

The site reports, "Two years ago there was a bronze plaque hanging on the wall in the post office located in Baghdad, Iraq (Camp Liberty), dedicated to postal soldiers and civilians who had died in the line of duty. That post office, where the original plaque hung, was damaged beyond repair, but the original plaque was salvaged from the damaged building."

It goes on to say, "Through the efforts of Capt. Matthew Fecteau of the 4/18th Postal Platoon, 847th Human Resources Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, personnel at Joint Base Balad dedicated this newly-built post office on East Balad to the fallen Soldiers and civilian contractors that gave their lives for a greater purpose."

Nine soldiers and civilian contractors are listed.

They are...

Spc. Darryl Dent, 21, 547th Transportation Co., D.C. Army National Guard, Washington, D.C., Aug. 26, 2003; Vernon Gaston, 45, KBR, Inc., contractor, Lampasas, Texas, Sep. 3, 2003; Spc. Jeremy Ridlen, 23, 1544th Transportation Co., Illinois Army National Guard, Moroa, Ill., Mar. 23, 2004; Spc. Charles Lamp, 23, 1544th Transportation Co., Illinois Army National Guard, Martinsville, Ill., Sep. 09, 2004; Sgt. Shawna Morrison, 26, 1544th Transportation Co., Illinois Army National Guard, Paris, Ill.,Oct. 5, 2004; Sgt. Jessica Cawvey, 21, 1544th Transportation Co., Illinois Army National Guard, Normal, Ill., Oct. 06, 2004; Pfc. Isaiah Hunt, 20, 497th Transportation Co., 1st Corps, Ft. Lewis, Wash., Green Bay, Wis., Nov. 15, 2004; Sgt. Rocky Payne, 26, 497th Transportation Co., 1st Corps, Ft. Lewis, Wash., Howell, Utah, March 16, 2005; Fred Bryant, 39, KBR, Inc., contractor, Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 5, 2006.

The announcement concludes with, "These nine brave souls were sent out on numerous missions to support Soldiers throughout the Iraqi theater of operations and made the ultimate sacrifice. Whatever the price, postal operations are vital to completing missions successfully, and Soldiers depend on the mail for contact with their loved ones and for taking care of important business back home."

Shown above, U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marc I. Lane.

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Royal Mail Co-Sponsors Letter Writing Contest

Britain's Birmingham Mail has teamed up with Royal Mail to offer letter writers a range of prizes worth more than £2,000 over the next year.

According to reporter Vicky Farncombe, "Every week we will be assessing the quality of correspondence published on our ‘Your Say’ letters page and selecting the best of the week. The winning reader will be sent a sterling silver impression of the historic Penny Black stamp, which comes complete with a presentation folder packed with information from Royal Mail Heritage, the Royal Philatelic Collection and notable philatelists."

Royal Mail spokesman Michael Dalton is quoted in the piece as saying, “Royal Mail are proud to sponsor the letters page of the Birmingham Mail as the art of letter writing is key to us an organisation. Letter writing continues to be an enjoyable pastime for many.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Shown above, 2008 Europa stamps from Ireland promoting letter writing.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Festival for Philatelic Women

Doris Wilson sends a press release saying the Women Exhibitors (WE) held their first Festival for Philatelic Women at the American Philatelic Society headquarters in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania last month.

According to Doris, "More than forty women and men attended the event, where learning to create an eye-catching exhibit was the focus of the various speakers, seminars, and workshops. Member exhibits were on display throughout the building for everyone to enjoy. Additional activities included a special philatelic 'rummage sale,' access to Sales Division circuit books of stamps and covers, and browsing the American Philatelic Research Library’s overstock book sale. Attendees (including a mother-daughter team!) came from all over the United States and Canada, by plane, bus, and car."

WE is open to all, but philately is explored from a woman’s point of view.

WE serves as a forum for women to discuss and explore issues relating to exhibiting. WE encourages newcomers to exhibiting and helps them get started. Continuing exhibitors serve as mentors and lend support to all as they share lessons learned in the wide world of exhibiting.

WE has meetings twice yearly at StampShow and AmeriStamp Expo. Summaries of programs and workshops held at these shows are shared through the newsletter and other communications. In addition, satellite meetings are held at national, regional, and local shows. Leaders of the satellite meetings discuss issues and share information from other meetings.

For more pictures taken at the Festival for Philatelic Women, click here.

For more information on the Women Exhibitors, one of more than 200 APS affiliates, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Her Majesty's Stamps" Set to Open in Ottawa

Vanessa Farquharson writes on Canada's National Post Web site, "When Sir Sandford Fleming, an engineer and the inventor of standard time zones, designed the first Canadian postage stamp in 1851, it was regarded as highly unusual - instead of portraying the image of a British monarch, it featured an animal."

She goes on to pen, "A beaver, in fact. Profile view, with a smiling sun above it and the words 'Three Pence' written underneath the log on which it sat. The design was apparently conceived over breakfast one morning - Fleming thought it nicely represented "the industry, ingenuity and perseverance of our young country."

"While Queen Victoria, whose image adorned every stamp in Great Britain at the time, must not have been too thrilled at sharing postage rank with a beaver, she was probably even less enthused at what happened in 1860: The postmaster in the colony of New Brunswick, Charles Connell, decided to change the look of the Five Cent stamp by replacing the queen's image with his own. This caused quite a kerfuffle - the postmaster resigned, and the stamps were all pulled (well, most of them)," according to Vanessa.

Both the Three Pence Beaver and the Five Cents Connell will be on public display at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa as part of a new exhibition called "Her Majesty's Stamps", opening Friday and running until the end of the year.

A highlight of this exhibition is a sheet of 10 Penny Blacks acquired by the Queen in 2001 and estimated to be worth around $2-million.

There will also be a royal postal challenge, tea party, stamp talk and a performance of Beaveriffic, during which visitors can "meet Castor canadensis, the famous beaver in the first Canadian stamp."

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

Sunday, June 14, 2009

RIP Charles Peterson

The Virtual Stamp Club (VSC) is reporting the death of Charles J. Peterson. Peterson died at home in Laurel, Maryland last Friday according to a post by Nancy Clark.

Affectionately known as "Charlie", Peterson achieved some of philately's highest honors, including the APS John N. Luff Award and Roll of Distinguished Philatelists recognition. He served as President of the American Philatelic Research Library and as APS Vice President.

According to a post on the VSC attributed to well-known philatelist Richard Frajola, "He virtually invented philatelic literature competitions nationally and internationally, and served for many years as Chairman of the FIP Literature Competition. By crafting the criteria for judging philatelic literature, and as editor of Philatelic Literature Review, and as President of APS Writers Unit 30, and as proprietor of the WU30 Literature Critique Service, he set high standards of achievement. The consequent widespread uplift of quality and refinement in our hobby publications is Charlie's permanent legacy to philately."

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

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New British Home Secretary is Ex-Postman

Britain's Khaleej Times On Line reports, "A former postman who left school aged 15 with no qualifications, Alan Johnson, named Friday as Britain’s new Home Secretary, is seen as a possible successor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown."

Johnson [shown here] worked as a postman in 1968 and became the youngest ever general secretary of the Union of Communication Workers in 1992, aged 42 according to the article.

Denis MacShane writes in an article titled Can Alan Johnson deliver for Labour? in Britain's Telegraph, "The point about Alan Johnson is that he has his feet on the ground. Maybe it's because he was a postman, that unique British job that puts someone in daily contact with every corner of the realm, 'bringing the cheque and the postal order/Letters for the rich, letters for the poor/The shop at the corner, the girl next door' in the words of Auden's homage to one of the few public sector workers still seen as serving the nation and not their own sectional interests."

He goes on to say, "Johnson will be 60 next year but still looks younger, fresher and nicer than many much younger cabinet colleagues. He is everything quite a lot of the modern Labour Party is not. This postman is still knocking at our door."

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

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stamp Grades and Condition

Gary Eggleston has a nice piece on stamp grading on the BellaOnline Web site.

According to Gary...

Superb—This means the stamp is in new condition with a clean and fresh color. There are no creases or tears to mark the stamp. The stamp is perfectly centered with even margins on all sides. The perforation is perfect and complete.

Very Fine—This is a physically perfect stamp, like a sort of beauty queen. The stamp’s color might be slightly off and the margins are slightly uneven. It does not equal the beauty and perfection of a superb stamp.

Fine—This is a stamp that is free from defects or stains or imperfections, but is not up to the grade of very fine or superb standards.

Good—A stamp graded “good” does not have any tears or wrinkles. The stamp’s color may be faded, or may be heavily postmarked. The stamp could also be somewhat off-center.

Poor—This is a very low quality or poor stamp. A stamp in poor condition could have a tear or may be creased, and even have some thin spots. Keep a stamp in this condition only if it is irreplaceable.

Shown above, an example of a superb stamp, Scott 279, 1-cent, 1898 Bureau Issue.

To read the entire article, click here.

For a free comprehensive guide to grading and condition from Professional Stamp Experts, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"I Got An Envelope" - A Found-Art Project

Steve Johnson, Internet critic for the Chicago Tribune, reports, "Igotanenvelope.com wants to turn stuffing envelopes into something more than just a way to earn cash at home.

According to Johnson, the Web-based guerrilla art project recruits people to leave envelopes at random locations. Instructions on the envelope ask the finder to add something "personal," "original" and "artistic" and mail it back to the person who left the envelope.

"The recipient then sends an image of the contents to the project's creator, who posts it on the Web site. Notes, postcards, condoms, drawings, even an old cruise-ship promotion mailed from a Chicago airport have been submitted to the site, which follows in the tradition of previous found-art and open-collaboration Web projects—especially PostSecret.com. Anyone can participate just by following the instructions at the site," Johnson says.

According to the write-up, "I Got An Envelope" - A Found-Art Project , I Got an Envelope has received about 30 submissions so far in two months of existence.

To read the entire article, click here.

To visit the I Got An Envelope Web site, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Want to Buy a Post Office?

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the U.S. Postal Service plans to auction off Chicago's "incredible hulk," the massive old downtown post office.

The post office (shown above) used to be the largest postal facility in the country, with operations spread over 3-million-square-feet.

In another article that appears in the Chicago Tribune, postal service spokesman Mark Reynolds is quoted as saying, "While the suggested opening bid for the facility that spans the Eisenhower Expressway is $300,000, there is no minimum bid, and the facility could sell for less."

The Tribune report goes on to say, "The 14-story, 77-year-old building has been vacant since 1995 when the Postal Service moved to a new building on Harrison Street. Since then, ideas that have been floated for the space have included a casino, a water park and a hotel."

According to a write-up on the Wikipedia Web site, in 2004, the post office was used in the filming of Batman Begins and returned in 2007 for filming The Dark Knight. It doubled as the "Gotham National Bank" on one side of the building, and "Gotham Police Department" on another.

For more on the historic old post office, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

King of Canadian Stamp Shows

The St. Catharines Standard reports "the king of Canadian stamp gatherings," the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada's annual convention is being held June 12 to 14 in St. Catharines,Ontario.

The event includes 13 seminars, dozens of stamp dealers, a Stamp Camp for children, youths and adult leaders according to reporter Don Fraser.

Fraser quotes Stuart Keeley,chairman of the show committee as saying, "This is a huge deal; it's our big national show. It's an amazing event, where you interact with collectors and get ideas from all over the place."

Keeley, 63, a retired marketer, is president of the 65-member St. Catharines Stamp Club. He started collecting stamps at age 15. Although he stopped collecting in university, "he's back in the game" writes Fraser.

Bret Evans, managing editor of Canadian Stamp News is also quoted in the piece. He sees a bright future for the hobby.

"[Stamp collectors] are often aging boomers," he said, "And we're seeing a lot of people who now have the available time and money, who are going back to what they were exposed to as a kid. It is giving the hobby new life."

Shown above, Stuart Keeley looks at an $8 Canadian grizzly bear stamp from his collection.

According to a write-up by Tony Borwn that appears on the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada's Website, "The stamp contains several unique features. The traditional 'Postage/Postes' has been replaced with extremely small lettering that, without a magnifying glass, could be mistaken for two black lines in the upper right corner of the stamp. These lines, which are meant to discourage counterfeiting, are actually the word 'MAILPOSTE' repeated 14 times (seven per row). Small coloured images of bears were used to form the sky and grass, which 'hides' the 1997 copyright date under the bear's front paw, and the number '8' has been worked into the design of the bear's right hind leg as an anti-counterfeiting device."

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Monday, June 08, 2009

FDR Exhibit Opens at National Postal Museum

The National Postal Museum reports, "Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the United States during the Great Depression, used stamps to communicate with the American people. A stamp collector himself, he understood the power of visual imagery, and he changed the look of stamps to convey messages of hope, optimism and the solidity of the federal government."

Opening June 9, “Delivering Hope: FDR & Stamps of the Great Depression” offers novel insights into FDR’s personality, his relationship with his trusted advisor and friend, Postmaster General James A. Farley, and his concern for the welfare of the American people.

According to the museum, "The rewards of stamp collecting filtered through much of FDR’s life. As a child, he looked to stamps for knowledge about the world. As a polio-stricken adult, they offered solace. Even during his presidency, he took time each day to work on his stamp collection. In this exhibit are FDR’s stamp tools, such as a magnifier, gauge, watermark detector and a box for albums, on loan from the FDR library."

Other highlights of the exhibit are the box FDR kept his stamps in, six original sketches by FDR for stamp designs, as well as 15 of the 20 uncut and ungummed press sheets of postage stamps purchased by Farley and autographed to give as political favors, which led to the scandal and special printing known as Farley’s Follies.

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

Sunday, June 07, 2009

What Should You Do With All Those Unused Stamps?

Anne Murray, Postmaster Ft Myers/Cape Coral, Florida writes in the North Fort Myers Neighbor, "Now that postage has increased to 44 cents for a one-ounce, First-Class stamp, what should you do with all those unused stamps? The answer is simple-use them! The value of the stamp will always be the value indicated on the stamp. All you need to do is purchase additional value stamps (likely 2-cent stamps) and use both on your envelope."

She goes to to say, "Now's the time to sort through all those unused stamps that have been accumulating in a box or drawer. You can use them any time. Any combination of stamps may be used in meeting the postage requirements. You may think it looks "tacky" to have a variety of stamps on your envelope, but the Post Office encourages you to utilize all the stamps you have."

Anne points out,"And if you should happen to find any of those non-denominational A-H stamps that were issued a number of years ago, here's the letter, the year it was issued, and its value: A, 1978, $.15; B, 1981, $.18; C, 1981, $.20; D, 1985, $.22; E, 1988, $.25; F, 1991, $.29; G, 1994, $.32; and H, 1998, $.33. A one-cent makeup stamp (a weathervane) was also issued in 1998."

For a guide to these and other non-denominated stamps, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, June 06, 2009

"The Mad Piper" of D-Day on Isle of Man Stamp

Five years ago to mark the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, NPR's Fred Child did a story on Scotland's "Mad Piper" Bill Millin, who played on the beaches for his regiment on June 6, 1944.

Millin's brigadier that day, Lord Lovat, had specifically ignored the general order against bagpipers issued for 9,000 Scottish troops participating in the attack, according to Child.

It is reported on the NPR Web site that, "Millin held the bagpipes above his head in the waves, making it to the beach amid the chaos and mayhem. He managed to avoid mortars and machine gun fire to play 'The Road to the Isles' and march at Lovat's request."

When two captured German snipers were later asked why they didn't shoot the piper, they replied that they thought he was crazy -- hence Millin's nickname of "The Mad Piper."

Millin, then 81, was honored in Normandy at 60th anniversary ceremonies and his pipes and uniform from D-Day are on permanent display in Edinburgh Castle.

Shown above, a Isle of Man se-tenant honoring Scotland's role in the invasion which features an image of Millin (on right) playing his bagpipes during the battle.

To hear Child's audio report on Millin, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, June 05, 2009

Wal-Mart to Post Office Mobile Unit: "C'mon back"

Florida's TCPalm.com Web site reports after telling the U.S. Post Office to remove its mobile unit from the Wal-Mart parking lot and angering customers, the company is now allowing the service back.

According to the site, "Just over a week ago, the Post Office announced it was looking for a new location after Wal-Mart officials said it could no longer operate on the company’s property. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman had said it was a corporate decision based on the company’s desire to keep its parking lots cleaner."

The mobile unit, which offers the same full services as its permanent locations, serves as a convenience to customers who would otherwise have to travel farther to other postal locations.

Wal-Mart company spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said after the company received several complaints from customers it decided to allow the service to continue.

Cheesman is quoted as saying, “After evaluating and understanding the customer demand, our store decided it was in the best interest to replace that (service).”

Shown above, a USPS mobile unit and retail store.

For more on mobile post offices around the world, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Los Angeles Dodgers Get Their Own Zip Code

The Los Angeles Dodgers are offering discounted tickets to postal workers and stamp/first day cover collectors so that they may come out to Dodger Stadium and celebrate the launch of the 90090 zip code on Saturday, June 9.

Kiosks will be set up with envelopes to cancel for first day covers.

Gregory G. Graves, the Postal Service's district manager for Los Angeles, in a statement released by the club, said, "Not only do more than three million citizens call Dodger Stadium their summer home each year but fans from all over the world send cards and letters to the Dodgers organization and their favorite players."

Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt, instrumental in obtaining the unique code, encourages fans to write letters to their favorite players, mailed to Dodgertown, Calif. 90090.

McCourt is quoted as saying, "We welcome letters in any language, from any person, anywhere in the world."

Los Angeles Postmaster Mark Anderson will be throwing out the first pitch for the Dodger/Phillies game on Saturday which is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m.

Shown above, 1990 stamp from St. Vincent featuring Dodger Stadium.

For ticket prices and ordering information, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mailbox Molesters

Bret Burquest writes on the Salem, Arkansas News Web site that "mailbox molesters" come in many forms.

According to Bret, there are....

Mailbox Shooters -- Unlike other mailbox molesters, this dangerous jerk is often a loner. He gets a thrill out of shooting defenseless items, such as mailboxes, with little regard for where or how far the bullet will travel. To prove his manhood, he'll fire multiple rounds to make sure the mailbox is dead.

Mailbox Bombers -- These boneheads hang out in small packs, often three to six idiots deep, and get their jollies by placing explosives, usually a powerful firecracker, in a mailbox. They've also been known to videotape the event so they can enjoy watching their destruction over and over again. Law enforcers also enjoy playing the videotapes over and over again, especially in court.

Mailbox Maulers -- Good-ol-boys with red necks and rocks for brains get their kicks by hooting and hollering and creating mayhem. They drive battered old trucks with expired tags and no mufflers. When they spot a row of innocent mailboxes, they put the pedal to the metal and mow them down in one lethal pass. Then they hoot and holler on down the road, wondering why society frowns on their existence.

Mailbox Bashers -- Bashing is a two-idiot team sport. The driver veers close to the mailbox while the basher smashes the mailbox with a baseball bat or a rock as they drive by. Instead of hooting and hollering like maulers, they tend to snort and snicker. Bashers are maulers without the swagger.

Mailbox Benders -- The bender is an amateur molester. He'll drive his vehicle up to the mailbox and maneuver against it, then bulldoze the mailbox into a bad angle. He doesn't really want to hurt anyone -- he just wants to let you know he hates you, even if he doesn't know you.

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

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Queen Agrees to Be Patron of London 2010

Queen Elizabeth has agreed to be Patron of London 2010: Festival of Stamps, a year-long festival of philatelic exhibitions and events, marking the centenary of the accession of George V, the philatelist king.

This continues a long standing tradition of philatelic patronage by the UK Royal Family according to The British Postal Museum & Archive Web site.

The site reports, "The Queen has been Patron of the London International Stamp Exhibitions each decade since 1980. She is also Patron of the Royal Philatelic Society London, the oldest philatelic society in the world, of which George V was executive President until succeeding to the Throne, when he agreed to be the society’s Patron."

The London 2010: Festival of Stamps will combine a wide range of exhibitions and events such as the International Stamp Exhibition at the Business Design Centre, and the exhibition ‘Empire Mail: George V and the GPO’ at Guildhall Art Gallery, featuring material from The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) and the Royal Philatelic Collection.

The BPMA is also coordinating this wider festival, which includes special displays at the British Library, the Royal Philatelic Society, London, the British Museum, Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at Lord’s, and several other venues across London. A range of philatelic events throughout the UK are also being coordinated by the Association of British Philatelic Societies.

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

Monday, June 01, 2009

Postal Cancellations on Canvas

The DNA India Web site reports that the prestigious Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai is featuring the work of artist Devidas Dharmadhikary who uses cancellations as part of a series of paintings on display through June 2.

The collection titled Don't Stamp Me has 23 canvases with one human face with different facial expressions.

Devida is quoted as saying, "The message behind this whole collection is to stop being biased towards people. It is time we become good Samaritans by understanding people. We urban settlers have a habit of labeling people and the different moods captured on the canvas represents people's perspectives."

Using an assortment of colors, ideas and techniques, the artist also points out, "...replicating postal codes on the canvas is tricky."

Shown above, one of the paintings in the collection.

To see others in the exhibit, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM