Monday, August 31, 2009

How to Make an Accumulation a Collection

Mbhunter on the Mighty Bargain Hunter website has some advice for coin collectors on how to make an accumulation a collection.

His or her advice is equally good for stamp collectors and underscores the fact that collections are generally more valuable than accumulations.

Follow these eight simple steps and you'll turn that mountain of stamp stuff laying around into a stamp collection you'll be proud of.
  • Assemble what you have

  • Sort what you have

  • Organize and store what you have

  • Catalog what you have

  • Learn about what you have.

  • Choose what you have

  • Protect what you have

  • Enjoy what you have
To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chicago’s Old Post Office Auctioned

Chicago’s former Main Post Office Building sold at auction late last week for $40 million, or about $13 a square foot according to Bloomberg News.

In an article that appeared on the New York Times website it was reported that the suggested opening bid was $300,000 for the 14-story, three-million-square-foot property.

The buyer did not disclose its plans for the building which was once the largest mail facility in the world. A variety of use had been suggested including a casino.

The article cites a report by the General Accountability Office which said it would cost about $2 million a year to maintain the Chicago property.

The lobby and exterior of the building, which was completed in 1932, are protected by landmark status.

Shown above, a postcard from the 1930s showing the "new" Post Office.

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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Irish Stamp Honors Brewery Founder

The Irish Times reports An Post has issued a stamp to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Guinness brewery.

The 82 cent stamp, featuring an 18th-century portrait of Arthur Guinness by an unknown artist, covers airmail letter postage to any part of the world.

An Post chief executive Donal Connell is quoted as saying the stamp is a symbol of an Irish pride in the drink’s success.

UK's posts on its website, "Arthur Guinness founded the brewery in 1759 when he secured a nine thousand year lease on the St James’s Gate site for the annual sum of £45. He had already established himself as a skilled brewer in County Kildare, and he was an ambitious and astute businessman. At first, Guinness was a Dublin tipple but Arthur used the growing network of canals to send Guinness all over the country. By 1886 St James’s Gate was the largest brewery in the world."

Please drink and collect stamps responsibly.

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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Old Postage Stamps

Allen Bohart on his Philatelic Tidbits blog has posted an insightful article titled The Value of Old Stamps.

Allen writes, "There seems to be an assumption amongst the uninitiated that old is somehow equivalent to rare and valuable, and that is simply not the case. Just because a particular stamp is old does not mean that it is rare or valuable. In fact, most of the time the exact opposite is true: the stamp is quite common and not valuable at all. The real problem is that this is not ALWAYS the case. There ARE rare and valuable stamps out there, and some of them might just reside in collections that have been forgotten and passed on to someone who does not know what the collection might be worth"

He goes on to point out, "As with almost everything else in this world, the value of any particular postage stamp depends on supply and demand. If a stamp is rare AND there is demand for it, then the stamp will be valuable. It should be noted that this is the case whether a stamp is old or not. Age has no relevancy when it comes to determining the value of postage stamps. The only reason that there are more valuable stamps that are old than are new is that the scarcity of those stamps increases with time due to loss from a number of factors, including normal usage as postage, loss from damage thru poor caretaking or accident, theft, and just plain being misplaced and lost."

He concludes, "If you happen to be one of those people that has inherited a collection or accumulation of old stamps and don’t have a clue what it’s worth, do yourself a favor: start with the assumption that it’s probably not worth anything. This way, you won’t be disappointed when you find out that the stamp collection your grandfather gave you isn’t going to pay for that new house. If the opposite turns out to be true, then so much the better! Chances are, however, that if the collection was really worth that much, you would’ve known about it long before your relative passed on to the next life."

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Postal Service Offers Workers $15K To Quit

The Dayton Business Journal reports the U.S. Postal Service will offer buyouts to 30,000 workers in hopes of saving $500 million in costs next year.

The incentive package offers eligible employees $10,000 to be paid during the first three months of fiscal 2010, which begins Oct. 1. The same employees will receive a second payment of $5,000 in fiscal 2011.

According to a Postal Service news release, the USPS negotiated an agreement with two of its employee unions to offer select employees a financial incentive to retire or resign before the end of this fiscal year.

The one-time offer is intended to accelerate targeted staffing reductions for employees represented by the American Postal Workers Union or the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the release said.

The offer was not extended to postal carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association.

The postal service employs more than 656,000 workers nationwide.

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Student Post Office Display Features The "Evolution of Postage Stamps"

West Virginia's Martinsburg Journal reports a social studies fair project dealing with stamps is on display at the local post office.

Put together by Alexandra Moore, a high school sophomore, it includes information on the first postage stamp, commemorative stamps, philately, stamps today and more. Titled "Evolution of Postage Stamps," it placed first in the county social studies fair competition this past spring

Moore's grandfather is a retired postal inspector, was the inspiration for her project according to the article.

The town's Postmaster TraceyMiller loaned Alexandra The United States Postal Service: An American History 1775-2006 as a reference for the project.

Postmaster Miller then asked to display "Evolution of Postage Stamps" at her post office. The project is also slated to be displayed at two other near by post offices as well.

Shown above, Alexandra holding Lucy Love Puppy, one of the props used with the project.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Small Post Offices' Days Are Numbered

The Los Angeles Times reports, "Once a municipal landmark found in even the smallest communities, the neighborhood post office is slowly going the way of the handwritten letter. So much so that the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing nearly 1,000 of its smaller branches nationwide, with dozens of them in California."

Reporter Tony Barboza pens, "But even as the Postal Service weighs public reaction, small communities worry that they'll lose a needed service. And in places like San Juan Capistrano, officials are fighting to save their post offices."

According to Barboza, "Closing the facility would force residents to trek to a larger one 10 miles away in Mission Viejo. And it wouldn't be much consolation that that office, founded before the neighboring suburb had incorporated, still bears the name San Juan.City leaders are united in opposition to the possible shuttering of the sole post office in the community of 36,000."

Richard Maher, a Postal Service spokesman, is quoted in the piece as saying, "It's not a hit list, and there are no decisions made yet. We're calling it a consolidation."

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pedalling Posties Ride Off Into the Sunset

UK's Sunday Mail reports he's been an everyday part of British life for more than 120 years but now "the pedalling postie looks set to go the same way as many village post offices and the early morning delivery. . . into the history books."

According to the article by Matt Sandy, "Royal Mail is to phase out nearly all of the 25,000 British-made bikes used by postmen and women across the country because they can’t carry enough mail or travel far enough."

It goes on to say, "Instead, postmen and women will be expected to travel to their patches in vans – and deliver their letters and parcels from trolleys made in China."

Sandy writes, "It will mean workers will no longer have to return to base to collect more items but could also signal the end of neighbourhoods having their own dedicated postman. Some postmen will be given a four-wheel pull-along trolley, while others on rounds with steep hills will get battery-powered ones."

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

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stamps Help Britain's Blind

Britain's Echo website reports Terri Bush, 41, is desperately seeking help to sort through sacks of stamps to raise money for charity.

Terry is the volunteer stamp appeal co-ordinator for the local branch of the Royal National Institute of the Blind.

She has around 30 sacks of stamps, and needs to separate British ones from those of overseas origin.

They will then be sold to stamp collectors to raise cash for the charity.

Terry (shown above) is quoted as saying, “This is an easy job, but we have so many sacks. If a reader gets a bag and does not enjoy doing it, we will not be offended, even if they give the stamps back before they have finished it.”

To help, or to donate more used stamps, you can call Terri at 01268 565646.
For more information on the Royal National Institute of the Blind stamp donation program, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 22, 2009

APS Launches Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship

The American Philatelic Society (APS) has announced the launch of the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship (YPLF).

According to Gretchen Moody, APS Director of Education, "The YPLF’s purpose is to seek out and engage the most enthusiastic youth stamp collectors. Each Fellow chooses a particular track (Dealer, Author, or Exhibitor) in which he/she will complete a number of projects related to their track of choice. Throughout the course of the year, the YPLF brings each Fellow to two annual APS summer stamp shows, the winter APS AmeriStamp Expo, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, and the American Philatelic Center. Aside from experiencing these exciting shows and centers of American philately, the Fellows work with a number of volunteer adult mentors in order to successfully finish the various projects within the Fellowship tracks."

Shown here, the YPLF’s first three Fellows — James Chenevert, Jimmy Tian and Melissa Stanton — who were officially introduced during the APS General Membership Meeting at the 2009 StampShow in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania held earlier this month.

For more information on the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship and how you can become involved, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, August 21, 2009

East London Collectors Try to Get Kids Interested in Stamps

UK's Daily Dispatch Online website reports, "The hobby of stamp collecting has lost its sparkle in East London, but two local enthusiasts are out to get it back into full swing."

Reporter Lindile Sifile writes, "The misconception that stamp collecting is for the old or rich who have a lot of time on their hands, has stopped young people from taking up the pastime. The commercialisation of the hobby has also made it expensive to be a collector."

"So far, it hasn’t been easy to break the stereotypical view of stamp collectors among youngsters; at the schools that the collectors have visited, pupils have shown little interest in the hobby," according to Sifile.

According to the article, "Nearly 30 years ago the East London Philatelic Society had a membership of 250; today it has only 28 members, who are mostly well into their middle age."

Charlie Miles,(shown above) is quoted in the piece as saying, “Our aim is to get the black youth involved and to reawaken the white youth (to the benefits of the hobby) as well. It’s the easiest and cheapest way of learning about other countries and you can also collect stamps that are linked to your interests, like cars, presidents, boats and trees. It’s a hobby that stays with you forever."

For his friend Dave McWilliams, who is the president of the association, collecting stamps is therapy pens Stifile.

“It keeps my brain going. I get to forget about all the troubles life throws at me,” says McWilliams.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Take a Postal History Walking Tour

Jennifer Flippance, London 2010 Project Officer, reports, "For the last three years the British Postal Museum and Archives (BPMA) has been running popular walking tours, which take you into the heart of old GPO London, exploring 400 years of postal history and developments in the iconic street furniture of telephone kiosks and letter boxes."

She goes on to say, "The full tour lasts around 3 hours but next year, as part of our programme of activities to celebrate the London 2010: Festival of Stamps, we’re developing a ‘highlights’ version that will last around 1.5 hours and finish up at Guildhall Art Gallery. This will give you the opportunity to visit the fascinating exhibition, Empire Mail: George V and the GPO which will contain many significant objects and items of postal history from the reign of George V, when the GPO (General Post Office) was at its height."

Shown above, Chris Taft, one of the curators at the BPMA who helped to develop and run the tours standing next to statue of Rowland Hill which one of the stops on the BPMA tour.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

U.S. Postmaster "We cannot just sell stamps..."

According to the Dow Jones News Wire, the U.S. Postal Service is seeking permission from Congress to allow 30,000 post offices to offer banking and insurance products, renew drivers' licenses or sell pre-paid cellular telephone service, offsetting hits from the recession and a shift to electronic bill payment.

Reporter Judith Burns quotes U.S. Postmaster General John Potter (shown here) as saying at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee earlier this month, "We cannot just sell stamps in those outlets."

Judith writes,"While Potter stressed that the Postal Service hasn't spent a nickel exploring alternative businesses, he said it would do so if lawmakers lift a ban on non-postal business."

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Exhbition Marks 100 Years Of UAE Postal Service

"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) postal service will have been in operation for 100 years on August 19 and the Emirates Philatelic Association and Emirates Post are celebrating with an exhibition of some of the rarest and oldest stamps collected by their members," writes reporter Emmanuelle Landais on the website.

Emmanuelle reports that the youngest member of the Emirates Philatelic Association (EPA)Nasser Bin Ahmad Al Serkal,16, has been collecting stamps since he was 10.

Nasser is quoted in the article as saying not many of his friends are interested in his hobby as it is a "little bit old fashioned."

Shown above with part of his collection which is currently on display along with several others, to celebrate the first post office of the UAE which opened in Dubai in 1909.

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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Swiss Soldier Stamps

The Vintage Antique Collectible website reports, "Some people, even those who have been collecting stamps for years, may never have heard of Swiss soldier stamps. That’s because these stamps weren’t actually postage stamps for use at large, they were created for the Swiss soldiers who were activated to full duty to protect Switzerland’s borders during WWI. They were good only at the soldiers’ field posts."

According to the site, "The first of these Swiss soldier stamps were designed in 1915 with two different motifs, and were really intended just to be souvenirs for the soldiers. Then in 1916, stamps that were cancelled on envelopes were sold to provide money to help support Swiss soldiers and their families who were in a financial crisis over the long period of time the soldiers were on alert for invasion. Swiss stamp dealers recognized the value in these small circulation stamps, and profited from them."

It goes on to say, "Because Swiss soldier stamps were issued by the regiment or individual company and not good for mail in general, they were then classified as charity stamps. In 1939, many Swiss units began issuing soldier stamps, with many of them being overprints of the original WWI stamps. They had official approval to print stamps, and even though the Swiss mail had to approve each issuance, they didn’t recognize them as valid postage outside of military use."

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

Sunday, August 16, 2009

1969 Gandhi Stamp Marks First for Britain

The British Postal Museum and Archives' website reports, "Forty years ago the General Post Office released the first British stamp to commemorate an overseas leader and the first to be designed by an overseas artist. The stamp in question celebrated the birth centenary of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, although it was released to coincide with Indian Independence Day (15th August), rather than Gandhi’s birthday (2nd October)."

The designer of the stamp was Biman Mullick an Indian-born graphic designer and illustrator then teaching at the Folkestone School of Arts and Crafts. Biman had met Gandhi as a child through his father who was a local political leader in Calcutta.

Click here for scans of newspaper articles and other material related to the stamp issue.

For a list of countries that have also issued stamps honoring Mahatma Gandhi, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Joint Stamp Issues

According to the Joint Stamp Issues website, "Joint stamp issues are stamps released by two or more postal administrations at the occasion of a common event or anniversary and that are characterized either by a common design or the same date of issue or both."

The site has...
- A chronological list of illustrated new joint issues with detailed information (past 10 years)

- A list of upcoming joint issues (2008-2010)

- A detailed classification system used throughout all documents and the definitions used in all sections

- Links to sites of interest related to joint stamp issues

- FAQ about joint issues

Shown above, 2006 US-Canada joint stamp and souvenir sheet issue.

To visit Joint Stamp Issues, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hand Carved Mailbox Wins Smithsonian Contest

According to a post on the website, Hawaiian woodworker CathyB won a contest sponsored by the Smithsonian Postal Museum for the best rural mailbox.

Shown here, it took two months to carve and almost a month to finish it (inside and out). Cathy writes she had to ask the mail carrier to position his truck as close to the curb as possible to determine the exact positioning.

Named “Let’s Dance,” it was craved from Cuban mahogany.

Cathy reports, "The response was amazing. Once the Smithsonian sent a news clip to the papers, I was on the front page. Suddenly, people are driving past my house to see the horse."

She goes on to say,"...a gentleman that I see when walking my dog, told me that he had a stroke several years earlier. He said that his objective every day was to try to walk to the horse. When he got there, he would pat the horse on his neck and then try to walk back home."

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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Are New Stamps Worth USPS' Time and Money?

The new TV icons stamps has columnist Edward O'Keefe of the Washington Post wondering," Should the Postal Service devote so much time and money to postage stamps -- especially ones that commemorate 50-year-old TV shows -- at a time when it's losing billions of dollars?"

David Failor, the Postal Service's executive director of stamp services is quoted as saying it costs about $40,000 to develop and produce a commemorative stamp. The process includes the development of a commemorative stamp collection, design of the actual stamp and their production and distribution. Though the Postal Service does not pay license fees for the images of a character or famous person, it does pay $5,000 to various artists that design and paint the stamp's image.

According to Failor the stamps generate between $250 million and $300 million for the Postal Service.

O'Keefe says that's a respectable sum but not nearly enough to make up for the billions of dollars in lost revenue the Postal Service is currently experiencing

Failor points out, "Still, the stamp program generates a priceless amount of free press and fuel the interests of a couple million 'hardcore' stamp collectors and another 10 million to 20 million stamp 'accumulators' that might collect stamps related to a certain genre."

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1948 Recording Explains "Origin of The Postage Stamp"

Homeschool Radio Shows invites you to listen to a recording of the History of the Postage Stamp.

Titled Stamp of Approval: The Origin of the Postage Stamp, the 14 minute audio tells the story of Rowland Hill (shown here), who stopped at an English Inn in 1836.

As a result, Hill came up with one of the most important "tiny, simple inventions in the history of modern civilization – the postage stamp."

This "living history" program was originally broadcast as an episode of "Adventures in Research" in 1948.

To listen to this fun recording which comes complete with cheesy organ accompaniment, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

John Walter Scott - The Great Scott!

The Philatelic Database reprints an article about the father of the Scott Catalogues - John Walter Scott.

It was first published in The Postage Stamp (October, 1913). It ran as first in a series under the title “Postage Stamp Romances: The True Stories of the Stamp World, Collected by Cornelius Wrinkle from Authentic Sources. No 1 – Great Scott!”

According to the American Philatelic Society, "Scott was called 'The Father of American Philately' in his lifetime. His first interest in stamp dealing began around 1860 in his native London. It continued in 1863 when he came to New York City. In 1865 he went to California seeking gold but had no success. He returned to New York City in 1867 and resumed his stamp business.

"During the next two decades he became America's leading stamp dealer. In 1868, he began publishing the American Journal of Philately, the first important stamp journal in the U.S. That same year he helped support the first U.S. stamp club, the New York Philatelic Society (the second in the world)."

For more on Scott, click here.

To read "Great Scott!," click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 10, 2009

Postal Service Bans Animal Fighting Publications

Minneapolis Animal Rights Examiner Kelley Diekman reports on the website that the U.S.Postal Service has banned animal fighting publications that violate the Animal Welfare Act.

According to Kelley, "The decision has been years in the making.In 2007 the Humane Society of the United States filed a suit against the United States Postal Service for their willingness to deliver magazines that support animal fighting and that violate the Animal Welfare Act. Earlier this year, a federal court in Washington D.C ordered the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider their current stand on what they mail. The result was the announcement on August 3, 2009 to put an end to the delivery of literature that supports illegal animal fights."

For more on this story, click here.

For more on the Animal Welfare Act, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, August 09, 2009

11 Stamp Stories Worth Retelling

David A. Norris on the Mental Floss blog pens, "Philately: it’s the end-all, be-all of popular hobbies curiously pursued by nobody you know. And while we knew absolutely nothing about stamps when we started this article, we’re great at digging up the juiciest dirt on any subject under the sun. Here are 11 great stamp stories guaranteed to have you glued to your seats."

The stories include...

1. The Stamp That Started It All
2. The Stamp That Divided a Nation
3. The Stamp Even Bill Gates Couldn’t Afford
4. The Stamps Made from Stolen Maps
5. The Stamp That Moved the Panama Canal
6. The Stamps That Tried to take a Bite Out of Crime
7. The Stamp That Made CEOs Happy
8. The Stamp That Almost Started a War
9. The Stamp with All the Right Intentions, and All the Wrong Music
10. The Stamp That Went Underground
11. The Stamps that Stick Without a Lick

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

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The GPO Film Unit

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) reports, "From 1933 until its demise in 1940, many now celebrated talents of cinema and the arts worked for the GPO Film Unit. The films produced during the relatively short existence of the Unit had a major impact on British film, especially in relation to documentary film making."

It goes on to say, "Made up of a dedicated, largely youthful but badly paid group of individuals the creative impact of the Unit has been immense. Today the films provide a fascinating insight into the history of communications in the 20th Century and of course, postal history."

The films produced by the unit include documentary, animation, advertising, public information films, drama-documentary and satirical comedy on a range of subjects, from postal rates to working class pastimes. Several of the films are avaialble for purchase on the BPMA website.

Shown above, one of the most critically acclaimed and best-loved films produced within the British documentary movement, Night Mail (1936) tells the fascinating story of the travelling post office from Euston to Glasgow and the men who worked on it.

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

Friday, August 07, 2009

Baseball Cards Meet Stamp Collecting

Speaking of stamps and sports blogs (see yesterday's post), the Grand Cards blog asks, "Can you imagine what would have happened if baseball 'cards' were originally issued as stamps instead of as tobacco cards?"
The blogmeister, an anonymous fellow from Baltimore, answers his own question, "It would be chaos."

He goes on to say, "Now, I am no stamp collector, but I really like this card for reasons I can't explain. It is a faux-vintage, stamp looking card that shows Granderson bunting (which he rarely does) and is all purple with some Gold Foil that pops and is easy to read. Apparently, that is the recipe for a good card. It's also possible that I'm more accustomed to cards that aren't so shiny and reflective so as to blind the beholder. Give me my matte finish and a nice, original design any day."

Note the perforations around the card itself. What would you call that? A philatelic baseball card?

Anyway, I thought it was neat. Go Tigers!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Novice's Guide to Philately

The two basic rules that every stamp collector should adhere to are to enjoy collecting stamps and to take care of them.

Good advice from the Hit The Mark blog which is mainly about sports.

Some other good tips found in the August 5 post...

- Any stamp collecting for beginners class will tell you to start as a worldwide stamp collector until you decide what you like best and then you can specialize if you desire.

- For beginners, it is best to check out as many stamps as you can and gather all information achievable. Doing these would allow you to discover sides of stamp collecting you would never have imagined existed.

- What is important for you to keep in mind is that when starting out in stamp collecting, begin with just what you have in sight. You do not necessarily have to do too quickly. As you go on, you will stumble upon the stamps you truly would like. Be satisfied with what you have and take good care of them for the time being.

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

"Inverted Jenny" Expected To Fetch $900K+

"A splendid mint state 'Inverted Jenny' stamp, the finest never hinged example of one of the world’s most famous collectibles, will be the centerpiece of Heritage Auction Galleries’ Signature Rare Stamps auction, Aug. 7, at the American Philatelic Society Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, PA," according to a write-up on the website.

Harvey Bennett, Director of Philately at Heritage Auction Galleries, the firm conducting the auction, is quoted as saying, “This is the first time this stamp has been on the market in 50 years. In all likelihood it won’t come on the market again for at least another 50.”

The article goes on to say, "Inverted Jennys regularly sell for six figures when they appear but the quality of the present example is unmatched."

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

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Stamp and Postcard Fair Proves a Big Draw

UK's Swindon Advertiser reports collectors packed a local community center over the weekend for the annual stamp and postcard collectors fair hosted by the Swindon Philatelists’ Society.

It is estimated 500 visitors attended the event on Saturday.

Society member Margaret Strike is quoted in the piece by reporter Hayley Court as saying, "“I think it’s a wonderful hobby. You can pick it up and put it down at any time but it really focuses the mind and makes you view other countries in a different way.”

The 73-year-old and her husband Ian, 75, travel the world visiting philatelic bureaus.

Shown above, collectors at the event.

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

Monday, August 03, 2009

John Wornham Penfold - Pillar Box Designer

The British Postal Museum & Archive's website reports that this year marks the death centenary of John Wornham Penfold, designer of Britain’s beloved pillar box.

In 1866 Penfold submitted designs for a pillar box after the British Post Office decided it wanted to standardize letter boxes throughout the country. The first posting slot appeared in 1809 and a variety of mail collection receptacles began to appear around the country.

According to the site, "Penfold’s box – or the Penfold, as it became known – combined simple design with functionality. Hexagonal in shape, it was adorned with acanthus leaves and balls, a far less ornate design than some of the elaborately decorative boxes which had come before it. But the cost of producing Penfolds was high, and a cheaper and plainer standard box was introduced 13 years later."

"Many of the features initiated with the Penfold boxes remain in use. Penfolds were produced in different size to accommodate different volumes of mail, as pillar boxes still are to this day, and Penfolds were also the first boxes to be manufactured in the new standard colour of red, in 1874," the site goes on to say.

Shown above, a replica Penfold pillar box in the collection of the British Post Museum and Archives.

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

Sunday, August 02, 2009

"Missile Mail" Slide Show reports, "On June 8, 1959, in a move a postal official heralded as "of historic significance to the peoples of the entire world," the Navy submarine U.S.S. Barbero fired a guided missile carrying 3,000 letters at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Mayport, Florida.

"Before man reaches the moon," the official was quoted as saying, "mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles - missile mail."

National Postal Museum curator Nancy A. Pope reveals more about this Cold War era mail delivery experiment in a new slide show titled "Missile Mail".

According to Nancy, one of the ideas behind the experiment was to show the Russians that our missile system was so advanced that we even used them to deliver mail.

To watch the slide show, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Curators of a Colossal Collection

Rhode Island's Johnston Sun Rise reports,"What do George S. Champlin, Robert T. Galkin and Col. Webster Knight have in common? All were stamp collectors. Being men of means, they assembled huge and valuable collections. All three collections are now part of the Brown University Special Collections, housed in the John Hay Library."

Reporter Beth Hurd goes on to write, "Now, three other men who are also stamp collectors are the caretakers of the assembled collection, worth an estimated $20 million: Louis McGowan, Thomas Greene and Chester Browning. McGowan is also the president of the Johnston Historical Society, Greene is a noted historian from North Providence and Browning is the retired state photographer and is also archivist for T.F. Green Airport. All are members of the Rhode Island Philatelic Society, the oldest continuously run stamp-collecting club in the United States. Browning is currently president of the society."

Green is quoted as saying, "“The unique thing about this collection is that it's blocks." According to the paper,the collection has, among other items, blocks of the first US postage stamps and the first “provisional stamps” issued in Providence in 1846.

Shown above, volunteer curators Tom Greene and Louis McGowan.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM