Friday, April 30, 2010

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Thirty-five years ago, Gerald Clarke wrote this in an essay that appeared in the July 7, 1975 edition of Time magazine ..

"The Post Office, an organization older than the republic itself, went out of existence four years ago. Amid proud speeches and high hopes, the new U.S. Postal Service took its place. The Post Office's emblem, a galloping pony express rider from the 19th century, was replaced by a sleek 20th century eagle, and the Postal Service, a quasi-independent Government corporation, was expected to be equally up to date. Its assignment was not only to deliver the mail fast and efficiently but also to pay its own way within just a few years, phasing out a 200-year-old subsidy from the American taxpayer."

Clarke points out, "Today the U.S. is the only major country that expects its postal operations to be in the black. All other major nations subsidize their post offices, either directly—or indirectly by transferring funds from government-owned, moneymaking phone and telegraph operations. The fact is that the Postal Service cannot be run from its own revenues."

He goes on to say, "Until recently, U.S. postal operations were no more supposed to pay their way than were the Army, Navy or dozens of other federal departments set up to serve the people. The Second Congress in 1792 started the practice of subsidizing the Post Office, and succeeding Congresses continued it. Those early legislators realized that the Post Office was something quite different from a business: it was a means of uniting a sprawling, diverse country and holding it together."

Clarke quotes George Washington as having once said, the Post Office is "the indispensable chain binding Americans together".

Foreseeing that the Post Office would have to significantly raise rates, reduce service, eliminate jobs, cut back on delivery days and close post offices in to order to operate in the black, Clark comes to the conclusion, "The solution lies with Congress. First, it should declare unmistakably that the Postal Service is in fact a service and not a business that should be expected to break even. It will always have to receive Government money if it is to do the job the public needs and wants."

Shown above, the cover from the July 7, 1975 edition of Time.

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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pony Express 'Interrupted Mail'

Shown above is one of only "two pieces of what collectors call 'interrupted mail' from the Pony Express according to National Postal Museum curator Daniel Piazza in an article that appears in the May 2010 Smithsonian Magazine.

Author Owen Edwards writes, "In 1860, an ill-fated Pony Express rider, whose name has been lost to history, was crossing the trackless wastes of Nevada when he vanished, likely killed by Indians. Two years later, in May 1862, the mail pouch from that doomed mission, still containing letters bound for the East, was recovered."

Owen goes on to say, "Today, only a few remnants from the contents of that saddlebag survive. Among them is an envelope—a rare artifact of the mid-19th-century’s legendary Pony Express mail service, founded 150 years ago. (The letter that was inside has long since disappeared.)"

A note scrawled on the front of the artifact alludes to its tragic backstory: “Recovered from a [sic] mail stolen by the Indians in 1860.” The nameless victim is thought to have been the only Pony Express rider killed, though a few station agents died when Indians attacked their outposts according to the piece.

The envelope, which was given to the museum by philatelic philanthropist William H.Gross,will reside on long-term loan at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stamp Thief Arrested in Chicago

"When she discovered her late father's lifelong stamp collection had been stolen from her Park Ridge condominium's storage locker, Cindy resolved to get the collection back. And she did," writes Jennifer Johnson on Illinois' Herald Advocate website.

According to Jennifer, "Unhappy with what she viewed as a less-than-enthusiastic response from the Park Ridge police officer who took the initial theft report, Cindy, who asked that her last name not be used, took it upon herself to catch the thief, especially when another police officer told her investigators had little to go on."

The daughter is quoted as saying, "No one is taking my dad's stamps, no way.My dad had been collecting stamps for 60, 70 years. All these stamps were in there and they took every last one of them."

According to the article, "After reporting the theft to police, Cindy retrieved samples of her father's stamp collection which had been stored elsewhere and brought them to Stamp King, a store dedicated to the sale of collectible stamps on Chicago's Northwest Side.

It went on to say, "Cindy's hope was that whomever had her father's stamps would try to sell them to the store, and because her father's collection was uniquely categorized, the stolen stamps would be easily identified based on the samples she had shared."

Cindy's theory was correct. Three days after she discovered the stamps stolen, a man went to the stamp store with a portion of her father's collection, trying to make a sale.

The man, who presented identification to the clerk in order to make the sale, was told to come back the following day when an offer would be available for him. When he returned, Cindy had already identified the stamps he was trying to sell as belonging her father's collection and police were waiting at the shop to take him into custody.

The man, 26, was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property. The stolen stamp collection had an estimated value of $900.

This wasn't the first time stolen merchandise was recovered after it found its way to Stamp King.

In 2006, the shop made headlines around the world after a very rare -- and very valuable -- 1869 Lincoln stamp and envelope (The Ice House Cover) that had been stolen 40 years earlier from a private collection in Indiana was brought to the store.

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

National Postal Museum Research Scholarships Announced

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum (NPM) has announced that applications are being accepted for research scholarships regarding stamps or postal history.

According to an announcement on the NPM website, "The scholarships are available to PhD’s, or doctoral candidates engaged in dissertation research, advanced graduate students, and/or other scholars so that the awardee may spend an uninterrupted block of time doing research in the NPM library and other Washington DC libraries on their projects and discussing their work with others. They are available for the research of postage stamps or postal history leading to publication on any topic supported by NPM collection or library, other Washington DC libraries, like the National Archives or the Library of Congress, or in State research libraries as described in the individual announcement."

Interested persons are invited to apply by September 1, 2010. The annual scholarship, for a sum up to $2,000, shall be a contribution toward expenses for a visit(s) to Washington DC.

Shown above, drawing of the National Postal Museum Library.

Click here for additional information and application forms.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stamps Designed by Lawrence of Arabia Found in Queen's Collection

UK's Sunday Times reports, "An original sheet of stamps designed by TE Lawrence for a short-lived kingdom in the Arabian desert has been discovered in the Queen’s collection of philately, where it had languished unseen for decades."

The article by Arts Editor Richard Brooks goes on to say, "The stamps, which are in proof form and are to go on public view together with a handwritten note by Lawrence, were designed for the Kingdom of the Hijaz, in the west of what is now Saudi Arabia.

"The original sheet of 50 stamps had been folded over so that it could not be seen in one of the 328 albums of the collection, started in the 1890s. It was found by a member of staff at the Royal Philatelic Collection."

The stamps with Lawrence’s note will go on display at an exhibition called Empire Mail: George V and the GPO at Guildhall Art Gallery, London, beginning May 7.

The exhibition looks at the passions of King George V, the 'philatelist king', alongside an extraordinary period of design and innovation in the General Post Office during his reign.

Shown above, T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia)

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

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Ferret Named " Stamps"

The Associated Press reports a ferret named "Stamps" has been adopted after being found by postal inspectors in an unmarked package that wiggled.

According to the report, "After trying unsuccessfully to track down the sender, the inspector got a search warrant and the next day animal control officers opened the box."

Click on photo above to learn more.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fanatic Philatelist

The Wall Street Journal reports Maurice Hadida (shown here) is one of the world's top philatelists— "an eclectic group of stamp-collecting fanatics whose thousands of members include business executives, politicians and dignitaries such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Queen Elizabeth II of England."

In the article As Stamps Lose Hold as a Hobby, These Philatelists Push the Envelope reporter Max Colchester writes, "Maurice Hadida's collection of rare stamps includes an 1852 envelope mailed from Tangier, and the first-ever English stamp sent from Morocco to Britain, in 1860. Mr. Hadida's album, philatelists agree, is one of the most original and impressive in the world."

He goes on to pen, "At its highest reaches, the hobby is increasingly competitive. Only about 2,000 people in the world have collections that are good enough to be eligible for international competitions, according to the Universal Postal Union, the organization that coordinates postal policies around the world."

According to the article, "Over the past 31 years, Mr. Hadida has collected several hundred envelopes, though he says he has never actually counted how many pieces he has. Among his prized stamps is the first envelope sent by Moroccan airmail in 1911. His stamp from 1852 is believed to be on the second-oldest franked envelope ever sent by a French post office in Morocco."

Hadida, a 58-year-old insurance-company executive, is quoted as saying, "Finding a rare envelope is like wooing a beautiful lady. The harder the chase, the better it feels in the end."

Shown above, Maurice Hadida at an outdoor stamp market in Paris.

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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Local Wisconsin Collector Featured in Article

Janesville, Wisconsin's features a nice article about collector Gary Wentworth shown here with part of his collection.

In the piece by reporter Shelly Birkelo, Gary, 64, has a simple piece of advice for those thinking about starting a stamp collection; “Don’t try to collect them all. You’re never going to do it.”

He goes on to say there are hundreds of ways to collect stamps and recommends picking a topic you enjoy and focus on that.

One of the topics Gary enjoys is material related to Charles Lindbergh. However, he doesn’t collect those stamps anymore.

He's quoted as saying, “I’ve got about 3,000 of them. It’s hard for me to find something related to him that I can afford. So I can live without it."

Gary is a member and long-time secretary/treasurer of the Janesville Stamp Club, "an organization he joined so long ago he can’t even remember what year it was."

At its peak, the club had about 40 members. It now holds steady at about 15 members from Janesville, Beloit and Rockford, Ill.

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

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stamp Show on Wheels Travels Through India

India's The Hindu reports Indian Railways has organized the country's first philatelic exhibition on wheels.

According to the article, "The exhibition train, comprising three AC coaches, portray important developments in Indian Railways such as horse-drawn carriages, birth of steam locomotives, emergence of metro rail, monorail, super fast trains, rolling stock, important and heritage railway stations, signals, bridges, tracks, tunnels, mountain railways, railway ferries, mail trains, Railway Mail Service and railway centenaries."

The material on display comes from the personal collection of Mohamed Mujibullah of Eastern Railways. Mohamed hopes that the exhibition will enthuse youngsters to take up stamp collecting as a hobby.

The idea of conducting a travelling stamp exhibit was conceived after seeing several abandoned and dilapidated railway coaches. The coaches were later refurbished and made fit for running.

Southern Railway General Manager Deepak Krishan (shown above in the blue shirt) is quoted in the piece as saying, "steps would be taken to include it in the Guinness Book of World Records."

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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Animal Rescue Stamps Photographer

USPS' Beyond The Perf website reports commercial photographer Sally Andersen-Bruce photographed 50 dogs and 50 cats for the new "Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet" stamps.

The set of 10 stamps, shown below, are being released later this month.

Sally also photographed the animals on the "Neuter or Spay" stamps which came out in 2002.

According to the report,"Normally, Sally travels the world to shoot executive portraits and other photographs for annual reports and similar corporate publications so this project was a labor of love,"

It goes on to point out, "Keeping an animal still for a portrait is often a challenge. Usually a human is involved; the next challenge, then, involves removing the human from the photo afterward. Since the stamp project shows the pets against a white background, Andersen-Bruce solved this by employing white gloves and a white bed sheet, which was easily faded into the background of the portrait."

Sally hopes to publish two books of rescue and shelter pet portraits — one each for dogs and cats.

To read the entire article, click here.

To learn more about each of the animals featured on the stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Penny Black First Day Cover

Paul Fraser Collectibles is reporting an 1840 Penny Black - aka the world's first-ever postage stamp - affixed to a manuscript dated "London 6 May 1840" and posted from London to Paisley sold at auction last week for £44,000.

According to the site, "The stamp, BF (marking its position on its original printed stamp sheet) is stamped with two clear strikes of the red Maltese Cross. The manuscript's date confirms that the stamp was cancelled on its first day of issue - May 6, 1840, was the day the 1d. black stamp, or Penny Black, first entered circulation. It remained in use for little over a year."

Although priced in Stanley Gibbon's catalogue at £125,000, Spink estimated the stamp at £35,000-40,000.

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

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cowboy Stamp Illustrator Grew Up with Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry

The Los Angeles Daily News reports stamp designer Robert Rodriguez "had the hobby horse, the cowboy hat and six-shooters. He even had the cowboy bicycle, with the horse head, fringe and stirrups."

Staff writer Dana Bartholomew pens,"And each day after school, as the TV test pattern shifted to the Wild West, Robert Rodriguez would mount up with Gene Autry or Roy Rogers and gallop across the dusty range."

In the piece, Rodriguez, now 62, is quoted as saying, "Cowboys were my life. They wore the white hats. They taught kids good from bad, right from wrong. They were our heroes."

For Rodriguez, who has illustrated a dozen other stamps, the cowboy series was a special project according to Dana.

Rodriguez, along with Gene Autry's wife, Jackie, Roy Rodger's daughter and grandson, took part in a first day of sale ceremony at The Autry National Center and Museum of the American West over the weekend.

Jeffrey Richardson, assistant curator of film and popular culture at The Autry, also spoke at the ceremony. He pointed out that Autry, and his sidekick Smiley Burnette, played postal inspectors in the 1951 film Whirlwind and carried the mail for Uncle Sam.

Shown above, first day of sale cover autographed by ceremony participants.

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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

North Carolina VFW Donates Collection to Boy Scouts

North Carolina's Mount Airy News reports Pilot Mountain Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9436 has donated a collection of first day issue covers, stamps and post cards ranging as far back as the 1920s to the local Boy Scouts.

According to reporter Dean Plamer, the collection filled some 20 collector books along with numerous sheets compiled in boxes.

Post Commander Don Issacs is quoted as saying the donation was made by a post member who wished to remain anonymous and that the collection represented three generations of stamp collectors beginning with the donor's grandfather.

Scout District Commissioner Steve Simpson is also quoted after accepting the presentation as saying, “This is a very generous and thoughtful gift. It is an extreme example of dedicated collectors with a passion for history and an appreciation for our country and its military.”

The monetary value of the collection has not been determined but an appraisal is planned.

Stamp collecting is one of several hobbies encouraged in scouting through the earning of merit badges.

Shown above, scouts and veterans with donated collection.

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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ken Martin Appointed APS Executive Director

The American Philatelic Society (APS) has announced that Ken Martin has been appointed as the organization's Executive Director.

According to an APS press release, "A collector since the 5th grade, Martin is a 30-year APS member whose first real contact with organized philately was as a student at the 3rd annual APS Summer Seminar in 1982. Less than two months later he began college at Penn State University and began volunteering in the American Philatelic Research Library two afternoons each week. By his second term in college State he had founded the Penn State Stamp Club. Ken’s first paid employment with the APS was during the summers of 1985 and 1986 when he worked primarily in Expertizing and the Library. Ken skipped college graduation and delayed summer 1986 employment a few weeks so that he could volunteer at AMERIPEX 86."

It goes on to say, "In 1995, following undergraduate and graduate work in Computer Science and Political Science, Ken began full-time APS employment in the Circuit Sales Department. By early the following year Ken’s time was split between Youth, Development and Circuit Sales, and by the middle of 1996 he was also Acting Show Director, a position he would hold until becoming Deputy Executive Director in 2000."

Martin has served as Interim Executive Director since Peter Mastrangelo’s departure in April 2009.

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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Joburg 2010 International Stamp Show

Round-Up reader Alexia de Souza sends along a press release announcing the Joburg 2010 International Stamp Show in Johannesburg, South Africa from October 27 to October 31.

According to Alexia, "2010 is a significant year in South Africa’s stamp history as it was one century ago that the first Union of South Africa stamp was printed, bearing ‘South Africa’. This stamp was not released, due to the passing of the King, but a stamp bearing the new King, Kind George V, was released later in the year (November), commemorating the opening of the Union Parliament."

The Joburg 2010 International Stamp Show is sponsored by the Philatelic Foundation of South Africa and the South African Post Office, and has the patronage of the Federation of Inter-Asian Philately (FIAP). It is also recognised by the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP), the international governing body for world philately.

Entries for the competitive exhibition close on 31 March.

For more information about The Joburg 2010 International Stamp Show, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"On the Road" Revenues Course

Gretchen Moody, American Philatelic Society (APS) Director of Education, reports the APS is offering the "Collecting United States Revenues" course this summer.

It will be taught by Ron Lesher (shown here), July 14 - 15, prior to the Minnesota Stamp Expo.

Gretchen says, "The course is intended for the beginning collector of revenues, but there will be enough depth in the topics that collectors with some experience will learn something new."

The first day’s approach will be to give a broad overview of collecting revenues. The breadth of United States revenues, including federal, state, and local revenues, will be explored.

On the second day special attention will be given to ways of collecting revenues, e.g., plate blocks, precancels, perfins, and covers.

Ronald E. Lesher is a former government bureaucrat, retiring from the New Jersey Department of Education after more than twenty years of service.

According to Gretchen, "Having flunked retirement, he currently teaches physics and calculus at a small private secondary school. His philatelic collecting interests include U.S. revenue stamped paper and alcohol related federal and state tax stamps. He is a nationally and internationally accredited judge. His writings have been published in The American Philatelist, The American Revenuer, Scott Stamp Monthly, and the State Revenue News.

The cost of the course is $195 for APS members and $295 for non-members and will be held at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, 3131 Campus Drive, Plymouth, Minnesota 55441.

Register online or by contacting Gretchen Moody, 814-933-3803. A $15 discount is available until June 23, 2010. The Minnesota Stamp Expo is July 16-18, 2010 at the Crystal Community Center.

Click here to learn about other “On the Road” courses at the APS website.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hollywood Goes Postal

Newsweek magazine reports, "The postal service lost $3.8 billion last year, but at least it's still got one big booster: Hollywood. Most of us use Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, YouTube, and blogs to communicate, but the movies are still trafficking in old-fashioned, handwritten letters."

Reporter Ramin Setoodeh goes on talk about several new and soon-to-be released movies.

Ramin writes, "In Dear John, a soldier overseas has a gushing, epistolary romance with his girlfriend back home. Letters to God is about an 8-year-old boy with cancer who sends dispatches to You Know Who and the mail carrier who befriends him. That's not to be confused with the upcoming Letters to Juliet, about an aspiring journalist (another dying breed!) who discovers a lost 'Dear Abby'–like note on a trip to Italy and responds with her own advice on love."

According to Ramin, "Some of this paper fetish has to do with screenwriters showing their age, but most of it has to do with nostalgia...Letters take us back to a time when we were careful with the printed word. When you write on paper, it's a permanent declaration, which is why so many people save letters (and why so many of us quickly delete e-mails)."

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are Stamp Collectors an Endangered Species?

Columnist Harry L. Rinker writes on his website a disturbing article about the future of certain hobbies.

While not specifically mentioning stamp collecting, some of his Ten Signposts to Identify Endangered Collecting Categories do sound frighteningly familiar.

Harry lists these 10 indications that a hobby is becoming extinct...

SIGNPOST 1: The average age of collectors exceeds 60. An average age of 55-60 is a warning.

SIGNPOST 2. It is possible to count the number of major collectors on two hands and/or the number of collectors is 50 or less.

SIGNPOST 3. A collectors’ club or clubs disappearance.

SIGNPOST 4. Objects from the collecting category are no longer available or found in limited quantities at antiques malls, shops, and shows.

SIGNPOST 5. The sell-through rate on eBay drops below 20 percent.

SIGNPOST 6. Nothing is able to check the steady decline in value.

SIGNPOST 7. Objects disappear or are sold in lots at auction.

SIGNPOST 8. No new specialized price guide or reference book on the collecting category has appeared within the last five years.

SIGNPOST 9. Trade periodicals provide little to no coverage of the collecting category.

SIGNPOST 10. The collecting category disappears, is grouped with other collecting categories, or is totally ignored in general antiques and/or collectibles price guides.

Harry writes “Rinker on Collectibles,” a weekly syndicated column, which appears in trade papers and daily periodicals around the country.

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

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Veterans’ National Stamp and Coin Club

Remy Benoit reports on the website that the Veterans’ National Stamp and Coin Club was formed more than 29 years ago and now has over 600 active members throughout the United States and abroad.

The stamps and coins acquired from donations are provided free of charge to veterans with service related injuries and medical problems.

World War II veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor Maurice A. Storck, Sr., 88, is the president of the organization. Maurice was reached by telephone recently and said that he and several assistants send out hundreds of packets of quality stamps to veterans each week.

According to Maurice, "There used to be stamp clubs in the VA hospitals themselves, but the VA now feels if you are well enough to collect stamps, you are well enough to do it at home so we mail them out now."

Maurice says most of the vets he helps with their collections are World War II vets. "The younger ones aren't really interested."

When asked about a similiar program, Stamps for the Wounded, Maurice said that the program was not as active as it once was. He felt his group was much more sensitive to the wants and needs of veterans who are stamp collectors since he himself is a vet as well as a stamp collector and former stamp dealer.

"We send them good stuff not junk stamps," Maurice said.

Donations of United States and Foreign Stamps both “ON” and “OFF PAPER” – U.S. and Foreign Coins and Paper Money – Sports Cards – Post Cards ( Old and New) – First Day Covers – Foreign Covers – Old U.S. Covers ( before 1920) – Cut Squares – Hunting Permit Stamps – Catalogues for both Stamps and Coins – Albums and Stock Books can be sent to:

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center
ATTN: Maurice A. Storck
Veterans’ National Stamp and Coin Club # 135 S.C.
3601 South 6th Avenue
Tucson, Arizoa 85723

Shown above, a Remember Our Veterans cinderella from the 1940s.

For more information on the the Veterans’ National Stamp and Coin Club, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What Happens When Today's Teenager Gets Some Snail Mail

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Lot of History Is In A Mailbag

Angie Arcierno asks on Troy, New York's The Record website, "Have you ever wondered what stories a mailbag could tell?"

She pens, "Mailbags were made by the mail equipment division at the U.S. Postal Service. This division was in charge of issuing the mailbags, mail locks and keys, the making of the bags, and any repairs to them. The mailbags had to be strong and durable, yet not heavy or bulky. Over the years, inventors have filed hundreds of patents for new and improved mailbags."

Angie points out, “mailbag” is a broad term that is used to describe any bag that carries mail. The mailbag (shown above) that is at the Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) is not technically a mailbag, but a mail pouch. Mail pouches were made of heavier weight materials and were designed to lock. These pouches were used to transport first-class and registered mail, as well as domestic or military airmail."

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

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Guide for the Development of Philately

The Guide for the Development of Philately is produced by the World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP), the global philatelic organization represented by:

- The Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- The International Federation of Philately (FIP)
- The International Federation of Stamp Dealers' Associations (IFSDA)
- The International Association of Philatelic Journalists (AIJP)

The guide sets forth best practices for the philatelic industry, encompassing all aspects of the business. It is meant for:

- Stakeholders involved in philately
- Ministers and Government officials
- Postal Administrations and their Philatelic Directors
- Marketing and Communications Specialists
- Philatelic Federations and Societies
- The Philatelic Trade Agents as representatives

According to the Universal Postal Union website, "This book is a comprehensive tool that aims to promote the hobby of philately and increase the strength of the philatelic industry."

It goes on to say, "In its quest to promote the development of philately worldwide, the WADP conducts philatelic training activities tailored to the needs of UPU member countries. These training courses are based on the contents of The Guide for the Development of Philately.

To order, click here. Cost is 40 Swiss Francs.

In a related article that appeared in Qatar's Gulf Times, a three-day workshop on the development of philately in the Arab region was held last month with delegates from 20 member-countries of the Arab Postal Union attending.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Stanley Gibbons London 2010 Show Guide Design Announced

According to a press release sent out by the company, Stanley Gibbons has selected a winner for their "Design the London 2010 Showguide Cover Competition" launched in November of last year.

23 year old Sophie Payne, currently in her 3rd year of an illustration degree at Portsmouth University, submitted a design that impressed the Stanley Gibbons judges enough to unanimously vote her the winner of their first ever design competition.

The judges were most impressed with Sophie’s use of postal elements including two types of postmarks, perforated edging, brown paper and a stylised stamp image complete with designed value tablets.

Art Editor Michael Briggs is quoted as saying, "Her design is reminiscent of Gibbons Stamp Monthly from the George V period which made her design the perfect choice for our London 2010 showguide."

Sophie spent weeks researching using the internet and Stanley Gibbons catalogues stocked by Portsmouth Central Library, before working up several designs, resulting in her winning entry.

The Stanley Gibbons London 2010 Showguide, featuring Sophie’s design (shown above) will be given away free of charge at the London 2010 Festival of Stamps.

For more on London 2010, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Organizing a Collection Using "Flickr"

The Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories website has a interesting idea for documenting your more valuable philatelic items for insurance purposes and/or sharing your favorite stamps and covers - or even your entire collection - with others.

It says, "Flickr is a great tool for organizing a collection. You can upload your photos and apply titles, tags and descriptions, which is a sneaky way of cramming a lot of indexed data into an invisible database... The great thing about it is that you can use the indexing metadata to easily search and sort your collection by a variety of criteria. Naturally, because it's Flickr, you can also share information about your collection as well as visually share the collection itself.

The social aspect of sharing your collection shouldn't be overlooked. There are many flickr groups related to collecting ...and you are likely to find aficionados in your area of interest. If you can't find a group for the items you collect, you can always start one."

To read the entire article, click here.

To visit the Flickr postage stamp group (720 members strong!), click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"Postcrossing" Sends Love Around the World

The Jakarta Post features an article about the online project "Postcrossing."

The free service allows people from around the world to send and receive postcards to each other by providing names and addresses of people who have signed up. The only cost is the postage and the postcards.

According to reporter Dian Kuswandini, "The project now receives an average of 303 postcards every hour, amounting to almost 4 million to date," and has 167,000 members from more than 200 countries.

Dian goes on to write, "The idea is: If you send a postcard, you will receive at least one back from a random "Postcrossing" member from somewhere else in the world."

Created almost 5 years ago by Slovenian philatelist Paulo Magalhães who "loved to receive snail mail — not just from friends, but also from remote places."

Paulo is quoted as saying he believes, "The project does more than just create friendships, it also sends love and lights up thousands of smiles across the world."

Last year, for example, "Postcrossing" encouraged its members to send postcards of butterflies to lupus patients for World Lupus Day (butterflies are the lupus symbol).

Then there was the Australian man who ended up marrying a Finnish woman after meeting through "Postcrossing."

To read the entire article, click here.

Click here to go to "Postcrossing."
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, April 05, 2010

1898 Revenues

A broad variety of battleship documentary and proprietary stamps as well as the dollar values from the 1898 tax period featured on John Langlois' 1898 Revenues blog.

According to John, a U.S. citizen, who lives and works in Africa, the stamps were issued by the U.S. government to pay taxes that supported the Spanish-American War.

John says he trys to focus on posts where the date of a cancel matches the day of post. Over time he hopes to create a virtual calendar of the 1898 tax period.

John writes, "Like just about everybody who collects stamps as an adult, I was an avid collector as a child but put my stamps away during my college and early adult years. I then came back to them in middle age. For me the transitions were a bit striking, in that I didn't really reengage in collecting till I returned to the US in 1999 after living for 6 years in Liberia during much of its civil war.

"Once back in the US, I dusted off my collection that I had put away as a teenager, found my Scott's US National Album to be disinteresting, and focused on a stock book I had put away of US revenue stamps. So in late 1999 I began to focus on US revenues."

To visit John's blog, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Easter Hare?

According to Wikipedia, "The original 'Easter Bunny' was introduced to America by the German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1700s and was known as the 'Osterhas.' 'Hase' means 'hare,' not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the 'Easter Bunny' indeed is a hare, not a rabbit."

Hares are generally larger and faster than rabbits and have longer ears and larger feet than rabbits.

While the Year of the Rabbit has come and gone, rabbits - and hares - on stamps and postcards (like the one shown above) continues to be a popular collecting topic.

Happy Easter!

To learn more about the origins of Easter, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Who is Arthur Wynne?

"If you’re a stamp collector, you’d know all about Arthur Wynne," writes George Robinson in an article that appears on Pennsylvania's Bucks County News website.

Oh really?

In case you don't know who Arthur Wynne is, here's a hint...his claim to fame was to develop a new game for the entertainment section of the old New York World newspaper in 1913. He based it on “Magic Squares,” a game he remembers playing as a boy in Liverpool, England.

Still clueless? Give up?

Arthur Wynne was the originator of the crossword puzzle.

In 1993, the U.S. Post Office issued a stamp (shown above) which shows Wynne holding a pencil over the squares of his diamond-shaped puzzle.

According to the article, "The puzzle’s shape is strange because it doesn’t look like our modern-day crossword, not at all like the puzzle you’ll find in this week’s newspaper and other newspapers. The first puzzle squares were clustered, forming a triangular pattern."

You'll note it also didn't have any black spaces as shown here in Arthur Wynne's original crossword puzzle from December 21, 1913.

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

Friday, April 02, 2010

Explosive Devices Found In Mailboxes

CBS News is reporting, "At least 17 devices ranging from pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails to 'hangman style' nooses, have been found in United States Postal Service collection boxes and mailboxes since March 9 of this year.

"They are just the latest in a terrifying series of homemade devices found in East Texas post office boxes over the past several months," according to an article on the CBS Evening News website.

Emily Rand, an Associate Producer of the CBS News Investigative Unit in New York writes, "The investigation is ongoing, but officials say the construction of the devices indicate the incidents are connected."

"So far none of the devices have detonated and all have been safely disabled. Although several devices have been active, bomb squads have determined others to be hoaxes," Emily reports.

Anyone with information regarding suspicious activity around blue collection boxes or the person(s) responsible for these acts can contact the Postal Inspection Service's East Texas Tip Line at 817-359-2719, or the toll-free number, 877-876-245, option 2.

Shown above, member of the bomb Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) bomb squad removes explosive device from collection box in front of a Texas post office.

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

Thursday, April 01, 2010

How Modern U.S. Postage Stamps Are Made

Click on the image above to see how a modern U.S. postage stamp is made.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM