Monday, February 28, 2011

American Philatelic Society Announces 'Hall of Fame' Inductees

William H. Bauer, Karl Heinz Schimmer, and William Lee Welch Jr.— have been added to the distinguished ranks of the American Philatelic Society’s Hall of Fame according to an APS press release.

Established in 1940, the APS Hall of Fame honors deceased philatelists who have made outstanding contributions, just as the APS Luff Award honors outstanding living philatelists.

The first fifteen members of the APS Hall of Fame were elected at the Society’s 1941 Convention, chosen from a list of 44 nominees drawn up by the Hall of Fame Committee.

From 1942 until 1988, three members could be elected annually. In 1989 new rules allowed the election of one additional long deceased philatelist. Nominees are chosen based on their outstanding contributions to the advancement of national or international philately.

For more on the new inductees, click here.

For more the on the American Philatelic Society's Hall of Fame, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Postal Worker Scores a Role in "The Fighter"

Reporter Auditi Guha writes on the Wicked Local Somerville, Massachusetts website, "A postal worker for 25 years, Walter Driscoll always has a smile for his regulars – many of whom recognize him as more than just a familiar face at the Davis Square post office on Day Street. But if you think he looks familiar, you are probably right. A man of many talents, Driscoll, 63, recently made an appearance in the movie “The Fighter,” now playing in theaters."

Guha goes on to say, "Acting is his hobby, and one that Driscoll hopes to do more of after he retires this year... But for now, his colleagues get a kick out of having a local celebrity on board."

According the article, "Around May 2004 or 2005, Driscoll said Boston Casting called him in for an audition at Arthur Ramalho's West End Gym in Lowell, his old stomping grounds. When he asked for his lines, they told him to make something up and he did. When his wife Joanne Muolo asked him how it went, he said it was terrible. But they called him back. He walked into the gym and found his name on the board and had to do another impromptu audition."

A few months later, Boston Casting called him at home and told him he got the part of a court officer in “The Fighter.” Apparently, director David Russell had just pulled his photo out of a pile.

In his role in the film, Driscoll brings in Christian Bale who tries to stop and talk to his brother. But Driscoll hurries him along with a brusque, “Let’s go, Dicky.”

Shown above, Walter Driscoll with customer.

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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Romance and Stamp Collecting

Tasmania's Coastal Times reports, "There is a big connection between stamp collecting and romance according to Devonport Stamp Club president Gary Carbines."

Reporter Eisten Joyeux quotes Gary as saying collecting was about the thrill of the chase and filling a gap. However, he does warn people that their childhood collection of stamps may have more sentimental value than monetary value.

Gary told Eisten, ".. the key to getting people involved with stamp collecting was to get people interested in something they liked, anything from birds - the most popular collection - to famous faces, landmarks, or a particular country . . . the possibilities are endless. "

Gary recommends clubs create their own website which makes the hobby more appealing to younger members and more accessible to others who cannot attend meetings.

Shown above, Gary Carbines.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Culinary Postcards

Colorado's Longmont Times reports, "June Munger’s postcards, dozens of them never mailed, get second looks every time she cooks or bakes the recipe she wrote on the back to correspond with the image on the front."

"Usually, that coupling depends on a cheery kind of free association," writes reporter Pam Mellskog.

Holding a postcard of Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Sky Above Cloud I” painting, Munger is quoted as saying, "“I put my scones recipe on it because I think they’re heavenly. I use a whole cube and a half of butter."

Postcards awaiting a recipe include the one that reads “WWJD? What Would Julia Do?” and depicts Julia Child pulling a smoking casserole out of an oven.

Another one of Marie Curie, the woman who discovered polonium and radium with her husband, also remains blank on back until the right recipe comes along.

“I’m still waiting for the right kitchen alchemy to happen,” Munger said.

Shown above, a set of 4 culinary postcards from Prickly Pear Creative.

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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libyan stamps and Colonel Gaddafi

According to a Wikipedia entry, "The first stamps of modern Libya were issued on 24 December 1951 and were overprinted stamps of Cyrenaica. Three different types of overprints were used, for the three provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan. The first stamps inscribed Kingdom of Libya were issued on 15 April 1952."

Up to 1969 a variety of inscriptions were used on Libyan stamps until 1969 including Libye, Libya, Libia and United Kingdom of Libia or Libya.

In 1969 King Idris I was deposed in a military coup lead by Colonel  (then a captain) Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi.

Since then Gaddafi (alos spelled Khadafi) has appeared on many Libyan stamps and souvenir sheets. Philatelicum - Libyan Philatelic Center has posted on YouTube several videos titled  LIBYA - Khadafi in Libyan stamps. 

Part 1 can be seen by clicking on the stamp above. All three parts can be seen by clicking here.

Shown above, a 1956 stamp showing the provinces that came together to form modern Libya.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Postal Scams Targeting Older Adults

WINK-TV in Fort Myers Florida reports, "It's not just checks and money orders that the Postal Inspectors are stopping. They're also identifying and stopping something called the 'shipping scam.' That's where a crook uses a stolen credit card and buys legitimate products. He then ships those items to you to so you can put on a new mailing label, which is usually counterfeit, and send it out. That way the crook doesn't get caught, but winds up with the merchandise in the end. The Inspectors catch these products before heading overseas and send them back to the stores."

U.S. Postal Inspector Joe Gonzalez  (shown above) is quoted as saying, ""In that scheme alone, so far this year, we've intercepted over 671 packages going outside of the country. In postage alone, in counterfeit U.S. Postal Service postage alone, there's close to $100,000 worth of counterfeit postage that we've identified."

According to the report, Postal Inspectors say scam artists typically target people 70-years or older. They urge younger people to talk to their parents and grandparents about being careful with checks, merchandise and winning lottery announcements that arrive unexpectedly in the mail.
Click here to read article and watch video.

Click here for a complete list of mail fraud and postal scams to be on the watch for.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mail Box Thefts on the Rise

Columnist Dan Lieber, who writes for the Fort Worth, Texas Star-Telegram pens, "The problem of thefts from blue U.S. Postal Service collection boxes apparently hasn't gotten any better in the past year. Neither the post office nor the Postal Inspection Service, which investigates mail crimes, will release information to the public when crimes occur."

Michael Johnston, owner of USMailboxes, is quoted as saying, "It's basically a crime that's not being prosecuted because there's too much of it to deal with. The way I see it and experience it, it has increased tremendously in the last few years. It started out as a way for thieves to get drug money. Now the recession has made it worse."

According to Dan, Johnston was hired by the post office to strengthen the blue collection boxes in his home state of Oregon.

"We went around and put those security bars on to help make it harder to break into without a key," he said. "We also put a heavier lock that was harder to pick. And they put special locking nuts on the bolts in the ground so they couldn't easily be taken off. I don't know how to make them stronger. I don't think they know either. The biggest problem up here now is they throw a chain around it and yank it out of the ground."

Postal Inspection Service spokesman Michael J. Romano suggests when possible, customers should avoid placing mail in a blue collection box after the last posted collection time or on a day mail is not scheduled to be picked up. If they must deposit mail during that time, they should use the lobby drop inside a post office.

Shown above, collection box in Washington state which had allegedly been broken into by three guys and two crowbars.

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

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bypass Mail in Alaska

The Artic Sounder website reports Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has given reassurances to United States Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) on the future of bypass mail during recent discussions about postal services in Alaska.

According to the website, "The bypass mail system has been in operation since 1985, and it allows businesses to ship directly to customers in rural Alaska, bypassing the post office. The aim of the program is to lower the cost of living for rural Alaskans."

United States Senator Mark Begich is quoted as saying after his meeting with Donahoe. ""The U.S. Postal Service is crucial to Alaskans and our way of life, It is more than just a mail service; it is food, supplies, and medicine for our communities. The Postmaster General and I talked about how to continue improving services for Alaskans."

Bypass mail, also referred to as Intra-Alaska mail, is the system used to get federal postal service to rural Alaskans who live in ruarl parts of the state with no road system.  Bypass mail is freight usually shipped from a supplier in pallets and delivered to air carriers at their operations centers at airports, bypassing traditional postal destination sorting and delivered as cargo directly to the receiver's destination.

"The Postal Service reports it spends $150 million on bypass mail yearly and has instituted this change to reduce per mile charges. "The Postal Service hopes to save as much as $8 million of its $150 million annual transportation costs if mail is flown directly to the villages, and more if other new hubs are implemented statewide," according to a May 2010 write-up on the Tundra Drums website.

Shown above, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and United States Senator Mark Begich.

For more on bypass mail in Alaska, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The John Hay Library's Lincoln Covers

Rhode Island's Herald News reports,  "...outside the gates of Brown University, houses a stamp collection estimated to be worth $10 million — an that estimate was made years ago."

Brown University's John Hay Library in Providence is the home of several major stamp collections containing many unique stamps and covers. 

Among them is the Charles Woodberry McLellan Collection of Lincolniana which has 49 envelopes addressed to President Abraham Lincoln.

The library is named for John Hay, class of 1858, who served as Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary during the Civil War and later became Secretary of State. His papers and personal library form part of the collections at the John Hay.

According to a write up on the library's website, "In 1933 Colonel Webster Knight, Class of 1876, bequeathed an almost complete collection of mint United States postage stamps, in blocks of four, along with mint and used singles and blocks of revenue stamps plus an endowment for supporting the collection. The Knight Collection served as a magnet to attract the Peltz and Morriss Collections of Special Delivery stamps, in 1947 and 1960, as well as the George S. Champlin Memorial Stamp Collection of international issues, which began arriving in 1960. The Robert T. Galkin Collection of Frist Day Covers was presented to the Library in 1976. The Irene Heneghan Stamp Collection, given in 2002, includes 93 mounted stamp albums and several hundred early 20th century U.S. postcards with cancelled one-cent stamps."

Shown above, Thomas E. Greene, left, displays some of the collection of covers addressed to President Abraham Lincoln. Cataloging some of the newer additions to the collection is Chet Browning.

For more on the library, click here.

For more on the Lincoln covers, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Investing in Stamps

An article on the website reports, "When an 8-year-old is saving 'cool' postage stamps beside his box of Legos, we call it a hobby. When an aficionado is writing out large checks, traveling to auctions in Switzerland, the UK, the US, and Germany, and taking out insurance payments on his precious pieces of paper, we call it philatelic investing."

According to the piece, "Those who are good at it say they can make more than 45% in annual returns regardless of what’s going on in other markets because stamp collecting is considered an uncorrelated investment. Indeed, the most valuable stamps have retained their value and even gained some through recessions, depressions and wars.

"Success in this market requires absolute dedication, which comes naturally to serious collectors. Unless you hire a stamp adviser, the acquisition of stamps will demand hours of personal time and a scholarly understanding of your subject. This is not a quick-fix moneymaker."

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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hallmark Cards and the U.S. Postal Service Team Up

Ed O'Keefe in his Washington Post 'Federal Eye-Keeping Tabs on the Government' column writes, "In its ongoing efforts to generate new business, the U.S. Postal Service is teaming up with Hallmark Cards to sell greeting cards that already include postage."

According to Ed, "Hallmark plans to sell packs of more than 200 varieties of the cards at its Gold Crown stores, as well as Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and other retailers. Prices will range from $2.99 to $3.99 and include the price of postage, according to the company."

He goes on to say, "Each card envelope includes a USPS barcode printed on the front...Similar to the new Forever Stamps, the barcode's value will always equal the current first-class postage rates."

According to an entry on Wikipedia, Hallmark's creative staff consists of around 800 artists, designers, stylists, writers, editors and photographers. Together they generate more than 19,000 new and redesigned greeting cards and related products per year. The company was founded in 1910 and is the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States.

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

Thursday, February 17, 2011

'Stamp Boy' Wants to be India's Ambassador of Philately

India's Hindustan Times reports, "Fifty-four years ago, a photograph of an eight-year-old boy eating a banana was chosen by Jawaharlal Nehru to be put on a postage stamp. Shekhar Borker, the boy in the stamp, now a 62-year-old, wants to dedicate his life to promote Indian philately."

Reporter Subhendu Ray pens, "A philatelist himself, Borker’s pride and joy is an album of stamps featuring him that have been signed by Nehru and Indira Gandhi. 'This album is my prized possession,' he said."

The stamp with Borker on it (which is shown above) was released on November 14, 1957, to commemorate Children’s Day.

According to the article, "Borker is the only other living person, after Mother Teresa and a Kanpur girl (now in her 70s) Rita Malhotra, who has been featured in India’s postage stamps."

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Post Office Badges

National Postal Museum Historian and Curator Nancy Pope posts on the museum's Pushing The Envelope blog, "The Post Office Department has long required its workers to carry identifying documents to prove that they are permitted to have access to the mail. One of the earliest such identifications was the pass signed by Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin in 1776 that identified William Goddard as the nation’s Riding Surveyor for the Post. Postmasters received signed certificates recognizing their appointments, mail agents carried special credentials while inspecting or protecting the mail."

She goes on to say, "The most commonly used identification credential in America’s postal history is the metal badge. Badges were first assigned to letter carriers in the 1880s, but before long just about every postal employee carried a badge of one type or another. The museum is home to dozens of postal badges, from the wildly ornate to inexpensively common."

Shown above, a New York City Postal Supervisor badge. 

To read Part I of Nancy's Badge of Service article, click here.

To view more Post Office Badges, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ronald Reagan Stamp Artist Couldn't Say No

According to the Dallas Morning News, "When Bart Forbes got a call from the U.S. Postal Service asking him to design the commemorative stamp honoring President Ronald Reagan's centennial birthday, the Plano artist couldn't say no."

Reporter Matthew Huisman writes, "The request was simple but the task complex: show the casual side of the 40th president in just a square inch. But with about 20 such stamp designs under his belt, Forbes, 70, was prepared.

He goes on to say, "Using a number of photos supplied by former first lady Nancy Reagan, he started to sketch his ideas. One of the sketches featured a portrait of a smiling Reagan set against the landscape of his beloved Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, Calif. The idea was based on a photo taken in 1985, during Reagan's second term."

It took about nine months for Forbes to finish the stamp doing the work at his Texas studio. Nancy Reagan was highly influential in the design, offering critiques every step of the way according to Matthew.

Melissa Giller, spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan Foundation, is quoted as saying, ""She [Nancy Reagan] is very happy with the stamp. She as well as all of us here at the foundation are quite pleased and think it captures his spirit."

Shown above, the orignal photo upon which the final illustration was based.

To read the entire, article, click here.

For more on creating the Reagan stamp and some early sketches, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

According to the St.Valentine's Day website, "A young Frenchman, Charles, Duke of Orleans is said to have written the first Valentine's Day card. The Duke who was captured at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 is said to have written a poem or ‘Valentine' to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London."

Since then a number of countries around the world including Thailand, Poland, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Taiwan, the Philippines and the United States have issued special stamps to go on those Valentine's Day cards the Duke helped invent.
The first Valentine's Day 'Love' stamp was issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1973. Since then, 'Love' stamps have featured a wide range of subjects, including candy, flowers, animals, and angels

La Poste (the French postal service) issues postage stamps designed by the greatest names in the French fashion industry. These Valentine day stamps are heart shaped and comes in various denomination and presentation.

This year Taiwan issued Valentine's Day stamps with a "Secret Code" .

According to the Taiwan Times, the stamps are designed with a “quick response code” (QR code) which was originally created to help car manufacturers quickly track vehicle parts. Nowadays, the code is widely used in other areas, such as inventory management.

Unlocking the codes will reveal the words “Happy Valentine’s Day” in English and Chinese on the NT$5 stamps and the words “I Love You” in both languages on the NT$25 stamps.

For more on these stamps, click here.
For more on Valentine's Day, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Unique Gandhi 'Khadi' Stamp Released at INDIPEX 2011

Jeevan Jyoti reports yesterday on her Rainbow Stamp Club website, "President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Patil inaugurated the World Philatelic Exhibition, INDIPEX 2011, here today by releasing a special limited edition Khadi stamp on Mahatma Gandhi."

President Patil is quoted in the article, "Stamps are usually printed on paper. For the first time in history, a special khadi stamp is being issued which is on Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence."

Also quoted is INDIPEX Director Harpreet Singh who said, ""India has never issued any stamp on any material other than on paper. In other countries, materials like silk, gold and diamonds have been used to make stamps. We thought to experiment with khadi and Gandhiji was a natural choice since he advocated the use of handspun khadi."

According to a write up on Wikipedia, "The actual meaning of khadi is any cloth that is hand spun and hand woven...Khadi commands a sentimental value for Indians. It is often associated with Mahatma Gandhi. Someone said, the first true Indian designer was Mahatma because of his appeal to Indians to wear khadi garments."

For more on INDIPEX 2011, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Woman Who Mailed Puppy Wants Postage Back

The Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota Star Tribune reports, "A 39-year-old woman was charged with animal cruelty after she tried to air-mail the dog to Atlanta from downtown Minneapolis."

Stacey Champion (shown here) paid $22 to send the black poodle-Schnauzer mix puppy named Guess to Georgia via priority mail.

According to the article, the  clerk who accepted the package asked all the standard questions: Any perishables, liquids, hazardous materials?

Reporters  Mary Lynn Smith and Paul Walsh pen, "When the box began moving and making noise, workers called a postal inspector -- the Postal Service's enforcement arm -- and got permission to open the package."

Postal supervisor Thompson Ojoyeyi is quoted in the piece as saying, "The Postal Service will ship some live animals such as bees, certain small and harmless cold-blooded animals, chicks and ducklings. But sending dogs and cats through the mail is a definite no."

Cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty, the woman asked the Post Office to refund the $22 she paid to mail the puppy.  Postal authorities declined the request.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on this story and to watch the CNN video, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, February 11, 2011

Philatelic Decoupage

The latest American Philatelic Society on-line newsletter features an article by Bonnie Farmer titled Philatelic Decoupage.

According to Bonnie, "In early 2010 the American Philatelic Research Library received an unusual donation: a set of philatelically decoupaged plates dating from the first decade of the twentieth century.The plates were a gift from the estate of Genevieve Marie (Mimi) Harris (1927–2010), a local resident.They formed a philatelic connection to her maternal grandfather who owned a hotel in Chamonix,1 Haute Savoie, France, at the foot of Mont Blanc."

She goes on to say, "The plates are decorated with a selection of photographs and decoupage patterns created from dozens (perhaps hundreds) of stamps and postmarks, carefully cut into tiny mosaic fragments, glued onto the surface of the plates, and then lacquered over to preserve the design."

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Scanning Your Collection Just Got Easier

Bob Skinner writes on his Filling Spaces blog, "I've tried a couple of times to assemble an easy contraption for photographing stamp albums without much luck. An intriguing product named the Book Saver Book Scanner has just been announced by Ion Audio at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. While I don't think the product will handle large albums like the Scott Internationals, it still is an interesting concept. The product is expected to be released in April and will cost less than $200."

The makers claim you can scan 200 pages in less than 15 minutes! Not only could you scan your collection for insurance purposes but also your favorite articles from Linn's and other publications.

According to a write-up about it on the USA Today website, "The contraption has two cameras that take separate images in rapid succession of each page of an open book after you press a button that loosely resembles a video game controller. You then lift a cover, turn the page and snap the button again. ION claims since you presumably own the books that you are scanning this is considered 'Fair Use' and there's no need to worry about any rights restrictions."

To watch a YouTube video of the Book Saver Book Scanner in action, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Share the Love at the Spellman Museum

On Friday, Feb. 11 from 5 to 8:30 p.m., children and adults will have a chance to prepare for Valentine’s Day by making Valentine cards and small gifts using postage stamps at the Spellman Museum in Weston, Massachusetts according to a write-up on the website.

The museum staff will help visitors create stamp Valentine pins, Valentine envelopes decorated with "love" stamps, and cut out hearts covered with stamps for their loved ones.

In addition, there will be stamp games and puzzles for children, and they can also design their own Valentine’s Day stamp. The museum will also have a display of U.S. "love" stamps issued over the years.

Children are admitted free and receive a free packet of stamps. For more information call 781-768-8367, e-mail

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

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

National Postal Museum Seeking Volunteers

The National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. is seeking volunteers to help out at public programs such as family festivals, workshops, and other programs according to an on-line classified ad in the Washington Post.

According to the listing, "Volunteers should have friendly smiles, strong communication skills, and a passion for learning and teaching. Enthusiasm for learning about postal history and stamp collecting (philately) is required, but no initial knowledge of these topics is necessary. Saturday availability is required as programs take place on Saturdays. A one-year commitment is required."

It goes on to say, "In 2011, public program volunteers will attend training, enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum's vault, teach visitors how to start topical stamp collections, craft 'mail art' creations with visitors of all ages, and explain Civil War-era postal and philatelic innovations through hands-on activities. Highlights will include fun and educational festivities to celebrate the centennial of the first airmail flight as well as the issuance of a postage stamp commemorating Owney the dog, mascot of the Railway Mail Service (and a longtime volunteer favorite). After all that hard work, volunteers will enjoy the annual volunteer appreciation evening as well as social get-togethers throughout the year."

Additional perks include discounts at Smithsonian stores and eateries, behind-the-scenes experiences, and "learning to accurately pronounce philately."

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

Monday, February 07, 2011

Vince Lombardi Trophy Goes Home to Green Bay

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers, winners of Superbowl XLV and the Vince Lombardi Trophy!

The trophy was renamed in 1970 in memory of Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi after his untimely death at age 57 from colon cancer to commemorate his victories in the first two Super Bowls.

Since 1967, the trophy (shown here)  had been generally referred as the World Professional Football Championship trophy. Created by Tiffany & Co., it is valued at approximately $25,000 and is made entirely of sterling silver.

In 1997, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in honor of Lombardi and three other legendary football coaches.

According to the Art of the Stamp website, "Early sketches for this stamp showed the legendary coach diagramming football plays for an unseen audience, but the artist and the art director soon agreed to highlight Lombardi’s winning reputation instead. The two 'number one' hand gestures signify victories by the Green Bay Packers in the first two Super Bowls."

According to an entry on Wikipedia, despite their lost in this year's Super Bowl match-up, the Pittsburgh Steelers hold the most Vince Lombardi Trophies, with six. Green Bay Packers are now tied with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys with five Vince Lombardi Trophies apiece. The New York Giants, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, and Oakland Raiders are all tied for third with three apiece.

For more on the Vince Lombardi Trophy, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Today marks the 100th birthday of Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1981–1989).

According to Steven Wayward in a review of Reagan: A Life in Letters, "Ronald Reagan not only insisted on regularly reading a large sample of mail sent to the White House, but that he spent hundreds of hours writing replies to ordinary and distinguished citizens alike. The civil servants in the White House post office raised the alarm a few days into Reagan's first term that someone was using the President's special stationery to send out letters. They couldn't believe it was the President himself. But Reagan hand-wrote an estimated 1,000 letters during his presidency--many of them written during the period in the afternoon blocked out in his schedule as "personal time," when everyone in Washington assumed that he was taking a nap. As was so often the case with Reagan, it was the conventional wisdom that was asleep."

Wayward goes on to say, "Reagan began his letter-writing habits during his Hollywood days, when he thought it important, as well as necessary for his film career, to reply to his fan mail. He kept up this practice as he began his long transition into a person of political substance."

According to Reagan's bio on Wikipedia, " In August 1994, at the age of 83, Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, an incurable neurological disorder which destroys brain cells and ultimately causes death. In November he informed the nation through a handwritten letter..."

The letter read in part, "In closing let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Click here to for more on Reagan: A Life in Letters.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, February 05, 2011

In Praise of Snail Mail

Writing in the Opinion Section of the Los Angeles Times, Meghan Daum writes, "I've always loved mail. By that I mean the mail that arrives in a physical mailbox six days a week, not e-mail. Well, I love that too, but it's a cheap thrill. My heart belongs to snail mail."

She goes on to say, "So when I read the news last week that the U.S. Postal Service plans to close or consolidate as many as 2,000 branches in the next two years, my heart sank a little. There's something wistfully beautiful about the idea of the doors staying open at some remote post office whose main customer is a bearded old codger with an eBay habit."

Meghan points out, "In late 19th century London, the mail came 12 times a day! No wonder we so often imagine Victorians lollygagging about their houses awaiting replies to their latest witty ripostes; with that much mail delivery, how could they possibly have focused on anything else? If my mail came 12 times a day, even in its current direct-to-recycling-bin state, I would get nothing done."

"But as the Postal Service continues its slow fade into history, something will be missing. Not written communication — indeed, it's only multiplying — but the small comforts that come from waiting for it, handling it and smiling whenever you pass the table you've placed it on. For that, nothing beats the U.S. mail," she concludes.

Click here to read her entire commentary.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, February 04, 2011

Chinese Shopkeeper Gives Thumbs Up to Canada's 'Year of Rabbit' Stamp

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports illustrator Tracy Walker visited a Chinese shopkeeper near Toronto and asked him his opinion about her design for this year's Canada's 'Year of Rabbit' stamp.

According to the report, "...He didn't speak English, but with the help of a passerby Tracy was able to explain her connection to the new stamp.

"The store owner turned and pointed to the display cases of some previous Chinese New Year stamps and shook his head. 'These not Chinese,' he said frowning.

"Then he grabbed my sheet of stamps and grinned," says Tracy. "'This Chinese,' he said firmly, giving me a thumbs up. It was very moving."

Reporter Anna-Liza Kozma goes on to say, "The stamps are designed in such away that when two or more are placed side by side it looks as though the rabbit is hopping from one frame to the next. The full sheet produces the illusion of chasing rabbits."

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

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Rep. Barbara Jordan - 2011 "Black Heritage" Stamp Honoree

"Each year, professional stamp collectors, philatelic experts, and stamp enthusiasts anticipate the unveiling of the newest edition to the Black Heritage series. This year, Barbara Jordan, a former Texas congresswoman who died of complications related to leukemia in 1996, will succeed late film director Oscar Micheaux—the 2010 nominee," writes Benjamin Koconis of the Washington Informer.

He goes on to pen, "The Barbara Jordan stamp, which will go on sale in September of 2011, was created by award-winning artist Albert Slark of Ajax, Ontario, Canada. Each Black Heritage stamp is unique, and the Jordan stamp is no exception. Slark created the image for the stamp by first painting Jordan’s portrait with oil paints using an undated black-and-white photograph for reference. It was then scaled down to size in order to fit the stamp template."

Roy Betts, manager of Community Relations at the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C. is quoted as saying, "Any professional artist can submit a graphic concept for commemorative stamp art...the U.S. Postal Service works almost exclusively with a very select stable of designers who have experience producing art work that will reproduce well at such a small scale."

According to the article, "Despite the fact that the first official Black Heritage stamp was not issued until 1978, more than 100 African Americans have been represented on stamps dating back more than 70 years. The 'A ' list includes Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Salem Poor, and Louis Armstrong—to name a few."

Shown above, Barbara Jordan stamp design. Ms. Jordan was the first elected black woman to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Video Interview With U.S. Postmaster General

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe talks with the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe about the challenge of bringing cuts, change and fresh ideas to the nation's second-largest civilian employer.

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

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

World Online Philatelic Agency

Stamp News Online reports it is now possible to buy new issues and all available stamp products at face value from a variety of postal administrations which currently include Aland, The Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey (with Alderney), Jersey and Isle of Man on the World Online Philatelic Agency (WOPA)

According to the report, "...additional countries are being added all the time and already confirmed to be available within the next weeks are Great Britain, Luxembourg, Israel and Portugal (with Azores and Madeira). The site will also offer philatelic accessories related to the participating countries produced by the Dutch company DAVO."

Orders are guaranteed, handled and shipped to you directly by the issuing countries. Credit cards are accdepted and a nominal shipping fee is added for each shipment.

WOPA, which is a division of Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau Ltd., has plans to expand their service to many other major postal administrations worldwide.

To visit the World Online Philatelic Agency site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM