Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Europa Stamps

The United Nations has declared 2011 as International Year of Forests. During the year all 48 members of PostEurop will be issuing Europa stamps which illustrate the biological, ecological and climatic benefits of forests.

According to an entry on the PostEurop website, "The Europa issue (also known as Europa - CEPT until 1992) is an annual joint issue of stamps with a common design or theme by postal administrations member of the European Communities (1956-1959), the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT from 1960 to 1992), then the PostEurop Association since 1993."

The first Europa stamps were issued in 1956 . This year the new Europa logo featuring a grapic depiction of a mail recepticle will be incorporated into the designs.

PostEurop is the association which represents the interest of 48 European public postal operators. Committed to supporting and developing a sustainable and competitive European postal communication market accessible to all customers and ensuring a modern and affordable universal service, PostEurop promotes cooperation and innovation bringing added value to the European postal industry.

For more on PostEurop and the 2011 Europa stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering Our Veterans on Memorial Day

New York's Little Falls Times reports that local veterans and postal officials were joined by State Senator James Seward at a press conference at the Herkimer Post Office to announce the Purple Heart stamp has been classified as a “Forever” stamp, "ensuring that it will continue in circulation as a lasting tribute to wounded veterans."

Herb Kay, a Vietnam veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart.is quoted in the article by Rob Juteau as saying, "“They have stamps for celebrities and sports figures so it’s only fitting they have a stamp for Purple Heart recipients."

The stamp features a photograph by Ira Wexler of one of two Purple Hearts awarded to James Loftus Fowler, of Alexandria, Va., who was battalion commander of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, serving in Vietnam. The stamp was first issued in 2003.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the president of the United States to members of the U.S. military who have been wounded or killed in action. According to the Military Order of the Purple Hearth, an organization for combat-wounded veterans, the medal is the “oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first award made to a common soldier."

Shown above to the left of Senator Seward is Herkimer resident Tony D’Arpino, a World War II veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

2011 California Duck Stamp Design

The Los Angeles Times reports, "The winning design for California’s 2011 duck stamp was selected at a judging event May 19 on the steps of the State Capitol building in Sacramento.Shari Erickson of Beaver Creek, Ore., won for her painting of a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye, the species for this year's competition and stamp. This was Erickson's first duck stamp contest win."

According to reporter Kelly Burgess, "The image beat out 15 other entries submitted by artists nationwide and will adorn the 2011-12 stamp. In past years, waterfowl hunters were required to affix stamps to their hunting license but this year, with California moving to an automated licensing system, hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field -- proof of purchase prints directly onto the license. The stamps will now be mailed, upon request, to license-holders at the end of the hunting season."

The Department of Fish and Game sells about 70,000 duck stamps annually, including sales to collectors.

Shown above, this year's winning design.

To read the entire article, click here.

Click here to view more California duck stamp designs.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is The Postal Service Heading Off A Cliff?

Facebook friend Nancy Pope, historian and curator of postal history at the National Postal Museum,  recommends taking a look at the cover story in Businessweek magazine titled "The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse" by Devin Leonard.

Nancy says, "An interesting piece on the postal service's future. Some good points and a few that aren't quite on the mark, but worth reading."

According to the article,  Phillip Herr with the U.S. Government Accountability Office has been diagnosing what ails the U.S. Postal Service for the past three years.

Referring to U.S. Postal Service, Herr is quoted as saying, ""It's one of those things that the public just takes for granted. The mailman shows up, drops off the mail, and that's it."

He also finds it's "headed off a cliff."

"He [Herr] is struck by how many USPS executives started out as letter carriers or clerks. He finds them so consumed with delivering mail that they have been slow to grasp how swiftly the service's financial condition is deteriorating," pens Leonard.

Leonard, who looks at some other postal systems around the world, comments, "This should be a moment for the country to ask some basic questions about its mail delivery system. Does it make sense for the postal service to charge the same amount to take a letter to Alaska that it does to carry it three city blocks? Should the USPS operate the world's largest network of post offices when 80 percent of them lose money? And is there a way for the country to have a mail system that addresses the needs of consumers who use the Internet to correspond?"

On a philatelic note, Leonard discovered, "The 73rd Postmaster General [Patrick Donahoe] sits comfortably in a blue leather chair in his wood-paneled Washington office, surrounded by postal artifacts. There's a portrait of original Postmaster Benjamin Franklin on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and a bronze statue of a Pony Express rider. Donahoe, a car buff, has also decorated the room with sports car stamps."

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jennifer Toombs: International Stamp Artist

The BBC reports a British artist, who has designed postage stamps for nations around the world since 1965, still dreams of designing stamps for her own country.

According to the article, "Jennifer Toombs started her career in 1965, when she designed a stamp to mark the death of Winston Churchill. Her work was not selected by the Royal Mail, but Jennifer has gone on to hand-draw stamps for over 50 countries."

Jennifer is quoted in the piece as saying, ""To design for the Royal Mail would be the cherry on the top. I'm happy to tackle anything that's going."

While Queen Elizabeth has approved four stamps Jennifer designed to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, they're for the Pitcairn Islands not Great Britain. However, she does design Royal Mail's first-day covers and cards.

"I get sent the blank covers with the stamps on and have to do a hand-painted design at the side to blend in with the stamps," Jennifer said.

These covers have become highly collectible and are described as 'Toombsiana' according to the article.

Shown above, Jennifer Toombs looking at some of the first stamps she ever designed.

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pizza Postage

As long as it can be mailed overnight, a Bowling Green, Kentucky campus pizzeria will gladly send you its stuffed breadsticks... anywhere in the country.... at no extra charge!

According to the Bowling Green University student newspaper, the service started six to seven years ago and increased in popularity during the last couple years. When graduates from the University left town to find new jobs, they still wanted the breadsticks from Campus Pollyeyes.

Owner Bob Nicholson is quoted in the piece by Bobby Waddle as saying, "....the breadsticks are cooked, frozen for 24 hours and wrapped in foil. The dressings are also frozen and packaged separately before the trip to the post office, where the contents of the package need to be shown to the postal worker before they can be sealed and shipped in a guaranteed overnight trip."

No word whether or not they use stamps on the package.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Things Your Mailman Won't Tell You

While looking at an old Reader's Digest in the doctor's office, I came across an article titled "13 Things Your Mailman Won't Tell You"by Michelle Crouch.

Among them are...

~ Yes, we do have to buy our own stamps, but a lot of us carry them for customers who need them. If we don’t charge you, that’s because we like you

~ Please dress properly when you come to the door. A towel wrapped around you doesn’t cut it. And we definitely don’t want to see you in your underwear—or naked!

~ We serve 150 million addresses six days a week, so we’re often in the right place at the right time. We pull people out of burning cars, catch burglars in the act, and call 911 to report traffic accidents, dead bodies, and more.

~Most of us don’t mind if you pull up to our trucks while we’re delivering and ask for your mail a little early. But please get out of your car and come get it. Don’t just put your hand out your window and wait for me to bring it to you.

Click here to read the other 9 (plus 11 more).
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Burger King Doesn't Have Their Way With The Post Office

Fox News is reporting, "After unleashing its lawyers, USPS has struck a settlement with Burger King over an ad campaign launched last year that featured a letter carrier getting distracted from his job by delicious Burger King breakfast food."

According to the report, the Postal Service did not appreciate the portrayal. In the ad, a letter carrier in a uniform resembling that of a Postal Service employee sang about the joys of Burger King's new breakfast menu. The offending verse was: "With pancakes and eggs on my plate, the mail has to wait."

It goes on to say, "According to a Postal Service statement issued Friday, the agency asked the fast food giant to stop airing the ad, arguing that Burger King used its logo and uniform without permission while portraying a letter carrier in a "less than favorable light."

Though Burger King denied wrongdoing, they reached a settlement allowing the company to use a uniform similar to the official Postal Service garb, minus the logo. Burger King is expected to air a "revised" and "more positive" commercial -- one that presumably leaves viewers feeling better about the work ethic of their letter carriers."

For more on this story, click here. To watch the ad, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 23, 2011

Youthful Stamp Collections - A Tough Sell

Danielle Arnet of Tribune Media Services responds to some common questions about the hobby.

A reader writes, "I want to find a good home for the stamp collection I started as a kid. I took it to a stamp show, but serious collectors didn't find it sophisticated enough for them. The guy at a local stamp retail shop suggested I use the stamps to mail bills. Is stamp collecting no longer a popular hobby? Wouldn't a kid out there appreciate a boost to his collection?"

Danielle's response, in part....

"With stamps - as with coins, porcelains, dolls, watches and you name it - advanced collectors all chase after the same top, rare merchandise. That's why our reader can't get anywhere with his collection.I do think the appeal of stamp collecting has faded for young collectors, for several reasons. For generations, the basic appeal was the romance of discovering faraway places through those little pieces of decorative paper. Each stamp told a story. But today's kids have the world available to them in so many electronic ways. Stamps seem fussy and abstract."

She comments, "Adult stamp collectors have done a poor job of introducing the hobby to future collectors. Holding a show where established collectors all chase after high-level merchandise does not help the hobby."

To read her entire response, including an unscientific poll among young people about stamp collecting, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 22, 2011

U.S. Post Office Modernization After World War II

Kevin Danchisko writes on the National Postal Museum's website, "At the end of the Second World War, the U.S. Post Office Department was faced with an enormous challenge. Through the Great Depression and the war, the Department had little funding available for upgrading equipment or organizational systems. After 1945, the nation began an extended period of population and economic growth. 

"The Department's aging and decrepit equipment was challenged by the unprecedented growth in mail volume that accompanied this new prosperity. The nation needed a postal system that could meet its surging need.

"To answer that challenge the Department had to integrate new machines and systems into an organization that was second only to the military in scope and numbers. It would not be easy."

To see the entire article Machines or Bust: Post Office Department Research and Development, 1945-1970 along with some great photos, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tibetan Mail Carriers

Chinese reporter Lu Qiuping quotes Feng Xinsheng, deputy general manager of China Post, on the English language Xinhua News Agency website as saying many villages in remote China have no access to pavement, and nearly 10,000 mail routes rely on horses, camels or walking letter carriers.

One of those walking letter carriers is Nima Lamu.

Nima, 35, has spent 12 years delivering letters and parcels in a rural area of southwest China's Yunnan Province where the altitude ranges from 1,000 to 4,500 meters. Her mail route covers 350 kilometers, requiring seven days for a round-trip on foot.

There are 15,000 people who, like Nima Lamu, deliver mail on foot, but few are females, according to Feng.

Shown above, 1974 stamp issued by or with approval of the Tibetan government in exile in Dharmsala (India). Generally considered as an unofficial or 'fake' stamp according to UNOstamps.com

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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Royal Wedding Stamps Production Video

UK's Stamp magazine has posted on its website a behind-the-scenes video about the production of the recent Royal wedding stamps.

Click on arrowhead above to view.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Carpe Philatelicum

"That's right: seize the stamp! Or the cover. Or whatever philatelic item you see that you have thought about buying but haven't for one reason or another," writes John Finch on the About.com stamps page.
John comments, "Never assume that you're going to see another copy of the scarce stamp you lust after; the one now right in front of you being offered at a stamp show, in a shop or online. While this rule doesn't apply to common items that you can always get, a stamp with just the right cancel, or a cover with all the right postal markings or traveled to a rare destination -- the better to make postal history collectors drool -- presents an opportunity that may well never come around again."
"Don't tell yourself  'Oh I can get one of those (or one like it) later.' Because at least nine times out of ten you'll get no second chance," John concludes.
Good advice, John!
To visit John's excellent About.com, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Screen Wagons

According to an entry on the National Postal Museum website, "As mail volume continued to grow in the late nineteenth century, the Post Office Department began using mail wagons to carry pouches and sacks full of mail between railway stations, post offices, and occasionally between towns. The Department contracted with companies that provided their own wagons for carrying the mail. Mail security became an issue with these wagons, most of which used canvas covers over the side that could easily be ripped by potential thieves."

It goes on to say, "To provide greater security, the Department began using wire-caged mail wagons in the late 1880s. While the mail was being moved, a lock secured the back doors of each mail wagon. Because of this design, the wagons were quickly nicknamed 'screen wagons'. Postmasters found the screen wagons easier to maintain and cheaper to operate. Another benefit to postmasters was the wagon’s tight turning radius. The front wheels could turn completely under the body, allowing the vehicles to easily pivot into tight loading docks."

To learn more, click here.

To watch a short  film of screen wagons being loaded with mail at a post office in 1903, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Royal Mail Auctions Off 'Undelivered Mail' and Angers Customers

UK's Daily Express reports, "Britain's Royal Mail has admitted it sells off around 75,000 undelivered postage items every year and has earned 3.2 million pounds over the past five years - a move that has angered many consumers."

Reporter Jon Coates pens, "Post which is not addressed properly, too big for letter boxes and not claimed from post offices, or with incorrect postage paid is sent to the National Returned Letter Centre in Belfast. The centre stores items for four months, but if they remain unclaimed they are sent to Surrey-based Wellers Auction House to go under the hammer. The centre in Belfast, which employs 160 full-time staff, successfully redirected 5.2million items last year, but this left another 20 million undelivered."

Postal industry expert Steve Lawson is quoted in the article as saying, "'Auctioning off lost items could be regarded as a profitable business and the drive for profit could outstrip any moral or legal obligation to trace their rightful owners."

Shown above, Royal Mail sorting center.

To read the entire article, click here.

To learn how to recover a package lost in the U.S. postal system, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stamp Collecting Makes Presidents Wiser

Jack R. Van Ens asks in a guest commentary on the Denver Post website, "Couldn't U.S. Presidents enormously benefit from stamp collecting?"

Jack says stamp collecting helped President Franklin Roosevelt a great deal during World War II.

He points out, "When Asian experts conversed with FDR during World War II about what South Pacific islands Allied forces should invade fighting the Japanese, they were amazed at FDR's command of geography. He pinpointed on maps obscure islands that few Americans recognized. The President mastered this valuable knowledge largely from his devotion to stamp collecting."

But what about modern presidents?

Jack comments, "Presidents should emulate FDR and become stamps collectors. By studying history, geography and culture that stamps depict, a president will wisely shun military strikes in foreign lands non-philatelists often misunderstand."

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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New London Restaurant Called "The Penny Black"

London's City AM website reports, "It sounds like the name of a pub, doesn’t it? For some reason, the image I had in my head of a restaurant called The Penny Black was some dark, old-fashioned tavern, a place that felt as though it had been around since the first Penny Black stamp was posted (1840, as any philatelist will tell you), serving up beef Wellington and toad in the hole with foaming tankards of stout."

According to the article, "The name comes from some artworks – Warholesque screen prints of the famous stamp – that the owners acquired and liked enough to name their new restaurant after."

Restaurant critic Timothy Barber says, "The Penny Black opened in February, and its understated, unfussy approach should be welcomed, particularly in this neck of the woods where things can tend towards the showy. It feels classy, and I rather think it is."

Cost per person without wine: £40.

Shown above, the interior of The Penny Black restaurant in Chelsea.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The National Postal Museum Acquires Confederate Postal Printing Plate

According to the ArtDaily.org website, "The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has acquired from The Franklin Institute a Confederate postage-stamp printing plate that was confiscated during the Civil War. The printing plate [shown above] contains 400 5-cent Jefferson Davis stamp images etched in copper and weighs nearly 100 pounds. The copper plate was ordered by the Confederate States of America and manufactured by De La Rue & Co. of London in 1861. The federal vessel Mercedita captured the British ship Bermuda between Bermuda and Nassau April 27, 1862, and as part of the contraband, the printing plate was brought to Philadelphia and sold. It was never used to print stamps by the Confederacy."

Cheryl R. Ganz, chief curator of philately at the National Postal Museum is quoted as saying, “This spectacular acquisition will be a centerpiece in the display case of the three-dimensional objects from the National Philatelic Collection to be featured in the new William H. Gross Stamp Gallery. The 5-cent plate provides a wonderful connection to the first philatelic object ever collected by the Smithsonian Institution-a pane of the Confederate States of America’s 10-cent blue Jefferson Davis stamp.”

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

Friday, May 13, 2011

Utah Philatelic Society Celebrating Its 65th Anniversary

This weekend collectors from all over the state will be attending an exhibition sponsored by the Utah Philatelic Society.

Marking their 65th anniversary, members will display their collections and help educate the public about the art and history of stamp collecting.

"The society is comprised of stamp collectors ranging from the ages of 28 to 90. Their oldest member, Jim Russell, has been collecting stamps since he was 12. He is now 90," according to a write-up by reporter Zach Peterson on the Brigham Young University website, Universe.

Russell is quoted in the piece as saying, "When I got out of the Army a bunch of us got together and formed The Utah Philatelic Society and I’m the last charter member left."

Don Marr, a Brigham Young University graduate, is president of the society and is also quoted.

“As you grow older and get more stamps you get some stamps that are more valuable, but the question is how valuable are they going to be four, five or 10 years down the road,” Marr said. “There’s things you don’t get out of the history books that you get from stamps.”

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

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mail Carriers Robbed at Gun Point in Chicago

The Chicago Sun-Times reports, "Even though their jobs regularly place them on foot in some of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods, the men and women who deliver mail for the U.S. Postal Service will tell you they usually feel quite safe."

"Whether it’s out of respect for the service the mail carrier provides or out of fear of the consequences of interfering with them, mail carriers have long been treated as off limits by the same predators who might normally pose a danger to anyone else walking down the street with a bag full of potential goodies," writes reporter Mark Brown.

All of sudden, though, that seems to be changing according to Mark.

At least five mail carriers have been robbed at gunpoint in the Chicago area since the beginning of the year.This follows a series of less violent thefts from mail carriers on the last year,

Mark goes on to pen, "Nobody can say whether the targeting of mailmen is just another sign of desperate measures in a bad economy or part of some criminal strategy, but it’s prompting the union that represents mailmen to appeal to the public for help in watching their backs."

Shown above, cover of the 1954 British boy's adventure book, Joey and the Mail Robbers by Reginald Alec Martin.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stamping Out Hunger

USA Today and other print, electronic and broadcast media are reporting that mail carriers around the country are gearing up for the annual "Stamp Out Hunger"  food drive which is scheduled for this Saturday, May 14.

Reporter Christie Garton writes, "Now in its 19th year, the event encourages Americans to donate non-perishable foods — canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal — in a sturdy bag next to their mailbox before the time of regular mail delivery."

She goes on to say, "In 2010, letter carriers collected a record-setting total of 77.1 million pounds of food donations along their postal routes, pushing the 18-year total for the drive to more than 1billion pounds of food, according to Feeding America."

To visit the Stamp Out Hunger website, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter Writing Day

The Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History will hold its second annual Letter Writing Day on Sunday, May 22 from 1:00 to 4:00. Co-authors Kate Drury, a postal carrier for over 28 years, and Lois McNulty, whose father was a mailman, will share mail carrier stories from their new book Carried Away.

Mary W. Hart, a lettering artist and lecturer at both Lasell and Middlesex Community Colleges, will give a demonstration of a unique type of calligraphy and explain the use of the several special nibbed oblique pens. Instructions will also be given about how to create envelopes and stationery. Children and adults will be urged to write at least one letter to a friend. The Museum will the mail letters for free. Visitors will be asked to share their personal stories about favorite letters they have received and are encouraged to bring some of these to the program.

On display in the Museum's main gallery will be examples of letters from various eras and plus patriotic envelopes used during the Civil War.

For more information about this event, call (781) 768- 8367.

For more on letters and letter-writing, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 09, 2011

The World Through Stamps

An episode from a TV series titled World Through Stamps: The Stories Behind Postage Stamps which aired in the 1950s.

Narrated by well-known CBS newsman Robert Trout, this 13-minute program starts off talking about early attempts at long distance flights before World War I.

It then goes into about how the U.S. government was only one that would bankroll airplanes and developed the first airmail routes in 1918. They also show an example of the first airmail stamp, along with the infamous "upside down Jenny" stamp, which they quote as being worth $4000. The story moves to the barnstormers who bought up surplus Jennys.

This and more than 60,000 other "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films were archived by Rick Prelinger in New York City beginning in 1993.  In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

To visit the Prelinger Archive, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The King's Stamps

Britain's The Star reports, "It’s one thing, for example, to have on display a Penny Black – the world’s first stamp, issued in 1840. But it’s quite another to see the original drafts of the iconic design, including rejected versions, works in progress and stamps from the first plates ever printed."

These and other rare items are from George V's  stamp collection and were on display over the weekend at an exhibition hosted by the Sheffield Philatelic Society.

Bill Hornadge writes on the Philatelic Database website, "...King George V of England, who began collecting when a young man in the Navy, and who adhered to the hobby with tremendous enthusiasm throughout his life, amassed the finest collection of British Empire stamps ever assembled." 

Bill goes on to say that occasionally the King was joined in his collecting pursuits by his cousin, Czar Nicholas, another keen philatelist, who "later was to lose both his life and his stamps in the Russian revolution.
Shown above, judges evaluate the exhibits at the show.

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

Saturday, May 07, 2011

USPS Gets Approval To Sell Gift Cards

According to Fox Business News, USPS will start selling gift cards on a trial basis next month at selected post offices.

Reporter Jennifer Booton writes, "The agency’s latest attempt to boost popularity comes in the form of little plastic cards. Starting in June, the cash-strapped agency will offer cards issued by American Express,  Discover, MasterCard, and Visa on a two-year trial basis at 2,000 post offices."

Jennifer goes on to say, "While gift cards for the post office may not be on the top of everyone’s shopping list, the cards may at least find some interest in certain niche markets. College students receiving packages from mom and dad and sending goods to and from school would likely welcome a free-shipping gift, as would consumers undergoing a move."

Although not mentioned in the piece, stamp collectors would also probably appreciate the cards as gifts from friends and family. Being able to use the card at the post office would solve the problem what to get  the collector who has "everything".... or who is strapped for cash and can't afford buy the latest new stamps.

Customers will be able to use the cards not only at post offices but at other places as well.

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

Friday, May 06, 2011

Queen's Head Stamp Rugs

The Felt and Wire website reports, "Fresh on the heels of the royal nuptials, we must share this woolly bully news, just in from F&W friend Martha Newton Furman. The iconic bust of Queen Elizabeth, sculpted by Arnold Machin and printed on billions (our conservative estimate) of British postage stamps since 1967 … is now available as a rug or wall hanging. Check out the Queen’s Head Stamp Rugs, officially licensed by The Royal Mail, natch. We can’t help but wonder, is the Queen amused?"

It goes on to say, "The witty Brits at Rug Maker describe this offering as the “ultimate majestic design statement, capable of “bringing a regal air to any interior. If you had a certain sense of humour, you might be tempted to think of this as calling the Queen on the carpet!"

A description on the manufacturer's website states, "The Queen's head is embossed on these unique Postage Stamp Rugs which are skilfully hand woven from 100% New Zealand wool in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. Featuring scalloped edges which mimic the perforations on Royal Mail Postage Stamps each rug is individually hand carved to create a stunning 3D effect. Used as a conventional rug or hung on a wall for an alternative look, the Queen's Head Stamp Rug is the ultimate majestic design statement."

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

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Freshen Up Your Collection with New Australian Stamps

Reporter Glenn Mulcaster writes on the Sydney Morning Herald website, "Aromatic postage stamps infused with eucalyptus oil will give mail deliveries a distinct Australian scent when they are released this month. The printer of the stamps said the scent could freshen up the musty files of stamp collectors for decades."

Graeme Lidgerwood, the sales manager of the print firm Ego, is quoted in the piece as saying,  ''The eucalyptus scent is encapsulated into little bubbles and we put that into a printable varnish. 'It could last forever. The scent will only wear off when you rub the surface to break the micro bubbles.''

According to the article, "Tests were done to make sure the gum and paper would not be affected by the varnish and that people using the stamp would not have reactions to the smell."

Part of the Farming Australia issue, the stamp will be issued May 17 along with three other 60¢ stamps depicting native horticultural products: bush honey, macadamia nuts, and tea-tree oil.

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

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Leather Goods for the Well Dressed Philatelist

While shopping in the men's department of Nordstrom, I came across the three items pictured above - man's wallet, business and credit card holders - all made from handcrafted leather and emblazoned with U.S. postage stamps.

Created by Jack Spade, a write-up on his website states, "We created the Stamp Printed Leather small goods by tiling a collection of stamps purchased from a philatelist's estate. The photographed collage was then printed in the UK on a fine grain leather. They are soft, pliable and long-lasting. "

Be forewarned! These items are not cheap. $145 for the wallet, $110 for the credit card holder, $95 for the business card holder.

To purchase the wallet or business card holder on-line, click here. To purchase the credit card holder, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Who Says Stamp Collecting Isn't Sexy?

Shown here, an ad from the Stamp Issuing Office of Monaco which roughly translated from French says, "Be franked/liberated, offer yourself a new collection." According to the Sebphilately blog, an English version of the ad has also appeared in Britain's Stamps magazine which says, "Our collection, will suit you perfectly."
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, May 02, 2011

Cash Prizes Offered in Promotion of Youth Philately

Round-Up reader Robert Cagna writes to say The British North America Philatelic Society has announced a "Promotion of Youth Philately" contest with cash prizes totaling $500.

According to the society's website, "Teachers, scout and stamp club leaders, as well as any adult who works with youth and the stamp collecting hobby are invited to participate. Do you have a school lesson that uses postage stamps? Are you a youth stamp club volunteer that has developed a new game to make stamp collecting fun? Have you introduced a new project or activity that uses stamps? BNAPS is looking for your new and creative ideas. Three cash prizes of $100 each and four cash prizes of $50 are being offered.

"The contest is open to all individuals who have used postage stamps in a classroom situation such as in a lesson, as well as others such as club leaders and volunteers using stamps as an activity or project. The idea might be the creation of or adaptation of a game where postage stamps are used to emphasize fun and make the hobby more appealing and interesting.

"More than one entry may be made, but each idea must be accompanied by the application.  Applicants need to provide information detailing such things as the materials needed and lesson procedure. Deadline for the receipt of entries is August 31, 2011."

Click here for an application.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Statue of Liberty Stamp Represents Why America is Going Downhill

Ted Rall writes in an opinion piece titled, Statue of Liberty Stamp Error, the End of America, "It may seem like a minor thing. But the Great Statue of Liberty Stamp Screw-up of 2011 presents a picture-perfect portrait of a society in the midst of collapse."

According to Ted, "You can tell a lot about the state of a country from its stamps and currency. At a nation's peak, its graphic iconography is striking, elegant and original. As it begins to wane, abstraction gives way to caricature, innovative design to self-parody, high art to kitsch."

Referring to the case of mistaken identity in which USPS did not realize the photo that was used to represent the Statue of Liberty was in front of a Las Vegas Casino and not New York harbor (until it was pointed out to them by a stamp collector), Ted comments,  "Quality standards? Can't afford them. Incredibly, postal officials are allowing this monstrosity, this artistic obscenity--the face is clearly the wrong one--to be sold at your local post office"

He goes say, "The kind of country that puts stock photos on its stamps is the kind of country that puts a single air traffic controller in charge of one of its biggest airports. The kind of country that doesn't fix its mistakes is the kind that tells people younger than 55 that they can go to hell and die when they get old and sick because it's more important to cut taxes for rich scum than to fund Medicare."

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