Saturday, July 30, 2011

Youngster Wants Black Heritage Stamp for Lewis and Clark Slave

Round-Up reader Cyn Davis gave us a head's up on a story that appeared in the Washington Post about her son, Jackson Davis, who is trying to get a slave known only as York to be the subject of the Black Heritage Stamp in 2013.

After doing much research for a 5th grade assignment, Jackson, 11, learned that York was a slave with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His mom is quoted in the Washington Post article by Megan Buerger as saying, "“He kept asking why Lewis and Clark had their own stamps and Sacagawea had a coin but York didn’t get anything.”

According to Buerger, "It takes three years for the committee to accept a proposal, design the stamp and distribute it to the public. But Jackson might have a real shot. In March, he received a letter from the committee notifying him that the York stamp is 'under consideration.' He has also secured support from Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and, as of Tuesday, Vice President Biden."

Shown above, Jackson Davis and Rep. Chris Van Hollen meet to discuss plans to get a stamp for York, a slave with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Click here to read the entire article.

Click here to go to Jackson's "Vote 4 York Black Heritage Stamp" Facebook page.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 29, 2011

Smurfs on Stamps

Today a whole new generation of children will be introduced to the world of Smurfs when a new film debuts featuring the small blue creatures.  

In 1958, Belgian cartoonist Peya introduced Smurfs to the world in a series of comic strips, making their first appearance in the Belgian comics magazine Le Journal de Spirou.

In 1984, a Smurf carrying a letter appeared on the Belgian stamp shown above marking Youth Philately.

In 2008, Belgian Post celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Smurfs by issuing a souvenir sheet featuring a outdoor party scene and a booklet.

According to the Cartoon Philately website, this release was accompanied by an awareness campaign by the Belgian Post to get children to use their services again. If they managed to collect ten different, cancelled Smurf stamps, they receive free Smurfs gifts and can compete for bigger prizes.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Post Office in Ben Franklin's House May Close

The Associated Press reports, "A post office in a building that Benjamin Franklin once owned is on the Postal Service's list of branches that could close. The post office in Philadelphia's historic Old City neighborhood is the only one in the country that doesn't fly a U.S. flag. That's because there wasn't one in 1775, when Franklin founded what has evolved into today's Postal Service."

According to reporter Joann Loviglio, "There's also a postal museum upstairs from the so-called B. Free Franklin Post Office, located in a house once owned by Franklin. It opened as a U.S. post office in 1975, the 200th anniversary of Franklin's appointment by the Continental Congress as the country's first postmaster general. The only Colonial-themed post office operated by the Postal Service, it also is a tourist attraction that hand-cancels stamps with the B. Free Franklin postmark that Franklin used."

Shown above, inside the B. Franklin Post Office.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Post Office Seals

Todd A. Hirn writes on his website, Officially Sealed Mails of the World, " office seals, or official seals, are labels used by postal authorities to repair or reclose mail items that are; 

- Damaged in transit,

- Received unsealed at the post office,

- Opened by mistake or by the Dead Letter Office."

He goes on to say, "The earliest recorded on-cover use of an official seal was in Italy in 1864. Many other countries produced their own during the following decade. The United States issued its first post office seal, for use by the Dead Letter Office, in 1877.

 "Official seals have been recorded from more than 185 countries. Seal dimensions range from barely an inch in width on a few Danish examples, to some of New Zealand that are more than five inches wide. Designs vary greatly and include elaborate, beautifully engraved Queen Victoria and King Edward VII portrait seals of Canada and Newfoundland to relatively simple typeset seals from Mexico or Egypt.

"Few countries continue to use post office seals today. Most postal authorities now use tapes rather than labels for repair, or they enclose badly damaged items in plastic bags. The era of government issued seals appears to be ending."

Jim Kotanchik, who recently passed away, wrote one of the definitive books on the subject. It's titled Post Office Seals of the United States and Possessions. The 350-page, hard bound book has 630 color images and covers all of the Scott-listed seals in great depth with new information on printing data and dates of use.

Shown above, 1877 Plate proof of first regular issue seal. Originally prepared for use by the Dead Letter Office, but small quanitites were issued to regular post offices where the seals were used in the same manner as the later ones. According to the write-up on the website, "The regularly issued perf 12 "Post Obitum" seal, Scott #OX1, is very scarce on cover."

To learn more about Post Office seals, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post Danmark Teams Up With China Post

The website reports, "Post Danmark has teamed up with its Chinese equivalent China Post for a comprehensive collaboration on knowledge sharing and stamp production, which will result in the publication of Hans Christian Andersen stamps in China." 

It goes on to say, "In June, a delegation from Post Danmark visited it Chinese business partners China Post in Beijing. The two national postal services have started a comprehensive cooperation working together in a wide range of areas including knowledge sharing, stamp production and staff education."

According to the report, "The collaboration first started in 2010, and since then a school has been established in Beijing to train Chinese stamp designers and improve their skills in steel engraving for stamps.

"The collaboration will result in a collection of Chinese designed stamps with motifs from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales. The stamps will be published next year in both China and Denmark. In the end of 2011 the two sides will publish a joint collection of stamps, and also Danish stamps will be sold to stamp collectors in China Post shops all over China." 

Shown above, Danish Ambassador Friis Arne Petersen meets representatives from Post Danmark and China Post at the Danish Embassy in Beijing.

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yosemite - Now and Then

The San Jose Mercury News reports, "In a move that highlights the often-conflicting mission of America's national park system -- to protect spectacular landscapes and to provide public recreation -- officials at Yosemite National Park are proposing to cut down hundreds, perhaps thousands, of trees in Yosemite Valley as part of an effort to improve the views of the park's famed waterfalls and soaring granite walls."

According to reporter Paul Rogers, "Some of the most famous spots, like the site in Yosemite Valley where photographer Carleton Watkins took a historic portrait of El Capitan in 1868 -- a photo later used on a renowned 1934 one-cent postage stamp -- are nearly completely obscured now by trees."

He goes on to say, "Now, iconic views captured generations ago by photographers like Ansel Adams or Carleton Watkins and painters like Albert Bierstadt are being lost, parks officials say, and must be preserved, similar to the way the National Park Service preserves wildlife or historic buildings."

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

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Illinois Post Office Looking for Owney Look-Alike

Illinois' Mt. Vernon Register-News reports a local Post Office is looking for an area dog that looks like Owney, the unofficial postal mascot back in the 19th century.

Noelle Lamacchia, the officer in charge at the Bluford, Illinois Post Office, is quoted in the piece as saying, “We want to celebrate by having a look-alike contest for Owney on to commemorate the unveiling of the stamp.”

Reporter Tesa Culli pens, "Residents with a dog that looks like Owney can contact the Bluford Post Office for details on how to enter it in the contest. The winner will receive a bag of doggie treats, a picture in the paper and a sheet of the new Owney stamps."

She goes on to say, "Railway mail clerks considered the Owney a good luck charm. At a time when train wrecks were common, no train Owney rode was ever in a wreck. The railway mail clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags on his collar. Each time Owney returned home to Albany, the clerks there saved the tags.

"Owney died in Toledo, Ohio, of a bullet wound on June 11, 1897. His body was preserved and given to the Smithsonian Institution, now on display in the National Postal Museum atrium."

Shown above, Owney's stamp which will be issued July 27.

Click here to read the entire article.

Click here for a free 20-page guide to celebrating Owney in your own community.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Collecting First Day Covers

Marjory Sente's Collecting First Day Covers on-line study course traces the history and development of First Day Cover collecting and goes into detail regarding the cachets and cancellations found on FDCs.

The free course appears on the American Philatelic Society's Stamp Campus website.  There is no cost to take the course which consists of nine lessons. At the end of each lesson there are some short assignments.

Individual lessons cover an introduction to FDC's, history of FDC collecting, history and types of cancellations, types of cachets, techniques for identifying cachets, developing a specialized collection, more ways to collect FDCs, and care of your FDC collection. Various ways to collect and exhibit First Day Covers are also included.

Shown above, first use in 1937 of  the "First Day of Issue" machine slogan cancellation. 

To take the course, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 22, 2011

Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee Moves In Mysterious Ways

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the somewhat secretive and slow moving ways of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.

Reporter Saabira Chaudhuri quotes Carl Flatow, who has been lobbying the committee for the past two years for a postage stamp honoring Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth,"a towering figure in the history of beekeeping,"  as saying, "They're so secretive about the process. It's like screaming into a black hole."

According to the article, Roy Betts, a spokesperson for the postal service said in an email,""The Committee meetings are closed. They do keep records but they are not made public."

In a related story appearing on the Angry Asian Man website, Bruce Lee fans have also been trying get the legendary martial arts icon on a United States postage stamp in 2012 -- the Year of the Dragon without much success.

"Since details about meetings aren't released, neither are the reasons why the CSAC chooses one type of stamp over any other," writes Chaudhuri, who also points out "its deliberations about stamps are exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests."

Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee was formed in 1957 and consists of 11 members who are appointed by the postmaster general for three-year terms.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three-Day-a-Week Mail Delivery Forecasted by Postmaster General

In a front-page USA Today article by Carly Mallenbaum, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe forecasted, "Falling mail volume and soaring red ink may soon doom Saturday mail delivery and prompt three-day-a-week delivery within 15 years."

He also projects a rise in the 1st class mail rate to 45-cents within three years.

Donahoe's forecast is based on a projected $8.3 billion loss this year as the drift from paper to electronic communication hammers the Postal Service.

Shown above, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

Click here to read the entire article and watch a video interview with Postmaster General Donahue.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Post Office Monopoly - It's a Good Thing?

Chloe Lutts writes on the Cabot Wealth Advisory website, "I recently learned (not through experience) that it is illegal to send non-urgent mail through any service other than the U.S. Postal Service. At first I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I read that this law is actually enforced: Equifax was fined $30,000 in 1993 after a raid determined that the mail it had been sending through FedEx was not actually 'extremely urgent.'"

According to Lutts, "The monopoly is essentially a funding mechanism that allows the USPS to fulfill the universal service obligation. If a private company were allowed to compete with the USPS, it could cherry-pick the most profitable delivery routes and undercut the Post Office, leaving the USPS without crucial revenue to support less profitable services."

"Opponents argue that if the monopoly were removed, private companies would step in to serve all customers, and rural customers would simply have to pay their true cost of delivery," Lutts says.

"Residents of more populous areas would also pay their true cost of delivery, which might be less, eliminating the cross-subsidy to rural residents. In my mind, this argument makes sense to the extent that people who choose to live in the backcountry should be prepared to bear the full costs of that decision."

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

USPS Hops on the Social Media Band Wagon

According to a USPS press release released Monday, "In a move to raise awareness of its stamp program and to reach diverse audiences and people of all ages, the Postal Service is offering a sneak peek at some of the stamps that will be issued in 2012, beginning today through social media sites. "

It goes on to say, "Customers may preview the stamps on Facebook at, through Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service’s online site for the back story on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news. "
Postal Service Executive Director of Stamp Services Stephen Kearney is quoted as saying, "By providing a sneak peek at next year's stamps, we're helping customers find stamps that they're interested in and excited about. Social media is a great way to do that — and to make it easier for people to share the news about stamps of interest with their friends.”
To read the entire release, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 18, 2011

Classroom Presentations

Janet Klug in a recent Refesher Course column appearing in Linn's Stamp News wrote, "One of my favorite stamp things to do is speaking to school groups. What I say depends upon the ages of the youngsters to whom I am speaking. Children in junior high can grasp very abstract ideas, while primary school children require more concentration on basic subjects. I always learn far more than the children do when I give a classroom talk. Kids today are very bright about things that did not even exist when I was their age."

She went on to say, "There are some tricks to doing a one-time classroom visit, which is what I do the most. Keep the presentation short, keep the children engaged by asking questions for them to answer, and hand out packets of stamps to everyone, including the shy child in the back who doesn't volunteer any answers. Stamps are for everyone and for every interest."

For educators wishing to use stamps in their classrooms, lesson plans are available online from the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum at

They are also available online from the American Philatelic Society at

Shown above, working with some elementary school children.

For more tips on how to talk to kids about stamps, read Janet's entire column by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 17, 2011

India Post Reopens National Philatelic Museum

India's Department of Posts (DoP) has reopened its renovated National Philatelic Museum and "will exhibit rare postage stamps from across the world and also provide a platform to philatelists to exhibit their collections," according to an article that appears on the website.

Radhika Doraiswamy, secretary Department of Posts is quoted as having told reporters,"The museum will provide enhanced and interactive platform for promoting philately and will stimulate interest for stamp collection among children."

The article goes on to say, "The museum has bays dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and the prime ministers of India, along with freedom fighters. It also has stamps on several themes such as science and technology, transport and wildlife.

"There are stamps from abroad, and displays from the Army Postal Service and India Security Press, Nashik. The museum also has an amphitheatre for talk shows and presentations along with a reference library. In the artists corner, the department has showcased the actual designing of a stamp and also plans to invite artists from time to time to give live demonstrations."

Shown above, Radhika Doraiswamy unveiling a plaque at the museum's reopening.

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

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Post Offices in Pictures Photo Contest

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is offering amateur photographers the chance to win two cameras and an opportunity to be a part of their upcoming photography exhibition titled The Post Offices in Pictures. reports the BPMA is "...delighted to launch a nationwide photography competition on the theme ‘the Post Office in the UK’. Entrants are invited to submit an inspiring image that illustrates the theme and evokes curiosity to find out more about what is pictured in the photo."
A panel of judges will select a winner in two categories; over and under 16. The winner in the over 16 category will receive a Nikon D3100, and the under 16 winner will be given a Nikon Coolpix P500.
The closing date for entries is 5pm on September 9, 2011.

Click here for more information and details on how to enter.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 15, 2011

Purloined Mailboxes Prompt Federal Investigation

When I went to mail a letter yesterday at the drive-thru mailbox I usually go to in Glendale, Calif., I discovered that it was no longer there.

Angry and frustrated because I had to park and go inside to mail my letter; I figured it was just another one of those annoying cut backs in USPS service.

It was then I found out that it had been stolen.

According to NBC News in Los Angeles, "Four 200-pound mailboxes were stolen in less than a week at post offices in Glendale, Burbank and Pacoima, prompting a federal investigation today.

"The stolen mailboxes were bolted into a concrete slab and there was no way to know who could be vulnerable to identity theft, U.S. Postal Inspector Renee Focht told the Glendale News-Press.

"No suspects were named and the thefts appeared to be a "recent trend," Focht said. Investigators have not confirmed if all the incidences were connected.

"The agency has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The public was urged to report suspicious activity at (877) 876-2455 or visit"

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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Website Launches July 25th

To get a short video preview of the redesigned USPS website which debuts July 25, click on the arrow inside the picture above.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Philatelic Literature Review" Available Online

The Ameircan Philatelic Research Library reports its 2nd quarter Philatelic Literature Review is now available online.

The latest edition includes such articles as "Where is A Librarian's Guide to the Literature of Philately," "Government Documents & Philatelic Research," and "Finding Philatelic Literature Online." Also in this issue are regular columns: "What's on Your Bookshelf," book reviews, and buying and selling opportunities through the Philltelic Literature Clearinghouse.

The searchable pdf file includes color illustrations and many direct links from text and advertisements to the appropriate websites.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lithuanian Post Invites Artists To Design 2012 Stamps

According to Britain's website, "Lithuania Post recently launched a stamp design competition encouraging anyone with a creative flair to design at least one postage stamp or souvenir sheet based around themes announced by the postal operator for 2012. The authors of winning designs will be awarded monetary prizes, and first-place winners will appear on the next year’s Lithuanian postage stamps."

The anonymous article goes on to say, "All residents of Lithuania as well as other countries, irrespective of their age or education, are being invited to submit their designs for postage stamps and souvenir sheets.

"In total, 28 postage stamps and 2 souvenir sheets based on 12 different themes are to be issued next year. The postage stamps dedicated to the Olympic Summer Games, the anniversary of the Battle of Blue Water, Holy Christmas and the New Year, Lithuania and its world heritage, nature, culture objects and famous people will be among other stamps, which will be issued in 2012."

The themes of all postage stamps and souvenir sheets 2012 and details of the competition are published on the Internet site of Lithuania Post at under the heading “Philately”.

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Germany's Famous Women Series

Julia Lee posts an interesting article on Britain's Stamps Magazine website about Germany's Famous Women series which ran from 1986 to 2005.

According to Julia, the "series bridged the reunification of the country and the adoption of the Euro, bringing recess printing into the 21st century."

She goes on to say, "All the stamps in the set [26] were designed by the same man, Professor Gerd Aretz, but they were illustrated by various different engravers, before being recess-printed in two colours."

Julia points out, "Not all the women depicted were German by birth, which is why the official name for the set is Famous Women in German History. Baroness von Suttner, the novelist who led an international peace movement before World War I and appears on the 200pf, was Austrian."

The series was replaced in 2005 by the new Flowers definitives.

Shown above, Baroness von Suttner.

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

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Former Postmaster General Heads Up Reagan and Dulles Airports in D.C.

Former Postmaster General John E. “Jack” Potter is now The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) President and CEO.  The MWAA operates Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports.

Potter, 55, is the son of a Manhattan mail carrier. He began his career as a postal clerk in New York in 1978. Potter served as Postmaster General from 2001 to 2010.

According to the Washington Post, Potter signed five-year contract and will receive a salary of $350,000, plus a $25,000 signing bonus and annual bonuses of up to 20 percent of salary. 

"Potter’s appointment to lead two of the Washington area’s busiest airports and the construction of a Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport closed out a year-long — and, at times, rocky — search for a chief executive to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority," writes reporter Ann E. Marimow.

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

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Another Stamp Shop Succumbs to the Internet

Citing too much competition from online traders, the North Main Stamp and Coin Co. owned by Linda and John Richards in Winnipeg, Canada closes for good this month according to an article on the Winnipeg Free Press website.

Calgary dealer Dwayne Miner is quoted in the piece as saying, "It will be very sad to see them go. That's the last true coin and stamp shop in Winnipeg. Winnipeg is still home to coin stores and there are shops with stamp collections but none with the quality and history of the Richardses."

Miner also said the trade has moved from storefronts to the Internet and pointed out, "It's a breed that's disappearing. The overhead is getting so big for coins and stamps and it's a very difficult way to make a living."

"Walking into their shop is like stepping back in time.The plate-glass windows betray the bank it used to be. There are rows of albums and catalogues that give the place the feel of an archive. The pervading scent of paper and ink seal the impression," writes reporter Alexandra Paul.

"We've had people come in and ask me for library cards," Linda chuckled, as she and John shared memories they'll take away with the boxes they pack. Lately, there are more tears than laughs as word gets around to dealers and customers.

Shown above, John Richards.

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

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Novel Way to Start a Stamp Collection

Britain's Daily Mirror reports a German pensioner has started collecting stamps after getting hundreds of fake letters from all over the world claiming she had won the lottery.

Ruth Niedermayer, 85, of Cologne, has received envelopes from Hungary, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, to name a few according to the article.

She said, “My name must be on some list sold around the world. I toyed with the idea of replying but then decided to just collect the stamps.”

For some other ideas on how to start a stamp collection, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Canada Post Struggles to Reduce Backlog After Mail Strikes

The Vancouver Sun reports, "Canada Post expects the remaining backlog of lettermail to be cleared by the end of next week and has offered up overtime options to most of its workforce to help get back to par. The Crown corporation is behind by about 40 million pieces of lettermail, but has stepped up production at its facilities to clear the backlog as quickly as possible."

Canada Post locked out its employees on June 14, after the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) staged 12 days of rotating strikes, which resulted mail not being delivered.
According to reporter Bradley Bouzane of Postmedia News, "The Crown corporation, which had been offering overtime for staff at its processing plants and depots, on Tuesday started making voluntary overtime available for its mail carriers.Losier said Wednesday that about 70 per cent of letter carriers have signed up in some areas to work an additional hour at the start of their shift to work toward clearing the backlog."

Shown above, a Canada Post letter carrier, collects the mail to be delivered downtown Victoria, B.C.
For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Stamp Club For Teens

California's Lodi News-Sentinel reports John Hunt (shown here) has started the Lodi Jr. Stamp Club. The club is geared toward kids ages 12 to 18. Hunt is quoted in the piece by reporter Pam Bauserman as saying "the club is something they can do for fun," and hopes it will help some teens find their niche.

Regarding getting the teens involved in stamp collecting, John said, "They don't have to buy anything and it doesn't cost anything. I don't talk or lecture. I have two tubs so they can pick out what they want and I teach them how to soak them off (the envelopes). Then I tell them what it's worth and show them how to use the tools."

When asked, "What are some important things to remember about collecting stamps?" John replied, "That a lot of people might have an illusion that this is an investment. You need to do it for the enjoyment. And not to let a hobby be an obsession. Have fun with it and enjoy it."

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

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Operation Cornflakes

In 1944 and 1945, the World War II Office of Strategic Services  (OSS) conducted a secret mission which involved tricking the German postal service Deutsche Reichspost into inadvertently delivering anti-Nazi propaganda to German citizens through mail.

It was known as Operation Cornflakes.

According to an entry on Wikipedia, "the operation involved special planes that were instructed to airdrop bags of false, but properly addressed, mail in the vicinity of bombed mail trains. When recovering the mail during clean-up of the wreck, the postal service would hopefully confuse the false mail for the real thing and deliver it to the various addresses."

It goes on to say, "The content of the mail often included copies of Das Neue Deutschland, the Allies' German language propaganda news sheet. The postage stamps used on the envelopes were forged 6-pf and 12-pf Hitler-head stamps intended to look identical to genuine German stamps of the era, though these forgeries were printed by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). In addition to these two forgeries, the OSS printed another design of the 12-pf stamp not-too-subtly redrawn so that Adolf= Hitler's face shows his partially exposed skull. Also, the country identifier 'Deutsches Reich' (German Empire) read 'Futsches Reich' (lost, destroyed, or collapsed empire). Copies of this 'death head' stamp were inserted in the envelopes along with other propaganda materials."

Shown above, the original three OSS stamp issues printed for the operation.

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

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

The website has an interesting display of patriotic Zazzle 'stamps' for your holiday enjoyment. While many collectors consider these 'labels' rather than actual stamps, their designs do convey a patriotic fervor not seen in traditional U.S. government issued postage stamps.

Click here to view.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 03, 2011

USPS Art Director's Dad Gets His Own Stamp

Connecticut's Litchfield County Times reports the father of the USPS art director for the new Pioneers of American Industrial Design sheetlet, Derry Noyes, is honored on one of the stamps.

Derry's dad, Eliot Noyes, designed the Selectric typewriter which is shown second from the left on the bottom row of the sheetlet.

Sally Andersen-Bruce, who photographed the various items, is quoted in the article as saying “She [Derry] hired experts in the field to select the best in American industrial design, the pioneers. Much to her pleasure, her dad came up on the list.”

The 11 other designers who are honored on individual stamps include Peter Müller-Munk, Frederick Hurten Rhead, Raymond Loewy, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, Norman Bel Geddes, Dave Chapman, Greta von Nessen, Russel Wright and Gilbert Rohde.

Ms. Andersen-Bruce also commented , "“The problem with shooting these products is they’re gone. These are things from the ’40s,’ 50s. If you do find them they’re all beaten up.” Once located by collectors and museums, many had to be restored in order be be photographed.

According to the piece by Jack Coraggio, "Ms. Andersen-Bruce has been snapping stamp pictures since postage was a quarter, in 1988 that is. Her “Adopt a Shelter Pet” series (a collection of adorable cats and dogs mugging for the camera) last year was named most popular of 2010; commemorative issues typically print fewer than 50 million, hers sold more than 300 million."

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

Saturday, July 02, 2011

U.S. Postage Stamp Day

In case you missed it, yesterday, July 1, was U.S. Postage Stamp Day.

On the Re-Creative Resources website, the following U.S. Postage Stamp Day activities are suggested for residents of rehabilitation and senior facilities.

Discussion group – read the history of the US Postage stamp and discuss with residents. See Wikipedia for U.S. Postage stamp history information.

Ask the residents what was the price of the stamp when they were children.

Did they ever have a favorite stamp design? Who do they think should be on a stamp design now that never has been?

Show and learn – See if there is a stamp collector in your area, if so ask them to come in to display their stamp collection and give a talk highlighting stamps of historical interest.

Craft – Design a stamp. Let the residents design a stamp. You can find a stamp template on under crafts, paper crafts and then stamp.
Game - Guess what year – Make copies of old stamps off with Bing images. Make sure you block out the years or date on the stamp before showing it to the residents. Ask if they recognize the stamp and what year it is. You may also need to block out the cost on the stamp since that might give the year away too.

Community project – Check with the US Post office in your area and ask when they will have their next food drive. Then start to campaign now to ask all staff and residents family/friends to bring in item of non-perishible food items to give towards the postal food drive.

Some of these might be fun to do at the local stamp club as well.

For other stamp collecting games and activities, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 01, 2011

Politicians Violate "Mailbox Restriction" Law

Susan Mason writes a letter to the editor of the Rochester-Rochester Hills website asking, "Shouldn't politicians know better than to violate mailbox law?"

Susan, a Rochester, New York resident, pens:

"A federal offense occurs on pretty much a daily basis in this area. The neighbor kid trying to earn cash over the summer, local businesses and even politicians violate Federal law 18 U.S.C. 1725. This offense committed against hundreds of individuals each day puts people at risk for identify fraud and theft.
"In 1934, Congress enacted a law known as the “mailbox restriction” that prohibits anyone from placing mailable matter without postage into any mailbox. This law reads as follows:
“Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.”
Postal Service regulations are broader than the mailbox restriction law. The regulations restrict items placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mailbox according to the article.

Under current law, a violation of the mailbox restriction law is an infraction that can be punished by a fine but not by imprisonment. The maximum fine for each offense is $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations.

To read Susan's entire letter, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM