Friday, September 30, 2011

Heroes on Stamps

Laura DiSciullo, a National Postal Museum Intern writes on the museum's Pushing The Envelope website,"What is a hero? What can we learn from people who have made a difference? And how can we leave our own stamp on history?"

Laura posed the questions to 3rd-5th graders at a local elementary school as part of an after-school enrichment program called Heroes on Stamps.

In the beginning of the six-week program each child would research a hero from American history. They were then introduced to the idea of honoring these individuals by featuring them on U.S. postage stamps. After learning what went into designing a stamp, the children honored their heroes with their own special postage stamp.

Some of their choices have already been on real stamps: Red Cloud, Jackie Robinson, and Mary Church Terrell. Some others who had not been on US stamps included Eddie Guerrero, Jimi Hendrix, Rosa Parks, and Johnny Unitas.

Each child was then invited to consider: Why will I be on a stamp someday? What goals do I hope to accomplish, and what difference do I want to make? What kind of hero will I be?

Laura says, "The resulting designs were inspiring. Kids drew themselves stopping crime, healing sickness, and playing in the Super Bowl. One drew himself as a leader, encouraging others to help make a difference."

Shown above, Laura talks to the children about stamps.

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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spectacular Invert Collection Goes Up For Auction

Cherrystone Auctions of New York will be auctioning the Mahendra Sagar Collection, which they describe as "undoubtedly one of the greatest offerings of inverted centers of the world." The auction which will be held Oct. 5-6 features 578 lots with a number of unique items including the United States 1869 24c imperforate and 24c on cover.

Worldwide material is also well represented with many spectacular rarities such as the 1956 Olympics stamp from Poland which is shown above. It's pre-auction estimated value is $23,000.

According to Cherrystone, "An inverted center exists when a design element is inverted with respect to the rest of the design. This includes inverted embossing, background, colors, inscriptions, or values. Inverted Centers are often called the Aristocrats of Philatelic Errors. They are the most recognizable rarities in the world of philately. When exhibited, inverts immediately become a center of attraction. After all, who hasn't heard of the Inverted Jenny or 1854 inverted Queen Victoria from India? Less known, however, is the fact that such printing errors have occurred in almost all stamp-issuing countries. Most of them are rare and elusive, but can still be acquired for relatively modest sums. The key to creating a significant collection of inverted centers requires an eye for detecting such errors and patience to scan literally thousands of catalogs and lots."

Portions of the proceeds from the auction will go to charitable institutions like Vipassana Research Institute, Buddhist Global Relief and others that focus on education, poverty reduction and hunger elimination.

Click here to view the collection online. For more information, e-mail or phone (800) 886-9313.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

School Days Calendar Kit

The School Days & American Ways curriculum–connected Calendar with Teacher's Guide is a primary–grade teaching tool that capitalizes on the extraordinary archive of Americana amassed by the U.S. Postal Service® over its 160 years of stamp development. It is crafted as an oversized wall calendar and is filled with information and imagery about the United States.

Each 26” x 20” calendar page is designed around a monthly theme, offering insight into American history and culture. Calendar content addresses primary grades’ Standards of Learning in Social Studies, Science and Language Arts curriculum, specifically focusing on political science, people and nations of the world, geography, history and economics.

The companion Teacher's Guide offers 24 pages of cross-curricular learning activities and coordinated lesson plans for each monthly theme, and an extensive index of teacher resources for primary grade social studies instruction.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Post Office OKs Living Persons on Stamps

Randolph E. Schmid of the Associated Press reports, " For the first time, living people will be eligible to be honored on U.S. postage stamps. The U.S. Postal Service announced Monday that it is ending its longstanding rule that stamps cannot feature people who are still alive and it's asking the public to offer suggestions on who should be first."

According to Schmid, "Since Jan. 1, 2007, the requirement has been that a person must have been deceased five years before appearing on a stamp. Before that, the rule was 10 years. (By tradition, though, former presidents are remembered on a stamp in the year following their deaths.)"

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is quoted as saying, "This change will enable us to pay tribute to individuals for their achievements while they are still alive to enjoy the honor,"

"The post office has been facing severe financial problems," writes Schmid, "and increasing in interest in stamp collecting could help boost income, since stamps that are collected rather than used for postage provide an added source of income."

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

First One to Identify a Stamp, Wins a Prize

According to the Portland Press Herald, Tricia Currie Hunt's "furry felines don't have to be fed or taken to the vet. They're found on postage stamps, the best of which are now on display at the Windham Public Library."

Reporter Don Perkins writes, "Hunt first delved into the art of philately, or stamp collecting, some 25 years ago when she worked in the foreign order department at L.L. Bean. Receiving mail from all over the world adorned with unusual postage stamps, Hunt was intrigued by all the colorful varieties. The company allowed her to remove canceled stamps from mail orders after they'd been processed."

He goes on to pen, "Many countries are represented [in her collection], including Angola, Korea, Poland, Somalia, Hungary, Great Britain, Cuba, Bhutan and Tanzania. She has one labeled "unknown"; she would happily welcome any input as to its origin.

"When she started, she wanted every stamp ever made, but soon realized many collectors have topical collections, narrowing their focus to a specific subject such as Disney, space exploration, dinosaurs or famous people. Hunt ultimately decided to focus on just cats, which she has always loved."

Shown here are some of the stamps in Tricia's collection. Hunt is trying to find out where the stamp on the lower right is from.

If you know, e-mail me at  First correct answer gets a Centenary of Aerial Post Miniature Sheet & Prestige Stamp Book courtesy of Royal Mail.       

Click here to read the entire article.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Congratulations to Charles Cockrell of Jacksonville, FL and Ken Kaylor of Lititz, PA who were the first to respond with the correct answer - Kyrgyzstan, Scott #31.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Korean War Covers Garner Gold

For the past 35 years, Bob Collins, 76, of Westlake, Ohio collected mail sent or received by members of the U.S. military and several other countries that fought during the Korean War (1950-1953). This past summer, his exhibition of this material won a gold medal at the American Philatelic Society show in Columbus.

"Once, these envelopes held letters scrawled by American POWs, condolences from a commanding officer to a lost airman's wife, the death notification for a soldier of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army, and a missive sent to an American GI on the same day he was killed in action," writes reporter Brian Albrecht on the website.

According to Albrecht, "The rarest items in his collection are covers for letters written by GIs from behind the barbed wire of POW camps in North Korea and China. Some of the envelopes bear the stamped notation (in red ink of course): "Via the Chinese People's Committee for World Peace and against American Aggression."

Collins is quoted as saying, "There's a big demand for these covers, especially in China, because they ran these POW camps."

Shown above, Bob Collins, who does the collecting and his wife, Beatrice, who helps with the display.

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

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Investing in Stamps

Rick Miller writes in Linn's Stamp News, "Stamp investment can be successful, but comes with risk."

Ricks says he's a collector of stamps and not an investor in stamps and points out there is a big difference.

According to Rick, "A collector acquires stamps for the sheer joy they give. Purchases are made based upon the individual collector's interest in the country or subject shown on the stamp. Mounting stamps in an album or on an exhibit page is indescribably satisfying."

He goes on to say, "Those who invest in stamps may or may not experience the joy in ownership. The primary concern is whether or not a stamp is likely to appreciate in value and how long it will take for a profit to be achieved.":

"Can a person make money investing in stamps?" Rick asks. "Yes, but it is not for the weak of heart. The risks are great, and the knowledge requirement is very high."

To read his entire article, click here

EDITOR'S NOTE: A good book on the subject of investing in stamps is Stephen R. Datz's Stamp Investing. Click here to see the table of contents and read several chapters.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stamp Collectors Urged to Come Out of the Closet

The Canada's Your Ottawa Region website, reports, "Gus Quattrocchi [shown here] has been collecting stamps for almost as long as he has been on this earth – and that’s a long time, considering he’ll be 90 this year."

Quattrocchi believes there are a lot of closet collectors and would like more to join  the Perth Stamp Club.

He's quoted in the article as saying, “All of our meetings are an educational experience, where members can talk about and show what they are interested in, each taking a turn at a chosen meeting if they desire, with the schedules made up twice a year.”

Quattrocchi says there is more to collecting stamps than just placing them in an album.

“There are papers, tagging, perforations, meters, covers, postal history, revenues and a lot more. If you are a collector or interested in learning more, attend a meeting, they are free and you just might want to come back and start enjoying your chosen hobby to its fullest,” he said.

To read the entire article, click here.

To find a club in your local area, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 Years of Postman Pat

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the popular British children’s TV series Postman Pat.   The first episode aired on BBC-1 on Sept. 16, 1981.

According to The British Postal Museum & Archive, "The stop-motion animated series follows title character Pat Clifton on his daily rounds in the North of England. Pat is always accompanied by his black and white cat Jess, and he drives a red vehicle similar to those in Royal Mail’s real van fleet.

"For much of Postman Pat‘s history the show was sponsored by Royal Mail, who saw the series as a marketing opportunity. When Royal Mail sponsorship of the programme ceased Pat became an employee of the fictional Special Delivery Service."

Currently in development is a Postman Pat film.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Romare Bearden

On Sept. 28, USPS will release the four stamps shown above. Each features a  work by Romare Bearden, one of the 20th century’s most distinguished American artists.

According to USPS's Beyond the Perf website, "Bearden is celebrated for his groundbreaking approach to collage along with his work in watercolors, oils, and other media. His art has also been praised for depicting African-American experience in its full dimensions and is in the permanent collections of major museums across the nation."

The site goes on to say, "The stamps will be released in conjunction with the 100th centennial of his birth, constitutes a collaboration between Bearden and art director Derry Noyes. But since Bearden passed away in 1988, this collaboration did not mean interacting with the artist, but rather, with his work — as well as experts who know it best."

Noyes decided on four collages: Conjunction (1971); Odysseus: Poseidon, The Sea God—Enemy of Odysseus (1977); Prevalence of Ritual: Conjur Woman (1964); and Falling Star (1979).

Apparently, Noyes goes to Post Offices to see how stamps are displayed for sale. She's quoted in the article as saying she "hopes the unique visual approach of the Romare Bearden pane will make a connection with collectors and the stamp-buying public — the last arbiters of the success of any stamp release."

To learn more about the Bearden and Noyes collaboration, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Ways the United States Postal Service Can Turn Things Around

Here's the "Top Ten Ways the United States Postal Service Can Turn Things Around"according to David Letterman  ....
10. Change name to "UPS."
9. Invent a stamp that licks back.
8. Add wacky sound effects for mailboxes.
7. Alter mail trucks to look like Millennium Falcon from "Star Wars."
6. If your letter isn't delivered in 30 minutes or less, it's free.
5. Bedazzled uniforms.
4. New hit reality show: "Real Mailmen of New Jersey."
3. Customers can now pay with gas, grass or ass.
2. Take the Packers and give three-and-a-half tomorrow night."
1. Ten percent surcharge to deliver my hate mail. You'll make millions.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, September 19, 2011

History of Canada Turns Collector On

Canada's Ottawa Citizen reports, "An Ottawa stamp enthusiast who has spent decades assembling one of the world's finest collections of historic Canadian postal material is selling the entire lot next week at a U.S. auction expected to smash several Canadian price records and net about $1.5 million overall."

Reporter Randy Boswell says, "The award-winning Daniel Cantor Collection, which covers the opening years of the country's postal history from 1851 to 1868, is described as a 'real gem' of the philatelic world by Harvey Bennett, whose Maryland-based auction firm is handling the Sept. 24 sale in New York City."

Cantor, a 69-year-old retired Ottawa businessman who ran a wholesale beef business he ran for 30 years,  is quoted as saying, "The company was how I earned an income, the stamps were how I had my pleasure in life."

Cantor, who inherited the stamp hobby from his father, said he was not only passionate about pursuing the complete collection for pre-Confederation Canada but also about preserving a picture of the country's past through its early postal relics.

"It's the history of Canada," he said, "That turned me on."

Shown above, a pair of rare Twelve-Penny Blacks expected to sell for more than $100,000 at Daniel Cantor Collection auction.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Champion Freediver In Trouble with the Queen Over Stamps

Britain's Telegraph reports, "Tanya Streeter, the champion freediver, says the Queen was not happy about her appearance on a set of postage stamps."

According to celebrity news reporter Tim Walker, "Tanya Streeter, the world champion freediver, is still causing ripples with her appearance on a set of postage stamps in the Turks and Caicos Islands."

She's quoted as saying, "“I don’t think the Queen was terribly thrilled about it. There’s proper protocol that you’re supposed to follow, and I think it got rushed through without going through the Palace.”

Walker goes on to pen, "British overseas territories usually abide by the convention which prevents living people other than the Royal family being made the main subject of a stamp. Streeter, 38, who was born in the Cayman Islands."

Streeter adds, “I never thought people would be licking me on the back of the head and sticking me on an envelope.”

Shown above, Turks and Caicos Islands souvenir sheet featuring Streeter.

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

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Farewell to Postage "Postage Stamps"

The Huffington Post reports, "Stephen Colbert celebrated the end of the USPS on Wednesday night's show, lamenting only the fact that he has yet to be featured on a stamp. But like all good men of action, the 'Report' host has taken matters into his own hands and designed the stamp himself."

It goes on to say, "Colbert's bold move got us thinking: What about all of our commemorative stamp ideas we've been sending pushy emails about? If the USPS doesn't see the value in a 'Full House' stamp, then maybe their time really is up. Take a look at these great concepts below and tell us you wouldn't buy sheet after sheet of all of these. Honestly, if the USPS is looking to save its business... here it is. Like money in the bank, or better yet, letters in the mailbox."

Click here to view the ten stamps the Huffington Post would like to see.

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reporter Finds Childhood Stamp Collection While Moving

Columnist Todd G. Higdon writes on Missouri's Neosho Daily News website, "Recently, Tina, Lynn and I have moved and with that, came the boxing up of our items. As I carried out few boxes, I came across my stamp collection. I can’t tell you when I started collecting stamps, but I do remember that it was my parents who got me interested in stamp collecting."

"It was a Christmas a long, long time ago," Todd goes on to say, "My parents gave me a stamp commemorative set. From there on, I started collecting them. I had friends and friends of friends give me stamps and even when dad and I go to a baseball card and stamp show, he is over looking at the baseball cards, while I am looking at first edition stamps. Some of the stamps that I have collected over the years included first edition of Civil War to national parks to historical figures and even others that have piqued my interest."

Todd says looks forward to attending stamp shows when they come to the area.

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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

American Philatelic Society Turns 125

The American Philatelic Society (APS) is celebrating its 125th anniversary this week.

On September 13, 1886 in New York City forty collectors gathered and officially formed what began as American Philatelic Association (APA).

The APA briefly changed its name to the American Philatelic Society in 1897, but reverted back to the Association within a few short months.In 1908 the name is again changed to the American Philatelic Society, and has remained as such since that time.

As part of the quasquicentennial celebration, the APS has released another one of their colorful and downloadable stamp albums as seen above.

With 36,000 members in 100 countries, the Society is the largest, nonprofit organization for stamp collectors in the free world. APS offers services and educational opportunities to broaden one's enjoyment of the hobby and enhance their special collecting interests, whatever they may be. The APS is supported entirely by membership dues, gift s, and the sale of its publications and services.

For more information and to download the free anniversary album, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beijing Post Helps Couples Express Their Love

Reporter Zheng Xin writes on the China Daily website, "Couples worried about the seven-year itch can now plan a reminder of their love by posting a letter to their future selves."

According to the article, "Beijing Post is offering to store letters and deliver them after seven years, part of a series of romantic services they have introduced. Since Sept 9 in Chinese the date is called jiu jiu, which means forever customers have been able to buy special stamps, postmarks, postcards, envelopes and even a Love Passport, which can be stamped every anniversary."

Zhang Di, a stamp collector who works at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, added that the romantic postmarks "add to the number of varieties worth collecting."

Liu Jingmin, manager of the post office is quoted as saying, "We came up with the services not only to expand our business but also to offer the public another way to express their love."

The seven-year mark is commonly believed to be a critical time in any relationship, as it is when eyes tend to wander. Some of the services, which were jointly launched by Beijing Post and the capital's civil affairs bureau, are already proving a hit with customers, particularly students as shown above.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mail Clerks Armed in 1926

In 1926, the Post Office Department sent a memo to it's army of 25,000 railway mail clerks an order to shoot to kill any bandits attempting to rob the mail, this followed an ever increasing number of robberies by bandits on the mail service. They also issued a statement saying that if the robberies continue the U.S. Marines would be bought to protect the mail.

Viva Biggs wanted to know on the Stupid Questions website, "Why did bandits of yore always rob the mail train? What was so valuable about mail?"

According to John Ruch, "Bandits were after registered mail—documented and insured letters and packages—which often contained cash or securities. Often this mail was simply a bag of cash. Mailed cash included company payrolls, transfers from the Federal Reserve to regional banks, and transactions between banks, companies and private citizens."

He goes on to say, "Thieves were also interested in the safe in the 'express car,' which carried packages (not necessarily mail) being shipped by the fastest possible route. It could contain gold, silver, jewels, cash, commercial goods (gold watches, silk dresses) and negotiable bonds and securities. Much of the gold and silver was bullion going from mines to banks or assay offices."

Shown above, 1995 stamp featuring a frame from the classic 1903 film "The Great Train Robbery"

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Once-in-a-Century Postmark

Joe Piasecki and Daniel Siegal report on La Cañada, CA's Valley Sun website that residents celebrated a once-in-a-century "synchronicity of date and place" this past Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011.

La Cañada's 91011 ZIP code is one of only four postal codes composed of consecutive numbers out of more than 42,000 in use nationwide, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Local resident Todd Andrews, chair of the event’s organizing committee, said that the idea for the celebration grew out of on offhand remark made at a cocktail party during the last year’s holiday season.

“Someone remarked that as we’re rolling into 2011, our funny little ZIP code was going to match the date for the only time in the century,” said Andrews. “And everybody, in kind of a cocktail haze, said, ‘Hey, [marking the occasion is] a great idea!”

Shown above, La Canada's 9/10/11  once in a century postmark.

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Stamp Photo

On the website, the story behind the photo used on the 9/11 stamp is told.

According to a write-up, "After an assignment in the Dominican Republic, news photographer Thomas E. Franklin was back to his usual territory, the New York-New Jersey area.

"His day began at 8 a.m. 11 September 2001 at the offices of his employer, The Bergen Record of Passaic, New Jersey. An editor told him a plane hit the World Trade Center. Franklin, who had been on the paper's staff since 1993, headed down the New Jersey Turnpike to Jersey City. He heard about the crash of United Flight 175 into the WTC south tower on the radio. "

Around 4 or 5 p.m., Franklin and another photographer were taking a break when three firefighters caught his eye.

Franklin remembers, "I would I say was 150 yards away when I saw the firefighters raising the flag. They were standing on a structure about 20 feet above the ground. This was a long lens picture: there was about 100 yards between the foreground and background, and the long lens would capture the enormity of the rubble behind them." 

According tot the artricle, "The three firefighters, William Eisengrein, George Johnson and Daniel McWilliams, had discovered a US flag on the back of a yacht inside a boat slip at the World Financial Center. They took the banner and decided to raise it as a statement of loyalty and resilience."

"I made the picture standing underneath what may have been one of the elevated walkways, possibly the one that had connected the World Trade plaza and the World Financial Center. As soon as I shot it, I realized the similarity to the famous image of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima," ranklin recalled.

"This was an important shot. It told more than just death and destruction. It said something to me about the strength of the American people and of thse firemen having to battle the unimaginable."

At the end of 2001, the Associated Press Managing Editors Association and Editor & Publisher magazine named it the best picture of the year. The photo was on the short list of photographs considered for the Pulitzer Prize.

 In June of 2003, the "Heroes of 2001" stamp pictured above was issued by the US Postal Service using Franklin's photo.

Shown above, President George W. Bush along with the three firefighters - Franklin, Johnson, Eisengrein and McWilliams. Also in the picture are Postmaster General John Potter (left), and New York Congressman Gary Ackerman (next to President Bush).  

Photographer Thomas E. Franklin is on the far right in the photo.

To read the entire article, click here.

To visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum website, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hunter Davies - Friend of the Beatles and a "Recovering" Philatelist

Britain's Times and Star website features an article about journalist and former stamp collector Hunter Davies, who spent 18 months with The Beatles.

According to the article...

"Recovering philatelist Hunter is under no illusions about his compulsive hoarding; it helps to fill the chasm in every collector’s psyche.

“There is obviously something missing in your life, something wrong with you.”

The piece goes on to say, "He is well-named Hunter and loves what he calls the fun of the chase.
But once a collection is complete or (to extend the hunting metaphor) once the quarry is caught, Hunter has been known to lose interest.

“Once I had collected them, I never looked at them again,” he says of his stamp collection.

"Not so with his books which he uses for research and as reference material for his work as journalist and a writer."

As regards The Beatles...

Hunter was close to Paul McCartney and collected more than 250 of the Fab 4's cards and letters for an undisclosed project he's working on.

He is quoted in the article as saying,  “John Lennon [also a former stamp collector] was the most interesting. Often he would have days when he would say ‘I’m not talking, this is a day for not talking’ and we would sit and watch children’s television.”

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

Friday, September 09, 2011

Go for Quality – Not Quantity

John Vincent writes on the Yorkshire Post website, "WHEN I was 15, my well-meaning Godfather decreed that I should have a hobby. Stamps, he decided... and proceeded, at great cost to himself, to send me a specimen of every new Commonwealth issue from that day onwards."

He goes on to say, "Every few weeks, I was inundated with envelopes full of colourful mint stamps from places such as Pitcairn Islands, Turks and Caicos, St Helena, New Hebrides Condominium and St Kitts Nevis Anguilla and I dutifully used hinges to stick them into expensive leather-bound albums.

"Finally, after about three years, my Godfather realised that I was not really interested in philately and stopped the supply. A decade or so later I decided to sell this huge collection of thousands of stamps and put the money towards a deposit on a house.

"I was appalled to be offered, by several different dealers, only about £200 for the lot, which worked out at about a halfpenny each.

"I didn’t dare tell my uncle what they were worth – but the message is plain: in collecting, as with many things in life, go for quality – not quantity."

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

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Harry Potter Stamp Exhibit Opens Sept. 17

According to an e-mail announcement sent out by the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History in Weston, Massachusetts, The Magical World of Harry Potter exhibit opens on Saturday, Sept. 17.

It will feature postage stamps from numerous countries including France, Great Britain, the Republic of Taiwan, and the Isle of Man, all of which feature images from the Harry Potter books and movies. In addition, the exhibit includes stamps related to various themes and objects in the seven book series .

The exhibit, which contains over 750 stamps and other forms of postal material, will be in the Museum's main gallery. The Museum will provide games and puzzles related to the stamps and the Potter books for all Potter fans to complete and win stamp prizes. The gallery will be open until 8:00 pm on Sept. 29 and 30 for additional viewing.

Van Siegling, a distinguished collector and a member of numerous professional stamp organizations prepared the exhibit which has been displayed in many state and also voted the "Most Popular" at three World Series of Philately shows. It has also been displayed at libraries and even movie theatres.

Mr. Siegling has recently published a book which includes color images of many of the stamps and other objects in the exhibit. The book will be on sale in the Museum's gift shop and Siegling will be signing his books on both Saturday and Sunday.

Since packages and messages were delivered in the Potter stories by several owls who served as mailmen, the Museum will sponsor two one-hour programs on Sunday, Oct. 2 entitled "Eyes on Owls." Naturalists Marcia and Mark Wilson will bring six live owls to demonstrate the many interesting traits about these natural birds. In addition, a special exhibit of Owls on Stamps will be on display.

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

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

U.S. Post Office on the Brink

The Associated Press is reporting Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warned that the Postal Service is on "the brink of default"...and with no congressional action, a year from now, next August or September, the post office could run out of money to pay salaries and contractors, hampering its ability to operate.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., is quoted as syaing, "We must act quickly. The U.S. Postal Service is not an 18th century relic, it is a 21st century national asset, but times are changing rapidly now and so, too, must the post office."

The Postal Service, which does not receive tax money for its operations, is not seeking federal funds according to the article by  Randolph E. Schmid.

"We do not want taxpayer money," Donahoe said, "We have got to get our finances in order."

Schmid pens, "Instead, postal officials want changes in the way they operate, including relief from the requirement that it prefund medical costs. No other federal agency has to prefund retiree health benefits, but because of the way the federal budget is organized the money counts as income to the government, so eliminating it would make the federal deficit appear larger."

Shown above, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testifiying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Scouts Attend Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Workshop

Seven scouts from the San Gabriel Valley Council got their stamp collecting merit badge this past Saturday at the monthly stamp show held at the Masonic Temple in Arcadia, CA.

Bill Janson (standing on left) and myself shared tips on different types of stamps, where to find stamps, what to collect, tools of the hobby, types of albums, and other useful information.

Participants got to work with historic U.S. postage stamps as well as colorful stamps from around the world. They also got a chance to see lots and lots of interesting and valuable stamps.

A tip of the tongs goes out to INTURPEX, Gretchen Moody and Janet Houser of the American Philatelic Society's Education Department, Mystic Stamp Company, Subway Stamps and The Los Angeles Philatelic Society for providing materials.

Bill and I are in the process of organizing another Scout Stamp Saturday at SESCAL on Oct. 15 in Los Angeles. Cost of the 4-hour workshop is $15 per scout which covers the cost of tongs, stamps and other materials.

Anyone wishing to sponsor a Scout can do so through PayPal ( or by sending a check to me at Don Schilling, 745 Portola Ave, Glendale, CA 91206.

Shown above, scouts learning to soak stamps.

Click here to learn the requirements for the Boy Scout Stamp Collecting Merit Badge.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

According to Wikipedia, "Frances Perkins was the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, and the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet. As a loyal supporter of her friend, Franklin D. Roosevelt, she helped pull the labor movement into the New Deal coalition."

It goes on to say, "During her term as Secretary of Labor, Perkins championed many aspects of the
New Deal, including the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration and its successor the Federal Works Agency, and the labor portion of the National Industrial Recovery Act. With The Social Security Act she established unemployment benefits, pensions for the many uncovered elderly Americans, and welfare for the poorest Americans.

"She pushed to reduce workplace accidents and helped craft laws against child labor. Through the Fair Labor Standards Act, she established the first minimum wage and overtime laws for American workers, and defined the standard 40-hour work week. She formed governmental policy for working with labor unions and helped to alleviate strikes by way of the United States Conciliation Service..."

Following her government service career, Perkins remained active as a teacher and lecturer at the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University until her death in 1965 at age 85.

In 1980 the U.S. Postal service issued a stamp in her honor.

To learn more about Frances Perkins, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Corner Mailboxes - Becoming a Thing of the Past?

The Chicago Sun-Times reports, "Chalk up another casualty of the digital revolution: the blue corner mailbox. Because of steeply declining use, the U.S. Postal Service has removed more than 60 percent of the blue boxes, once as common on the American streetscape as lampposts and ice cream trucks. In 1985, nearly 400,000 blue mailboxes graced American streets. Now only 160,000 remain, and more are vanishing every day."

The volume of mail dropped into mailboxes has dropped 35 percent since 2006, the U.S. Postal Service says.

“To be honest, we don’t get a lot of complaints,” said James Wigdel, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service’s San Francisco office. “The younger generation is moving everything online.”

In a related article by Carolyn Jones of the San Francisco Chronicle, "If a mailbox gets fewer than 25 pieces of mail per day over a six-to-eight-week period, it gets targeted for removal. The Postal Service posts a 30-day warning notice on the box, during which time people can complain to the postmaster, then it's off to the great dead-letter office in the sky. The defunct mailboxes either are stored for spare parts or sent to the scrap heap, a humbling fate for something that was the high-speed Internet of its day."

To learn more about the history of mailboxes and their declining use, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Zip Vans and the Mailster

Greg Zyla with GateHouse News Service prints some responses from readers about a column of his on the history of postal vans which included "Zip Vans" and "Mailsters."

Frank Murtinger of Minneapolis writes that the 1963-1964 Studebaker Zip Van (shown here) was surprisingly similar to the currently in use LLV in design.

"I had a chance to drive a restored one of these and they seemed well built and performed well. These Studebakers were actually the last trucks to be produced by the brand, and Studebaker built these especially for the U.S. Postal Service," Murtinger says.

James Olmo, Charlotte, N.C. pens, "...another vehicle used in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s [was ]the Mailster. They were made for the USPS by Cushman, who also made motor scooters and three wheel carts during this same time period.

According to the article, "Its compact size and maneuverability were ideal for getting around recently developed suburban areas. By the end of the 1950s, one-third of the USPS fleet was comprised of this vehicle. While higher-ups in the postal service were more than enthusiastic about the Mailster's potential, the people actually driving the Mailster hated it, according to Nancy Pope of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum."

It goes on to say, "Complaints from letter carriers assigned to Mailsters ranged from the front wheel getting stuck in trolley tracks to constant breakdowns, Pope says, and even one report of a massive dog toppling the vehicle. After many complaints and malfunctions, the postal service opted for the more reliable and sturdy Jeep to serve as the centerpiece of its fleet."

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

Friday, September 02, 2011

And We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Michael Lim of Granada Hills, California who was the first to respond with the correct answer to "Who melted down most of the original British crown jewels?"

Oliver Cromwell

As mentioned in the previous post, Michael will receive a British Crown Jewels presentation pack.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:40 AM

Own a Set of the British Crown Jewels

A tip of the tongs to Caroline Stephenson who graciously sent the Round-Up several presentation packs of the new British Crown Jewels stamps which were released earlier this week.

This year marks the 350th anniversary of the making of many of the items featured on the stamps, which were created for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661, following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 according to the British Postal Museum and Archive website.

It goes on to say, "Over the years the Crown Jewels have been added to and remodelled for various members of the royal family and royal occasions, but they still remain, as they have done since the initial collection was established in 1303, in the Tower of London.

"Crowns, tiaras and regalia have been a feature of many previous commemorative and definitive stamps, notably the stamps issued in 1978 to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. On these stamps the St Edward’s Crown, the Sovereign’s Orb and the Imperial State Crown appeared, although not in dazzling full colour as on the new stamps."

The stamps, first day covers and other products are available from the Royal Mail website.

Shown above, inside of the Crown Jewels presentation pack and the first day of issue cancels.

Click here to learn more about the history of the Crown Jewels and other related stamps.

PS - The first individual to e-mail me with the name of the person who melted down most of the original British crown jewels will receive one of the presentation packs Caroline sent me. Be sure to include your mailing address.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Postal Worker Killed By New Jersey Flood Waters

The Jersey Journal reports, "Police said that at least two co-workers tried to save USPS supervisor Ronald Dawkins, 47, of Orange, who abandoned his car when it became trapped in floodwaters generated by Hurricane Irene."  Dawkins abandoned his vehicle when it became partly submerged, then tried to wade through rising water to a postal facility around 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Reporter Michaelangelo Conte writes on the website, "Co-workers said they saw Dawkins leave his stranded vehicle and wade through the flood toward the entrance to the postal facility but he stepped into the area of the drainage canal that was concealed by the flood water... adding that he disappeared into about 10 to 12 feet of water. "

The Associated Press says Hurricane Irene has led to the deaths of at least 40 people in 11 states. The total is derived from state and local law enforcement agencies, emergency officials and family members.

Shown above, The U.S. Postal facility and drainage canal in Kearny, N.J. where Ronald Dawkins was killed.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM