Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Holiday Gift Suggestion for Stamp Collectors

Roundup reader Scott Collins writes to say his wife, Amber Davis Collins, makes beautiful stamp pendants, rings, ear rings and other items out of used postage stamps. 

According to Scott, "She has found that both stamp collectors and non-collectors appreciate these and give these as gifts.  Prices are kept very affordable (between $14-15 each and shipping is just a flat $2.50. Orders over $50 have free shipping) and the jewelry is made out of both US and international stamps. Her handmade product line consists of pendant necklaces, earrings, and hairpins."

He goes on to say, "She also makes custom orders for people that want to commemorate special stamps.  A frequent request is taking stamps from old love letters and making them into necklaces.  Right now she is volunteering at an AIDS orphan school in Uganda and won’t be back until the 12th of December so she won’t have time to make custom orders for this holiday season, but it’s something she routinely does for those that are interested."

Click here visit her website.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Some Simple Stamp Soaking Solutions

Ken Stewart writes on the Junior Philatelists on the Internet website, "Soaking stamps is one of the basic skills the beginning collector must master. There is nothing difficult about soaking stamps; but care should be taken before, during and after soaking to avoid damaging the stamps . . . a little patience doesn’t hurt, either. Used stamps are generally collected off paper and, therefore, learning the techniques for achieving this are important."

He offers several tips including this these two...

"If you wish to soak a stamp off of a postcard or envelope without cutting up the envelope or post card (people will often offer to let you have stamps off of their mail if you don’t destroy the mail), here is how to do it. Cut two pieces of filter paper (from a new coffee filter) that are a little larger than the stamp you wish to remove. Wet these two pieces of filter paper until they are about to drip. Place the filter papers on top of each other and on top of the stamp. Cover with a small inverted plate or a watch glass (you can get these from broken clocks) and leave for about one-half hour (practice will get this down to a science). The purpose of the plate or watch glass is to retard evaporation. The stamp should slip off easily. Place the envelope or card somewhere to dry, and place the stamp face down on a Formica top or a smooth metal surface. The stamp will pop free when dry."

According to Stewart, "You can soak large amounts of cheap stamps using the following method. It sounds like it won’t work, but it does. Place several pounds of stamps in a large tub of lukewarm water (the stamps should be sorted for colored paper as above). After about ten minutes, gently agitate the mixture with your hands for about a minute every ten minutes until it appears most of the stamps are coming free (about an hour). Let the stamps settle and pour off the water laden with gums and dirt. Add new water. Agitate and let stand several minutes and then again pour off the water. Do this several times more to get all of the gum out. Practice again makes perfect. After it looks like all the gum has been washed out, pour off the water and put the mass of wet stamps somewhere to dry. When dry, the stamps and paper will be easy to separate (any ones that don’t are resoaked). This process is hard on stamps that have ink that runs like the 4-cent Lincolns from the 1954 Presidential set. So you will have to learn which stamps not to soak this way. This is a very efficient way to soak kiloware after you have taken the good stamps out. "

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Strange But True

Nancy Pope, National Postal Museum historian and curator, writes on the museum's Pushing the Envelope blog,"On November 8, 1958, an employee of Harry Winston’s New York City jewelry store mailed an ordinary looking package at the mail city post office. The package was anything but ordinary. It held one of the most famous gems in America, the Hope Diamond. The employee paid $145.29 to mail the package. Postage accounted for only $2.44 of the total cost. The rest was for insurance totaling $1 million."

In Washington, the package was delivered to the National History Museum by local letter carrier James G. Todd. There Leonard Carmichael, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution received the package which was addressed to him. Also in attendance were Harry Winston’s wife Edna, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, and Ronald Winston, son of jeweler Harry Winston.

After the package was delivered a ceremony was held during which the diamond was given to the museum for public display.
However, according to Wikipedia, the Hope Diamond had a curse on it that foretold bad luck and death not only for the owner of the diamond but for all who touched it.  

Pope goes on to say, "At the donation ceremony Mrs. Winston scoffed at the idea of a curse, noting that her family had held the gem without any ill effects.  Carrier Todd had cause to question just how powerful the curse was. Within a single year after delivering the stone to the Smithsonian, Todd suffered a crush leg and head wound in two separate automobile accidents, his wife died of a heart attack, his dog strangled on his leash, and Todd’s Seat Pleasant, Maryland, home was partially destroyed by fire."

Shown above, from left to right, Ronald Winston, son of jeweler Harry Winston, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, letter carrier James G. Todd, Harry’s wife Edna, and Secretary Leonard Carmichael.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Computerized Perforation Measurement Software

SoftPro has released some new software that will electronically measure perforations along with overprints, cancellations, and can even help determine the difference between rotary and flat press printings

According to a write up on their website, "If you are like most collectors, using a traditional plastic perf gauge is difficult and error prone. Most of us can barely see the tiny lines on the pastic gauges, let alone trying to align them with the stamp. EzPerf solves that problem."

It goes on to say, "Finding that rare perf is much easier with EzPerf's batch option. Lets say you had 40 copies of a very common stamp, but there is a rare perf variety you are looking for. Measuring each one individually can be tedious and difficult at best. With EzPerf, simply scan the stamps & place them into a folder on your hard drive. Then run EzPerf in batch mode & it will measure each one and give you a report of the perforations of each stamp. A quick glance will let you instantly see if any perf varieties are in your batch."

Cost is $39.95.

Shown above is a screen shot of the EzPerf  software measuring perforations.

To learn more, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, November 26, 2012

Postage Stamp Ornaments for Your Christmas Tree

Paula Hrbacek writes on website that one way for stamp collectors and others to have fun during the holidays is to make a Christmas ornaments like the one shown here.

Hrbacek says,  "Buy or make paper Mache ornaments. Use a decoupage liquid, such as Mod Podge, to glue and varnish the stamps to the ornament. Begin by arranging the stamps with the darkest cancellation marks. Finish by adding one special Christmas stamp in the center of the ornament that has the lightest cancellation mark."

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Maryland Stamp Club Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

According to reporter David Driver in an article that appears on the Baltimore Sun website, Maryland's Howard County Stamp Club was started in 1972.
While the club may be celebrating its 40th anniversary, the majority of its members are significantly older than 40.

"At the recent meeting, all but one of the members there were men and most were in their 60s and 70s, But over the years, the club meetings have attracted at least two youths, as well as college faculty members, computer programmers, an antiques dealer, a retired Navy officer and some in the medical field," writes Driver.

Aldona Pilius is one of the club's few female members.

She's quoted in the piece as saying, "You go to a stamp show and everyone is in their 60s and 70s...
"It is basically for old men. There you have it."

 Shown above, David Mann, left, of Laurel, Gordon Trotter, center, of Columbia, Edmund Midura of Columbia, and Ove Christiansen, right, of Ellicott City, look through stamps at a Howard County Stamp Club meeting.

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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dear Santa I've Been Really Good This Year

Can't figure out what you want Santa to bring you?

Well Potomac Stamps may have the solution. They're offering gift certificates to buy supplies and other cool stamp collecting stuff.

According to their website, "When you buy a gift certificate, the amount is released to YOUR account. You can then email any amount you wish to any person with an email address. Your email can be customized with a personal message, too!"

Certificates come in $5, $10, $25, $50 and $100 amounts.

Click here to visit their site.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, November 23, 2012

Post Office Tests Same Day Delivery

The Associated Press (AP) reports, "Emboldened by rapid growth in e-commerce shipping, the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is moving aggressively this holiday season to start a premium service for the Internet shopper seeking the instant gratification of a store purchase: same-day package delivery."

According to Hope Yen of the AP, "Teaming up with major retailers, the post office will begin the expedited service in San Francisco on Dec. 12 at a price similar to its competitors. If things run smoothly, the program will quickly expand next year to other big cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York. It follows similar efforts by eBay,, and most recently Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which charges a $10 flat rate for same-day delivery."

Yen goes on to pen, "The delivery program, called Metro Post, seeks to build on the post office's double-digit growth in package volume to help offset steady declines in first-class and standard mail. Operating as a limited experiment for the next year, it is projected to generate between $10 million and $50 million in new revenue from deliveries in San Francisco alone, according to postal regulatory filings, or up to $500 million, if expanded to 10 cities."

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful for Postage Stamps

"...Thanksgiving is well documented by the stamps that come to life in our albums. We can use them to remind us of the history of the holiday and to serve as visual aids when we explain the holiday to the youngest who share our turkey banquet," writes Janet Klug in a recent Refresher Course article that appeared in Linn's Stamp News.

"Ah, the stories that stamps can tell. And for a hobby that teaches so much and provides endless fascination, I am truly thankful," pens Klug.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Shown above, We Give Thanks Stamp issued in 2001.

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The 'Secret Six' Revealed

"Royal Mail has revealed the identities of the six regional printers it used to produce celebratory stamps for each Team GB gold medal win during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games," writes Ben Bold on the Print Week website.

Known as the 'Secret Six,' the printers produced tens of thousands of 96-stamp sheets for regions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Some of the stamps are shown above.

According to the article, each of the printers, whose names and locations were not made public until now, were sent digital files by Royal Mail’s in-house designers of stamps bearing images of gold-winning Team GB athletes just minutes after the medals had been awarded. They then "... had to overprint the stamp images on pre-prepared base sheets, often having to work though the night in order to meet an early-morning deadline, varying from 4.30am to 7am, when Post Office couriers would pick up the stamps so that they could be on sales in Post Offices within 24 hours of gold wins."

Graeme Thurman, sales director for one of the printers, is quoted in the piece as saying, ""Within one hour of a British athlete winning a gold medal, we receive the artwork. The stamps had to be printed on all sites within an hour of that, then trimmed and collated into the unique gold medal bags and ready for the Royal Mail drivers to collect at 7am the following morning, so that they could go on sale at 9am."

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lady Bird Johnson Souvenir Sheet Was Rejected by CSAC

Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent for Linn's Stamp News, is reporting that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe overrode the objections of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) to approve the Lady Bird Johnson souvenir sheet that will be issued Nov. 30 in Texas.

McAllister went on to say,"Not only did Donahoe authorize the issue despite the committee's rejection, he also selected the Beautification of America stamps to be included on the souvenir sheet. Linn's was told.Four of the five Beautification of America stamps were initially issued as 6c commemoratives on Jan. 16, 1969, in the final days of Lyndon Johnson's presidency."

According to McAllister, "Donahoe, who has a small stamp collection, remembered earlier Beautification of America stamps, and urged that those designs be reused as part of the tribute to the former First Lady sources told Linn's Stamp News."

According to the Texas Tribune only  five first ladies have been featured a U.S. postage stamp.

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Flare Up Over Gibraltar Stamps

The latest flare up in long-running dispute between Spain and Gibraltar, a peninsula in southern Spain ceded to the British in 1713, involves stamps.

Leo Olivero writes on Gibraltar's Panorama website, that Spainish authorities "refuse to recognize Gibraltar Philatelic identity - postage stamps, that is - and in the process they forced the local philatelic society to pull out of a recent prearranged exhibition hosted in Estepona!"

According to the article, "The Estepona mayor Jose Maria Garcia Urbano it seems instructed the Spanish organizers of the 'sociedad philatelic eurosft of Estepona' to remove all mention of Gibraltar in all promotional material regarding the exhibition i.e. posters, flyers and exhibition booklet and instead of Gibraltar, the mayor only wanted the word Britannica (Britain) in its place. As if Great Britain were actually exhibiting instead of the Gibraltar Philatelic Society!

Olivero goes on to say, "When the final poster was sent back to the Rock, the Gibraltar stamp had also been removed from the poster and replaced by the world famous UK penny black stamp which has nothing at all to do with Gibraltar. Of course the local society did not accept this and informed the Estepona organizers they would not be attending the exhibition, as it was obvious that politics had involved itself in a totally non-political event."

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:15 AM

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Collector Working on a 'Science on Stamps' PhD

"Stamps may not have the prevalence they once did, but the stories they tell make their collections worthy of study," writes reporter Georgia Wilson on Australia's ABC Canberra website.

For one Canberra man, Chris Yardley, stamps have always been a source of interest and his inspiration for a PhD.

Yardley, an engineer and IT specialist, is currently working on his PhD the focus of which will be science and scientists on stamps.

According to the article, "Trailing the evolution of postage stamps from their British origins, Chris will examine the science images on stamps from the following ten countries; Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Russia, China and Poland."

Yardley is quoted as saying, ""As we look forward, there'll be an increasing number of stamps with a science representation. Part of that will be in response to the collector market, where an increasing number of collectors are in fact looking to collect science on stamps."

Shown above, Chris Yardley.

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

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Global 'Forever' Stamp

The Postal Regulatory Commission on Friday approved the proposed rate increase, which raises the price of a first-class domestic stamp to 46 cents. The price of a postcard will increase from 32 cents to 33 cents.

There will also be a new global Forever stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10. Currently, the prices for international letters vary.

According to NBC News, "The global Forever stamp would boost the cost to mail a letter by 5 cents for most international destinations. The cost to send a letter to Canada or Mexico using a global Forever stamp would rise by 25 cents."

The new postal rates go into effect Jan. 27.

No picture of the new stamp was available at press time.

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Santa Writes Back

"The U.S. Postal Service is helping keep the enchantment of Santa Claus alive with its 'Letters From Santa' program. 'Letters From Santa' allows a parent, grandparent or any person in a child's life to mail a letter to their child  'From Santa," postmarked from the North Pole," according to a press release from USPS.

The release points out, "The personalized letters that parents send to their children via the 'Letters From Santa' program is different from the historical 'Operation Santa' program.

"In 'Operation Santa,' the Postal Service facilitates the matching of customers with letters written to Santa from needy children. Participants in 'Operation Santa' help fulfill a child's dream with a gift and a response letter from Santa. (Customers are not provided the child's address in the "Operation Santa" program.) The 'Letters From Santa' program helps parents fulfill the dreams of their own children."

To learn more, click here.

Read more here:

Read more here:
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jersey Post Offers Discounted Stamps for the Holidays

The British Broadcasting Corporation website is reporting that the Jersey Post Christmas stamps are being sold at local post offices at a discount.

Andy Jehan, director of postal operations at Jersey Post is quoted as saying, " We recognise that Christmas can be an expensive time of year so we hope that our reduced price postage promotion will encourage customers to post early this year in order to benefit from the savings. By posting early, not only does it ensure items of Christmas post will arrive on time, but it enables us to keep our costs down and this means we can pass the savings on to our customers."

The stamps are from the Charles Dickens Christmas issue (shown above), cost 50p instead of 55p for the UK stamp, and 40p reduced from 45p for the local postage stamp.

According to the write-up, the discounted stamps can be used on letter-sized items until December 17.   After that they could be used if additional postage is paid.

Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey, is a British Crown Dependency just off the coast of Normandy, France.

For more information and to order, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stamp Dealer Gets His Own Film

Andrew M. Seder writes on the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Times Leader website, "Irwin Weinberg has been a titan in stamp collecting. Now a film will tell his story."

Seder pens, "Irwin Weinberg’s name and story are well-known in international philatelic circles but in the Wyoming Valley, where he lives and works, he’s just a face in the crowd. And he likes it that way. That will likely change Thursday when the first screening of the documentary, True Rarity: The Amazing Story of Irwin Weinberg, is shown at Wilkes University."

Weinberg, 84, gained fame for buying the 1856 British Guiana one-cent magenta stamp for $280,000 at a 1970 stamp auction.

"A decade later he sold the stamp to an heir of the DuPont family for $935,000. In between he traveled the world, often with a briefcase containing the stamp handcuffed to his wrist," according to the article.

Seder goes on to say, "The documentary does not focus solely on the rare stamp, but tells the story of how Weinberg, an entrepreneur, built a lucrative career dealing in stamps and other rare items."

Shown above, Weinberg with an image of the famed British Guiana 1856 one-cent stamp.

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Postal Pouches Get Upcycled

"TerrraCycle has made a name for itself by turning landfill-bound objects into one-of-a-kind accessories, and its newest line of bags is no different," according to a write-up on the website.

It goes on to say, "Stitched together from decommissioned U.S. Postal Service cotton-canvas mail sacks, each upcycled pouch and tote features markings from the original carryall, along with distressing, light fraying, and patch marks from years of service. Plus, all iPad cases are lined remnant Ultrasuede scraps—all the better to keep your precious cargo safe through rain, sleet, and gloom of night."

 Upcycled Mail Tote $79
 Upcycled Mail iPad Case $55;
 Upcycled Mail Pouch $14

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day: A Good Day For Military Postal History

Janet Klug writes on the website, "My first foray into collecting military postal history was the discovery of a picture postcard my mother had kept since she was a girl. The postcard illustrates a little girl holding a butterfly. It was sent to mom from her uncle, who was in an evacuation hospital in Mesnes, France, in April 1919. Mom would have been 2 years old when she received the card."

She goes on to say, "Her Uncle Joe, recovering from war wounds in No. 24 ward, addressed the card to "Kiddo Berg" and asked if she was planting an 'after war garden.' This card sparked an interest in military postal history in me that has not subsided."

Klug points out, "Veterans Day, observed annually on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I, is a good time to thumb through your stamp albums and remember those whose heroic deeds earned them a place of honor on a postage stamp. There are many."

Shown above, American Library Association postcard expressing Christmas greetings from U.S. Expeditionary Forces in Siberia during WWI.

To read Janet Klug's entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to more than 2 million service members and many of our nation’s 24 million veterans.

According to a write-up on their website, "We support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe. And once a year, we get the joy of delivering holiday cards to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world."

The cards and personal messages, sent by tens of thousands of Americans, provide a welcome “touch of home” for our troops during the holiday season.

 Click here for more information about the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Band Names Itself "Jenny Invert"

Music reporter Samantha Anne Carrillo writes on the website,"Naming your band after a famous postage error is a pretty bold, slightly geeky and charming move. The Inverted Jenny, or Jenny Invert, depicts the GN-14 airplane, and its border was printed upside down. Only one sheet of misprints—that's 100 stamps—made its way into the world of American philately, the study and practice of stamp collecting. It's one of the most valuable mistakes in U.S. postal history for collectors."

According to Carrillo, "Jenny Invert's Sam Miller is one of those mail ephemera enthusiasts. He and his brother Will were regular childhood patrons of long-shuttered local emporium Stamp World but never scored one of the coveted snafus"

Miller is quoted as saying, “If I had one, I'd be rich.”

To listen to the group's signature song, "Stamp Collector" click on arrow head above. 
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, November 09, 2012

Cranberry Stamp Gets Town Excited

Chris Burrell, a reporter for Massachusetts' Patriot Ledger, pens, "In a town teeming with acres of deep-red cranberry bogs, can an inch-wide photograph of a local bog adorning a newly-issued U.S. postage stamp rouse the townspeople to any level of excitement?"

According to Burrell, it depends on which post office you visit.

At some the stamp is selling quite nicely. At others the cranberry stamp is a "hard sell because it’s just one stamp on a sheet with 14 others: aerial photos of other agricultural, natural and urban landforms."

One of the postal clerks in town, Garrett Keenan, pointed out that nobody wants to buy a whole sheet to get the one stamp, so they have plenty on hand. He's quoted as saying, “People here can look out anybody’s backyard and see a cranberry bog."

The stamp, shown above, is part of the recently released "Earthscapes" miniature sheet and is of a unidentified cranberry bog in Carver, Massachusetts.

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

Thursday, November 08, 2012

President Obama Gets 3000 Stamps of Approval

Britain's SWNS website is reporting, "Barack Obama has has his re-election given the stamp of approval – with is portrait of the US president made entirely of stamps. Retired art teacher Peter Mason [shown here] used over 3,000 postage stamps to create the colourful collage to honour Obama as he successfully won a second term in office.

According to the article, "The 3ft by 4ft artwork was compiled over three weeks using different stamps and tearing them down the middle to illustrate Obama’s features. Peter, 64, used a combination of traditional British and American stamps to create the amazing artwork."

Mason is quoted as saying, "“I did it because I wanted to honour such a historic president."

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Free Copy of "Stamp Insider" On Line

This from the Virtual Stamp Club....

The November– December issue of the Stamp Insider, journal of the Federation of New York Philatelic Societies, is online. This issue marks the first anniversary of the journal being online only.

Lead article for this issue is “Trade Cards Promoted Nationalism” by Diane DeBlois on how many of these advertising promotions incorporated stamp images.

The issue also includes articles on “Stamps for Smokers” and the “First Bicolor Stamps of the Western Hemisphere.”

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

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Get Out and Vote!

Register to Vote hand painted cachet by F.J. Ulrich.

Available at
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, November 05, 2012

Bizarre BOBs, EFOs, and Cinderellas

Fellow blogger and Finnish collector Keijo Kortelainen posts on his Stamp Collecting Blog photos and write-ups about some of the interesting BOBs (Back of The Book), EFOs (Errors, Freaks and Omissions) and Cinderellas he's come across.

One of the ones that had him stumped is shown above.

Kortelainen writes, "Back-of-book issues are always fun to receive, as you usually have to do some detective work to find out details and history of the item.  [Above]  is a mystery item I assume to be from France.  I hope that French collectors could help me with this one as I have run into a dead end."

He goes on to say, "What I do know is… Text on the stamp is about quality regulation (Qualité réglementée) and export (Exportation). So this could be some kind of quality control label for exported products… Plougastel is an area  in northwestern France… I have also googled an (old /removed) eBay item  with description stating that something with similar text/description would be an rare  (something I doubt very heavily) item. So please, help me to find out what this is."

One of his readers responded by saying, "In the early 1960s before I finished school I worked in a greengrocers in Manchester England and have two of these stamps in my collection. They were on boxes of fruit from the fruit and vedge supplier not sure which fruit but it was from France."

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

Sunday, November 04, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again

With the holidays just around the corner, it's that time a year again to be thinking about philatelic gift ideas.

The U.S. Postal Service is selling an Earthscapes Stamps jigsaw puzzle comes with a sheet of  Earthscapes stamps for $17.95.

According to a press release sent out by USPS, "Piece together a stunning picture of the land we call home with a 500-piece puzzle showcasing the Earthscapes Forever stamps. The stamps were issued Oct. 1 to kick-off October as National Stamp Collecting Month. The puzzle features 15 breathtaking images of America's landscapes as seen from high above the planet's surface. Sure to provide hours of entertainment for all ages, the 18 x 24-inch puzzle also makes a spectacular piece of art to frame or display once completed."

The puzzle and stamps are now available at, by calling 800-STAMP24, and also at larger Post Offices in major metropolitan areas.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Holiday Mail and Packages Being Targeted

Massachusetts' Weston Town Crier reports, "Each year at this time, police departments throughout the country receive an increased number of reports about UPS, FedEx and USPS packages being stolen from mailboxes and doorsteps."

According to the article, "Thieves will often target their victims by following behind UPS, FedEx and USPS trucks and watch for deliveries where packages are left in open areas. Once the delivery person has left the package, the thieves will go onto the property and steal these packages."

It goes on to say, "USPS mail has also been targeted as thieves are looking for mail containing cash, gift cards and other small items. Most often, the thieves work in pairs, with one person driving the car and the other one stealing the packages and mail."

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, November 02, 2012

Houston, We Have Stamp Collectors!

Reporter Edel Howlin of  radio station KUHF did an audio interview with Jonathon Topper, owner of Topper Stamps and Postal History in Houston, Texas and attended a stamp auction at a local club meeting.

Howlin says, "Jonathon Topper is one of the men in Houston to go to if you’ve inherited a stamp collection. From there, you can either sell your stamps or become a collector yourself."

According to Howlin there are three to four thousand stamp collectors in Houston.

Topper points out during the interview that when you collect stamps and old envelopes, "... you touch history every day..."

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

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Afghan Postal Workers Lick Stamps for Customers

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan Tom A. Peter, correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, pens, " Ten years ago, the Afghan postal service lay in near total ruin, undone by the nation's civil war. Sending a letter usually meant having to find someone traveling in the direction of the recipient willing to carry a note and hoping for the best."

"Yet as the government struggles to develop despite an excess of foreign aid," Peter continues, "the post office has quietly managed to become one of the most efficient national institutions – and with extremely limited international assistance."

According to Peter, "The US Agency for International Development and the International Security Assistance Force contributed delivery trucks, China provided 100 mail-delivery bicycles, and Iran sent postal bags. International postal organizations have also provided some equipment. Otherwise, the organization has had to be largely self-sufficient compared with other development projects."

He goes on to say, " 'Friendly customer service' is not a phrase often heard in reference to government projects in Afghanistan, but, sure enough, post office workers in Kabul even go so far as to lick stamps for patrons."

Shown above,  postal worker sells stamps at a post office in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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