Thursday, April 28, 2005

Palestinian Authority issued stamps showing Pope Paul II meeting with Israel's chief rabbi then (and now Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi) Yisrael Meir Lau and at the Western Wall.
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posted by Don Schilling at 11:26 PM

Israel to issue Pope Paul II Souvenir Sheet

The Israel Postal Authority is gearing up to issue a six-item souvenir sheet on May 3 honoring Pope Paul II according to an article in the on-line edition of the Jerusalem Post. The papal memorial issue will be put on sale for the first time at the philatelic fair held on that day at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv.
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posted by Don Schilling at 11:08 PM

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Marine families need postage help to send their love

Dozens of care packages that should be on their way to Marines serving in Iraq are waiting to be shipped because the senders can’t afford the postage.

ABC-TV affiliate, WLOX of Biloxi, Miss., reports in an on-line article that the families of members of the 3rd Platoon, Company-A, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, recently packaged 79 boxes of candy, books and toiletries. Enough for every Marine to get one.

However, only 59 of the boxes were shipped. The other 20 stayed behind because the group couldn’t afford the postage.

"We just didn't realize how much stuff we'd have and what the cost would be until we actually weighed the boxes and packed them up," said Raylene Scarborough who has a son serving in Iraq with the unit.

Each box costs about $18 dollars to ship and the families are trying to raise another $500 to send the remaining boxes.

If you would like to help the Gulfport Marines Support Group get care packages to Iraq, you can send donations of cash or mint postage stamps ($1 or larger denominations are especially helpful) to:

Marine Corps League
Attn: Len Drozal
1800 Beach Drive, Rm 1522
Gulfport, MS 39507
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:03 AM

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Royal Mail rewards healthy workers with cars and holidays

The BBC reports (in an on-line article) that the Royal Mail is rewarding postal workers with new cars and vacations if they do not take any sick leave. According to the BBC, 37 workers have won a new car, 70 have gained £2,000 (approximately $3800) worth of holiday vouchers, and 90,000 have secured £150 worth. Staff who went six months without a day off sick were entered in a prize drawing.

"We must both support and reward postmen and women. They deserve it," said Royal Mail group director for people Tony McCarthy.

He added that the latest figures show that the organisation's performance is the best in almost a decade, with 91.9% of first class letters delivered the working day after posting.

"This package of practical support and `thank-yous' has made a big difference," added Mr McCarthy. The Royal Mail found sickness absence levels averaged 5.7%, compared with 6.7% for the same period a year earlier.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:58 PM

Thursday, April 21, 2005

New Jersey Congressman urges US stamp for India's 'Festival of Lights'

Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ) has introduced a bill urging the US Postal Service to issue a postage stamp honoring Diwali, India`s festival of lights.

According to Pallone an estimated 1.5 million Indian Americans celebrate the holiday for five days during September and October. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Muslims and Buddhists also observe Diwali in the United States and abroad. Approximately 115,000 people have signed an online petition to the Citizen`s Stamp Advisory Committee in support of the stamp
according to an on-line article at

In the petition it states that, "President George W Bush, this year- even though he was traveling in Asia-, made sure that Diwali was celebrated in The White House." It also quotes former President William J Clinton, as saying, “Diwali presents all of us with an opportunity to reflect on the many ways, the talent, the history and the traditions of the Indian people who have contributed to our national life and cultural heritage."
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posted by Don Schilling at 6:55 PM

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


First stamp issued by New South Wales (Australia). Issued in 1850, the design is a view of Sydney with a seated figure of Industry releasing convicts from their chains, and pointing to an oxen plowing in the background. It is known to stamp collectors as a "Sydney View."
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:05 PM

Rare 1850 "convict" stamp on display at Australian stamp exhibit

The Pacific Explorer 2005 stamp exhibition opened today at the Darling Harbour convention centre according to the Sydney Morning Herald of New South Wales. Thirty-four countries are participating.

One of the highlights of the show is part of the Tapling Collection. The collection includes the first stamps issued in Australia - the "Sydney Views" of 1850, as they are called - showing "convicts landing at Botany Bay, their fetters taken off, received by Industry, sitting on a bale of goods."

The Tapling Collection is estimated to be worth around $75 million and is one of the most famous stamp holdings in the world. It was bequeathed to the British Library in 1891 by the British MP and cricketer Thomas Keay Tapling,

Other prominent items from the Tapling include the 1847 one penny stamp, pictured, and "two pence" Mauritius stamps and the 1851 two-cent Hawaii stamp from the "Missionary" series."flawed" West Australian fourpenny, with its inverted lettering around a black swan.

For the full story, go to

For more on the Tapling and other philatelic collections of the British Library, go to
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:23 PM

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bogus Bush stamp stir Secret Service controversy (photo courtesy Chicago Sun-Times)
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:49 PM

Bogus Stamps Attract Secret Service Attention

The Associated Press (AP) reports the U.S. Secret Service sent agents to investigate a college art gallery exhibit of mock postage stamps, one depicting President Bush with a gun pointed at his head.

The exhibit, called "Axis of Evil: The Secret History of Sin," opened last week at Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery in Chicago. The 47 artists designed fake postage stamps addressing issues such as the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, racism, and the war in Iraq. None of the artists is tied to the college.

Secret Service spokesman Tom Mazur said Tuesday that the inquiry started after a call from a Chicago resident.Mazur would not say whether the inquiry had been completed or with whom the Secret Service had spoken, but he said no artwork had been confiscated.

One of the artists, Hernandez de Luna, has created mock stamps and tried to get them through the mail; his works with real cancelation marks have sold for $2,000.In 2001, he was suspected of creating a bogus stamp with a black skull and crossbones design and the word "Anthrax"; its discovery shut down part of Chicago's main post office for several hours.

One red stamp has the words "Blood for Oil" under a picture of a sport utility vehicle. Another uses images of naked prisoners from the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal to comprise a grotesque picture of former Attorney General John Ashcroft's face.
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posted by Don Schilling at 6:11 PM

Sunday, April 10, 2005

George Ambalathil with his collection of stamps on Pope John Paul II.
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posted by Don Schilling at 1:31 PM

Stamp of Spirituality

By G. Mahadevan, The Hindu [India's National Newspaper]

From the time he was a child, George Ambalathil was fond of collecting stamps. He used to painstakingly search for old and rare stamps, often writing to friends and relatives asking them to save stamps for him.

In 1986 when George was in the ninth standard, his hobby acquired a new dimension. That year after seeing Pope John Paul II from afar during a prayer meeting in Kottayam presided over by the Pontiff, George started enquiring whether there were stamps featuring `The Papa.'

Today, Fr. George Ambalathil, a Carmelite priest, boasts of 54 stamps in his collection featuring the late Pope; stamps brought out by countries "as different in their religious attitudes as Italy and Cuba."

These `papal stamps' were collected the same way the other stamps in Fr. George's collection were; by writing to friends around the world. " If I wanted, I could have had stamps featuring the Pope brought over directly from the Vatican through the church. But then the Collector in me would not have been satisfied," he said as he fondly showed stamp after stamp from his collection. "As you can see, each of these stamps has postal seals on them."

The 54 `papal stamps' in his collection portray more or less as many moods of the late Pontiff. If in the 1986 stamp brought out by the Vatican, the Pope is seen blessing some poor people, in the stamp brought out by Syria in 2003, he is seen as an old man bent over the cross in solemn prayer.

In Cuba's 1998 stamp, on the other hand, the Pope is seen as a much younger man. Perhaps, it is no surprise that the `oldest' papal stamp in the priest's collection is the one issued in Columbia in the year 1986.

However, the greatest variety of Papal moods has been captured by the Vatican's own stamps. These range from a young, handsome Pope blessing the multitudes in St. Peter's Square to those showing him in full Pontificals with the dome of St. Peter's basilica in the background.

Also forming part of the collection are papal stamps from Croatia (1994), Zambia (1989), Italy (1998), Portugal (2001), Poland (2002), Croatia (2004), Sri Lanka (1995) and Bolivia (1998).
For Fr. George, just looking at these stamps is inspiration enough for his life as a priest as were the words of John Paul II when he was alive.
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posted by Don Schilling at 1:18 PM

Friday, April 08, 2005

Postal Service Seeks 2-Cent Rate Hike

According to the Los Angeles Times, the price of a first class postage stamp would rise by 2 cents to 39 cents next year under a proposed postal rate increase filed today.

The U.S. Postal Service said that the 5.4% rate hike would apply to nearly all classes of mail and services as it seeks to comply with a federal law requiring the creation of a $3.1 billion escrow fund. The agency said it would withdraw the rate increase filed with the Postal Rate Commission if legislation is passed to eliminate the escrow fund.

The 5.4% rate increase would go into effect in early 2006. The agency last raised rates in June 2002, when it bumped up the price of a first class stamp by three cents to the current 37 cents.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:28 PM

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

World's rarest 'Uncollectibles' go on display

WASHINGTON (US Postal Service) -- One-of-a-kind priceless "uncollectible collectible" envelopes and stamps -- ranging from the first U.S. airmail delivery nearly 150 years ago to lunar postmarks -- are now showcased in the Postmaster General's Collection housed at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum in Washington, DC.

The collection is a major component of the Museum's "Stamps Take Flight" exhibit that highlights the history of U.S. stamp-making.

"This is the stamp collector's dream album -- with U.S. stamps and other rare postal artifacts you won't find anywhere else in the world," explained John Potter, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Postal Service during the grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony here today.

Not long after the first U.S. stamps were issued in 1847, the Postmaster General's Collection began as a Post Office stamp reference file in the 1860s. Thousands of stamps later, it evolved into a unique philatelic resource encompassing the full range of U.S. stamp production -- original stamp artwork, die proofs, color proofs, press sheets, full panes, test printings and unused stamp designs. The new exhibit, with artifacts worth millions of dollars, is a tiny fraction of the collection.

"Stamps Take Flight" will be on view in the Philatelic Gallery of the National Postal Museum through March 19, 2006. The National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., in the Old City Post Office Building across from Union Station. The museum is open daily, except Dec. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information visit
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:47 PM

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Vatican to Issue New Stamp

VATICAN CITY (Associated Press) — The Vatican post office said Saturday it will issue a special stamp, which can be used only until a new pope is elected. Pope John Paul II died Saturday.

According to tradition, the "vacant See" stamp will carry an image of two crossed keys but no papal miter. The traditional image on Vatican stamps issued while a pope is alive includes the keys and the headdress.

The stamps are valid for the "interregnum," the timespan that begins with the death of a pope and ends when a new one is elected, but other Vatican stamps also will be valid in that period.

The last time the Vatican post office issued such a stamp was 1978, when the first Pope John Paul died.
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posted by Don Schilling at 1:42 PM