Thursday, June 30, 2005

Recommended reading

THE OFFICIAL STAMP COLLECTOR'S BIBLE by Stephen R. Datz has practical advice on every aspect of collecting and trading. Novices will learn how to start a collection, how to buy and sell, how to develop good Internet auction strategies, how dealers price stamps, and how to find the best insurance. Experienced collectors will find a thorough history of mail and stamp collecting, sources for stamps worldwide, and tips to finding valuable treasures. Peppered throughout are anecdotes from leading authority and best selling author Stephen R. Datz himself, who has more than forty years of experience in the field. Featuring more than 500 photographs and illustrations, this book is one of the most exhaustive and indispensable guides of its kind.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:05 AM

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Gotland pony FDC from Sweden
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:18 AM

There's a pony in there somewhere

The NBC-TV affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth reports in an online article about the multi-million horse industry in that part of the country that Merrie Spaeth, a public relations consultant in Dallas, sold her late husband's stamp collection and paid $18,700 for Junior Mint, a Welsh pony for her 13-year-old daughter.

Besides the upfront costs of purchasing the horse there was the $300 paddock boots, $700 riding boots, $500 show jackets, tack, vet bills, farrier bills and $450 a month to board Junior Mint at Windmill Stables.

Spaeth said it's worth it, teaching Maverick invaluable lessons about responsibility, compassion and pride. "And as parents, we know that horses delay boys," Spaeth added.

So the next time you look at your stamp collection, just think... one day it could be a pony for someone you love.

PS - Speaking of horses and such, click here for an interesting post from another blog about The Dead Horse stamp.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:53 AM

$500 U.S. revenue stamp (Scott R133) which is also known as a ' Persian Rug'
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

Philatelic "Persian Rugs"

Just like people, stamps have nick names. Most U.S. collectors know a "Baby Zepp," and an "Inverted Jenny" when they see one.

But how about a "Blue Boy" or a "Persian Rug"?

All these and more can be found at an interesting philatelic website, Nick Names of Famous Stamps hosted by the Junior Philatelists on the Internet.

For more on philatelic "Persian Rugs," click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Harry Potter" First Day Cover from Austraila
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:20 AM

Post Office sponsoring 'Harry Potter' contests

The State (SC) and The Flint, MI, Journal report local post offices are sponsoring contests and other activities for Harry Potter fans of all ages as excitement builds about the arrival of J.K. Rowling’s latest book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The article said USPS is teaming with and to make sure millions of online orders of the book are delivered July 16 — the same day it’s available to Muggles everywhere.

For details, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:41 AM

'Do not mail' registry

This week marks the second anniversary of the National 'Do Not Call' Registry.

Now, according to the Postal Employees Network, Americans are taking aim at their mailboxes.

The Center for a New American Dream , a nonprofit in Takoma Park, MD, is launching a new petition asking Congress to build upon Do Not Call’s success and commission a registry to let citizens opt-out out of an equally relentless form of marketing – junk mail.

“At long last, Americans can eat dinner free from the incessant harangue of telemarketers,” said New American Dream President Betsy Taylor. “We should also be able to open our mailboxes with similar peace-of-mind. Let’s face it – how many Americans actually WANT junk mail?

Let’s set up a companion registry – call it Do Not Junk – to keep junk mailers from wasting resources and invading our homes.”

To learn more about the campaign, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:12 AM

Monday, June 27, 2005

How much do we love the postal service?

The Mercury News (San Jose, CA) reports that PMG Jack Potter was accorded “rock star” status when he took the stage in San Jose last week during eBay Live — the company’s annual gathering of eBay members and employees. The crowd responded with a hearty ovation when Potter discussed new shipping services available to eBay sellers, the article said. “Mailing is their life,” the article said, and anything anyone can do to make it easier is greeted with wild enthusiasm. The article said the “eBayers let it rip” when CEO Meg Whitman asked, “How much do we love the Postal Service?”

To see the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 10:55 AM

Friday, June 24, 2005

John Lennon on stamps
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:24 PM

Smithsonian purchases Lennon album

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in Washington has announced that it has acquired the late John Lennon’s boyhood stamp album. The museum plans to display it in October to coincide with National Stamp Collecting Month and the former Beatle's 65th birthday on October 9.

The museum purchased the album from a British stamp dealer but declined to disclose the purchase price.

“We’re tremendously excited at the prospect of exhibiting John Lennon’s boyhood stamp album,” curator of philately Wilson Hulme said.

“I hope it will inspire new collectors. There are people who think stamp collecting isn’t cool, and maybe this will cause them to think twice about that. It just doesn’t get cooler than John Lennon.”

The stamp album, printed in about 1950, was given to Lennon by his cousin Stanley Parkes.

As reported in the Round-Up, Lennon's album originally went on sale in early May. Click here to see the article that appeared May 13 on the website announcing the sale.

To read the full National Postal Museum press release, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 4:07 PM

USPS thinks junk mail is a good thing.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:51 AM

Quote of the Day

“I’m annoyed when people use the term ‘junk mail.’ To some, it’s ‘junk mail’ but to others, it’s solicitation from a favorite charity, it’s news on an attractive mortgage interest rate to the young couple buying their first home, it’s information on a bargain price on a car for someone who needs one — and yes, it’s a part of the economic engine that makes this country go.”

— USPS Public Affairs and Communications VP Azeezaly Jaffer.

* * * * * *
Jaffer received the 2003 Man of the Year award from the American Stamp Dealers Association.
He was recognized for his extraordinary efforts to promote the hobby of stamp collecting.

During his tenure as director of Stamp Services (1995 -1999), Jaffer spearheaded the launch and promotion of the classic Looney Tunes stamp series; the highly successful Celebrate the Century commemorative stamp program; and the nation's first ever fundraising stamp, the Breast Cancer Research semipostal.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:08 AM

Saturday, June 18, 2005

John E. Potter, 72nd Postmaster General of the United States.
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posted by Don Schilling at 10:12 AM

Snail mail vs. e-mail

U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter, speaking to a group of 400 advertising professionals in Troy, Mich. last week, discounted the safety and effectiveness of e-mail and urged marketers to "Use the mail."

To illustrate, Potter cited a study commissioned by the United States Postal Service that found that consumers who receive catalogs in the mail viewed 22 percent more pages on the retailer's website, and spent 16 percent more money than those who don't."

"And while 57 percent of households say they check their e-mail only once a week*, 98 percent of households collect and assess what's in their mailboxes everyday."

[*A recent AOL study says we're all addicts, checking it as much as 5 times a day]

Potter also indicated that the Postal Service wasn't going out of business anytime soon because of the Internet. Currently they have a $3.1 billion operating surplus and anticipate a $1 billion-plus surplus by the end of the year.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:48 AM

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pontiff placing a note inside the stones of Jerusalem's Western Wall.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:13 PM

Israel issues Pope John Paul II stamp

According to a press release on the TravelVideo.TV website, Israel has expressed its esteem and appreciation for the late Pope John Paul II by issuing a stamp in his honor.

The stamp is captioned in English and Hebrew with a prayer that the Pope expressed during his visit. "May peace be God's gift to the land He chose as His own. Shalom," he had said. The stamp was released on June 9th, 2005, which would have been the Pope's 85th birthday.

The new stamp apparently marks the first time that a non-Jewish religious leader has appeared on an Israeli stamp. The article quotes New Jersey philatelist Dr. Leonard Cohen, an authority on Israeli stamps as saying, "Israel putting the pope on a stamp will have tremendous historical significance," he said.

The new stamp is available from the Israel Philatelic Agency of North America, c/o IGPC, 460 West 34th St., New York, NY 10001. Phone toll-free 800-607-2799 or email
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:56 PM

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Value of rare British stamps increase dramatically

Stanley Gibbons is reporting on their website,, that the newly published Great Britain Rarities Index reveals dramatic long and shorter term rises in the value of the scarcest Great Britain material.

Gibbons indicates 14 stamps out of 30 in the Index have risen in price by 100% or more since 1998. Most notably, an unused 1903 10d dull purple & carmine official (SG O40) has seen an increase in value from £5,000 in 1998 to £20,000 in 2005 (300%), as this area of philately has undergone a rerating by collectors.

Another example, the 1882 £1 brown-lilac (SG 136) has risen from £31,000 to £70,000 (an increase of 125%) over the same period, as its scarcity – only a handful are known in investment grade condition - has become fully appreciated by philatelists.

To view the complete index, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:13 PM

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flag jig-saw puzzle
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Here's to Flag Day AND the US Army!

In honor of Flag Day, click here for a great little philatelic jig-saw puzzle! I found it works best if you move the pieces off to the sides and put them back together on the blue area.

Today also marks the US Army’s 230th birthday! Ooo-RAH!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, June 13, 2005

FLAT-PLATE PRESS. Used by the Bureau for all stamps until 1914, and all sheet stamps until 1921. It was used to print the Series of 1894, the Series of 1902, most of the Washington-Franklins, and the early issues of the Series of 1922. It also saw duty on many stamps for years afterward, including the dollar values of the Presidential Issue of 1938.

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posted by Don Schilling at 7:42 AM

Bureau of Engraving prints its last stamps

The Washington Post reports that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed its last postage stamps Friday after 111 years. Now, private printers will produce all the nation’s stamps, a decision that USPS officials say will save tens of millions of dollars a year. The article noted that the Postal Service began using private printers for some commemoratives in 1978 and their share of stamp production accelerated when the agency turned to self-adhesive stamps in the early 1990s.

To read the complete story, click here.

For more on the printing of stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:11 AM

Putting a stamp on patriotism

Lynne Smyles' fourth-grade class at Princeton Elementary in St. Clair Shores, Florida wants the federal government to cover the postage for letters and packages sent to United States military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The class already has sent a couple of care packages to military personnel in Iraq and has collected $750 to send more supplies. Smyles said the students don't want to spend some of the money for shipping.

"The least our government can do is cover the postage," said Smyles, who has taught at Princeton for 37 years. "It's not just 24 kids spouting off. We're reaching out."

One person who is taking the issue seriously is U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y. Three months ago, Fossella introduced House Bill 923, which calls for free postage for family members sending parcels or letters to members of the armed forces in Iraq or Afghanistan or to those troops hospitalized at an armed forces hospital. The bill -- referred to as the Mailing Support to Troops Act of 2005 -- remains in the Committee on Government Reform.

For the full story, click here.

To call, write or e-mail your representative in Congress, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 6:56 AM

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Rural Free Delivery (RFD) linked small towns and rural communties to the rest of the world and forever changed their lives.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:57 AM

Rural mail carriers

The on-line edition of the Orlando Sentinel reports that the demand for rural carriers is expected to increase and notes some striking differences between rural carriers and city carriers.

In the article, More Than Letter Carriers, the Sentinel says, “Although the boondocks are rapidly disappearing as Florida continues to grow at breakneck speed, postal officials say the need for rural carriers is actually growing.”

"City letter carriers have uniforms and drive postal vehicles, while rural carriers usually have no uniform and drive their own cars and trucks. Rural carriers provide more services and are under less supervision. Each is represented by a separate union."

Rural mail delivery became a permanent service for rural residents throughout the country in 1902, even while critics feared it would bankrupt the nation.

To read the entire Orlando Sentinel article, click here.

To read a Smithsonian Institution special report about rural mail delivery, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:28 AM

Friday, June 10, 2005

Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection, Michael Sefi, shown with red albums from King George V's collection. Similar albums are blue for King George VI and green for Queen Elizabeth II.
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posted by Don Schilling at 10:26 AM

New Link - Royal Philatelic Collection

I've just added another great link to the Round-up's newly alphabetized list of postal and philatelic related websites and pages (shown along the right hand side of the screen).

It's about the history of Royal Philatelic Collection. The exact date of the start of the Royal Philatelic Collection is unclear although it has its roots in the 19th century. It’s widely acknowledged that the driving force behind it was King George V who used to spend three afternoons a week working on it when he was in London.

Michael Sefi is the Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection and the man definitely likes his job.

Sefi says, "For a serious philatelist, working here is like being a small child in a sweet shop, cake shop and toy shop, all rolled into one - on a 'look-but-don't-sample' footing! It's an enormous privilege."

If you want to know more about the Royal Philatelic Collection, then I'd suggest The Queen's Stamps by Nicholas Courtney. It's available at by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:50 AM

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Jakob von Uexkull
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:18 AM

Philatelist turns philanthropist

Winners of what has become the alternative Nobels are sharing ideas this week at a seminar in Salzburg, Austria on how to improve the world. The gathering marks the 25th anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards which was created by Swedish-German stamp collector Jakob von Uexkull.

In 1980 von Uexkull sold his rare stamp business for $1 million and offered the proceeds to the Nobel Foundation to establish an ecology award. When the Foundation turned him down, he set up the Right Livelihood Award, which became known as the alternative Nobel Prize.

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation has since attracted additional funding from private individuals, enabling it to donate annual prizes worth 2 million Swedish kronor (approx $270,000 USD):

Seminar participants have been honoured for projects such as promoting breast feeding, protecting trees and encouraging charitable behavior.

For more information on Right Livelihood Award Foundation, visit their website at
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:59 AM

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The United Kingdom
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posted by Don Schilling at 1:25 AM

Northern Ireland's first post office on wheels

BBC News is reporting that Northern Ireland's first post office on wheels is set to take to the roads. The Post Office's Raymond Crea is quoted as saying the mobile post office would also offer personal banking; financial products; motor vehicle licence renewal; television licensing; bureau de change; insurance; homephone; phonecards and passport application checking.

Wow! Now that's what I call one-stop shopping.

For the full story, click here. To learn about America's mobile post offices, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:40 AM

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Smithsonian Institution postcard
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posted by Don Schilling at 10:28 PM

Smithsonian postcard history link added

A new link, Picture Postcards, has been added to the Stamp Collecting Round-up's growing list of sites worth visiting. Clicking on the link (which is over on the right hand side of the screen) will take you to The Smithsonian Institution's Post Card History Web page.

The site covers...
  • Private Mailing Cards Period, 1898 - 1901
  • Post Card Period, 1901-1907
  • Divided Back Period, 1907-1914
  • White Border Period, 1915-1930
  • Linen Period, 1930-1944
  • Modern Photochrome-style Period, 1939 - to date

Check it out.

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posted by Don Schilling at 8:43 PM

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Post Office Offering 'All Occasion' Gift Baskets

Apparently stamps, envelopes and mailing containers aren't the only things you can purchase at the St. Albans Post Office in West Virginia these days. Now you can add gift baskets to the list.

According to the Charleston (WV) Gazette, the "All Occasion Gift Baskets" are made up of USPS retail items and specialty products.

Currently, the post office is marketing a special "Graduation Basket" for high school seniors. Each basket has a postal graduation bear, a stamp dispenser and a padded bag. The stamps are meant to encourage college-bound seniors to write home. Each basket is left open to allow customers to add other postal items of their choice. Baskets can be created for just about any occasion or holiday.

As a result of this innovative marketing idea, retail sales have risen almost 250 percent according to an article that appeared on-line.

St. Albans Postmaster Ron Salisbury Jr. said, "This is an innovative idea that has originated at the St. Albans Post Office and has attracted attention from the district and area postal headquarters. This idea may be going nationwide."

For the complete story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:52 AM