Sunday, July 31, 2005

Preserving your stamp collection

Don Williams, senior furniture conservator at the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education says the two most dangerous places in the house to store stamp collections and other family heirlooms are the attic and the basement where heat, humidity, water, insects and mildew can wreak havoc on them.

Williams has co-authored a new book, "Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions."

According to an article that appears on the Washington Post website, the book idea began when Williams friend, District of Columbia area writer Louisa Jaggar, had a devastating flood in her basement. Williams helped her reclaim her life's memories which were submerged in more than two feet of water.

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

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Aviation stamps honor planes, their crews and the people who built them

B24 Liberator (Photo courtesy USPS)
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

In a Los Angeles Times article, several of the crew members of the various planes depicted on the new American Advances in Aviation stamp set were interviewed as to their feelings about the new stamps.

Art Peterson of Spring Grove, Ill. is quoted as saying, "The stamp is a memorial not just to the Black Cat crew but to all who flew B-24s in the war and to the workers who built the bombers." His father, Robert, was a waist gunner on the plane.

Ten airplanes are featured in the new set of 37-cent stamps which debuted Friday at ceremonies in Vienna, Va., and Oshkosh, Wis. They should be available at your local post office today.

To read the entire LA Times article, click here.

For more on the American Advances in Aviation stamps and a photo of the entire sheet, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ray Charles to have Los Angeles post office named after him

Legendary recording artist, Ray Charles, will have a Los Angeles post office named in his honor next month.

The "Ray Charles Post Office Building” will take place at 2 p.m. on Aug. 24 at 4960 West Washington Blvd which near the site of his original recording studio and business office.

The Ray Charles post office bill was sponsored by Congresswoman Diane Watson (CA-33). Charles was a longtime resident of Los Angeles and Watson's 33rd congressional district.

Charles' Washington Boulevard recording studio was recently designated a cultural landmark and will be converted into a museum honoring the musical legend. Scenes for the film, "Ray," starring Jamie Foxx, were also shot there.

Charles died June 10, 2004, at age 73.

For more on Ray Charles, click here.

For more on how to get a post office named after someone see Section123.413(e) of the USPS Postal Operations Manual which can be seen by clicking here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 28, 2005

USPS publication has publicity kit for new issues

USPS Postal Bulletin offers ideas on promoting new releases.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

Did you know that the Post Office has its own magazine? It called Postal Bulletin. It comes out twice a month and covers various USPS policies and procedures, etc.

While written primarily for post office employees, stamp collectors also benefit from the information in the publication's philately section. Upcoming issues are covered along with various details on the designer, number printed and so forth. I suspect this is where Linns gets their information.

There is also a customer relations section where postmasters and other employees responsible for public relations can get ideas and information on promoting new stamps in advance of their release. These 'publicity kits' have everything imaginable. Press releases, speeches, special event suggestions.

I just wonder how many postmasters and their staff actually have time do this stuff. I haven't seen any evidence of it here in my local community. Promoting a new stamp is probably pretty low on their things to-do list.

That being said, the information and these 'publicity kits' are a potential gold mine for local stamp clubs. By promoting the stamp, they could promote their club at the same time. I just wonder if the postmaster would be willing to work with a club's non-postal personnel to help implement the ideas?

To read the publicity kit for the Child Health Social Awareness Stamp being issued in September, click here

For back issues of the Postal Bulletin, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Columbians out of historical sequence

Had they been issued in the proper sequence, this should have been the first stamp in the series!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 PM

I recently came across an old issue (March 2004) of the Highlands Stampede, the offical newsletter of the Highlands Stamp Club of Avon Park/Sebring, Florida.

In it is an interesting article, "The Incredible Columbians." Issued in 1893, they were the first United States commemoratives.

After reading it, I discovered something interesting that I had never thought about previously.

The Columbian series (SC230-245) are not arranged in a historically accurate chronological order. One has to view the stamps in the following order so as to tell the story in the right sequence...

30c -Columbus first seeking Queen lsabella'ssupport.
5c -Soliciting aid from the Queen
50c -When Queen lsabella recalledColumbus after initially rejecting his request.
$1.00 -Queen lsabella pledging her jewels.
3c -Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria.
4c-The fleet, Santa Maria, Nina and Pinta.
1c -Columbus in sight of land (with no beard).
2c -Columbus landing on Guanahani (with a full beard, oops!)
6c -Welcome home at Barcelona.
15c -Columbus announcing his discovery.
lOc -Presenting natives to court.
$2.00- Columbus in chains (for allegedly mistreating the natives).
8c -Columbus restored to favor.
$3.00- Columbus describing his third voyage.

Go figure!

A tip of the Round-Up tongs to "Stampede" editor, Budd Steinke.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sweden and U.S. to issue Garbo stamps

Pair of Greta Garbo stamps to be issued by Sweden in September. U.S. will issue only one stamp. It will be an similar to the one shown above which was based on a photograph of Garbo.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:55 PM

This September both the United States and Sweden will issue stamps marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Swedish film actress Greta Garbo.

The joint issue will be released on September 23, six days after her actual birthdate - September 18, 1905. Garbo died in 1990 at the the age of 84.

According to an article in the September issue of Scott Stamp Monthly, the close-up (which was based on a photograph) of Ms. Garbo was originally to be done by the world-renown Swedish engraver Czeslaw Zania.

But shortly after the announcement was made in December of 2004, Polish-born engraver Piotr Naszarkowski of Sweden Post was given the job. Apparently, Zania was unable to do the work due to ill health. He later died in March of this year.

This is the first project Naszarkowski has done for the United States although this will be his 99th stamp engraving. To see some of his other stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:19 PM

Monday, July 25, 2005

Maryland collector swapped food for paintings during WWII

As a World War II soldier supervising Nazi prisoners of war in Belgium, Frank Shepherd, 84, traded his Army rations for portraits, landscapes and still lifes made by hungry German soldiers.

A combat engineer with the 10th Armored Division, Shepard owns more than a dozen of the paintings, traded for cigarettes and candy bars according to an article that appeared in the online editon of the Baltimore-Sun.

Today he's swapping stamps around the world. He keeps the names and addresses of his contacts on index cards that fill a filing cabinet in his basement. The contacts regularly send him stamps from their countries, and he returns the favor.

To read the entire article, click here.

  • Want to swap some stamps with collectors around the world? Click here for the Stamp Swap Club.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:02 AM

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A day in the life of a mail carrier

There's an interesting article about a day in the life of a typical mail carrier to be found on the (Bossier Press-Tribune, Louisiana) website.

It features Mike Rose, who has been with the local post office for 11 years. According to the article, Mike spends about two hours on average sorting mail everyday, and then loads the mail in his truck to be delivered to Bossier Parish residents in Louisiana.

The article points out that, "While Rose’s route is one of the more pleasant routes to work, mail carriers have to earn their chance to work the preferred areas."

Rose said new employees cover walking routes while they fulfill their duties as a part-time, flexible employee. First-time carriers usually begin in the older neighborhoods where carriers are required to walk because mailboxes are posted on the home and not at the curb.

"Once an employee has proven to be a valuable asset, they then become a full-time worker. If an employee retires, their job is posted for others to “bid” on," Rose said. “And the person that gets [the job] is the one that’s been there the longest,” Rose said.

“It has nothing to do with qualifications or whether you are faster than someone else; it’s all about seniority.”

To see the entire article, click here.

  • To learn more about carrier stamps and local posts, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:49 AM

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Individual who helped FBI recover Starnes collection is guest speaker at local club

Michael Perlman, left, helped the FBI recover the one-of-a-kind Charles J. Starnes stamp collection a recent Hollywood (Florida) Stamp Club meeting.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:04 AM

According to the Sun-Sentinal in Southern Florida, Michael Perlman was a hit at the Hollywood, Florida stamp club meeting last week. It was Perlman helped the FBI recover the late Charles J. Starnes collection.

Valued at $350,000, the collection was stolen from Starnes home in Midland, Mich in 1983. In May of this year, Perlman found out about an eBay stamp auction being sold out of Tampa. Realizing that the material was part of the missing collection, Perlman alerted the police who called in the FBI.

Perlman told the club that he bid $11,400 on the Starnes items. He won, and after assuring the seller via e-mail that he was legitimate, Perlman arranged a meeting with the seller and an undercover FBI agent.

The seller, a widow who said she inherited the collection from her late husband, wasn't arrested because there was no proof that she knew the stamps were stolen.

With his help, 80 percent of the collection was recovered and will be returned to Starnes' heirs at which point the club members cheered.

To read the entire article (which is very entertaining), click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 22, 2005

World-wide lottery scam busted with USPS help

Spanish authorities along with the FBI and US Postal Service have busted a world-wide lottery scam. More than 300 people were arrested.

The group allegedly sent around six million letters annually to Europe, United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and the Arabian Peninsula and managed to con some 20,000 people last year by telling them they had won prizes in the Spanish lottery but needed to forward a certain amount of money before they could collect their winnings.

Police estimate the gang earned more than US$120 million ($202.2 million) annually in the scams and moved it about through more than 400 bank accounts.

No word on whether the gang used commemoratives on the letters they sent.

Read the whole story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 11:57 AM

Thursday, July 21, 2005

'Forever' stamp being considered

In a filing before the U.S. Postal Commission, a 'forever' stamp is being considered that would benefit consumers.

According to a document filed July 19, the post office has agreed " to establish a working group... that will investigate the possibility of a non-denominated stamp, that once purchased, would be valid in the future for one-ounce, single-piece, first class postage regardless of the then current rate."

To read the filing, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:03 PM

Postal uniforms pose security threat

Letter carriers (SC 2420), 1989
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 PM

The USPS News is reporting that post office employees should be aware of the potential security threat of someone posing as a postal employee. They are concerned that a potential terrorist could gain easy access to both sensitive governmental and private offices by simply wearing a mail carrier's uniform.

Managers have been instructed tell employees who are leaving the postal service to remove all identifying USPS insignia, emblems and patches from their uniforms. Employees are also supposed to turn their uniforms in to their local postmasters/supervisors if they leave USPS or change employment categories that require different uniforms.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Postal reform isn't about reform

In an on-line article, Return to Sender, says that postal reform really isn't about reform but rather about shifting the USPS' $27 billion in military pension obligations back onto the Treasury. According to the article, a lot of service people go to work for the post office after leaving the military.

Since Congress requires the U.S. Postal Service to count retirees' years in the military in figuring their postal pensions it can be a very attractive career move. For years, the U.S. Treasury footed the bill for the extra pension payments and the USPS didn't have to worry about funding these obligations.

The article goes on to say, " 2003, in an effort to minimize the federal deficit, the Bush Administration persuaded Congress to shift the full cost of the pensions onto the already strapped USPS and ultimately onto postal patrons. Last year, attempts to shift the cost back to the Treasury were stymied by a presidential veto threat "

"If the reform passes, it could head off next year's planned 5.4% postal rate increase—the one that will push the cost of mailing a single letter to 39 cents from 37 cents."

To read the whole article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:33 PM

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

TV viewing stamps and the USPS 'Postal Network'

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:20 PM

Did you know in the United Kingdom a 'television viewing' license is required together with a special revenue stamp ?

Since the resumption of regular television services after World War II it has been necessary for viewers to purchase a viewing license. However, it was not until 1972 that TV license revenue stamps were issued for use on such licenses.

For more information on these and other British revenue stamps, click here.

* * * * * *

Speaking of tv According to the USPS e-zine, Links, more than 500 postal facilities across the country now have available to them a cable TV channel called POSTAL VISION.

Designed for employees, it is aired in post office break rooms and cafeterias four times a week. It has news, information about jobs, health and safety tips and stories about ‘heroes’ — postal employees who helped others while on the job.

No word if they have had any stories about 'stamp collectors from hell' or how to cancel a stamp properly.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:47 AM

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Stamp collection moment?

The opening paragraph in today's William O'Rourke's Chicago Sun-Times column says, "Karl Rove might have had his stamp-collection moment. Stamp-collecting caused the downfall of another Bush presidential adviser, John Sununu, George W.'s father's chief of staff. In 1991, Sununu had a White House car and driver take him to a stamp auction in New York. Sununu sent the car back empty and returned in a corporate jet. The resulting scandal drove Sununu from office."

I'm not quite sure what he's talking about but seems he's implying stamp collecting is a bad thing. I've written Mr. Rouke and it will be interesting to see what he has to say.

You can write him too at
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posted by Don Schilling at 2:19 PM

Stamp collecting will survive

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posted by Don Schilling at 2:08 PM

Federation of Inter-Asian Philately senior consultant and editor of the Malaysian Philatelic Bulletin, C. Nagarajah, is convinced that the hobby of stamp collecting will survive despite e-mail and other obstacles.

In an on-line article he says, "It is the king of hobbies and the hobby of kings. It is still the world’s most popular hobby. There are 130 million stamp collectors all over the world.The hobby has been around since stamps were first issued in Britain in 1867 [sic]*. It has survived all kinds of obstacles."

He's quoted as saying the Philatelic Society of Malaysia and Pos Malaysia could help to promote the hobby by holding talks about stamp collecting in schools.

Nagarajah, who worked as a chief clerk in the Housing and Local Government Ministry, was editor of the Malaysian Philatelist, a publication of the Philatelic Society of Malaysia, from 1958 to 2000. Enquiries may be made to Nagarajah at 03-7982-2434.

*If and when you call Nagarajah, please let him know the first stamps were issued by Great Britain in 1840 not 1867.
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posted by Don Schilling at 1:56 PM

Thursday, July 14, 2005

NO this not one of the Baldwin brothers.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 PM

Lists of people on stamps

Ever wanted to know why someone got to be on a postage stamp?

People like...

  • Abraham Baldwin (SC 1850)
  • Virginia Apgar (SC 2179)
  • Samuel Dexter (SC R290)
Well... there's a a site that can help you find out their claim to philatelic fame. has thoughtfully provided stamp collectors and others an alphabetical list of people (famous and otherwise) who appear on the stamps of various nations along with their biography. In some cases, the stamp they appear on is also pictured.

All the individual listings have the year the individual appeared on a stamp. So it's fairly easy (with the help of a catalog) to locate stamp they appeared on.

While people pictured on United States stamps are pretty well indexed, many countries are not. If you specialize in one of the these countires which is not indexed, you (or your group, society or club) might want to consider taking it on as a project. If you know enough about html to be dangerous you can add a picture of the stamp yourself.

The whole thing is pretty much a work in progress. Suddenly, the 'Great Americans' series just got a WHOLE lot more interesting.

For a list of countries, click here.

For the list of people on United States stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Become a postal inspector

USPS Newslinks reports that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will be accepting applications for the position of Postal Inspector Aug. 1-13. Postal Inspectors investigate criminal, civil and administrative violations of postal-related laws, often using forensics and cutting-edge technologies

Their mission is to protect post office employees and customers from criminal attack and to protect the nation's mail system from criminal misuse.

To be a Postal Inspector you must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen between 21 and 36- years of age.
  • Possess a four-year degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Have no felony or domestic-violence convictions.
  • Be in good physical condition.
  • Write and speak English clearly.
  • Be willing to relocate.

If you are interested in applying, go to your local post office for an application.

For more information about the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, click here.

PS - You can also rent the 1936 movie Postal Inspector starring Bela Lugosi from

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:32 PM

'American Philatelist' magazine

I just received my July issue of the American Philatelist magazine. I know many of you are familiar with this wonderful publication, but I'm sure there are some who are not. So I thought I would give it a plug.

Published by monthly by The American Philatelic Society, it has lots of interesting articles and information for both the novice and advanced collector. Incidentally, it also the oldest philatelic journal in the world!

Editor Barbara Boal and her staff at APS headquarters in Bellefonte, PA do a fantastic job and are to be commended.

To see what's in this month's issue, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Searchable photo directory makes for interesting viewing

Got a picture of your favorite post office? If so, the The Post Mark Collectors Club (PMCC) would be interested in seeing it . They have a searchable photo directory of over 3000 post offices throughout the United States.

The PMCC also provides support for The Margie Pfund Memorial Post Mark Museum and Research Library located near Bellevue, Ohio

According to the write-up on the PMCC web site, the Museum's holdings make up the largest single collection in the world, grouping over a million different postal history items. The library contains reference material on post mark collecting from each of the United States, from Canada and many other postal administrations of the world.

Along with post marks and research material the Museum has a fine collection of vintage post offices memorabilia. Special collections of post mark slogans, such as the "Pray for Peace" series, are highlights of the holdings.

PMCC is an International Organization commited to the preservation of postal history and encouraging the fun and interesting hobby of Post Mark collecting. The club is a nonprofit affiliate of the American Philatelic Society. With over 35,000 named Post Offices in the U.S. and many more around the world, the collecting potential is limitless.

To see your favorite post office, click here. To learn more about post mark collecting, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 10:29 PM

Monday, July 11, 2005

Celebs deliver packages for

Jason Alexander makes a surprise personal delivery to Jeremy Gersham, right and his girlfriend Avana Shein, in Brentwood, Calif.
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posted by Don Schilling at 4:33 PM

The Worldwide Entertainment Network is reporting on that Anna Kournikova has become the latest celebrity to deliver the mail as part of Internet shopping site's 10th anniversary celebrations.

The semi-retired tennis star and model delivered a package containing Adidas shoes and an Adidas gym bag that Dr. Andrea Feinberg ordered from on Friday.

Last week, Jeff Bridges
made the first Amazon delivery to an unsuspecting customer in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Minnie Driver, Don Cheadle and Claudia Schiffer have also signed on.

Acoording to another online report, each special delivery will be webcast on and the celebrations will climax on July 16, when the site will show live performances by Bob Dylan and Norah Jones.

Normally, ships via United Parcel Service (UPS) and not the U.S. Postal Service.
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posted by Don Schilling at 4:01 PM

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bagpipes on stamps

Last week someone in one of the online stamp discussion groups I belong to asked about accordions on stamps. Mmmmmmmmmm. Interesting topic.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any sites that were devoted to that particular musical instrument.

WHAT I did find was a great site about bagpipes on stamps which was featured in an interesting New York Times article, "Stamp Collecting in an E-Mail Age," earlier this year.

I particularly liked the stamp shown above. Apparently, penguins and bagpipers get along famously.

For some interesting stamps (and information about bagpipes) check out Oliver Seeler's~ Universe of Bagpipes.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, July 09, 2005

'Postal Service' rocks

Did you know there is a electronica-meets-indie-rock duo called the 'Postal Service'?

According to a write up on, band members Ben Gibbard, who lived in Los Angeles, and Seattle- based Jimmy Tamborello formed the group by mail by sending CDs of their music and lyrics back and forth eventually producing their first album - Give Up.

The process worked well, they named their collaboration Postal Service , which is under license from the U.S. Postal Service. You can even buy their CDs on

"The record relied on the postal service — it wouldn’t have been made without it," Tamborello once told a sold-out performance at the Palace in Hollywood.

No word whether they collect stamps. Rock on, boys, rock on.

For more on the Postal Service, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:23 AM

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bush gets stamps for birthday

AFP, the Worldwide News Agency, reports that President Bush recieved some stamps as a birthday present from Danish Prime Minister while in Denmark for the G8 Summit. Bush turned 59 on July 6.

The nine stamps (SC 19-27) were issued in 1945 by Greenland (a Danish colony) are overprinted May 5, 1945 commemorating Denmark's liberation from the Nazis after World War II.

The stamps were produced in the United States, since relations between Denmark and its semi-autonomous territory Greenland broke down during the war.

The stamps are estimated to be worth 7,000 kroner (1,120 dollars, 940 euros). They were present to President Bush during a celebratory breakfast with Rasmussen at his country residence Marienborg, just north of Copenhagen.
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posted by Don Schilling at 11:28 AM

Guinness world record entry

According to an online report out of the Mid East, a giant portrait of the late United Arab Emirates (UAE) president Sheikh Zayed made from stamps was unveiled at the Dubai Police Officers Club. The 12 by 18 foot picture was created with 77,000 stamps of 750 different designs. The portrait is in line for an entry into the Guinness Book of Records.

While the Round-Up could find no existing world's record for the largest picture made from stamps on the Guinness website, it did find the following about the world's most valuable stamp collection.
  • On November 3, 1993, Japanese engineer-industrialist Hiroyuki Kanai bought a 183-page collection of classic Mauritian stamps for a record $10,145,269, at an auction held in Geneva, Switzerland. Of the 183 items in the Kanai collection, just four stamps account for 75% of the total value of the collection.
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posted by Don Schilling at 10:14 AM

Thursday, July 07, 2005

'My Favorite Stamps' kick-off

I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite stamps with you. With that in mind, I am kicking-off what I hope to be a regular Round-Up feature.

Since one of my topical collections is 'stamps on stamps', I am particularly fond of this 1981 stamp from Nepal (SC 396) commemorating the NEPAL 81 Stamp Exhibition held in Katmandu.

I call it my 'stamp-on-stamp, on stamp, on stamp, on stamp...well you get the idea...stamp.'

If you have a favorite stamp let me know about it! If possible scan it and e-mail to me at

If you aren't that technologically advanced, you can mail it to me c/o Bunker Hill Stamp Club, PO Box 712165, Los Angeles, CA 90071. Enclose a stamped-self addressed envelope and I'll mail it back to you.

Be sure to include a few words why it's one of your favorites. If I use it on the Round-Up I'll send you a 'special little philatelic item' that you'll be sure to appreciate!

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Louisville post offices sponsor flag retirement event

USPS Links reports that Louisville, KY, letter carriers noticed quite a few worn and tattered American flags along their routes. Apparently they had been purchased around the time of 9/11 and had not been replaced.

So, Customer Service Manager Richard Curtsinger contacted the local AmVets chapter and arranged a flag retirement ceremony.

To publicize the ceremony, a post card was printed and mailed to 30,000 Louisville businesses. It suggested that customers purchase new flags and bring the old ones to any post office in Louisville for retirement.

More than 300 flags were collected and retired. In accordance with the U.S. Flag Code adopted by Congress in 1942, the flags were properly folded and burned respectfully by members of AmVets and the local Fire Department. Many veterans were in attendance and Curtsinger says the event was so successful, it will be held again.

For more information on flag retirement ceremonies check with your local veterans organization (AmVets, VFW, American Legion) or the National Flag Foundation.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:25 AM

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Stamp auction sets record highs for U.S. material

Greg Manning Auctions Inc. announced today the results of its H.R. Harmer auction of the Richard Baron Cohen collection on June 24. T his was the first major auction sale containing only numerically third-party graded stamps. The collection realized a total of $1,035,000. The presale estimate was $700,000.

A number of records were set including a mint $5 Columbian stamp that sold for $77,625 and was described as "near perfect."

For more on this story, click here. For descriptions, photos, and prices realized of individual stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:29 PM

Charles Esterly Severn, philatelic writer and APS Hall of Fame member
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

Happy Birthday - Charles Esterly Severn

Today is the birthday of Charles Esterly Severn.

A member of the American Philatelic Society's Hall of Fame, Severn was born July 5, 1872 and died on Dec. 14, 1929.

According to the APS , "Severn was a highly successful and widely acclaimed stamp editor. Most of his philatelic career took place with Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, first published by Charles H. Mekeel in 1891... Under Severn's leadership, a series of important philatelic monographs of various subjects was published."

For additional information on Severn and other APS Hall of Fame members, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 04, 2005

Betsy Ross story - Fact or Fiction?

An online article on says that the scene depicted on the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Betsy Ross (SC 1004) commemorative issued in 1952 (shown above) may never have happened at all.

The stamp was based on Charles Weisgerber's 1893 painting, "Birth of Our Nation's Flag," in which Ross is seated in her parlor, sunbeams pouring down on her, the flag draped on her lap in the company of George Washington, George Ross and Robert Morris.

According to the writer, "Those who accept the Betsy Ross myth would like to believe that George Washington took a break from leading the fight against the British to confer with a twice-widowed Philadelphia flagmaker about designing and making that first flag."

To read the full article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:08 PM

Happy Fourth of July!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Stolen stamp collection recovered - 20 years later!!!!!

A Florida man with an eye for detail led the FBI to part of a stamp collection that showed up on eBay more than two decades after being stolen from the home of a collector.

According to the Midland (Michagan) Daily News, stamp collector Michael Perlman, of Fort Lauderdale, had pored over the black-and-white records of Charles J. Starnes' collection. The original collection, with distinct pen marks and imperfections, was taken in 1983.

So when Perlman was browsing Internet auction site eBay in May and saw some of the same pen marks and imperfections in color, he knew he had found part of Starnes' collection, which was worth an estimated $350,000 when taken.

Starnes' collection — taken while he was hospitalized — included six volumes with more than 400 envelopes with rare stamps and markings. Nothing but the collection, which was in a safe, was taken from Starnes' Midland [Michagan] home during the theft.

The collection was expected to be returned to Starnes' survivors.

To read the complete article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:34 PM

Indian stamp club wants some younger members - Hey don't we all?

Officers of the Ludhiana Philately Club in India feel that without younger members their club isn't what it used to be, reports the Ludhiana Newsline.

Recalling the early seventies (when the club was started) Yashpal Bangia, president of the club said, ‘‘When we started this club, all members were young with great enthusiasm. We used to hold many functions and activities."

"Earier we used to hold about five functions a year which are now reduced to one in year.’’

Suraj Jaitley, a renowned philatelist, said, ‘‘The club is working but if we have some young office bearers with us, they may give some new directions to the club and enthusiasm will also be more.’’

He said, ‘‘The electronic media and the fast, result-oriented games have also affected this hobby to some extent. Children prefer to play such games instead of nourishing hobbies like philately.’’

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:18 PM

Saturday, July 02, 2005

'Postal Product of Month' at Maine post office

The online edition of the Boothbay Harbor Register (Maine) reports that the 1998 Breast Cancer Research semi-postal was the 'Postal Product of the Month' for May and June at the local post office. Postal employees actively promoted the stamp and encouraged customers to sign pink "discs" with their name, or the name of a cancer victim or survivor, when purchasing the stamps. These were then hung inside the post office.

According to the article, semipostal stamps are generally only sold for two years after they have been issued, but the Breast Cancer Research semipostal has been renewed or extended three times by popular demand.

Anyone interested in purchasing the Breast Cancer Research stamp should inquire about them at their local post office or click here.

To read the entire article, which also mentions the Family Violence semi-postal, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:46 AM

Friday, July 01, 2005

Mexican stamps spark controversy

The Associated Press reports a set of five Mexican postage stamps of a once-popular black comic book character has sparked considerable controversy.

Local and U.S. activists have called for the withdrawal of the stamps, which depict a 1940's comic character called Memin Pinguin who has exaggerated thick lips and wide-opened eyes. American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has called the stamps racist.

But a presidential spokesman says the stamp is a celebration of Mexico's pop culture.

The release of the stamp comes just weeks after Mexican President Vicente Fox angered many African-Americans by saying illegal Mexican immigrants are willing to do jobs in the United States not even blacks want to do.

Mr. Fox apologized for any misunderstanding, saying he was only trying to highlight the important contribution of Mexican workers in the United States.

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

This day in philatelic history...

On this day in 1997, Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese authorities - ending more than 50 years of British control.

Click here to visit the Hong Kong Post Office online. The site has a variety of features including a philatelic amusement arcade and suggestions on exhibiting stamps . [Note - it is not necessary to download the Chinese characters. Just cick on cancel when that window appears.]

Shown above are the first stamps that were issued under Chinese control on July 1, 1997.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM