Saturday, December 31, 2005

World's only Kwanzaa stamps?

The Johnson County [Kansas] Sun reports that this week marked the 39th commemoration of Kwanzaa, the non-religious, non-political celebration of traditions, ancestors and culture that is observed worldwide by more than 18 million people of African descent.

Although I have searched high and low, I have yet to find another Kwanzaa stamp issued by any other country besides the United States. One design was released in 1997 and another in 2004.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, who designed the celebration as a way to preserve, revitalize and promote African American culture.

The first Kwanzaa stamp, designed by Synthia Saint James, was issued in 1997 as a 32¢ stamp. The same design was used for the 33¢, 34¢ and 37¢ Kwanzaa stamps of 1999, 2001 and 2002, respectively.

The name Kwanzaa is rooted in the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits of the harvest" in Kiswahili. While Kwanzaa itself is only about 40 years old, first-fruit harvest celebrations have been celebrated in Africa for thousands of years, with recorded histories of the celebrations from the ancient Egyptian and Nubian periods.

Kwanzaa celebrates seven principles known as Nguzo Saba, the principles are meant to reflect tradition, reason and guiding values that contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture. Each of Kwanzaa's seven days is dedicated to one of the principles. The principles are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith).

If you know of another Kwanzaa stamp, please e-mail me at

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

Friday, December 30, 2005

Poway, California Stamp Club

The Poway Stamp Club got a nice write-up yesterday in the San Diego Union-Tribune Community News.

Growing up during World War II, Club President Jim McGuigan, 71, said he helped a stamp dealer lift the used postage by soaking envelopes sent from around the globe. When the stamps had separated from the envelopes, McGuigan would place them within the pages of pulp magazines and weigh the publications down to prevent the stamps from curling as they dried.

Another club member, Bill Combs, 59, is quoted in the article as saying, "A lot of people have the impression that stamp collecting doesn't appeal to as many people anymore, but the darn prices keep going up and up."

Combs said, "I've always wondered ... 'Is Bill Gates buying all this?'

Formed on St. Patrick's Day 1976, the Poway Stamp Club (which is APS affiliate #1137-112097) has about 20 members.

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

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Time for a new Hanukkah stamp?

Ronald J. Scheiman of Boynton Beach, FL believes it's about time the Postal Service issues a new Hanukkah stamp.

On his Web site, Hanukkah Stamp Quest, Scheiman says, "In 2004, the United States Postal Service issued the first new Hanukkah stamp design since1996. During the same period of time the USPS issued seven new "Madonna & Child" Christmas stamps."

He goes on to suggest that the United States Postal Service may be acting in a biased and discriminatory manner since it has been issuing new and different Christmas stamps every year since 1962.

According to Scheiman, next year there will be a another new "Madonna & Child" Christmas stamp. However, the Hanukkah stamp will be a re-valued, re-released version of the 2004 dreidel design.

Scheiman wonders why there can't be a new design each year and points out that there are just as many Hanukkah menorahs and dreidel designs that can be depicted on a Hanukkah stamp as there are of the "Madonna & Child."

He's encouraging everyone to write directly to the Postmaster General of the United States.

"Tell him you want a new and different Hanukkah stamp every year."

You can 'real' mail the Postmaster General John E. Potter at United States Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington DC 20260-0010. E-mails should be sent to
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Santa's secret hideaway

Not too many people realize that immediately after Christmas, Santa heads to the Cayman Islands for some well-earned rest and recreation. Besides having a large bank account there, he enjoys the warm weather and many activities.

Shown above is a series of stamps issued in 1998 which feature Santa arriving by plane, where he stays, walking along the beach and scuba diving.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Graceful envelope contest

The Iowa City Press Citizen Iowa reports that a local resident, Jeri Hobart was named one of 17 national winners among more than 350 entrants in the 2005 Graceful Envelope Contest.

For this year's contest, entrants had to use the letter "P" in a creative manner. Hobart's winning envelope (shown above) was covered with five 8-cent "Stamp Collecting" stamps from 1972 along with the words "philately" and "penmanship." According to the paper, it took Hobart about three months to come up with the idea but only about two hours to put it on paper.

The contest is sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers in recognition of the art of calligraphy and the role of letters in binding people together.

Hobart,58, received a certificate, and her entry, along with the other winning envelopes, will be on display at the National Association of Letter Carrier's headquarters in Washington, D.C., through June.

The paper quotes Hobart as saying, ""I love old stamps and the hobby of collecting stamps is called philately, so that starts with the letter 'P,' and my job is penmanship," she said. "... and it just so happens that my mother collected stamps forever and she gave me her stamp collection, and so I have this access to all these old stamps and I love using them."

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

Monday, December 26, 2005

Test stamps and "poached eggs"

Over the weekend, I received my new issue of Scott Stamp Monthly (February 2006). In it, there is an interesting article about test stamps. It talks about the greatly expanded test stamp section in the 2006 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.

While not actually postage stamps, test stamps are are used for testing printing processes, new technologies, equipment, etc.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, in the United Kingdom test stamps for coil dispensing machines are sometimes known as 'poached eggs', because of their design. Most poached eggs remain intact as test stamps throughout their lives. However, others wind up accidentally affixed as legitimate postage stamps.

Poached egg test stamps which get successfully passed in the mail and canceled may be of significant value to British collectors. Shown above is a 'poached egg' which is currently listed on eBay.

Test stamps are also known as 'dummy stamps.' The United States Stamp Society has a Dummy Stamp Study Group, which has recently put out their first newsletter which provides some additional illustrations and information.

To read it, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Here's an exclusive photo of Santa at the North Pole shortly before take-off.

You'll notice he's working on his stamp collection!

The Round-Up has it on good authority that Santa collects world-wide and has several topical collections such as elves, snowmen, and bunny rabbits.

The Round-Up has also learned that Santa has reciprocal agreements with EVERY postmaster general in the world to receive their nation's year-set in lieu of milk and cookies.

Needless to say, this keeps Santa busy the rest of the year.

To find out how Santa manages to deliver so presents to so many boys and girls in just 31 hours, click here.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Vanity stamps

Call them what you will, 'vanity stamps' or 'custom postage' many are embracing the new technology ... and some aren't.

The New York Times reports that even the The American Philatelic Society is developing its own series of important moments in postal history to sell as stamps on

On the other hand, Robert Paul Reyes, a columnist for The Lynchburg Ledger in Virginia, described custom postage last year as "a blight on an envelope and a disgrace to our history." In an interview. Reyes described photo stamps as "sacrilegious."

"Stamps are mirrors of societies," he said. "They are a history of a nation. When I look at people putting photos of their pet cats or grandchildren on a legal postage stamp, that trivializes them a bit."

The article sums up with, "Like vanity license plates in the 80's, these products are vehicles to convey an air of exclusivity, ingenuity and, in some cases, narcissism, fetishism or worse. "

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

Friday, December 23, 2005

Neither rain, nor snow nor transit strike

Postmaster General Jack Potter appeared live on CNN’s American Morning Wednesday to reassure viewers that Postal Service workers were “putting feet on the street” to make sure that holiday greetings and packages arrive on time — particularly in New York City, which had been experiencing a transit strike.

New York District Marketing Manager Raschelle Miley said, “I applaud the many men and women of the New York District who came to work despite the transit strike. Neither rain nor snow nor transit strike will stop these employees from delivering for their customers.”

Potter spoke from Postal Service Headquarters on the busiest delivery day of the year, promoting Priority Mail and Express Mail for the last few mailing days of the holiday season and reminding Americans that Santa isn’t the only one delivering Dec. 25.

“All Express Mail will be delivered on Christmas Day,” Potter said.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A blogging we will go

In case you missed it, The Round-Up was mentioned in the December issue of American Philatelist magazine.

In his December Glassine Surfer column, Entering the World of the Philatelic Blog, writer Michael Mills wrote, "The Stamp Collecting Round-Up is about as far away from a corral as you could get, but with twice as many links and briefs in this virtual herd as any surfing cowboy could lasso. "

"It is one of those 'must-read' stamp Web spots and is the official Web blog of the downtown Los Angeles Bunker Hill and Glendale (California) Stamp Clubs. I highly recommend it for your online philatelic leisure."

Other blogs that were mentioned included;

Heavily Cancelled --
My Philately --
The Parkinlot --
Blais N Blogs --
Philatelic Tidbits --
cddstamps weblog --
Philatelic Musings --

Michael has his own Web site and Stamp News Blog at

To read Michael's article, click here.

To learn EVEN more about Blogs and blogging, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New USPS definitives and postal stationary

The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled its definitive stamps, postal cards and other stamp products to be issued in 2006.

There will be two new stamps in the Scenic American Landscapes series picturing Yosemite National Park, California (84-cent international letter rate) and Bryce Canyon, Utah (63-cent letter rate for Mexico and Canada).

Pikes Peak will be featured on a 24-cent stamped postal card. The Common Buckeye butterfly will land on a 24-cent stamp for use on postcards and the second-ounce on First-Class mail.

Celebrating the 300th anniversary of his birth Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) will appear on a 39-cent stamped envelope.

Two new additions to the Distinguished Americans definitive series. Virologist Albert Sabin (1906-1993) will be featured on a 87-cents stamp. Dr. Jonas Salk (1914-1995) will on a new 63-cents stamp.

The new $4.05 Priority Mail and $14.40 Express Mail (shown above) stamps commemorate X-Planes.

A new 39-cent booklet will have corn, chili peppers, beans, squashes and sunflowers.

The popular Lunar New Year stamp images issued in 2005, will be reprinted as 39-centers.

Release dates are very tentative at this point. To see photos and to learn more about the stamps and designers, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Stamp Talk" radio show

Nancy Clark's American Philatelic Society (APS) Stamp Talk on will present a special program on holiday collecting today from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, and from 7 a.m. to 8 am., PDT.

Nancy will interview Fr. Augustine Serafini, president and editor for Collectors of Religion on Stamps (COROS), John Hotchner from the Christmas Seal and Charity Stamp Society, and Tom Neufer Emswiler, editor of the Yule Log, the Christmas Philatelic Club newsletter.

Listen live and participate by phone at 888-327-0061 or e-mail Nancy before or during the show at

Previous APS Stamp Talk shows are available around the clock on the Internet by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Monday, December 19, 2005

Last minute gift suggestion

If you need a last minute gift suggestion for yourself or some other stamp collector, I'd recommend Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.

Set in the crazed city of Ankh-Morpork, the book hilariously reflects the plight of post offices the world over as they struggle to compete in an era when e-mail has stolen much of the glamour from the postal trade.

The book's accidental hero Moist von Lipwig is offered a job he literally can't refuse —postmaster general. Nevermind, the post office hasn't been open for 20 years since the advent of the Internet, is a haunted by dead postmen and musty mounds of undelivered mail fill every room of the decaying Post Office building.

Should be available in your local bookstore. Can also be ordered on-line at by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Final push for holiday mail

The Clanton Advertiser of Clanton, Alabama says, "If you've still got letters and packages to mail you better get in line, because tomorrow is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year."

Monday, Dec. 19 is projected to be the busiest mailing day of the year with more than 280 million cards and letters put into the system - more than twice that of an average day.

Tomorrow will also be the last chance to ship packages by first-class mail for Christmas delivery. Wednesday, Dec. 21, is the last day to ship using Priority Mail and Friday, Dec. 23 is the last day to ship using Express Mail.

Of course, you can avoid the long lines and frazzled nerves by e-mailing your holiday greetings at
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Saturday, December 17, 2005

King Kong

I took the afternoon off yesterday and went to see King Kong.

It's definitely a must see on the big screen. I noticed New Zealand Post has been actively promoting the movie with a series of stamps and a souvenir sheet (shown above).

They have also issued some for another recent release - Narnia. Both pictures were shot in and around New Zealand.

To check out the Kong collectibles click here.

If you're a Narnia fan, then click here.

If you want to know who played Kong, click here. If you saw the movie, you'll be surprised. I know I was.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 16, 2005

Hockey Stamps

According to, one of the largest collections of hockey stamps in the world is housed at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada.

The stamp exhibit features the first sports stamp ever printed, by Greece in 1896, and more than 200 hockey themed stamps.

The article quotes Phil Pritchard, who works for the Hall of Fame as saying, “The first hockey-themed stamp that I know of was issued in 1948 by the country of Switzerland... and came out quite a number of years before Canada’s first hockey-themed stamp, which appeared in 1956.”

The collection includes stamps from the Soviet Union, the former Czechoslovakia, Nigeria, St. Vincent, Rwanda, Yemen, Mongolia, Belize and from throughout Northern Europe.

Even the United States, which doesn't make a practice of featuring living athletes on stamps, has issued a handful of hockey-themed stamps for the Olympics.

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

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Postage stamps more than just paper

An interesting essay about stamps and stamp collecting appeared in yesterday's Nigeria Daily Independent.

In Postage stamps: Beyond face value, reporter Abdulwahab Matepo writes, "Every postage stamp tells a preserves arts and culture from antiquities to modern. Arts and culture are, unfortunately, two aspects of human life being destroyed by time, civilisation, and conflicts. Recent conflicts in Afghanistan under the Taliban and in Iraq have wiped out several notable monuments, some of which can now only be seen in stamps."

He goes on to say, "The role of postage stamps as educators and carriers of information is enormous. As promoters of national images, postage stamps are ideal – judging from the penetrating effects they have across boarders, cultures, beliefs, and levels of socio-economic and political development. This explains why government officials in some countries always include stamp albums in gift packages for visiting VIPs."

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You can't mail that

Be aware that many countries have rules about what can be sent by mail.

While most aim to keep out dangerous goods, some appear to have no purpose at all. Several countries ban toys and one even prohibits Christmas cards with musical chimes.

Other examples include Afghanistan which bans the importation of fountain pens, playing cards, sunglasses, and women's handbags. Britain stops horror comics from entering the country. Nicaragua does not allow police whistles and Paraguay says no to calendars.

For more on what you can't mail, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Santa's daughter gets her own zip code

FLASH! The U.S. Postal Service has granted a separate zip code to Santa's daughter - Holly Claus.

Holly is the main character in a children's book released last year, "The Legend of Holly Claus."

According to a press release sent out by the book's publicist, children are encouraged to write Holly a letter, "not about what they want as gifts, but about their dreams and aspirations."

Holly will then write back to them a letter that "inspires them to follow their dreams."

Letters should be sent to:

Ms. Holly Claus
The Royal Palace
The City of Forever
The Land of the Immortals 90209-1225

The zip code - indicates that Holly resides somewhere in Beverly Hills, Calif. I guess the cold weather got to her at the North Pole.

To learn more about Holly and to order the book (which might make a nice Christmas present for some young person), click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 12, 2005

North Pole postmark

The U.S. Postal Service not only helps get letters to Santa, they also help the big guy when it comes to getting letters from him.

If you (or someone you know) wants the prestigious North Pole postmark on your greeting cards; stamp, address, seal the cards and mail them inside a larger envelope to:

FAIRBANKS AK 99709-9998

The cards will be postmarked and delivered as addressed. North Pole postmark requests must arrive in Fairbanks, AK, before Dec. 15, 2005.

To read a note from Santa regarding the postmark, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Say "ATM" and most people think of automated teller machine. However, to lots of collectors "ATM" means "Automatenmarken" or stamp from an automatic machine.

Philatelic ATMs started in 1969 in France. Since 1984, they have been fully recognized as valid stamps by the Universal Postal Uniopn (U.P.U.) Approximately 600 ATMs (also known as 'variable value stamps') have been or are currently being used by at least 62 postal administrations.

ATMs differ from the mechanical franking (meter labels) because they don't have a date printed on them. They can be used anytime, unlike meter labels which must be used immediately.

Josep Jove and Daniel Sanz have an interesting Web site that has some great examples from around the world and tells you everything you'd ever want to know about this branch of the hobby.

To visit their site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Canada's holiday stamps

The Ottawa Citizen reports that for the first time, Canada Post is offering BOTH religious and non-religious stamps during the Christmas season.

In November, Canada Post released three holiday stamps - one showing a snowman and three featuring Nativity scenes (shown above).

According to the article, this came just two months after the Catholic Women's League of Canada asked members from its 1,350 councils across Canada to lobby Canada Post, the prime minister, revenue minister, and members of Parliament for a stamp that depicted Jesus's birth.

A Canada Post spokesperson said this year's themes were not the result of lobbying, but more of an "evolution. In 2002, the Christmas stamps showed aboriginal scenes of Jesus and Mary. In 2003, it was Christmas presents. Last year, the theme was Santa Claus parades.

Next year, it will offer three stamps featuring Christmas cards, and a fourth will depict a Madonna and child.

For more on this story, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 09, 2005

"Dear Santa" premieres tonight

Tonight’s broadcast premiere of Dear Santa showcases four children whose holiday wishes come true, thanks to a little help from FOX-TV and the Postal Service.

But the show does more than highlight four very special stories. It highlights the years of USPS involvement with communities and charitable organizations to answer Santa letters — and how they help make holiday dreams come true.

Sales of the "Dear Santa" CD, produced in conjunction with this show, remain brisk. If your local post office doesn’t have them, you can order them on-line by clicking here.

Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. ET on your local FOX channel.
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posted by Don Schilling at 9:58 AM

Old Glory and Lady Liberty

USPS got the jump on the 39c January 8 price increase yesterday by issuing a non-denominated, first-class, definitive in Washington, DC.

The stamp (shown at the left) is now on sale and features The American Flag and the Statue of Liberty.

According to a USPS announcement, professional photographers Carl and Ann Purcell of Alexandria, VA, combined separate photos to create the montage used in the design.

The couple have written four books about travel writing and photography; and, as far as I can determine, this is the first time their work has appeared on a postage stamp.

To visit their Web site and see more of their work, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

USPS ends 2005 in the black

Associated Press, Reuters, ABC News, and other media outlets across the country report “the Postal Service is in a position not many Americans can claim: debt free.”

Record revenues of $70 billion and record mail volume of 212 billion pieces allowed USPS to finish 2005 with a $1.4 billion surplus that’s been used to reduce the Postal Service’s $11 billion in debt to zero and maintain stable rates since 2002.

“Financially, we’re in the best position we’ve been since the 1970s,” said Postmaster General Jack Potter at yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Governors. “Despite the strong financial and productivity records of recent years, we are facing a modest increase in postage rates in January.”

The reports noted the price change was compelled by 2003 legislation requiring the Postal Service to put aside more than $3 billion into escrow each year beginning in 2006.

A USPS news release says, "Although today's postal financial news is positive, Potter cautioned that the forecast for 2006 projects a surplus from operations, but coupled with an anticipated escrow requirement of $3.1 billion, the Postal Service will likely have a net deficiency approaching $2 billion."

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:14 AM

Pearl Harbor

December 7th is "A day that will live in infamy."

So said President Franklin Roosevelt in December 1941 after the Japanese air force and navy attacked US ships docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged and over 2400 Americans were killed in the pre-dawn attack .

Like every city and town, each US Naval Ship and Naval Station has its own post office.

Jon Burdett's Ships of Pearl Harbor on-line collection features covers from almost every ship as well as most of the commands, airfields, and Army barracks.

Shown above is a rare December 7, 1941 cover with a US Navy handstamp.

To see the rest of Jon's on-line collection (which is maintained by Paul R. Yarnall of the NavSource Naval History Project), click here.

To view National Geographic's fascinating, minute-by-minute, target by target, multimedia Web site with photos, footage, firsthand accounts, and narration about the pre-dawn attack on Pearl Harbor, click here.

For some frequently asked questions about Pearl Harbor, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Scout Christmas Posts

Since 1981, U.K. law allows for local delivery of mail by non-profit groups and charities one month prior to Christmas in direct competition with Royal Mail.

Each year, scouts, churches and schools across Great Britain deliver Christmas cards and New Year greetings in their town and surrounding villages to raise money.

John Crabbe has identified over 340 different Scout & Guide Christmas Post items. On his Web site, Scout and Guide Charity Christmas Posts in Great Britain, he has illustrations of various stamps, cancellations and special commemmorative items and when and where they were used.

To visit John's site, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 05, 2005

"Collecting in a Consumer Society"

I recently came across an interesting and little known little book on collecting stamps... and other things as well.

Collecting in a Consumer Society (2001, 216 pgs) provides a fascinating look at the history and collecting behavior of both individuals and institutions and why they collect what they do.

Author Russell Belk, a professor of Business Administration at the University of Utah says collecting has been transformed from a prerogative of the elite few to an activity which is both attractive and feasible to the population at-large.

Among the many references to stamp collecting and collectors are...
  • "Nearly 10 percent of American men report collecting coins and about 4 percent of both men and women currently collect stamps."
  • "40 percent of U.S. stamps currently sold are bought by collectors and dealers and never circulate."
  • "A used postage stamp is to a man what a bone without flesh is to a dog."
The book is not cheap. $135 for a hardback, $34 for the newer softback edition.

But you can search through it for nothing by using's nifty "Search Inside" feature by clicking here.

Also, while we're on the topic of collecting: Click here for a humorous look at one woman's 'fetish for collecting' that appeared in the Washington Post.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Parcel Post being 'overlooked' by USPS clerks

According to, consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote a letter to the Postmaster General recently taking the USPS to task for not mentioning Parcel Post as a shipping option to its customers.

The letter from Nader read in part, "I was recently surprised to discover that the "2005 Holiday Shipping and Mail Guide gives shipping deadlines for Global Priority Mail, Global Express Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail, and Express Mail, but not Parcel Post.

He went on to say, "It has also been brought to my attention that postal clerks are instructed not to mention the term 'Parcel Post" to patrons. A clerk has even been suspended for making a patron aware of Parcel Post before trying to push them to use more expensive shipping options."

In the November/December 2005 issue, The American Postal Worker magazine wrote, "What makes this practice doubly despicable is that Postal Service management denies the practice exists, even while a paper trail reveals that the policy is sanctioned, if not downright encouraged. Worse still, APWU [American Postal Workers Union] members have been disciplined for violating the policy that the USPS disavows."

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

Saturday, December 03, 2005

No religious themed stamp this year

In case you hadn't noticed, there's no Madonna and Child Christmas stamp this year. Shown to the left is next year's - not this year's.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (Pittsburgh,PA), "[postal] patrons looking for a new religiously themed stamp this year are getting leftover Madonna printings from last year, touching off a wave of reports that the Postal Service was planning to discontinue religiously themed Christmas stamps."

Since 1966, the Postal Service has issued a Christmas stamp that includes the Madonna and Christ child, listed as "traditional" stamps, using classic works of art.

Diana Svoboda, spokesperson for the USPS Pittsburgh district is quoted in the article as saying, "It's absolutely not true."

"We had an overabundance of religiously based stamps from last year."

That along with an impending rate hike helped the Postal Service to decide not to print a new design for 2005 says the Post Gazette article.

The article went on to say that the rumor circulating on the Internet that the Post Office was planning to discontinue religiously themed Christmas stamps came as "startling news" to Mark Saunders, a postal service spokesman in Washington.

Saunders said he had just put out a news release that announced the design for next year's Madonna stamp which is based on a painting by 18th-century Peruvian artist Ignacio Chacon. The stamp is scheduled for release in October 2006.

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

Friday, December 02, 2005

2006 US stamp program

Click here to read's Lloyd de Vries report on next year's crop of U.S. commemoratives. You can also link his special audio report on the 2006 issues.

According to de Vries, who also moderates The Virtual Stamp Club (, the first new stamps will be issued Jan. 10 and will be an eight-stamp joint issue with Britain featuring animals from children's books.

De Vries also says the USPS is expected to issue this month two stamps without prices marked on them, each worth 39 cents.

"One shows the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. flag, the other, two lovebirds. Both probably will be reissued early next year with '39c' on them."

The first-class rate goes up on Jan. 8 to 39 cents .

For a complete listing and pictures of the new stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Former postal workers

Forget Vonzell Solomon! Did you know these famous people were former postal workers?

Benjamin Franklin, the country’s first postmaster general, Abe Lincoln, Harry Truman, Walt Disney, Bing Crosby and Sherman Hemsley, “George Jefferson.’’

So says Miles Blumhardt in a sidebar to a recent column where he writes about taking a tour of the U.S. Postal Service’s Denver Processing and Distribution Center.

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