Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Semi-postals cost the same

Postage prices may have changed, but the price of the two semipostal stamps hasn’t. That’s because the 45-cent semipostal rate meets the pricing formula mandated by federal law.

According to USPS News Link, the Breast Cancer semipostal stamp has raised more than $47.9 million for research from the sales of more than 678 million stamps. The Stop Family Violence semipostal has raised nearly $2.3 million for domestic violence programs from more than 34 million stamps sold.

Each stamp is good for the First-Class single ounce rate of 39 cents.

For more on the law regarding semi-postals, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Monday, January 30, 2006

Confessions of a former stamp collector

Cute article in The Age (Melbourne, Australia) about a former stamp collector who, for the first time in a great many decades, has been thinking about stamps and stamp collecting.

"I've come out like a gay cowboy. I was once a stamp collector," says Alan Attwood. "I seem to recall being big on images of Winston Churchill. And the Queen, of course, also a regular on Australian stamps."

According to the Attwood stamp collectors have an image problem these days, who goes on to say, "Stamp collecting and trainspotting are hobbies. However, no one wants to date anyone who does either of these. Somewhere there must be a philatelists' association with something to say about this."

Why did he quit?

"Why? The oldest reason of them all. The money ran out. I couldn't afford to keep up. .. my meager pocket-money was diverted to other things. Girls, quite likely. Girls who looked nothing like the Queen. "

To read the entire article, click here.

To learn more about trainspotting, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Sunday, January 29, 2006

USPS 'late deliveries' being probed in CA and NM

According to the Los Angeles Times, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) wants the nation's postmaster general to provide extensive data about staffing levels, plant closures and delivery schedules due to continuing complaints by residents about mail being delivered late at night or not at all.

"The veteran legislator said that he wants to delve more deeply into delivery problems to prepare for a hearing about the U.S. Postal Service, to be held Feb. 16 by the House Committee on Government Reform, Congress' primary oversight pane ," reports the Times.

Larry Dozier, a Postal Service spokesman for the Los Angeles district, is quoted as saying the complaints are the result of staffing levels and the growth in the number of addresses that carriers must serve.

The Times reports similar problems have surfaced in San Diego and Fresno as well as New Mexico and went on to say, "The postmaster general acknowledged substandard delivery in New Mexico and vowed to address problems in management and operations and to hire more people, if necessary. "

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

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Art of The Stamp

The Midwestern Museum of American Art in Elkhart, IN, is hosting the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition: The Art of The Stamp through Feb. 26.

The Art of The Stamp exhibition highlights more than 100 pieces of original artwork, created from the 1960s to the present, by 52 professional illustrators and designers. Many of these works have never been viewed outside the United States Postal service's archives, including pieces by notable artists such as Norman Rockwell, Peter Max, Robert Indiana, and Al Hirschfeld.

You can also view the exhibit on-line by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, January 27, 2006

Stickney press

Yesterday's AmericanHeritage.com's 'Photo of the Day' was of Benjamin R. Stickney and his postage stamp printing press at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing sometime in the 1920s. Stickney was a mechanical designer at the Bureau and his press revolutionized the printing of stamps.

According to the caption that went with the photo (shown at the left), "His innovation—a rotary, web-fed, intaglio press—replaced earlier flat-plate presses. Rolls of paper were fed through curved, incised plates mounted on cylinders. It was much faster and more efficient than any previous press, as it printed, gummed, and perforated the stamps in one smooth operation."

Using the press, production speed increased from 85,000 stamps an hour to 250,000 an hour. An added benefit was that only four people were needed operate new press rather than the 20 or more were needed previously. Stickney presses produced U.S. stamps from 1914 until the last one was retired in 1962.

For more on the Stickney press, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Exhibiting mentors

Fran Adams along with Alan Campbell, Ted Lockyear, Bob Markovits, and Jack Mayer have an interesting Web site on exhibiting I came across recently.

Each are experienced exhibitors and have separate page that goes into a little of their background, how they got started, interests, examples and links to some of their exhibits.

On the site, there are lots of good tips, advice and articles on what to do and how-to get started exhibiting.

For many years, Fran has also hosted an exhibiting workshop that provides hands-on training and constructive criticism to both beginning and advanced collectors.

In 2004 , he won the Federated Philatelic Clubs of Southern California Distinguished Service Award.

To visit their Web site, click here.

To learn more about the workshop, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

USA Philatelic

Over the weekend I received the Spring 2006 USA Philatelic catalog from USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City.

A quarterly publication, I look forward to getting my copy because it always has an interesting cover, color photographs of current and upcoming stamps as well as first day covers, post cards, postal stationary, books about stamp collecting and other items.

A lot of the items, i.e. hi-values, precancelled, nondemonated, nonprofit and presorted stamps, are not available at my local post office.

I've also noticed in the last couple issues it even has foreign stamps for sale such as Sweden's Greta Garbo stamps.

In this issue, there is a full-color poster of the 2006 stamp program showing all the stamps in the order they will be released without any dates. I've often seen these hanging in the various post offices. I have mine hanging in my den.

If you aren't already on the mailing list to get USA Philatelic, call 1 (800) 782-6724. Tell them I sent you.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

'Postal Service' defined

Federal Computer Week reports on-line that the U.S. Postal Rate Commission has come up an official definition of "postal service."

The 1970 statute under which USPS operates does not explicitly define the term. A formal rulemaking process to define it was conducted so that complaints against the U.S. Postal Service can resolved.

One of the complaints is from DigiStamp, which alleges that USPS is using its Electronic Postmark service to compete illegally and unfairly against small businesses that offer a similar Internet service for verifying the authenticity of digital documents.

DigiStamp claims that USPS violated its charter by not seeking approval from the commission before offering the postmark service.

The article points out that defining postal services and setting charges for new postal services are significant for USPS because it must find new revenue sources. USPS faces declining income from first-class mail and competition from commercial package mailers.

Meanwhile, its obligations to provide universal delivery keep expanding each year. In 2005 USPS added 2 million addresses to its delivery routes.

According to the commission, "Postal service means the receipt, transmission, or delivery by the Postal Service of correspondence, including, but not limited to, letters, printed matter, and like materials; mailable packages; or other services supportive or ancillary thereto."

USPS may appeal to the federal district court the commission's ruling which asserts the panel's authority to regulate electronic services.

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

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Three Postal Services

In yesterday's Washington Post, reporter Margaret Webb Pressler writes an article "Postal Paradox," that she believes that there are actually three Postal Services.

"The first Postal Service is the one that executives are trying to fix, the one with the bad rap, the one that delivers mail late, the one that drives people crazy with its long lines and sold-out 2-cent stamps," Pressler says.

"Then there is the Postal Service that has made huge strides in on-time delivery, runs one of the most impressively automated operations in the world and, for now, is bringing in a huge profit."

The third Postal Service? The one we remember fondly from days gone by.

It's an interesting piece. To read it, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Washington 2006 - Youth Volunteers Needed!

Washington 2006 is looking for volunteer ambassadors to work in the youth area for a few hours, several days, or throughout the show. The international exhibit and bourse will be held in Washington, D.C. May 27-June 3.

The show will have a variety of activities for young people including a story corner, games, scavenger hunts, stamp soaking, Scouting and beginner stamp collecting skills tables.

Volunteers for any Washington 2006 assignment may sign-up online on the exhibition's
web site at http://www.washington-2006.org, or write to: Washington 2006,
PO Box 2006, Ashburn, VA 20146-2006.

For questions or more information specifically about youth needs, contact Nancy Clark by email at nbc@cape.com, or write to: Youth Volunteers, PO Box 427, Marstons Mills, MA 02648.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Investing in stamps

Bored with the stock market?

A British Web site suggests that investors can mix business with pleasure by investing in their favorite past time such as stamps...or even, racehorses, fine wine, art, and classic cars.

In the article, Passion for Profit, Michael Clarke writes, "Probably regarded as the least exciting of the alternative asset classes, stamps are one of the safest classes to invest in. Saloman Brothers Investment Bank claimed that rare stamp investment was the fourth-best performing asset between 1907 and 1990, ahead of bonds and foreign exchange and averaging 10% a year."

He goes on to say, "Prices for rare stamps have never been higher, with the rarest now commanding fees in excess of £3m. Collector numbers are growing rapidly, but the supply of rare stamps is falling, meaning it is becoming a sought-after asset. "

Clarke cautions investors to be careful and recommends buying into a investment fund.

"Most investors don't know a Penny Blacks from a Tre Skilling Banco,"Clarke says, "so a good route into philately could be to invest in a fund. Similar to an investment fund, Stanley Gibbons offers investors the opportunity to put money into a pool of rare high quality philatelic items open to the world market rather than buying individual stamps yourself."
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, January 20, 2006

Postal patches and uniforms

Did you know mail delivery in large cities began in 1863, but no official uniforms were worn until after 1868, when Congress passed legislation authorizing use of uniforms by letter carriers?

Over the years uniforms were modified for practical purposes and various badges, patches, and other insignia evolved as styles changed.

Shown above is a letter carrier in the 1960s wearing a military-style uniform.

The first uniform emblem patch appeared in 1955. It featured the Post Office Department seal of a horse and rider facing right. In 1965 the direction of the horse was flipped to face “forward” and a craft tab with the words "Letter Carrier" was added just above the patch.

To see and learn more about U.S. Postal Service clothing, patches, uniforms, and accessories, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Netflix Hires ex-Postmaster General

BetaNews.com reports, "William Henderson has found out that working for the U.S. Postal Service may not be so bad after all. The 58-year-old former Postmaster General is now the Chief Operating Officer of Netflix, replacing Tom Dillion, who plans to retire in April. The company cited Henderson's experience with large amounts of mail as one of the primary reasons for his hiring."

Netflix is working to distribute movies over the Internet in the future, but the U.S. Postal Service remains its sole delivery method today. The company ships more than 1 million DVDs a day from 37 distribution centers in the U.S. and touts one business-day delivery.

Henderson was the Chief Operating Officer of the USPS from 1994 to 1998, and was promoted to CEO and Postmaster General in 1998. He held both positions up until his retirement in 2001.

"Bill Henderson is about the only person on the planet who looks at our volume of mail as a trickle," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Global Bazaar stamps

This came with my LA Times the other morning.

Promoting Target's Global Bazaar, the stamps fold back to reveal a piece of furniture or accessory from India, Viet Nam, Peru, Indonesia, Mali or Thailand. Every item is sourced directly from the country of origin and marks yet another private label program for the retailer.

The Rebel Housewife reports, "Target's new Global Bazaar is like the best Of Pier One and Cost Plus World Market --without all the hazardous glassware."

But hurry on over! The stylish merchandise that won't be around long. The collection will be discontinued Feb. 18.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

NJ stamp store featured in article

Jules E. Topfer (shown at the left) is the owner of the Monmouth Stamp and Coin Shop in Red Bank, NJ. He and his shop are featured in an article, "Like the Collectibles it Sells, Stamp and Coin Shop is a Rarity," which appeared in the Asbury Park Press.

Topfer, 52, started collecting stamps when he was only 5-years-old. He began working at the shop part-time when he was nine. At 24, he borrowed money from friends and relatives and bought the store.

According to the paper, the future of Monmouth Stamp and Coin is a bit cloudy.

Joseph Savarese, executive vice president of the American Stamp Dealers Association is quoted in the article as saying, "Unfortunately, (stamp stores) are like a dinosaur. They face the high costs of rents and maintenance, so there are less and less every year."

"More and more dealers are doing business on the Internet. The hobby might not be exciting enough for a younger generation. And Topfer doesn't have children, so there is no one to hand the store to once he retires."

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

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tuesday's "APS Stamp Talk"

If you haven't heard Nancy Clark's APS Stamp Talk be sure to tune in tomorrow!

On the show will be Marios Theodossious of Album Pro and EZStamp, followed by a guest from Zazzle and Endicia. The show airs live every other Tuesday, 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM, Pacific /10:00-11:00 Eastern.

For instructions on how to listen go to the APS Stamp Talk home page. While you're there, you can access past shows via the archives.

I was honored to be the show earlier this month along with Steve Zwillinger, who spoke about APS board planning sessions and Marvin Mallon, President, Compu-Quote/HobbySoft makers of coin and stamp collecting software.

Nancy is an experienced exhibitor, international level judge, author, editor and past Director and Treasurer of the American Philatelic Society. She is a founding member of a local club, a state federation and a national-level stamp exhibition.

She is also the recipient of 2005 The Rowland Hill Award. Named after Sir Rowland Hill, creator of the first postage stamp, it is awarded annually by The Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs to the person that has done the most to further the hobby in the southeast.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Postal woes in LA-LA Land

As if Los Angeles didn't have enough problems already...now the Los Angeles Times reports that residents are complaining that mail delivery is less than heavenly in the City of Angels.

According to an article that appeared in yesterday's paper, "Officials acknowledged serious problems even as more complaints piled up about mail that is delivered late at night, magazines and newspapers that arrive months after publication, and mail that is dropped off miles from its intended destination."

The article goes on to say, "Letter carriers have complained for months that the U.S. Postal Service's automated mail-sorting system has forced them to begin their deliveries later, meaning that letters and packages often are dropped off late in the evening, as late as 11 p.m. in some areas. "

"Carriers say they have startled residents by arriving on their porches well after dark. Union officials say some carriers have suffered injuries after tripping in the dark or have been bitten by dogs who charged out at them through unlocked screen doors."

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

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gender bias

Lynette Long, a psychologist in Bethesda,Md., feels the Postal Service is intentionally slanting portrayal of Americans and American culture on stamps towards males.

Writing in The Baltimore Sun, she points out from Jan. 1, 2000, to Dec. 31, 2005, the Postal Service issued 618 commemorative stamps. One-hundred, forty-nine honored individuals. Of those, 123 were men and 26 were women.

Long is quoted as saying, "Even more disturbing is that many of the topics the Postal Service selects for multiple stamp blocks fundamentally exclude women, such as the "Legends of Baseball" (20 stamps); "Baseball Sluggers" (four stamps); "Distinguished Marines" (four stamps); "Classic Movie Monsters" (20 stamps); or "Early Football Heroes" (four stamps).

She goes on to say," The Postal Service is aware of the skewed portrayal of Americans and American culture on stamps. In fact, it does so intentionally, since the vast majority of stamp collectors are male and it believes male collectors prefer to buy stamps about certain topics."

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

Friday, January 13, 2006

Black History month

February is Black History Month and the Postal Service is gearing up to promote it.

In the December edition of the Postal Bulletin, there is a comprehensive publicity plan to promote the new Hattie McDaniel stamp being issued on January 25, 2006.

There is also a lot of background information, some suggested press releases, speech outlines and talking points as well as photos and summaries of previous stamps in the Black Heritage series.

While this information is primarily intended for use postal personnel, it could easily be adapted by local stamp clubs seeking publicity.

To see the Hattie McDaniel/Black History Month publicity kit, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:55 PM

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Remember when

In case you have forgotten (or aren't old enough to remember) , here's an envelope from 1910 when all it took was 2-cents to mail a letter.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A historical perspective

Reporter Beth Gallaspy for the Beaumont Enterprise - Beaumont,TX, did a nice job of putting this week's rate increase into historical perspective.

In her article, she interviews 80-year-old Otis Barnes and says that part of the appeal of collecting stamps is that can be a valuable way to learn about history.

"Just think, the 2-cent stamps required to use any leftover 37-cent stamps today would have been enough postage alone for years between 1885 and 1932. The exception was 1917 to 1919 when authorities raised the price to 3 cents to support the first World War."

Gallaspy point out that over the past 74 years the cost of mailing a first-class letter rose 1,850 percent.

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Philatelic pride and passion

The Calcutta, India Telegraph reports Sanjay Kumar, a neurology consultant for a local hospital, developed a passion for stamps in school as youngster. And like many of us , he never outgrew it.

Kumar (shown above with part of his collection) is quoted as saying, “Stamp collection is different from philately as the latter is not just about collection but is also related to form, meaning and dimension. Haphazard collection of stamps is not philately.”

The article says Kumar has another reason to be happy about. His daughter Shreya is also interested in her father’s passion. But, he wants his daughter to learn the nuances the hard way.

“I don’t want to spoon-feed Shreya by giving her a stamp every week to generate curiosity in her. It has to be entirely her effort to develop her interest in her passion. She will have to find her own way. I will not hand her my collection and she will have to strive on her own for it,” he said.

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

Monday, January 09, 2006

Happy birthday to me and the Magic Circle

Today marks the 38th anniversary of my 21st birthday. No singing please.

To celebrate, last night I went to the Magic Castle in Hollywood. The 'Castle' is a private club for magicians and their friends. I 've been a member there for over 20 years.

If you're ever planning a trip to Los Angeles, let me know and I'll send you a member's guest pass...providing you're over 21. It will be a night you'll always remember. I guarantee it.

The Magic Castle's counterpart in Great Britain is the Magic Circle which was founded in 1905.

Earlier this year, Royal Mail issued a set of five interactive stamps (shown above) which marked the British club's 1ooth birthday.

To find out more about this magical set of stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Here's my 2 cents worth

As if you need another reminder... postage rates go up today.

For the new rates, click here.

For a history of postal rates in the United States, click here.

For a guide to nondenominated stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, January 07, 2006

What would I buy?

I saw on TV last night where a California couple living on unemployment recently won $88 million in the Mega Millions lottery. After taxes, that amounts to approximately $50 million they be receiving.

I couldn't help thinking to myself, "Wow! What would I do with $50 million?"

After donating 10% to charity, taking a trip once (or twice) around the world, buying a bigger house (or two), a fancy car (or two) , and setting up a trust fund for all the members of my family; I figured I would still have A LOT of money left over to spend on stamps.

But what would I buy?

Professional Stamp Experts of Newport Beach, Calif., pretty much solves the problem with their on-line U.S. price guide. Based on condition, it lists all the stamps I'd want to get to 'round out' my collection if I had a few million bucks to play around with.

To view the PSE price guide, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, January 06, 2006

Shanghai Postal Museum open for business

The Shanghai Daily reports that China's first postal museum opened its doors on Jan. 1.

At the new Shanghai Postal Museum, rare stamps and other articles depicting the history of China Post are on display together with horsedrawn carriages, cars, trucks and planes which were used to transport the mail in the 1920s.

According to the article, China joined the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1914. That same year, the Shanghai Post Bureau began handling international mail.

In a related story, the paper reports more than 100 people lined up in the cold yesterday morning at the museum for the new Year of the Dog stamps.

The first zodiac stamp, the Year of the Monkey, issued in China in 1980. Zodiac stamps soon became a hot item among collectors. Each year hundreds of stamp collectors and others crowded outside post offices in freezing weather.

Starting last year, the Shanghai Post Bureau invited customers to wait inside its office building rather than on the street. Officials now also provide hot tea and snacks at night.

For a history of the China Post, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Year of the dog

Scoop.com reports that according to the Chinese Zodiac, 2006 is the Year of the Dog, and to celebrate New Zealand Post has issued a series of stamps recognising the significant contribution that dogs of all shapes and sizes make to our daily lives.

The special series also marks the first time that Braille has appeared on a New Zealand stamp. The 45-cent stamp, which spells out the number ‘45’ in Braille, depicts the image of the Labrador Retriever, a dog whose intelligence and good nature make it an ideal guide for the blind.

The 90-cent stamp features the German Shepherd dog, whose versatility and intelligence have made it the dog of choice for the New Zealand Police.

The energetic and feisty Jack Russell Terrier appears on the $1.35, followed by the gentle Golden Retriever, a favourite family pet, on the $1.50.

Finally, the Huntaway graces the $2.00 stamp. Although it does not have official ‘breed’ status in many kennel clubs, the Huntaway is an undisputed necessity for sheep farmers throughout the country.

The stamps are available from the New Zealand Post web site www.nzpost.co.nz/stamps.

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

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Unidentified Philatelic Objects

Here's a fun site I could spend hours playing around with.

Called Unidentified Philatelic Objects, the creator, Rick Scott says, "This site is dedicated to those glassine envelopes full of stamps we all have, the ones labeled 'Unidentified', 'Unknown'or simply '?.'

"I love this strange stuff! Sometimes I buy things just because I don't know what they are, hoping to find out later. Many times I never find out, therefore I thought it would be fun to create a web site to display many of these UPOs and ask the world for help in finding out."

By pointing to a stamp, you'll see a brief description of the item. If you click on it, you'll see an enlarged picture and all the information that's known about it. Then if you know something more about the item, e-mail Rick and he'll add the additional information.

To see if you can identify some of the more than 400 items shown on Unidentified Philatelic Objects, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

“Love: True Blue” stamp to be issued today

On the first business day of the New Year, the Postal Service is issuing its first 2006 stamp.

“Love: True Blue,” a First-Class nondenominated stamp will be issued today in Washington, DC.

“The Love Stamp has become an important part of the Postal Service’s commemorative stamp program,” said Stamp Services Executive Director David Failor.

“Birth announcements, Mother’s Day wishes, Valentine’s Day cards and other written expressions of our love need the right stamp to be complete. The True Blue stamps will certainly extend expressions of love to family and friends.”

The stamp, designed by Craig Frazier of Mill Valley, CA, goes on sale nationwide today in pressure-sensitive adhesive booklets of 20. Denominated “True Blue” stamps are expected in March.

“True Blue” stamps are available at Post Offices nationwide, online 24/7 at The Postal Store, or by telephone at 800-STAMP-24. And don’t forget — prices change Sunday, Jan. 8.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, January 02, 2006

Some 'Down Under' philatelic New Year's resolutions

Andrew McEachern, a part-time dealer and a collector from Queensland, Australia, sends along his top 10 philatelic New Year's resolutions...

1. Allocate more time to my collection and less to watching TV and videos.
2. Make decisions on which countries and topics of my world collection to start disposing of-after 59 years collecting & accumulating.
3. Through my club and through social contact, try to recruit at least 10 more collectors.
4. Sort the unsorted a little every night in front of TV.
5. Design a philatelic cover or item to commemorate countries visited on our 2006 holiday cruise in Europe.
6. Give some stamps to a local school (if I can find an enthusiastic teacher).
7. Spent a day concentrating on all those stamps put away as 'unidentified' or 'miscellaneous'.
8. Find new topics to write on in my forthcoming monthly column in "Australaian Stamp News"
9. Improve the speed at which I send out lots after my postal bid sales.
10. Mark down prices of slow moving stock at my fairs to help more collectors get bargains.

Thanks Andrew!

(If you have some philatelic New Year's resolutions you'd like to share, send them to me at donschilling@worldnet.att.net.
If you have a picture of yourself working on your collection, send that along as well.)
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:03 PM

Royal Mail monopoly ends

The U.K. Guardian reports that 14 companies are lining up to take on Britain's Royal Mail as its 350-year-old monopoly finally ends this week.

The paper says, "Industry observers believe Britain will not suddenly sprout multi-coloured post boxes alongside the familiar red ones or see strangely uniformed figures jostling the local postman on the doorstep. "

New entrants are initially expected to rely on agreements over access to Royal Mail's delivery network, with existing postmen and women (sometimes referred to as 'posties') making the final delivery.

For the Guardian article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

French post offices to offer banking services

The Sunday Business Post, Dublin, Ireland, reports that France's La Poste will be the largest retail banking network in the country starting today.

La Banque Postale will offer personal loans and 100 per cent mortgages through 17,000 post offices. La Poste has been offering savings accounts since the late 19th century. For more than ten years, it has been lobbying for a licence to offer loans. However, existing French banks have battled the plan.

According to the article, "Selling a full range of banking services appears one of the best options to keep post offices active, especially in rural areas where they are increasingly seen as a possible one-stop shop for unprofitable, but necessary, public service operations."

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

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Philatelic New Year's Resolutions

Here's my top 10 New Year's stamp collecting resolutions.
  1. Update my want lists.
  2. Downsize my duplicates and excess material.
  3. Organize my stamp desk and nook so I can find things and have more space.
  4. Soak all (or at least some) of those mixtures I bought 10 or more years ago.
  5. Try my hand at exhibiting.
  6. Attend Washington 2006
  7. Go through all my old stamp magazines and newspapers and file articles of interest.
  8. Offer an "Introduction to stamp collecting program" to local elementary schools.
  9. Visit APS headquarters in Bellefonte, PA in the spring when it's warm. Last time I was there in the dead of winter.
  10. Fill at least one hole in my classic ("I can't believe they cost that much!") US collection.

What are some of yours?

E-mail me at donschilling@worldnet.att.net.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM