Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dealer says, "Stamp collecting as a hobby is dead."

In an article about the proposed postal rate increase in May and the new 'Forever' stamp, the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport,CT, quotes Norman Belair, owner of the Milford Coin Exchange as saying, "Stamp collecting as a hobby is dead."

Belair, who has been in the business for 28 years says he had 20 good customers when he started, now he has two or three.

Apparently he blames it on the way the Postal Service flooded the market with stamps and then made plate block collecting more expensive.

"Back in the 1950s and 1960s, collectors would buy a block of four stamps with a number on the corner. Once the Postal Service caught on, the quantity of the stamps to get that precious plate number went from four to six to eight to 10."

As for the Forever stamp, Belair sees it as "just another stamp."

Belair says he knows an easier way to beat the postal increase - buy U.S. stamp collections at below face value and then use those stamps to mail your letters.

I think I know why he only has two or three customers.

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New rates and a 'forever' stamp due in May

Cristian Lupsa and Moises Velasquez-Manoff, correspondents of The Christian Science Monitor report that Postal Regulatory Commission has announced stamp prices are expected to rise 2 cents in May to 41 cents along with the introduction of a 'forever stamp.'

Calling it the United States Postal Service's "answer to customer complaints about frequent rate increases",the 'forever'stamp will be released in booklets of 20. No design has been released as of yet.

According to the article, "Market research conducted by USPS in 2006 showed that customers liked the idea of a 'forever stamp,' although there was little indication they planned to buy more than they usually do. The USPS found that customers were less likely to purchase stamps as rates increased."

The Round-Up is mentioned in the article, so check it out by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, February 26, 2007

Aurora borealis photo on stamp

A photo of the aurora borealis taken by Alaskan photographer Fred Hirschmann is part of the new souvenir sheet marking the International Polar Year, a yearlong scientific study of the Earth's polar regions.

Rindi White of the Anchorage Daily News reports Hirschmann's photo (shown above) is paired with a picture of the aurora australis, or southern-hemisphere aurora, taken by German photographer Per-Andre Hoffmann on another stamp. On the souvenir sheet, both stamps are on a background that depicts another Alaska photo, taken by Colin Tyler Bogucki of Minneapolis of the aurora borealis over Mount McKinley.

Hirschmann is quoted in the article as saying, "I think it's pretty special when you get something on a postage stamp. We don't do it for bragging rights or anything, but it is an honor."

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

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Students devise an alternative postal system

Macalester College's newspaper, The Mac Weekly reports on a campus underground postal operation called "The Experimental Post Office" or EXPO for short.

According to the St. Paul, Minnesota, student run paper, EXPO was "originally created as an inside joke inspired by the pleasure of exchanging creative mail... but now aims to emphasize the importance of human contact in a world where roommates often e-mail one another to communicate...and breaks the norm as a radically unpredictable postal system in a society obsessed with speed and efficiency."

"EXPO is a small-scale postal system powered by human social networks, walking, and biking. Virtually anything portable can be sent through the system including letters, gifts, and random objects. The sender has three options to send mail. Relay mail is passed from person to person using mutual friends and acquaintances as a means of delivery. Foot mail is directly delivered to the recipient via walking. Kabuki mail gets delivered directly via bicycle and is specifically meant for local off-campus deliveries. All services are free."

Sounds like a good idea!

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

Friday, February 23, 2007

World record for Australian stamp

According to The Australian, a stamp from Arthur Gray's "Kangaroo and Map" collection has set a new world record price for a single Australian stamp - $138,000.

Featuring a kangaroo inside a map of Australia, the stamps caused a stir when they were first printed because of the absence of a British monarch.

"At the end of the first day, Mr Gray had pocketed more than $3.57 million from the sale of 403 lots -- a massive return for a man who, like many of his generation, was introduced to stamp collecting by parents who thought it a good way for their child to learn about the world," the paper reports.

Gray is quoted in the article as saying, "I've been collecting these things for 50 years but you get to the point where you feel you should pass them on. I don't believe in stamps being locked away in museums, and in terms of awards, there's nothing more this collection could win."

Shown above in a Courier Mail photo, Shreves Philatelic Galleries owner Charles Shreves examines a selection of Gray's stamps which his firm auctioned.

To read the entire acticle, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 4:37 PM

Bhutan stamps

Kuensel Online - Bhutan's Daily News Site posted an article,"Bhutanese Stamps Doing Better Abroad" about how the Bhutanese have never shown any interest in their own stamps.

In a sidebar piece the site says, "Although damaged stamps lose much of their value, a stamp with an error in its design or printing often gains in value, depending on how rare the error is."

Apparently in 1998 Bhutan Post had to recall its World Cup commemorative stamp (shown above) when it wrongly depicting Uruguay as the 1958 champions. The Bhutanese agent in New York, Inter Governmental Philatelic Cooperation (IGPC), which represents about 70 countries, had made a printing mistake. It meant to list Uruguay as the 1950 champions. The error was detected by a school teacher.

According to the article, "Bhutan first captured the international philately limelight in the early 1970s when Bhutan Post released unique stamps made of silk and metal, 3-Dimensional, rose scented and the ‘incredible’ talking stamps - a three set of mini phonogram records that played Bhutan’s national anthem and folk songs."

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mercer Bristow - Stamp detective

Genaro C. Armas of the Associated Press did an interesting piece on Mercer Bristow, Director of Expertizing Services for the American Philaletic Society.

Armas writes,"Mercer Bristow's office looks like a cross between a library and a bad imitation of a set from 'CSI.' On desks and tables sitting among bookshelves is an odd collection of apparatus: magnifying glasses of different sizes, odd-looking rulers with serrated edges, a 3-foot "crimescope" that emits ultraviolet light and is hooked up to video monitors. No dead bodies or crime scene investigations here, though. Just stamps. Lots of them."

Shown above is a CrimeScope Digital Imaging System which is used to magnify objects (such as stamps) many times their original size.

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

And the winners are............

Congratulations to the winners of our Presidents Day contest! They are...

Peter Kata
Ronkonkoma, NY

Robin R. Thompson
Anaheim Hills, CA

W. P. Keleher
Burke, VA

Larry Pollins
Watertown, N.Y.

John McDonald
London, England

The correct answer was Gerald Ford, who was the only U.S. President never to be elected. He became president in 1974 after Richard Nixon resigned and served until 1977. He was not re-elected. Ford died last year at the age of 93.

Each of our winners will receive a 39c Ronald Reagan First Day Cover.

For more Presidential trivia, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New auction site benefits animals

Barry Tuddenham of writes, "We are a charity that has developed an auction site for selling stamps to raise funds. We have a LOT of stamps, but are not sure how to price all of them... everything from a Penny Black on cover and a USA1a on cover on up.....about 1,000 listed so far, and a lot more to come!"

Barry will be selling stamps (and other items) from the site to help raise funds for animal sanctuaries and pay for pet of the week features in various newspapers to help smaller sanctuaries adopt out pets.

He's requesting Round-Up readers to visit the site and give him ideas as to fair starting prices.

Barry says, "All they need to do is go to , log in and enter "future listing" in the search box. There they will find the ones we have listed to date. Then if they can leave comments as to values and descriptions, it would REALLY help! We have LOT more that we can list if we know there is help to be had!"

Barry will be listing a few quality stamps at .99 each day. Since there aren't too many people buying stamps until the site gets more known, you could pick up some real bargains.

You are also welcome to list your own stamps (or anything else)to help raise money for stray dogs and cats.

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

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Presidents Day!

Today is Presidents Day in the United States.

The first 5 people who e-mail me ( the name of the only U.S. President who was never elected will recieve a special 39c Ronald Reagan Commemorative First Day Cover.

Be sure to include your name and mailing address along any comments you care to make about the Round-Up . I will publish the answer and the winners on Weds., Feb. 21.

To learn more about Presidents Day, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 11:20 AM

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gailen McMullen

Gailen McMullen got a nice write-up in the Beatrice, Nebraska Daily Sun.

“I collect plate blocks,” he said. “They just always made sense to me.”

McMullen started collecting in 1960 and points out in the article that one of the interesting aspects of collecting stamps is the history associated with them.

McMullen said it can be a time-consuming hobby. A member of the Lincoln Stamp Club, he plans on attending their stamp show this weekend.

“They always have something neat to look at,” he said.

Shown above, McMullen works on one of his albums.

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

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New rate increase includes "Shape-Based Pricing"

As part of its proposed May 2007 rate change, the United States Postal Service will introduce "Shape-Based Pricing". According to a Business Wire press release, it promises one of the most dramatic postage structure changes in years

"The Shape-Based Pricing initiative moves from a pure weight determination factor for postage costs to one that combines size, thickness and weight. Because of their shape differences, letters, flats and parcels will now all be priced differently, since each is handled and processed differently. Simply put, an item that is easier for the USPS to process will cost less than an item that is not."

In addition to the Shape-Based Pricing initiative, traditional first class postage is expected to increase nearly 8½% - to $.42 up from $.39.

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

Friday, February 16, 2007

No more China on Taiwanese stamps

According to the Malaysia Sun, thousands of Taiwan postal employees and others clashed with police over the upcoming name-change that deletes references to "China" on Taiwanese stamps and other government organizations and agencies.

Currently, Taiwan's stamps bear the Chinese and English words 'Republic of China,' which is Taiwan's formal title.

The state-owned postal company formally changed its name from Chunghwa Post Co ("Chunghwa" means China) to Taiwan Post Co on Monday, and plans to issue its first set of stamps marked "Taiwan" on Feb. 28 in a move likely to anger Beijing.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and is deeply suspicious of any move that downplays the island's cultural and historical ties to China or suggests the island is an independent entity. The two sides split in 1949 when the Nationalists were forced to flee China after a protracted civil war.

Shown above are Chinese stamps (Scott 1310-11) issued in 1977 for the 30th Anniversary of the February 28 Uprising of People of Taiwan Province.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service

The National Postal Museum's website is featuring a new on-site and on-line exhibit which debuted earlier this month, Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service .

Protecting the mail, postal employees and customers from criminal attack, and the nation's mail system from criminal misuse is the job of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Sometimes called the "Silent Service," it is one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the country.

Postal inspectors began their work when Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin named William Goddard surveyor of the post in 1776.

Today about 2,000 postal inspectors are at work across the United States investigating crimes against the mail. Inspectors are armed, can make arrests and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas.

To visit Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Baltimore postal history

USPS Link reports that The Baltimore Sun says an extensive collection of postal memorabilia can be found in the finance department of Baltimore’s Main Post Office.

“The items tell a story of how the Postal Service and people’s everyday lives have changed — and stayed the same — over the years,” the article said.

The collection include Uncle Sam’s Mail, a board game from the late 19th century, the Air Mail Game from the 1920s, and a daily journal that chronicles the comings and goings of workers at the city’s Main Post Office (shown above) in 1917 and 1918.

“They give you a snapshot of what’s going on,” said David Brignac, a 30-year employee, who owns the collection. “The Post Office is always a reflection of the community.”

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:23 AM

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Free article on putting together a stamp exhibit

I recently received a letter from Tim Bartshe, president of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors (AAPE) encouraging me and others to consider putting together a philatelic exhibit.

Tim writes, "Our next international show will be New York 2016. It is not outside the realm of possibility for people who start exhibiting in the next couple years may be able to qualify for the 2016 show."

Enclosed with his cover letter was an interesting and informative article by John M. Hotchner, "Getting Started in Philatelic Exhibiting." Hotchner, well-known philatelic writer and member of the AAPE, offers lots of good ideas and suggestions.

If you would like a copy, write to Denise Stotts, PO Box 690042, Houston, TX 77269. Postage would be appreciated but is not required.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fidelity, Illinois

While Loveland, Colorado; Valentine, Texas; Kissimmee, Florida; Romeo, Michigan; and Juliet, Georgia garner most of the Valentine's Day media attention this month; Fidelity, Illinois got a nice mention by the Associated Press over the weekend.

According to the AP, each year, a couple hundred Valentine's Day mailing requests find their way to the small town just north of St. Louis, MO. With a population of 115, it is little more than a trailer park but its name has made it quite well-known.

Shown above is Fidelity Postmaster Peggy Ruyle holding some of the hundreds of requests from around the world for the town's postmark.
"At this time of year, Ruyle absolutely loves her job and her small role in keeping romance alive, one postmark at a time," reports the AP.
To read the enitrie article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"Deceased" mailbox

According to reporter Wendy Brown of The New Mexican, a group of New Mexico apartment residents have turned their broken mailbox into a shrine of sorts.

A car smashed into it after a big snowstorm New Year's weekend. Damaged it beyond repair, the local postmaster is quoted in the article as sayng they will be getting a new one "soon".
In the meantime, residents have had to pick up their mail at Santa Fe's main post office and have festooned their "deceased" mailbox with flowers, a cross, candles, and notes of sympathy.

According to the article, one resident even went so far as to duct-tape an older, smaller mailbox to the top of the inoperative mailbox in an futile attempt to get a mail carrier to deliver the mail at that location instead of having to pick her mail up.
However, the carrier told her she had to take the smaller mailbox down because "the duct tape was defacing federal property."

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

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Speedy stamps

Norway’s first World Rally Champion celebrity is now the subject of his very own stamp, produced by Norway Post to commemorate the inaugural Rally Norway, according to a post on the website.

The stamp, derived from an original painting by Jorn Jontvedt, depicts Petter Solberg and co-driver Phil Mills at full flight in their Subaru Impreza WRC. The stamp has undergone a special printing process which has embossed chrome on some parts.

Two other Norwegian rally favourites – Petter’s brother Henning and Thomas Schie – are also featured on stamps in the collection.

To see the other stamps in the set at Norway Post, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, February 09, 2007

Superman - Stamp of Steel

January's stamp of the month on the "Kid's Page" of the American Stamp Dealers Association (ASDA) website is Superman.
Each month, ASDA features a stamp which they feel kids might have an interest in collecting.
Youngsters (and us old folks too) can also play Word Search and try to find words and phrases that are related to stamp collecting.

Fill out the information on the bottom of the sheet and mail it to the ASDA office they'll receive a FREE My Stamp Album including an envelope of stamps and be entered in our monthly drawing for a prize.

The only rule is you must be 16 years old or younger to enter!

While you're there you might also want to sign up for a subscription to The American Stamp Dealer, ASDA gorgeous full-color magazine that debuted at last year's Washington2006.
They're running an introductory offer of only $14.95 (reg. $19.95) for 10 issues.
Trust me , it's a wonderful publication for any serious philatelist - whether you're a dealer or not.

To visit the ASDA website, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Canada Post defends customized stamp use

The Canadian Broadcasting Company is reporting that Canada Post is defending one of its programs after a family created a customized stamp honouring a Montreal Tamil separatist who advocated violence.

The family of V. Navaratnam, who was a vocal supporter of a Tamil state, purchased the personalized stamps (shown above)through a Canada Post program.

Jim Phillips, director of the picture postage stamp program,is quoted in the article as saying there wasn't anything unusual about the request for stamps and that he wasn't aware of Navaratnam's political beliefs.

"It's not an official Canadian stamp issued by the government of Canada or Canada Post. That's the difference. It's a customizable postage ordered by a family," he said.

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

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Vatican makes extraordinary profit on stamps

Catholic World News reports the Vatican reaped an extraordinary profit of nearly $6 million on the sale of postage stamps in 2005.

The death of Pope John Paul II provoked a rush of demand for the last Vatican stamps with his image (shown above). Then the first stamps issued with the likeness of Pope Benedict XVI, appearing in June, were also popular.

During the period before the election of the new Pontiff, the Vatican camerlengo, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo authorized the issued another set of stamps valid only for the interregnum period, which were quickly snapped up by collectors. With the election of Benedict XVI, these stamps lost all postal value.

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

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

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

PBS to air special on Dr. Percy Lavon Julian

As part of Black History Month, PBS will air a NOVA special, "Forgotten Genius", on the life of Dr. Percy Lavon Julian tonight, Feb.6. Check your local listings for the time.

Julian is best known for his achievements in chemistry, producing chemicals in the laboratory previously only available from nature. His work with chemicals used to make sex hormones led to improved treatment for some forms of cancer and pregnancy disorders. These and other chemicals Dr. Julian produced in the laboratory, including cortisone, which relieves arthritis pain, became less expensive to manufacture and more widely available through his research.

Julian was honored on a U.S. Black Heritage stamp (shown above) in 1993. For others in the series, click here.

For more on Dr. Julian and the show, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, February 05, 2007

With Love from Loveland

Staff writer Lisa Coalwell of the Times-Call News Group, reports dozens of senior citizens and post office volunteers hand-stamped more than 6,000 envelopes in less than an hour at the kick off of the 2007 Loveland, Colorado Valentine Remailing Program.

"For the next two weeks, the volunteers will handle an estimated 215,000 valentines from all over the world, stamping them with a special cachet verse and art, and hand-canceling “chunkies” — thick envelopes — and delicate items, such as hand-sewn fabric postcards sent by a Nebraska resident," writes Coalwell.

For delivery by Feb. 14, valentines going to U.S. addresses must be received in Loveland by Feb 9. Place them in a larger envelope and mail to;

Loveland Valentine Remailing
Loveland, CO 80538.

Donations to help with volunteer expenses are welcomed.

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

Sunday, February 04, 2007

AmeriStamp Expo at Riverside, Calif.

John Weigle, stamp columnist for the Ventura County Star, reminds his readers about AmeriStamp Expo being held next weekend at the Riverside Convention Center, 3443 Orange St., Riverside, Calif.

Admission is free, and the show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 9-10, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11.

John says there will be hundreds of stamp exhibits on display including, "C3a: The Story of the Inverted Jenny," "Dag Hammarskjold Invert" and "Argentina 1892: The World's First Columbians," honoring Christopher Columbus.

Other highlights of the event include the U.S. and U.N. postal administrations, an auction by Harmer Schau Auction Galleries Inc., meetings of several national and regional groups, educational seminars and a youth area.

According to John, "A booth for new collectors will be near the show entrance, with knowledgeable collectors to answer questions. Another area will guide youths through the basics of the hobby and include free stamps, puzzles, hands-on demonstrations, and games."

Plus there will be special dime and dollar booths as well as Stamps by the Bucket where attendees may obtain hundreds of stamps for only $5 (or $1 if under age 16).

For more information and a complete show schedule, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Investing in stamps

According to an article, "The History of Stamp Collecting" by Stanley Gibbons (which was posted on the Cayman Net News website), "Many of the world’s wealthiest families have recognized the benefits of storing part of their wealth in a rare stamp portfolio. The DuPont’s, Rothschild’s and lately Warren Buffet and Bill Gross, the American bond guru and inflation expert, have all had significant holdings of rare stamps. Bill Gross is estimated to have invested in excess of £50m in the last five years."

The article goes on to say, "Possibly the most compelling reason for investing in rare stamps is as an inflation hedge. During the last period of high inflation in the 1970s rare stamp prices rose over 600% in a decade. Unlike fixed income investments the price of rare stamps rises in line with general economic growth and inflation as investors look for tangible assets in times of economic uncertainty."

"Add to this an existing database of 30,000,000 stamp collectors worldwide underpinning your investment, plus an estimated 18,000,000 in the emerging China market and you’ll start to see the benefits of rare stamp investment," Gibbons reports.

Shown above is a graph comparing stamps and autographs to stocks,property and pensions as investments.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Friday, February 02, 2007

Counterfeit stamps seized in New Zealand

Last week, New Zealand Customs at Auckland's International Mail Centre intercepted $150,000 of counterfeit stamps.

According to a press release posted on, the stamps that arrived in three packets containing 25,000 stamps each. The stamps had face values of $1.50 and $3.00 that totalled $150,000.

Customs Acting Group Manager, Investigations, Bill Perry is quoted as saying, "This is the first time we've intercepted counterfeit stamps and it's a good example that counterfeiting knows no bounds and affects everything that's manufactured and has a commercial value."

Perry said the counterfeit stamps (shown above), which had a subtle color variation, came from Asia and were destined for an Auckland address.

New Zealand Post spokesman Richard MacLean says the seizure serves as a timely warning that stamps should only be purchased from the post office or reputable dealers.

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

Thursday, February 01, 2007


According to a Business Wire press release, ArtStamps has entered into an agreement with Endicia Internet Postage to turn children’s original art into postage stamps.

According to the release, "ArtStamps allows kids to experience school fundraising in a unique and extraordinary way by creating artwork that is submitted to ArtStamps. Endicia then prints digitized scans of the artwork into U.S. postage. Families and friends of the students purchase sheets of postage along with note cards. The school receives 70 percent of the profit ArtStamps makes from each sale."

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