Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Marvel, Colorado celebrates Superheroes

The Durango Herald reports Marvel, Colorado was the center of stamp collecting world this past weekend...thanks to the U.S. Postal Service.

According to the paper, "... almost every one of the 150 residents of the tiny crossroads, many in superhero costumes, turned out at the post office Saturday to celebrate Marvel's newfound fame." The USPS released its latest stamp series, Marvel Superheroes, on Thursday.

As part of Saturday's festivities, Cindy Crosby (shown above) was sworn in as the town's new postmaster.

Crosby commissioned a New York firm to design a special envelope for the stamp release. The design includes a silk-screened rendering of children dressed as Marvel Comics superheroes and a one-of-a-kind cancellation stamp from the Marvel post office.

Only 1,000 of the envelopes, which sell for $10 each, were ordered, and Crosby said no more will be ordered after the 1,000 are sold. Proceeds from envelope sales will go toward improvements to the post office.

To receive an envelope, send $10 along with your return address to Post Office, 10383 County Road 100, Marvel, CO 81329.

Requests for the free cancellation can be made to the same address. Be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 1:06 PM

Automated Postal Centers win award

ServiceWorld.com reports the United States Postal Service was the People’s Choice Winner for Self-Service Street at the Self Service Expo (formerly KioskCom) in Las Vegas. Unlike the other Excellence Awards, the People’s Choice winner is voted on by the Expo’s attendees, not the expert judges.

According to the article, "The Automated Postal Center (APC) was part of a 2004 initiative by the USPS to integrate self-service to cut wait times. Since 2004, 2,500 APCs have been rolled out."

Michael C. Adams, USPS retail service equipment project manager, is quoted as saying that in the first two fiscal quarters of this year APCs have processed 22 million transactions.

“We have had a lot of success with the Gen X and Gen Y age groups. But even with older people, once they use it, they like it,” Adams said.

USPS Delivering and Retail vice president Bill Galligan says APCs could do for postal centers what ATMs did for banking.

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

Monday, July 30, 2007

Japan Post not accepting stamps

Asahi.com in Japan reports "Elderly men clutching stamp collections are heading to discount ticket shops to unload their prized possessions."

According to the report, stamp prices have nose dived considerably since Japan Post stopped accepting stamps to pay for certain types of postal transactions.

"Living on a pension, I cannot continue to collect something that will further drop in price," a shop quoted one customer as saying.

Much of the decline - and anger - is attributed to new accounting methods.

The article goes on to say, "Japan Post's predecessor, when it was part of the postal ministry, sold a large number of stamps because sales were simply counted as revenue. But now, under private-sector accounting methods, stamps sold but not yet used must be booked as debts, just like prepaid cards and merchandise coupons."

Yosuke Naito, deputy chief of the Philatelic Museum is quoted in the article as saying of Japan Post, "Changing the system to serve its interests alone is like passing its debt from rampant stamp sales in the past on to collectors and direct-mail businesses."

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

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Our problem

Round-Up reader Svend Waever sent me this cartoon by Gary Markstein along with the notation, "Our problem."

What Swend is referring to is trying to get young people interested in stamp collecting. These days with e-mail, text messaging and meter labels they hardly know what a stamp is let alone stamp collecting!
Svend has a terrific blog of his own - Philately of Today. On it he has a very thoughtful post about collecting first day covers as well as some other topics.
Incidentally, Svend and I are going to team up to see if we can't come up with a e-book about stamp collecting and philately in the age of the Internet in an effort to correct the "problem".
If you would like to help, please let Svend or I know of your interest.
I can be reached at donschilling@worldnet.att.net.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Vail, Colorado post office renamed for President Ford

The Vail Daily reports the Vail, Colorado post office has been renamed in honor of former President Gerald R. Ford, who died in December. Ford and his family were longtime homeowners in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado.

According to the article by Edward Stoner, "From helping Vail secure the 1989 World Ski Championships to running a charity golf tournament to helping build the Beaver Creek Chapel, the Fords’ contributions to the valley were widespread."

President Bush signed the legislation to rename the post office after President Ford in March.

Shown above Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald R. Ford, applauds as a plaque signifying the renaming of the Vail Post Office after her father is unveiled during a ceremony yesterday. She's standing beside a giant postage stamp that depicts her father that's due to be released Aug. 31.

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

Friday, July 27, 2007

Post Mark Collectors Club convention

Alabama's Decatur Daily reports the international Post Mark Collectors Club is holding its 46th annual convention this week.

Kevin Tanzillo, convention publicity chairman, is quoted in the article as saying, "“Not only is the hobby itself somewhat offbeat, but we have some interesting people as well.”

Tanzillo says, “There are people who are trying to visit every post office in the country and take photos of them, a man who spent months visiting all the post offices along the Appalachian Trail, and people who collect all the way down to specific types of circles and cancellation lines.”

According to reporter Danielle Komis Palmer, The Post Mark Collectors Club maintains the largest U.S. museum dedicated to postmarks. The Bellevue, Ohio, museum offers more than a million postal cancellations on covers and cards, many from post offices that might otherwise be forgotten. It also features thousands of post office photographs."

Shown above is a cover with a Cool, Calif., handstamp which appears on the club's website along with examples of other types of cancellations.

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why we collect stamps

On his interesting webpage, My Personal Thoughts on Collecting Stamps, Ross Taylor lists 19 reasons why he thinks we collect stamps.

They are:

1. They are aesthetically pleasing

2. They are miniature works of art

3. Desire to complete and arrange a set or collection

4. National pride, we tend to collect stamps from our own country

5. They have historical value, they show our Kings and Queens (or presidents)

6. Intellectual stimulation

7. Nostalgia, the good old days, memories of when I was young

8. Hoarding and sorting instinct

9. Sorting stamps to find a valuable one

10. They might become valuable one day

11. To avoid the wife [or husband, kids, in-laws, etc.]

12. Your Grandad gave you his collection

13. I want to be the world expert on the 1d red

14. To gloat over my collection

15. You enjoy stamps - you have the stamp 'bug'

16. You have an attention to detail

17. To spend some time during a winter's evening

18. You want to do philatelic research

19. A financial investment

If you have an other reason, click here and add them inTopix's Stamp Collecting News and Forum of which I have just been appointed an editor.

We'll still be doing the Round-Up, but this new site will be the place to go for comments, discussions and posts as well as additional phitlatelic news. I think it's a great new addition.

Check it out.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

'Post Gods, Post Myth, Post Man' Art Exhibition

Artist Sandy Rodgers' passion has been to combine two mediums, fine art and historical information in a contemporary and exciting way.

According to Scoop Independent News, the New Zealand artist's new exhibit is mostly based on early Postage and Revenue stamps of which have had the honor of recording moments in history since being created. Kings & Queens, new inventions, natural disasters have all been documented on stamps.
Rodgers, shown here, chose this format because in her mind stamps have always represented a country's culture and spirit with images that are used daily by millions of people around the world.
To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Marvel Super Heroes stamps not easy to create

Carl Herrman is one of six art directors for the U.S. Postal Service and coordinated the design of a new Marvel Super Heroes stamps which will be released this Thursday.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, "For more than two years, Herrman deliberated with Marvel Comics and the Postal Service's 16-member Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee about details, such as how much of Elektra's unbridled sexuality to unleash, and how purple the Hulk's pants should be."

Herrman is quoted in the article as saying, “They would go back and forth. After we'd agree on what we wanted, (Marvel) would say, 'We can't find the artwork.'

“You'd think it would be so easy to pick out 10 characters and put 10 stamps together, but it went on forever.”

Union-Tribune reporter Pat Sherman points out in the piece, "As it did for the DC series, the Postal Service will print 250 million sheets of Marvel stamps; most commemorative runs are between 50 million and 150 million. "

Roy Betts, a spokesman for the Postal Service, said a stamp's popularity is based on how many are scooped up by collectors. An estimated 73 million DC stamps were purchased for collecting compared with the more than 124 million of Elvis stamps purchased for collecting, Betts said.

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

Monday, July 23, 2007

Polar philately

If the hot weather is getting to you, a visit to the American Society of Polar Philatelists website or South Pole.com will definitely cool you off.

Founded in 1956, The American Society of Polar Philatelists' has grown to become an international organization with approximately 500 members worldwide. It's quarterly publication, Ice Cap News, contains articles, columns, illustrations, and stories various about expeditions as well as trans-polar flights, Antarctic scientific research stations, Alaska, famous polar explorers, Operation Deep Freeze, polar thematic cachets, and new stamp issues.
Regular columns discuss polar philatelic activities related to the U.S. Antarctic Program, Tristan da Cunha, Northwest Territories, Scandinavia, polar postal history, and book reviews among others.
South-Pole.com focuses on the explorers of the polar regions and the surrounding islands. It includes a superb selection of postal history. Much of the site is compiled from collections that have won multiple awards at philatelic exhibitions around the worldovidedExpedition mail sent home to friends and loved ones often revealed interesting stories.
Shown above is a cover commemorating the First Trans-Antarctic Crossing, 1957-58. Signed by the parties that crossed the Antarctic continent at the South Pole Station. One cover was made and given to each that wintered over and assisted at the South Pole. A total of 18 covers were prepared.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter sets new postal world records for book delivery

According to the United Nations News Service, the new Harry Potter book (which was released yesterday) is such a hot seller that post offices worldwide are expected set new records for delivering copies of the same book on a single day.

United Nations Universal Postal Union estimates that more than 2.4 million copies of the book will be distributed in the United States, Canada and Britain.
It goes on to say, "In the US, "1.8 million Harry Potter books are expected to be delivered. An estimated 80,000 will be delivered by Canada Post, while in Britain, the Royal Mail will distribute 600,000 copies, with approximately one in 43 households receiving the book."
To fulfil all deliveries, postal operators have adopted innovative solutions according to the UPU.
The German and Swiss postal services began distributing books shortly after midnight in 2003 and 2005, and plan to do the same this year.
Employees of the Swiss Post observed that many people who had forgotten that they had ordered the book were extremely surprised to see the postman making a delivery in the middle of the night.
Shown above are seven new Harry Potter stamps which were also released yesterday by Great Britain. They depict the covers of each of the Harry Potter books.
To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:02 AM

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Formula 1 celebrated on stamps

CNN.com is reporting that Royal Mail has unveiled a range of stamps commemorating some of Britain's most notable Formula 1 drivers, ranging from Stirling Moss in the 1950s to Nigel Mansell in the 1980s.

The six stamps, in varying denominations, depict Moss in his 1957 Vanwall, Graham Hill in his 1962 BRM, Jim Clark in his 1963 Lotus, Jackie Stewart in his 1973 Tyrell, James Hunt in his 1976 McLaren and Nigel Mansell in his 1986 Williams.

According to CNN, "As a matter of protocol no British stamp can depict the face a living person other than the monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which explains why the cars are pictured from above, revealing only the tops of the drivers' helmets."

Royal Mail has celebrated Formula 1 before -- in 2004 it released a set of "smilers" stamps interspersed with non-postal stamps depicting the Jordan Formula 1 team -- but it is the first time it has created a set of postage stamps with a Formula 1 theme.
To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 20, 2007

Flight 93 pictorial cancellation

The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, PA reports the U.S. Postal Service will offer another Flight 93 pictorial cancellation commemorating the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.

It is the fifth pictorial cancellation offered at the Shanksville post office in honor of the 40 in-nocent passengers and crew killed in the crash.

The cancellation postmark bears the image of the Thunder Bell, located at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, and will be available beginning Sept. 11, the sixth anniversary of the crash.

United Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville after it was hijacked by four Islamic terrorists. Rev. Alphonse T. Mascherino, chapel director is quoted as saying, “It draws attention to the heroes of Flight 93.”

“It’s important keep their memories alive,” he said. “A pictorial cancellation is one way to do that.”

Shown above is last year's cancel and cover.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Disgraced stamp dealer

According to the Gloucestershire Gazette of Dursley,England, "A disgraced stamp dealer conned his fellow philatelists out of thousands of pounds in a bid to rescue his flagging business, a court heard."

Colin Pye, 43, promised clients he could sell their collections on eBay and wrote them post-dated checks - but a crash in the notoriously unpredictable stamp-dealing market meant the stock would not shift.

Pye was given 120 hours of unpaid work after his barrister George Threlfall told a judge: "His name is mud in the stamp world now - you trade on trust in that business."

Let's be careful out there!

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

13-Ounce Rule

Beginning July 30, any mail placed in a collection box that weighs more than 13 ounces and bears only stamps as postage will be returned to the sender.

Currently, mail weighing 16 oz. or more must be taken to a post office for processing. According to USPS, the change was made to reflect the threshold between First-Class Mail and Priority Mail as well as for heightened security reasons.

USPS is distributing a new decal (shown above) for collection boxes announcing the change.

The Postal Service also is eliminating the “Known Customer” designation. That means city carriers and rural carriers as well as contract and delivery service suppliers — highway contract carriers — will no longer be allowed to accept stamped mail weighing more than 13 ounces from a customer or a customer’s mailbox.

Rural carriers and contract and delivery service suppliers will, however, be able to accept mailpieces more than 13 ounces that require a retail transaction and that have a return address matching the point of pickup.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

British Army Uniforms

Gibbons Stamp Monthly reports that Royal Mail will issue a set of 6 stamps on 20 September as part of a new series featuring British

Produced in se-tenant strips of 3, the stamps are as follows:

1st class - military police NCO from Kosovo
1st class - tank commander from World War II
1st class - artillery observer from First World War

78p - rifleman from Peninsula War
78p - grenadier from the battle of Blenheim
78p - trooper from around the time of the restoration of King Charles II

A presentation pack, prestige booklet and first day covers will also be available.
A Royal Air Force issue follows in 2008, and Royal Navy in 2009.
To learn more about other upcoming British stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Zealand Post helps nonprofits

New Zealand Post is making one and a half million free postage paid envelopes available for community organizations through its Community Post program.

Since its beginning in 1999, it has helped more than 25,000 projects run by New Zealand nonprofits .

According to a New Zealand Post press release, last year 4,200 organizations benefited from Community Post. These ranged from local Plunket, a major provider of well child health services in New Zealand, to the Maori Wardens, as well as various sports clubs and organizations supporting the disabled.

New Zealand Post national sponsorship manager, Hermione Bushong is quoted in the release as saying, "Community Post envelopes help groups because funds that would otherwise be spent on administration costs can be directed towards core community services."

To learn more, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Canadian colonel overdue for recognition

According to the Kingston (Canada) Whig-Standard, Lt.Col. John By is long ovedue for recognition and describe him as "a hero without honor."

The paper reports, "Now that the Rideau Canal - which he designed and built through the wilds of eastern Ontario from 1826 to 1832 - has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, more and more people are saying it's time to right that historical wrong."

Apparently, Colonel By never received the recognition many felt - and still feel - he deserves for the engineering marvel paved the way for modern Canada.

Ottawa (originally called Bytown) has been the hub of most of the activity. For the past 36 years, Canadians living along the Rideau Canal have been working quietly to get him his due.

In May, 1979, Canada Post issued a stamp (shown above) that commemorated the 200th anniversary of By's birth. But didn't even show his face. Instead it is a stylized rendering of his profile by artist Theo Dimson, on a 17-cent stamp reflecting the first-class letter rate of the time.

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

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dolly Parton thanks USPS

Music legend Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a literacy program that mails one book a month to children from the time of their birth until age five, last month delivered them to 400,000 kids in 700 communities in North America.

The USPS News Link reports that what started as an effort from her home in Sevier County, quickly spread to all 95 counties in Tennessee — and beyond.

Parton is quoted as saying she knows such volume is “a drop in the bucket” for the Postal Service, but she thanks postal employees for their part in the program’s success.

“For every single kid who gets that book, it’s a very special treat,” Parton said. “Each time a child gets a book in the mailbox and says “read it to me,” postal employees can take pride in the fact that they helped create that special moment for that young child,” she said.

Shown above in a USPS photo, Dolly Parton thanks Sevierville, TN, Pigeon Forge Station Letter Carrier Regina Seaton and USPS for helping deliver nearly 10 million children’s books.

For more information about the Imagination Library program, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 13, 2007

BotswanaPost searches for stamp designers

BotswanaPost and the Botswana Philatelic Society will be hosting a stamp design competition that is intended to create a pool of skilled artists who can design stamps for them according to BotswanaPosts Public Relations Manager, Keoagile Rafifing.

Rafifing is quoted in a article that appeared on the goverment website as saying the competition would help find artists to design Botswana stamps.

Currently, BotswanaPost has only stamp designers. The competition is open to anyone who has attended a BotswanaPost workshop for artists, and/or previously designed stamps for BotswanaPost or others.

Shown above is a Botswana Kingfishers first day cover. The set was released last March.

Although much of Botswana is semi-desert, eight species of kingfishers are live there while another just visits. Four of these are fisher kingfishers and five are woodland kingfishers. Only one species, the striped kingfisher, is found throughout much of the country.

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

Thursday, July 12, 2007

U.S. military academies offer commemorative envelope

This year’s military academy graduates received a salute from the Postal Service according to the USPS NewsLink. For the first time, local Post Offices attended all three graduation ceremonies, offering a commemorative envelope featuring the pictorial crest and motto of the academy’s graduating class.

At West Point, Postmaster Bob Maruschak said, “People from all over thought it was terrific for USPS to do this.”

Annapolis Postmaster George Olsen said, “We received lots of compliments. Some people were asking about getting the commemorative envelopes of the other academies.”

Air Force Academy Postmaster Vickie Clute said, “Cadets and graduation attendees appreciated the unique envelopes. The Air Force Academy wants us to do this every year,” she said.

The price is $10 each for envelopes from the Air Force and Naval academies and $8 for West Point. Customers can order them at the following addresses;

U.S. Military Academy
634 Swift Road
West Point, NY 10996-9998

U.S. Naval Academy
1 Church Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401-9998

U.S. Air Force Academy
5136 Community Center Drive
USAF Academy, CO 80840-9998

Shown above is a customized stamp showing midshipmen graduating from the Naval Academy. For more on personalized military academy photo stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Auxiliary Markings Club

Founded in 2003, The Auxiliary Markings Club (AMC) brings together a diverse group of collectors who are interested in the movement of the mails -- especially mail that had problems.

As stated on their website, "The evidence of those problems are the markings applied to envelopes and packages as the mail was processed. They may have to do with inadequate postage, problems with the delivery address, accidents that occurred with planes, trains, ships or trucks carrying the mail, or literally hundreds of other reasons."

Shown above is a 1905 postcard belonging to AMC member Chris Masters on which is stamped "This is the mail / letter / package for which you sent postage." This was apparently used for items where there was postage due and the recipient paid what was owed.

Membership is $15 a year and includes the quarterly Auxiliary Markings Newsletter, awards, annual meetings, and cataloging activities. For more information, contact Nancy B.Z. Clark at nbc@postal-markings.org.

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Postal clerk foils bad check writer

USPS News Link reports that Retail Associate Jim Quintana (shown here) of the Dana Point, CA, Capistrano Beach Station became suspicious when a man asked for five rolls of 39-cent stamps.

“When he opened his checkbook, I noticed his check register indicated he had only written checks to the Postal Service and all in the amount of $195 — the amount of five 100-stamp coils,” said Quintana. “I thought that was pretty strange.”

Quintana reminded him that rates were changing soon and asked if he needed so many stamps of that denomination. The man nodded.

When the man left, Quintana relayed his suspicions to Dana Point Postmaster Angie Allum. After checking with the bank, they learned the suspect had recently written 20 non-sufficient funds checks to local Post Offices, each for $195. They alerted surrounding Post Offices.

Later, the man appeared at San Clemente Post Office. Employees recognized him from his description and called the police and the Postal Inspection Service. He was arrested.

The suspect later confessed to Inspectors he had ties to an organized check-fraud ring in Los Angeles. He pled guilty in May, was sentenced 13 months in state prison and ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Postal Service.

Chief Postal Inspector Alexander Lazaroff lauded Quintana and other employees for their quick action.

Inspectors in the Los Angeles area have arrested 16 suspects related to more than $257,000 worth of bad checks this fiscal year.

For some tips on protecting YOURSELF from getting a bad check, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 09, 2007

Israel promotes volunteerism with new stamp

Last month, The Israel Philatelic Service issued nine new stamps according to IsraelNationalNews.com.

The new stamps honor topics as diverse as Volunteer Organizations in Israel, the Israel Prison Service, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel, and Dance.

There are nearly 15,000 volunteer organizations in Israel. The face value of the new stamp (which is shown above) is 1.50 shekels - the price of sending a standard domestic letter. The tab reads, "For a better world."

Another philatelic issuance honors the Israel Prison Service.

Employing 7,000 workers and responsible for over 24,000 security and criminal prisoners, the IPS is a component of Israel's security forces. It began as a department of the Israel Police in May 1948, but became an independent body in January 1949.

The UNESCO series honors the five Israeli sites or locations that appear on the United Nations' list of world heritage places recommended for protection.

Four stamps worth 2.20 shekels each were also issued in June on various dance styles: ballet, ethnic dance, Israeli folk dance, and modern dance.

For pictures and descriptions of these and other Israeli stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Congratulations to Alyssah Alcala

If you'll recall, last month on June 24, the Round-Up mentioned Kristen Ollies' award winning exhibit about the life of Queen Elizabeth which is featured on the National Postal Museum's website.

Well.....Round-Up reader Antonette Alcala of the Quezon Philatelic Club in the Philippines wrote to say her young daughter, Alyssah (pictured above), also has an award winning exhibit on the same topic.
In fact, Alyssah's was declared as the 2007 AAPE Youth Champion of Champions at the National Topical Stamp Show held in Irving,Texas, USA on June 15-17.
Congratulations, Alyssah!
To view her exhibit, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ohio stamp collectors featured

The Defiance Crescent News of Defiance,Ohio ran a nice story by Lisa Nicely on several local stamp collectors.

Garold Cook (pictured holding a copy of Linn's which he calls the Bible of stamp collecting) got started collecting while working at the post office.

"We had this one gentleman come in all the time. I asked him why he collected stamps. He told me something I'll never forget. He said 'stamps inflate faster than anything else.' And he was right. He gave me a lot of advice including to always watch for misprints."

Mitchel Whitehouse, who also subscribes to Linn's Stamp News, is quoted as saying, "It's just a hobby I can afford actually. It's affordable to everybody. You can buy a hundred (used) stamps for $1. Most people start collecting them off the mail."

Elias Manz doesn't consider himself a very active collector. He likes to collect the mint sets the U.S. Postal Office issues once a year. Mint sets have all the stamps sold that year in them.
The mint sets started in 1972.

"I have every year as far as I know," Manz said. "That was mostly what I collected. At first they were $7-8, now they run $60 a year."

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

Friday, July 06, 2007

Interactive "Rub and Reveal" stamps

A series of`Classic Kiwi' stamps were issued earlier this week , according to The Dominion Post. The set of 20 stamps feature sayings common to New Zealnders, but possibly confusing for new arrivals or visitors.

They feature a heat-sensitive black strip that, when rubbed, reveals a translation.
Pictured here are two of the stamps in the set which were released as a minature sheet.
"Hard Yakka" is slang for "hard work" and is dervied from yakka wood which is very tough. "Sweet as" becomes "Ok, no problem."
The stamps combine phrases with related images such as kiwi fruit, a sheep dog, fairy bread and a Swanndri jumper. NZ Post stamps general manager Ivor Masters is quoted in the article as saying the intention was to show the diversity of New Zealand culture and have a bit of fun.
To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Chinese stamps celebrate passing college exams

The Shanghai Postal Bureau has announced that students who took this year's college entrance exams can now get their own postage stamps made to celebrate.

In an article that appeared on the Shanghai Daily Web site, reporters Yan Zhen and Zou Qi said that the stamps will show a blossom symbolizing prosperity, a portrait of the student and a message saying congratulation for passing the exam.

Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist at Fudan University, is quoted in the article as saying, "Stamps were sacred public products issued in the name of a country. They shouldn't be used to differentiate between citizens who could pass the exam or not."

"The aim of the service is to commemorate the moment of passing the exam for students, but those who didn't pass can also apply," said an official with the Shanghai Postal Bureau.

Shown above is a 1999 U.S. postage stamp showing a serviceman going back to college on the GI Bill.

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

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July

According to the AmericanRevolution.org Web site, "Despite the near universality of this image as synonymous with Americanism and its instantaneous recognition in the iconography of the Revolution, the world of art has never considered it to be Art with a capital "A".

It was painted by Archibald McNeal Willard (1836-1918) who grew up in Ohio and was a carraige painter by trade. Willard moved to New York City to study art in 1873 and painted this work for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876."

Willard is known to have created at least four different versions. When it was first completed it known as "Yankee Doodle", and only later became known as "The Spirit of '76".

To learn more, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The eyes are first to go

Posted on the PostalReporter.com Website, this cartoon (by Eric Decetis) originally appeared in Hustler's Humor according to a reader.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 02, 2007

Books, stamps and Star Wars

The Sloatsburg, NY library and the U.S. Postal Service joined forces to celebrate the 30th anniversary of "Star Wars" this week.

A children's party was organized by the town's Postmaster Rick Wallis and librarian Ann Marie McAnany, according to the Westchester, NY Journal News.

Amid the "Star Wars" books, DVDs, posters, candy, cake and craft-making, the Postal Service sold a variety of "Star Wars" stamps and other items.

As he postmarked stamps, Wallis told reporter Steve Lieberman, "I grew up with 'Star Wars."

Between crafts and stamps, the children and adults munched on sheet cake and drank "Yoda soda" and "Vader punch."

Shown above are Anthony Marsh-Colby and his cousin, Jonathan Marsh-Clifford, looking at "Star Wars" books during the 30th anniversary celebration.

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

Sunday, July 01, 2007

160th anniversary of first US postage stamps

Today marks the 160th anniversary of the first United States postage stamps which are shown here.

According to Wikipedia, "The first stamp issues of the U.S. were offered for sale on July 1, 1847, in New York City, with Boston receiving stamps the following year and other cities thereafter. They consisted of an engraved 5-cent red brown stamp depicting Benjamin Franklin (the first postmaster of the US), and a 10-cent value in black with George Washington. As for all U.S. stamps until 1857, they were imperforate."

"The stamps were an immediate success; about 3,700,000 of the 5¢ and about 865,000 of the 10¢ were sold, and enough of those have survived to ensure a ready supply for collectors, although the demand is such that a very fine 5¢ sells for around US$500 as of 2003, and the 10¢ for around $1,400 in used form. Unused stamps are much rarer, fetching around $6,000 and $28,000 respectively."

To read more on the postal history of the United States, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM