Friday, July 31, 2009

Phila Korea 2009

Korea Post and the Philatelic Federation of Korea will host the 24th Asia International Exhibition - PHILA KOREA 2009, which runs through Aug. 4.

The Korea Herald reports, "This is the first time Korea hosts the event, although three world stamp exhibitions were held in the country in 1984, 1994 and 2002."

Namgung Min, president of Korea Post and chairman of PHILA KOREA 2009 Organizing Committee is quoted in the piece by Jin Hyun-joo as saying, "A stamp is not only a simple tool for posting letters, but a symbol of tradition and culture handed down for generations. It is also regarded an essential cultural element that plays an instrumental role in helping people understand other societies and their backgrounds."

The opening ceremony will be attended by 500 postal representatives from 30 countries.

The read the entire article, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beards on Stamps

There are topics and then there are TOPICS!

Tapan Kumar Roy favorite is "Beards on Stamps." He choose the the theme because he had a huge collection of individuals on stamps and wanted to come up with something more exciting.

He believes people are not generally interested in boring topics, so he came up with "Beards on Stamps".

Tapan is from India and points out on his website that beards have a significant role to play in the culture of India as shown on the stamps pictured here.

To visit Tapan's website, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stamps Open Pages of History For New York Man

John Nunes' interest in stamps began at the age of 10 in an endeavor to earn his first Boy Scout merit badge according to reporter Bill Buell of Schenectady, New York's Daily Gazette.

Along with being president of Federation of New York Philatelic Societies, John is also the treasurer of the Schenectady Stamp Club and the Uncle Sam Stamp Club in Troy, and serves on the board of the Fort Orange Stamp Club in Albany.

John is quoted as saying, “My interests have changed over the years, and lately I’ve been covering a lot of postal history collecting envelopes with stamps on them. It’s fun to look at the history of a time period, say during a world war, and see how the mail was handled and censored and the rates that were applied....It’s endless, and there’s always more to learn.”

He goes on to say that while it's nice to have plenty of disposable income to buy stamps with, it isn't really necessary.

“There’s also always the thrill of the hunt..."

Shown above, John Nunes goes through a portion of his stamp collection stored in the back of his van.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

USPS May Be Sending Mail Electronically in a Few Years

Jim Ostroff, The Kiplinger Letter associate editor, writes on that, "USPS may be forced to scan and send mail electronically within a few years."

"That’s what the Swiss do now, and most mail recipients and senders seem to like it. With mailers’ approval, the Swiss Post scans in letters and bills and then delivers them via secure electronic mailboxes. Delivery of hard copies can be requested," according to Ostroff.

He goes on to say, "Postal unions would squirm, fearful of losing thousands of jobs. But they also know that year after year of deficits would doom the unions to a slow death."

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

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Female Versus Male" Stamps

Bob Allen of was interviewed on the Collectors Weekly website by Maribeth Keane.

They had a very long and interesting chat from the looks of it.

Bob and Maribeth talked about a number of things including the history of United States stamps, their design and production processes, regular issues and commemoratives, and special features such as perforations, watermarks and secret marks.

Bob was also asked what female vs. male stamps were.

Bob's response...
There was a little experiment done back in the late 1860s where they were trying to keep people from taking stamps off the envelope and reusing them. There were people that figured out a way to dissolve the cancellation ink and make the stamp look unused so it could be reused.

To keep people from doing that, they decided to emboss indentations into the stamps so the ink would be absorbed when they canceled them. They’re called grills. It’s like a waffle iron pressing into the stamp and creating an indentation. When viewed from the back of the stamp, if the grill points are up it is called a male grill and if they point down it’s considered female.

They were only used for about five or six years, and then they said, “No, this just isn’t working.” That’s pretty much the way a lot of things were done with stamps. They would try something and then they’d say, “No, this isn’t working. Let’s try this.” Or somebody would come up with a better way, so they’d discontinue it.

Shown above, a stamp with a grill.
Click here to read the entire article.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Collector Creates History Through Covers

Maryland's Frederick News-Post reports, "Some people use books to record history... Bill Wells uses envelopes."

His philatelic covers have traveled the world. They have been signed by former Vice President Walter Mondale, former President Bill Clinton and several military leaders.

Wells, 88, has been a stamp collector since 1933, when he received his first stamp book for Christmas according to reporter Lauren Beward. In the 1980s Wells decided to do more than collect unique stamped envelopes. After joining the Carroll County Philatelic Society in Maryland, he started to make his own.

Wells adorns his envelopes with stamps related to a specific event along with cachets, designs or texts that explain the event, usually of his own design writes Beward

"Then he sends the cover off to the town where the event takes place to receive a special postmark for the exact date. Many of his postmarks are from overseas.A self-proclaimed history buff, Wells has created and collected covers for thousands of events, including several wars, the lunar landing, the first airmail flights and the founding of Jamestown," according to the article.

Wells is quoted in the piece as saying, ""My father worked at the post office for 44 years as a carrier. He knew how much I liked these envelopes and stamps, so if he would see something unique or foreign he'd ask his clients 'If you're just going to throw that away, can I have to give to my son?'"

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

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The "Stamp Collecting Blog"

Keijo Kortelainen is the “casual stamp collector” behind all the stories on the Stamp Collecting Blog.

The 30-something is "a family man, small business owner (in B2B consulting & training services) and above all, a stamp collector, from Sumiainen, Finland," according to his bio.

Keijo started the Stamp Collecting Blog in late January 2009. He says it's his “personal hobby project without any timelines or goals and writes new posts when (and if) he has the time, or a good story to share."

Recently he's been posting an interesting series of posts on the various ways to store your collection.

He writes, "Acquiring / getting new items is the fun part that every stamp collector loves. I try to place 'incoming' stamps ASAP to appropiate place in my collection, but sometimes my ASAP can mean months. Thus I have built a simple storage system for incoming material: everything is sorted to country specific envolopes or glassines stored in a shoebox."

The site is well-organized, easy to navigate and a good read. Check it out.

Shown above is part of Keijo's worldwide collection.

To visit the site, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 24, 2009

Free Simpsons First Day Cover

To highlight 20 years of the Simpson family, Fox Studios and the United States Postal Service recently teamed up to create individual postage stamps for each Simpson family member.

In celebration of this collaboration, the National Postal Museum created a commemorative first day cover with one of the Simpson's stamps canceled on the first day of issue.

To get your free Simpsons first day cover, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mistake on Hawaii's New Stamp

The artist who created Hawaii's new statehood stamp is not happy with the finished result according to KGMB Channel 9 News in Hawaii.

It reports, "Herb Kane says the postal service used the wrong typography on the word "Hawai‘i." Instead of using an ‘okina, they made the common mistake of using an apostrophe, where the top of the line is thicker than the bottom. It's subtle but meaningful.

Kane is quoted as sayng, "Well I don't really feel good about it because a lot of my friends are Hawaiian or part Hawaiian and they're really into the culture and when they see an apostrophe used when an ‘okina should be used, they're going to blame me for it."

Unfortunately, Kane says he's been told by postal officials the stamps have already been printed up. They'll be released August 21st to commemorate 50 years of statehood.

To watch the report as it was aired, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Stamp Guy" on Face Book

For all you Facebookers out there, I now have a Facebook page - stampguy.

For those of you who aren't currently on Facebook, you might want to sign up and register. You'd be surprised how many individuals and groups there are who are philatelically oriented.

Click here to be my friend.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 11:46 AM

Guiding Lights

This week Gulf Coast Lighthouses (shown above) are being released.

It is the fifth set of U.S. stamps featuring lighthouses to be issued. The series began in 1990 and has be extremely popular with both collectors and non-collectors ever since.

On the USPS' Beyond The Perf website all 25 stamps featuring the work of Artist Howard Koslow and Art Director Howard Paine are shown. It also points out some interesting details about each set.

For example, Southeastern Lighthouses (2003) was produced as a pane of 20, rather than a booklet, and was the first issuance in the series to use pressure-sensitive adhesive.

According to the website, "New production technologies would also affect the artwork. A source photograph misled Koslow into incorrectly locating the door of one lighthouse. Rather than repainting at the eleventh hour, digital retouching techniques were used to move the door. Yet, while solving one problem, new digital techniques would create another: A positioning error during prepress production resulted in a slight type misalignment on one-quarter of the Cape Lookout stamps."

As seen here, the 2-millimeter shift of the "37 USA" created a variety that was assigned a separate number in the Scott catalogue.

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Stamp Club in Town

Australia's Busselton-Dunborough Mail reports that there's a new stamp club in town.

Reporter Tim Carrier writes, "Formed in December last year, the club is steadily growing into one of the more unique clubs in our town."

He goes on to say, "When Judy Rice, one of the founding members of the stamp club, first joined, she was like lots of other people, she had a big stack of stamps and no knowledge of what to do with them."

"Since then she has learned many different things about stamps including how to look after her stamps, how to display her stamps, where to buy the right materials for her stamp albums and many more essential stamp collecting skills," pens Carrier.

Club President Ray Brand is quoted as saying,"The stamp club is a great place to do this. We’re not scary professional collectors, just easy going people who are still learning the basics of stamp collecting."

Shown above, Judy Rice and Ray Brand.

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

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stamp Collector In India Sets Record For Having Most Countries

The Times of India reports, "Jaishankar Prasad, who has not even reached the legal marriageable age in India, is credited for being the Indian who has collected stamps from the most number of countries in the world."

According to reporter Arkadev Ghoshal,"Jaishankar collected stamps from as many countries he could, and in 2008, sent his claim of having collected stamps from 308 countries across the world to the Limca Book of Records which ruled that he did have a collection unrivalled in India."

The previous record holder was Jose Gilbert of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu who had a collection of stamps from 192 countries and 42 Territorial areas started in 1998. His collection in the category ‘Species of the World’ has stamps on over 1,200 species of birds, animals, reptiles, insects and so on.

How many countries do you have in your collection? Leave me a message at

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Being Harry Potter Isn't Easy

USPS employee Harry Potter (shown here with his USPS ID Card) hates it every time time there's a new movie with his name in the title according to an article that appeared on Schenectady, New York's website.

Harry “Skip” Potter is quoted in a piece by reporter Kathleen Moore as saying, “It’s a real pain in the neck. I would like a half a percentage point of what that woman makes for the crap she puts me through,” referring to author J.K. Rowling.

Moore says each time a Harry Potter movie comes out his phone begins to ring — during the day, at night, all the time for about two months.

“I’ve even pressed charges against people,” Potter said. “It’s two, three o’clock in the morning, and it’s the drunks from RPI, Union, Sage, Saint Rose — all of them. Every time there’s a movie, I go nuts.”

But it's not all bad Moore found out.

“One time at the Outback [Steakhouse], I made a reservation for Harry Potter and when I got there, me and my wife got to eat for free,” he said. “They made me show them my I.D. They thought it was a prank call.”

The real life Potter even has a scar on his forehead, starting between his eyes and snaking up his forehead in a line — just like the boy wizard created by Rowling.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2009

National Postal Museum Now Has "YouTube" Channel

Foster Miller posts on the Virtual Stamp Club Website, "The National Postal Museum now has its own channel on YouTube!!! A total of 45 videos are now live on the new channel, with more on the way. The library of videos range from educational to entertaining - to lectures and symposiums.

"Visitors can now comment on videos (text and/or video responses), subscribe to the new channel, add NPM videos to their favorites list and playlists, send us messages, share our channel information with others, and more!

"Check it out! Subscribe to the channel! Post some comments! Share the news with your friends!"

Click here to visit.

Shown above, 1993 National Postal Museum issue.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 17, 2009

Home Front to Heroes Postal Benefits Act

Stars and Stripes is reporting that a proposed law aimed at boosting the spirits of troops deployed downrange or laid up in hospitals has passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but it still has some hurdles in the Senate to clear before it becomes law.

The Home Front to Heroes Postal Benefits Act, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. Castor’s district includes MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., headquarters of U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command.

The proposed law allows troops deployed downrange or being treated in a hospital because of injuries or illnesses suffered during overseas operations to designate a loved one, friend or charitable organization to receive a monthly voucher.

The voucher allows the holder to mail without charge a package of up to 15 pounds a month to the servicemember.

Ellen Gedalius, a spokeswoman for Castor’s office is quoted in the piece as saying, “That is unusual to have that many co-sponsors, so we are feeling pretty good about this.”

But it is not a done deal so contact your Senator and let them know you'd like to see this passed.

Shown above, video of U.S. Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis with Marty Matthews on CBS Tampa Affiliate WTSP-TV to discussing the Home Front to Heroes Postal Benefits Act.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Big Stamp Show This Weekend

The Kent Reporter reports the Boeing Employees Stamp Club Summer Show is being held this weekend in Kent, WA.

According to veteran stamp collector and show attendee Bill Messecar (shown here), “It’s a big show, the biggest in the Northwest.”

Nearly 20 stamp dealers, some from as far away as Canada and California, are expected to display nearly 60 tables of stamps. And an estimated 500 to 600 people are expected to attend the show, which is now in its fourth year at Kent writes reporter Steve Hunter.

Hunter goes on to pen, "In an effort to get his grandson interested in stamp collecting, Messecar started a state of Washington stamp album. They will look to find stamps from Washington at the weekend show."

Messecar, 69, is quoted in the article as saying “I like history. Stamps are a great way to learn and see history not only of our country, but of others," and plans to give his 8-year-old grandson a history lesson or two at the show.

To read the entire article and show details, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Post Office Removes Gay Pride Display From Lobby

A gay pride exhibit installed at the downtown post office in Milwaukee, WI last month stayed on display less than four hours before it was removed by a U.S. Postal Service official reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Reporter Julie Bolcer writes on the Web site,"Maggi Cage, head of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, was asked to create the exhibit by Dale Shuster, a letter carrier and member of the post office’s diversity team. Shuster secured written approval from the post office’s diversity manager for the exhibit, which included photos of gay pioneers, historical information, and a large AIDS awareness stamp in glass cases in the post office lobby."

According to Bolcer, Cage found out that the exhibit had been removed only after she had alerted her colleagues to check out the exhibit.

Marge Oehlke, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Milwaukee, is quoted as saying the exhibit did not fit the USPS criteria that all exhibits must be revenue related, such as pertaining to stamp purchases, which the gay pride display was not.

The Journal Sentinel reported that exhibits related to African-American history and veterans have appeared at the post office in the past, and were not removed.

Shown above, 1993 Aids Awareness stamp.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All Star Stamp Clubs

As baseball's All Stars battle it out in St. Louis, the American Philatelic Society's All Star Stamp Club program continues to grow.

Currently there are 43 clubs throughout the United States helping promote stamp collecting among elementary and middle school-age children.

Members get an APS All Star Stamp Club membership card, certificate, a pin, and a philatelic birthday present. They also receive a quarterly newsletter, which will include tips from other youth leaders, program ideas, and reproducible pages to use at meetings.

There is a $10.00 (soon to be $15.00) annual fee. However, there is no cost to the individual members and club leaders receive free supplies such as stamps, hinges, etc.

If you are interested in starting a club in your area or have any questions please contact Janet Houser, Youth Coordinator, American Philatelic Society, 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823, phone: 814-933-3803 ext. 238. You can also e-mail Janet at

To find an All Star Stamp Club in your area, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 13, 2009

Texas Post Office Features Stamp Collage reports,"Few community efforts can match that which was achieved by the late Marene Johnson-Johnson, who with the aid of stamp collecting buffs in Eastland, put together the stamp mural window which has decorated the lobby of Eastland Post Office since its dedication on June 14, 1963."

The 6 ft. x 10 ft.stamp window was constructed over a span of seven years with exactly 11,217 stamps. The stamps are pressed between two panes of glass to preserve their pattern permanently. The central image of Benjamin Franklin is flanked by other stamps depicting the United Nations Emblem, portraits of Martha Washington and Abraham Lincoln, a map of Texas, motifs of progress in American communication and industry, military forces, and education.

Original cost to Mrs. Johnson, who was the town's postmaster, was $15,000 and it was projected to be worth $5 million by 1988 according to the site.

For other attractions in Eastland, Texas, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 12, 2009

IRS Taking a Closer Look At Stamp Collectors reports, "A new audit manual issued by the Internal Revenue Service to its agents concerns "hobby losses"--efforts by taxpayers to improperly write off costs of their stamp collecting, fishing excursions and other side activities. The good news for taxpayers is that the manual also provides guidance on how to use the rules to their advantage."

Here's their suggestions on how to avoid being unfairly taxed and/or audited if you declare losses from your philatelic activities...

  • Bunch up expenses

  • Write a business plan

  • Operate like a business

  • Display personal expertise

  • Put in the hours

  • Make it one big ball of wax

  • Have an Internet presence

  • Let your tax adviser do the talking

  • Act in good faith
For details, click here.

A related story by William P. Barrett also appears on the site.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Mail Cats of Belgium - 1879

Marie Reed of Saint Fargeau, Yonne, France, posts on her fascinating Web site, Vintage Postcards, an interesting story about Belgian pussy cats who delivered the mail back in the 19th century.

According to Marie, "Thirty-seven plucky mail cats" were trained and employed to carry bundles of letters (and postcards) to nearby villages in and around Liège, Belgium in 1879 for saucers of milk.

The New York Times reported that, "Messages are to be fastened in water-proof bags around the necks of the animals, and it is believed that, unless the criminal class of dogs undertakes to waylay and rob the mail cats, the messages will be delivered rapidly and safely."

Not surprisingly the experiment was short-lived as the cats proved undisciplined. Thus, the expression "it's as futile as trying to herd cats."

To read more, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 10, 2009

Prestige Booklets

An article by Jeremy Lifsey, author of Stamp Booklets: Magic Carpets To Adventure, about prestige booklets appears on the Philataelic Database Web site. The piece originally appeared in the February 2007 edition of the American Philatelist.

In it Jeremy writes,"Great Britain started printing Prestige Booklets in 1972. The first one was devoted to the life and products of Josiah Wedgwood. In 1969 Great Britain issued a booklet with recipes. It wasn’t called a Prestige Booklet but it sure looks like one."

He goes on to say, "With the introduction of Prestige Booklets much of what was familiar has changed. The text and the pictures in all the Prestige Booklets deal with a single theme. Most of the time, but not always, the stamps and the text complement each other."

"In 2004 the United States issued a Prestige Booklet commemorating the 200th anniversary of the start of the Lewis and Clark expedition. This 32 page booklet contains only two panels of stamps whose face value is $7.40. The booklet sold for $8.95, a premium of $1.55. It is beautifully executed and could serve very well as an educational document for those people who want a short but reasonably detailed text and picture presentation of the expedition, " according to Jeremy.

He points out, "The Postal Service justifies the premium for this booklet because of the extensive artwork, the detail of the research, and the cost of production. It is a philatelic item but clearly the Postal Service is now producing artfully designed small books as well as printing stamps."

Shown above, the first Prestige Booklet issued by Great Britain in 1972. No premium over the face value of the stamps was charged.

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

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Al Sharpton and a Michael Jackson Stamp

Over the weekend I received an e-mail from Dan Berman of KTLA, Channel 5 News, here in Los Angeles wanting to do an interview with me regarding Rev. Al Sharpton's remarks that Michael Jackson deserved to be honored on a US Postage stamp.

Dan had read the Round-Up post I did on the British Virgin Island stamp featuring Jackson and wanted to know more about who could and could not be on a US postage stamp.

So I invited Dan and his cameraman over to the house and they did a segment with me in my office/stamp nook.

In the background I had a large picture of the 1992 Elvis stamp which is shown here. I said while Michael was no doubt deserving of a stamp, he was going to have go through the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee and wait at least 5 years under current USPS rules.

Elvis had a longer wait because back then you couldn't be on a stamp for at least 10 years after you passed away. The only exception, then and now, being US Presidents.

I also pointed out that there was a contest held for the Elvis stamp and people got to vote for a picture of young Elvis or one of an old Elvis on the stamp. The young one won out and the stamp went on to be one of the most popular US commemorative stamps ever issued.

I suggested that perhaps the same should be done for a Michael Jackson stamp.

Shown above, cameraman Michael McGregor, me (in a stamp adorned Hawaiian shirt) and KTLA reporter Dan Berman.

For more on the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee and who and what can be on a US postage stamp click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Preschool Stamp Collecting Program Under Development

A press release from the American Philatelic Society announces, "A pilot program for more than 100 preschool students in five Head Start Classrooms in central Pennsylvania has completed its first year. Cheryl Edgcomb, CEO of Stamp Camp USA, and Gretchen Moody, Director of Education for the American Philatelic Society, are the lead developers of the program, which involves a curriculum of 16 lesson plans. This curriculum encourages teachers to use postage stamps as a tool to assist children to achieve and master several national Head Start standards."

Interested teachers, aides, and supervisors met last month at the American Philatelic Society headquarters to evaluate the program.

According to the release, Cheryl and Gretchen are using the feedback to fine-tune the lesson plans and to expand the curriculum. They will share program outcomes at the state-wide Head Start conference in State College, PA in October with attendees who are educators and parents.

Cheryl is quoted as saying in the release, “We hope to publish this curriculum and offer it to Head Start programs across the state and eventually the country.”

The program is funded with a $5,000 grant from Dominion Gas Transmission Corporation. John D. Frith, company representative, commented, “Dominion is pleased to support the Stamp Camp USA Program which has developed and expanded such an innovative learning methodology for our youth.”

According to Gretchen, “Preschool children share our excitement for the interesting images on stamps. By exposing these children and their teachers and parents to stamps, we hope to open the hobby to new audiences.”

Shown above, program evaluators outside the American Philatelic Society's headquarters in Bellefonte, PA.

To read the release and additional pictures, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Recommended Books For Stamp Collectors

Gary Eggleston, BellaOnline's stamps editor, writes on the site, "Stamp collecting is an enriching hobby because it has educational and cultural value. In about six months, you will have learned about countries and special events, and a lot about the stamp collecting industry as well. You will probably meet a lot of interesting fellow stamp collectors with whom you can swap notes and news."

He goes on to say, "Stamp collectors, however, must try to gain knowledge continuously by reading and by joining clubs and seminars and talking to as many stamp dealers as possible so that they get a flavor of the current market news."

He then goes on to list several books about stamps and stamp collecting that he feels would be beneficial for both beginning and advanced collectors.

At the top of his list is Wayne Youngblood's All About Stamps: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Philatelic Terms.

To learn what his other picks are, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 06, 2009

Investing in Stamps

According to the Proactive Investors Web site, "Rare stamps and autographs are the only investment that's risen in value every year for the past 50 years."

They quote Stanley Gibbons Chief Executive, Mike Hall, who explains, "...why rare stamps and autographs could be the best investment you've never heard of: Why rare stamps and autographs are the perfect, safe, alternative asset with distinct tax planning advantages; returns you can expect in the short, medium and long term."

Hall is quoted as saying, "“I would recommend investors allocate around 10% of their wealth into alternative assets which can help to produce more stable overall long term returns. Rare stamps and signatures provide the perfect mechanism to achieve this, being a tangible asset with a value embedded in history."

He goes on to say, "An investment in rare stamps and signatures should be considered as a medium to long term investment and we would recommend a minimum investment term of 5 years. Short term gains are possible depending on movements in the market for rare stamps as a result of 3rd party auction realisations."

Rare stamps have increased in value by an average annual compound growth rate of 10% in the past 50 years. Probably more compelling is that rare stamps have never gone down in value at any time during the past 50 years according to the article.

Also, an investment in rare stamps and signatures is an investment in a tangible asset and the profits represent a capital gain as a chattel. This provides distinct tax planning advantages.

Halls says, "My recommendation is to focus only on rare stamps in premium condition which historically have always achieved the best returns at auction. Condition is all important when considering investment merit."

Stanley Gibbons, stamp dealers and publishers since 1856, diversified into collectibles and memorabilia in 1990 with their acquisition of Fraser’s Autographs and began offering alternative investment portfolios in 2003.

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

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Canada's New Musical Icon Stamps

The Winnipeg Free Press reports, "New Canada Post stamps featuring Bryan Adams and Stompin' Tom Connors are music to the ears of a Winnipeg design company. Circle Design International designed the stamps released this week, which also feature French-Canadian rock pioneer Robert Charlebois and Acadian singer Edith Butler."

According to the article by Kevin Rollason, "The stamps follow the company's success in designing the first musical icon stamps two years ago, which featured Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, Anne Murray and Joni Mitchell."

Circle Design International also designed the two series of Canadians in Hollywood stamps as well as the 1999 Pan Am Games and the 125th anniversary of the RCMP stamps.

Besides being the owner of the company that designed the stamps, Circle Design founding principal Robert Peters (shown above) says he was a stamp collector himself and collected them as a child.

Rollason said Peters got his own copies of the stamps his company designed just like everyone else and quotes him as saying, "I was in line [at the post office] yesterday morning to get them."

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

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Stamps - An American Journey

Click on the center of the picture to watch the story of America as seen through its postage stamps.

Happy 4th of July!
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 03, 2009

Are Post Office Closures Next?

Caitlin McDevitt reports on the MSN Money Web site, "As mail volume declines, the US Postal Service could shutter up to 3,200 post offices and retail outlets."

He goes on to say,"As the United States Postal Service, weighed down by a crippling multibillion-dollar deficit, shrinks its operations, post offices across the country are on the chopping block. Each year, hundreds of postal operations shutter, but this coming fall could be the single biggest consolidation in Postal Service history."

According to McDevitt, "Every time a post office is slated for closure or consolidation, the Postal Service is legally obligated to inform its customers well in advance.

Mario Principe, the post office continuance consultant at the National League of Postmasters, is quoted as saying, "There's a very long process that they have to go through. That gives the communities plenty of time, usually at least two months, to stage a rescue."

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

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Karl Malden and The Post Office

Actor Karl Malden has died of natural causes at his home in California. He was 97.

Malden was born Mladen Sekulovich in Chicago on March 22, 1912 and won a supporting actor Oscar in 1951 for his role in the film "A Streetcar Named Desire" — a role he also played on Broadway.

Besides being an Oscar winning actor, Malden was also a well-known stamp collector and served on the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) which reviews and recommends subjects for U.S. postage stamps.

Malden helped create the "Legends of Hollywood" stamp series that featured a number of his friends and fellow actors as well as the 2003 miniature sheet,American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes, celebrating Hollywood's directors, producers and other studio workers.

According to the Associated Press, "In 2005, the U.S. Postal Service honored Malden by naming the post office in Brentwood [CA] to honor his achievement in film and his contributions to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee."

On hand to honor him at the event were family members, and lifetime friend Kirk Douglas. Kirk’s son, Michael, could not attend, but sent a letter teasing his former Streets of San Francisco co-star with the line, “Karl — a stamp of your own wasn’t enough? You had to have an entire Post Office?”

At the ceremony, Postmaster General Jack Potter spoke glowingly of Malden’s work on behalf of the Postal Service and said, “The Postal Service has had no better friend." Malden also made a number of USPS public service announcements during his time on the CSAC.

Shown above, Malden (on right) and Postmaster General Potter at the Karl Malden Post Office dedication ceremony in 2005.

For more on Karl Malden, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Children at Stamp Shows Rare As Upside Down Jennys

UK's Sheffield's Telegraph reports collectors and dealers from all over Great Britain attended the annual convention of the Yorkshire Philatelic Association hosted by the Sheffield Philatelic Society.

The Yorkshire Philatelic Association (YPA) was founded in 1947. Initially there were ten societies, but the Association has grown over the years to its present twenty-four.

According to the paper, "More than 300 middle-aged men – and a few women and children" attended the show.

It goes on to say, "There was a time when children were stamp collectors and adults were philatelists. These days, however, although children at philatelic shows are not quite as rare as a 24 cent American biplane flying upside down, they are pretty scarce."

Nevertheless, the paper says there are still some young philatelists, such as 12-year-old Anna Spring who is quoted as saying, "I collect animal stamps because I'm an animal lover. It means you learn a lot about the animals of different countries."

Shown above, a dealer helps a collector at the show.
To read the entire article and watch a short video, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM