Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Post Office in the Community

Over the last year the British Postal Museum and Archives (BPMA) has been working on an project that involved building a Victorian Post Office at Blists Hill.

According to the BPMA website, "Blists Hill is a popular visitor attraction set in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site, the birth place of the Industrial Revolution. The town consists of original and reconstructed buildings from the Victorian and Edwardian period, set in a street scene. Each building is occupied by a business in keeping with the period, such as a chemist, a bank, a pub and a school, as well as a clay mine and canal nearby. Each of the businesses are reconstructed to appear as they might have done in the late Victorian or Edwardian period, and traditional goods are sold by costumed staff from the premises."

This past spring a Post Office of the period was opened to the public. The BPMA helped develop the Post Office, complete with postal clerks and counter. On the upper floor of the building the BPMA also created an exhibition called The Museum of the Post Office in the Community.

Shown above, volunteers dressed as a period postman and postwoman in front of the Canal Street Post Office at Blists Hill.

To take a virtual tour of the Museum of the Post Office in the Community, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Iowa Stamp Club

The newly formed North Iowa Stamp Club is featured in an article that appears on the website.

Reporter Mary Pieper interviewed several of the members including Don Huygens, shown here, sorting some of his stamps at one of the meetings.

According to Mary, Don has tens of thousands of stamps and told her that people with smaller collections tend to have more valuable stamps.

Don is quoted as saying, “I’ve got quantity over quality," and would rather have 400 stamps worth $1 each rather than one stamp worth $400.

Don also said he is always on the lookout for stamps with Masonic symbols on them and likes stamps that have anything to do with trains.

So far just a handful of people have been showing up for the meetings, which began in October at the Clear Lake Public Library. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month, but that could change if it helps more people attend, according to club member Mike Schultz.

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

McCain Prompts Postal Service To Cut Congressional Stamp Albums

Bill McAllister, Washington correspondent for Linn's Stamp News, reports in the Jan. 11 edition that the United States Postal Service will no longer give presentation albums to members of Congress.

According to Bill, Senator John McCain wrote a letter to Postmaster Jack Potter saying that he found the practice of giving personally engraved albums "irresponsible" after having received a blue presentation album with the Kelp Forest minature sheet and his name stamped in gold.

McCain's letter reads in part, "Until the Postal Service no longer owes the American taxpayers millions of dollars, I request you refrain from spending limited Postal Service resources on unnecessary items such as engraved albums showcasing commemoratives [sic] stamps for members of Congress and instead focus on moving the Postal Service to fiscal solvency."

Shown above, the album that triggered McCain's angry response.

To view a copy of McCain's letter, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 28, 2009

Variations of 1998 Canadian Christmas Stamp Worth Major Bucks

Variations of one set of Canadian Christmas stamps are becoming increasingly hard to find according to Canada's Telegraph-Journal. Issued by Canada in Novemember 1998, each one - 45 cents for the domestic rate, 52 cents for the rate to the United States and 90 cents for the international rate - was illustrated with figurines of Christmas angels.

Reporter David Williams writes, "Early in 1999, an Ontario collector discovered there were two different perforations used in printing this set of stamps. As word of this got around, collectors and dealers began hunting for these different versions. But, since the postage rates had also gone up that month, for the first time Canada Post had allowed post offices to return unsold stocks for a refund. The end result was that most versions became very difficult to find."

He goes on to point out, "Only about 500 copies of the 45-cent stamp with the perforation change are known to exist in mint condition and are priced in stamp catalogues at $500 each. Even used copies are listed at $20 apiece.

There are 10 different perforation versions of the three 1998 Christmas stamps. In addition, there is an 11th variety -- the 90-cent stamp that has a diagonal scratch on it. Altogether, a copy of all 11 versions list at over $525 mint and $40 used."

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Phillipine Exhibit Offers University Insight Into History

Philippine Daily Inquirer reports, "A group of hobbyists have formed the Dumaguete Stamp Collectors’ Club to tell the whole world about the joys of their favorite pastime. One way of spreading the word is by holding exhibits, so the club members displayed their collections last week at the Museo Vicente at Foundation University."

According to the article by Alex Pal, the university president, who is also an avid stamp collector, opened the exhibit, titled “Thematics and Accumulations,” and was "awed" by the material displayed.

The exhibit, which was arranged according to theme, attracted professionals and students, even from outside the university.

Gary Rosales, club president is quoted as saying that the public viewing of their collections had given them pleasure. “Your joy is not complete if you don’t display them,” he said.

As a bank manager, Rosales looks at stamps as a good investment. “Weight-wise, stamps are more valuable than gold or platinum.”

Another collector, Lito Diago said in the piece, “As a stamp collector, you have to appreciate history,” and that his hobby gives him a rare insight into history.

Shown above, a 1954 stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the first Philippine stamps.

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Out of the Vault: The Certified Plate Proof Collection

In February 2008, the National Postal Museum received a major Smithsonian grant to digitize its certified plate proof collection. A 3-minute Smithsonian Channel video tells the story from start to finish.

To view video, click above.

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:51 AM

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Philately Stamped Out in Internet Age

"Once considered the 'king of hobbies', fit for those who seek knowledge and aesthetic pleasure, stamp collection is no longer a thing of attraction for the tech-savvy generation of this fast-paced internet age," writes reporter Ashis Senapati in the Times of India.

In his article, Philately Stamped Out in Internet Age,Senapati quotes stamp collector Manas Mohanty as saying,"Philately used to be more than just a pastime. It helped expand general knowledge, learn interesting details about the politics, history, geography, flora and fauna, national and international events, sports, films, science, agriculture of other countries. It helps cultivate attention to details and even make friends with other collectors across the border, irrespective of their age."

Another stamp collector, Haripada Panda, is also quoted... "I have been collecting stamps from my school days. I used to get foreign stamps from the letters of some of my pen friends. But now more and more people are turning to the internet to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Although the pleasure of receiving a well-written letter cannot be compared with anything else, the emphasis is now on speedy communication. So it has become difficult on me to collect stamps."

Shown above, "The Philatelist" - a Christmas card by Terence Cuneo, OBE.

Click here to read the entire article.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Combining Stamps With History

Stamp collector and retired English and journalism teacher Betty Coxson, shown here, is looking to combine her love of stamps with one of her favorite stories from history class according to a story that appears on the website.

Betty hopes to get John Peter Zenger--a newspaperman in pre-revolutionary New York on a stamp. Zenger printed articles calling the king-appointed governor corrupt and was thrown in jail, but lawyer Andrew Hamilton came to his defense--effectively making truth a defense for libel.

Despite their contributions to our free press, she said she's never seen either man placed on a stamp. Four or five years ago, Betty wrote to the Postal Service saying that it was about time for Zenger and Hamilton to appear on a stamp. She received a polite form letter explaining the complicated process of nominating and choosing subjects and showing no interest in Zenger and Hamilton. Now she's trying again.

A letter Betty wrote about the two men appears on the website. In it she pens, "I may be one of the most dedicated patrons of the Buffalo Center Post Office as I am an indefatigable letter writer.I go through stamps as if they were still selling for 3 cents. I do remember that! I always purchase the latest issues as there is a lot of history and culture revealed in those tiny little stickers. They are colorful, attractive and endlessly varied with subjects ranging from heroes to politicians to environment to entertainers to cartoons and to curing cancer."
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stamp Collectors - Young and Old

My own hometown newspaper, the Glendale News-Press, ran a story yesterday regarding the stamp show held here each month.

In it reporter Christopher Cadelago writes, "Sitting side by side at the Five-Star Saturday Glendale Stamp Show...There’s 23-year-old Garrett Williams, part of a generation chided by stamp collectors as having little interest in anything that can’t be plugged into an electrical socket. And then there’s his grandpa, Ralph West, whose decades in Southern California have done little to mask his Brooklyn accent."

Referring to West, a longtime owner of collector shops across the San Fernando Valley, Christopher pens, "He makes light of an atmosphere that wavers between quaint and stodgy, though there’s still money to be made. And he ridicules stamp collecting, granted with a tinge of sadness, as 'not dying, but already dead.'”

Grandson Williams is quoted as saying, "Just look around. Do you see any young people that will do this in the future? You look at a stamp and you put it away. There isn’t much else to do with it.”

In response, I wrote the following letter-to-the-editor...

"While it's true you don't see too many young people at stamp shows - they'll be back. You have to understand that kids start collecting stamps in elementary school. They then go on to middle school and discover the opposite sex, sports, computers, and cars. After they graduate from high school and college, they're focused on jobs, buying houses and raising a family. Then after the kids have grown up and moved out, they have some extra time and money. That's when they usually rediscover their childhood hobby and go to stamp shows like the one held in Glendale. Up to then they are pretty darn busy with other things."

Shown above, an undated Russian postcard picturing young and old collectors.

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Public Option for Mail?

Columnist David Lazarus writes in the Business section of the Los Angeles Times, "There's been a lot of talk about a public option for health insurance. But what about the public option for mail? The U.S. Postal Service offers universal coverage -- that is, it guarantees that mail can be sent and received by everyone, regardless of preexisting conditions, such as living in the boonies. It also loses tons of money."

"It's thus fair to wonder: Can this system be saved? Put another way, is it time we privatized the postal service?" he wonders.

Richard Maher, a postal service spokesman in Los Angeles, is quoted in the piece as saying, ""The postal service is asking for a national dialogue on this. What is our role going to be in the future? We need to have a conversation about that."

When asked if UPS would like to take over from USPS,a spokesman for UPS said,"We believe that the government plays a role in terms of ensuring that every mailbox is reached every day. That is not a responsibility that UPS would want."

Lazarus concludes, "It seems to me that the only privatization scheme that stands even a remote chance of working would be to break the postal service network into hundreds of regions and territories, and then have local companies compete for mail-delivery rights in each area."

Shown above, a private carrier delivers the mail in Thailand.

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

World's First Commercial Christmas Card

Tamara Colloff-Bennett writes on the website. "The custom of exchanging greetings is an ancient one. The Chinese sent messages of good will to one another for the New Year, and the early Egyptians used papyrus scrolls to send greetings to one another."

According to Tamara, "In Europe, handmade greeting cards made from paper started being exchanged by the early 1400s."

She goes on to pen, "Then with the introduction of the world’s first postage stamp in 1840, the stage was set for greeting cards to gain mass popularity. In fact, this is precisely what happened when three years later in 1843, Sir Henry Cole invented the first commercial greeting card for Christmas in Victorian England.

Tamara points out, "Coincidentally, it was in the same year of 1843 that Cole’s fellow Victorian, the author Charles Dickens, published his classic novella entitled A Christmas Carol."

Shown above, the first commerically made Christmas Card which was the idea of Sir Henry Cole who commissioned John Calcott Horsley to design and draw it.

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nurture Kids’ Interests Through Collections

Ann McGreevy, Ph.D. writes on the Marblehead, Massachusetts website, "With the holidays approaching, what better gift could one give than to start a child on his or her collection — giving one piece or item that will begin them on a lifelong pursuit of enjoyment and wonder? Attention to children’s interests and collections has always been important in classrooms and in families where the development of each child’s potential gifts and talents is a priority."

She goes on to say, "Research indicates that an optimum time to start a collection is when a child is between the ages of 8 and 12. Those years of middle childhood reveal the greatest number of collections and interest in starting them. The search for the next item brings great joy to a true collector."

Dr. McGreevy points out that, "Franklin Roosevelt had a passionate interest in his beloved stamp collection. In the worst of times, he found peace and inner calmness sorting over his stamps. Stamps are not as popular a collection with young people today, but they should be. From stamps, one can learn about geography, history, art, culture, famous people and more."

Shown above, brothers Dylan and Austin Rose, with their collections of Legos, Pokemon cards, sports cards and trophies.

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pillar Box Maker

UK's The Press and Journal reports, "John Cooper, 69, has been making pillar and lamp boxes - those on lamp poles - for Royal Mail since he was 16.The grandfather of four has made thousands over the decades and his handiwork has ended up all over the globe."

John (shown above) is quoted as saying, "Usually it says the maker of the pillar box on the back so any time I’m out and about I have a look to see where it was made and whether I can say we made that. I’ve definitely posted letters in boxes I’ve made."

According to the piece...

- There are about 100,000 post boxes of all kinds across the UK, of which about 10,000 are in Scotland.

- Queen Elizabeth II does not appear on post boxes north of the border because of protests in the 1950s when post boxes were set on fire as she is technically only the first Queen Elizabeth of Scotland. It was replaced by the Scottish crown, in sympathy with Scots who did not recognise Elizabeth I.

- Before 1859 there was no standard colour.

- In 1859, a bronze green colour became standard until 1874 when red became the standard colour.

- The earliest known post box was installed in 1809.

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Philatelic Present Ideas for the Holidays

Listed on the website are two stamp management programs, Stamp Manage and Stamp Organizer Deluxe, that you might want to consider as a holiday present or suggestion.

According to the site, Stamp Manage offers a 30 day free download trial version, is compatible with Windows XP, Vista (32 & 64 bit) or Windows 7 and has...

• 50,000 complete variety listings of stamps from the USA, US Possessions, Australia, UK, Canada, Canadian Provinces, France, Germany, Cuba, UN, etc.. Including sub-varieties

• 35,000 hi-res images to help identify your stamps

• Software that is officially licensed to use the SCOTT™ stamp numbering system

• A Stamp Checklist and a Stamp Album Page report that will let you print out Stamp Album pages complete with identifying images

• Up-to-date Market Valuations in several grades, including Plate Block and Mint Sheets

• eBay™ search feature to search current (and completed) auctions by SCOTT™ number...A great way to find the recent selling prices.

For more on Stamp Manage,retailing for $69.95 (download) or $79.95 for a CD, click here.

The other product suggestion is Stamp Organizer Deluxe by PrimaSoft.

According to the site, this program offers...

◦ Stamp Organizer, Detailed Solution: organize and maintain data about your stamps in as much detail as you want.

◦ Stamp Organizer, Basic Solution: organize and maintain data about your stamps in a quick way.

◦ Stamp Glossary Solution: organize and maintain dictionary of stamp terms.

◦ Stamp Web Resources: organize information about online stamp dealers, auctions, access accounts, and other stamp resources.

◦ Stamp Contacts Solution: organize stamp related contacts.

The company also offers a free trial put is only compatible with Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, NT, XP.

For more on Stamp Organizer Deluxe, retailing for $43, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library

The University of Texas Dallas' McDermott Library website reports, "The Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library was founded to provide collectors access to a dynamic collection of books, journals, and catalogs. Collectors have been using this resource for more than two decades in pursuit of their philatelic interests."

It goes on to say, "Founded in 1976 by the late Harold Wineburgh, the library was envisioned as a means of promoting not only philatelic research but also of inspiring a love of learning through philately. Since then the WPRL has grown into one of the finest philatelic libraries in the country with thousands of books and periodical volumes. Over 100 subscriptions to current philatelic journals are maintained with hundreds of older journal titles. In addition the library maintains catalogs and a growing selection of post office publications and reports."

According to the website, "Among the collection's strengths are holdings in U.S., British, Western European, and Mexican philately. Other important areas include detection of forgeries, state postal histories, and air mail philately. There is good coverage for the British Commonwealth as well as South America. The collection has especially fine holdings in Confederate postal history."

For more information contact The University of Texas at Dallas, Special Collections Department, P.O. Box 830643, Richardson, Texas 75083-0643, Paul Oelkrug, Coordinator for Special Collections, Phone: (972)883-2570.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Busiest Day of the Year

Fox News in Washington, D.C. reports that yesterday was the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service.

Wisdom Martin files this report, "It's 11 days before Christmas, and the crowds at the Post Office know they are running out of time...Post Office officials say they will get about 60 million pieces of mail on Monday alone. That's 30 percent more than a regular day, and that's just in the D.C. metro area... Nationwide between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the postal service will deliver more than 19 billion letters, packages, and cards.

He goes on to say, "To make sure everything is delivered, some offices have extended hours. Some have hired part-time workers, but with the down economy, they didn't bring in as many this year. But postal officials say none of that will affect customer service. Nationwide, the Post Office expects to process 839 million pieces of mail. They recommend you send packages by the following dates:

December 16: Parcel Post
December 21: First-Class Mail
December 21: Priority Mail
December 23: Express Mail

Click here to read his full report and watch a view video.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Mail in Afghanistan

Posted on the Military News Network website is footage of service members volunteering at a post office in Afghanistan to sort through more than 200,000 pounds of holiday mail destined for the troops.

Produced by Marine Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook, it drew some angry responses from former USPS and military personnel.

One retired first sergeant of a military postal unit wrote, "I can't believe what I just saw on this video. First I would like to say I am sorry to the mailers and to the soldiers receiving these packages for the way their packages were handled. This is not the way I was trained nor the way I trained other soldiers to process packages. Being in a war zone is no excuse for these soldiers behavior. This is certainly not the way we handled packages in OJE. Some of the packages did look poorly prepared & too large, but there are ways to handle these packages to prevent damage. I can just imagine all the insured damaged items having a claim filed on them to make the USPS pay for repair or replacement when the damage was done by these soldiers. This unit needs to be shut down until they are retrained in the proper way of mail processing. Whoever is in charge of this unit should be releived of duty, including officers and nco's and removed from the unit."

Lesson learned - pack your packages to overseas military personnel EXTREMELY well!

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Altered U.S. Stamps

Some time ago, Sheryll Oswald wrote a nice piece on altered U.S. stamps warning collectors to be careful about what they buy on the Internet.

Sheryll writes, "If it sounds too good to be true….. it probably is!!" This is what I often hear from fellow bidders of classic U.S. stamps on eBay when they find out that the 'elusive bargain' they have won is nothing more than a cheap stamp misrepresented as its more expensive variety, or has even been altered to look like it.

She goes on to say, "As a stamp collector, I must confess to being a bit of a bargain hunter myself. And there are times when I have bought what looked like the rarer variety of pre-1930 U.S. stamps, only to find that an extra bit of artwork has been added to the design, or there are signs of a pen cancel on what I thought was an "unused" stamp."

"But the more likely case is that I am happy with my bargain buy because I don't even know that it has been altered in some way!"

Sheryll points out, "Altered stamps have been and still are found at stamp shows, bourses, bricks-and-mortar auctions and mail-bid sales. Thus the phrase 'caveat emptor' should be the refrain of any collector of early U.S. stamps, and careful study of the Scott catalogue and the extensive literature available a must before any major purchases are contemplated."

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

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lady McLeod Local

Volker Kleiner from Germany writes to let Round-Up readers know about his new website,

Volker says, "I try to show the classic locals of the world and if somebody could help me out with scans it would be fine. Articles from different people are also included – looking always for some new."

One of those articles is by Peter C. Ford who writes about the Lady McLeod local shown above.

According to Wikipedia, "The Lady McLeod was a paddle steamer and a private local post. The ship sailed regularly between Port of Spain and San Fernando, on Trinidad island, now in Trinidad and Tobago from the end of 1845 until 1854. The private local post ran during the same time with the use of postage stamps on its mail from April 1847."

Peter points out, "Although this issue did not emanate from an official source, the Lady McLeod (as the stamp is commonly called) has the glamour of being the first adhesive stamp issued in a British Colony, the ‘POST OFFICE’ Mauritius appearing some six months later."

For more on the Lady McLeod local, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 11, 2009

'Inverted Jenny' Locket" Up for Auction

Harvey Bennett, director of philately at Heritage Auctions writes in the company newsletter for December, "There is no stamp — perhaps no collectible in general — more famous than the legendary #C3a, or the 'Inverted Jenny,' as it's more commonly known. And there is, perhaps, no 'Jenny' more famous than the one that Colonel E.H.R. "Ned" Green placed in a locket for his beloved wife, Mabel, in 1918."

According to the write-up, "Colonel E.H.R. 'Ned' Green (Aug. 22, 1868 - June 8, 1936) was famously the son of notorious miser Hetty Green, also known as 'The Witch of Wall Street,' the richest woman in America at the time. Upon her death in 1916, Green inherited her $150 million fortune. He was already plenty famous and wealthy in his own right for his personal exploits and business acumen, and as the President of America's most prosperous short line railroad, the Texas Midland. Green, incidentally, also made the first long distance automobile trip in Texas, a journey of just more than 30 miles.

"With the death of his mother, and a substantial new fortune, Green quickly became the most important collector in the nation, assembling a stamp collection that was rivaled only by the King of England, George V. One of his most important acquisitions occurred when he bought the unique sheet of the 'Jennies.' Green purchased the complete sheet for $20,000 from Eugene Klein who had, in his turn, acquired it from the discoverer of the printing error, William T. Robey.

Bennett says, "Col. Green correctly understood the enormous value to stamp collectors.He broke the sheet into blocks and singles, which he intended to sell, and held on to a few large multiples — plus the straight edge copies — for himself. One of those examples he had encased in this gold locket for his wife Mabel."

"Green had given his wife many valuable gifts, such as the $625,000 he gave her on their wedding day. The locket, however, must have held some significant sentimental value. Although the rest of Green's stamps were sold upon his death in 1936, Mabel saved the locket until her own demise in 1950."

That renowned locket will be one of the highlights of the Heritage/Bennett Signature® New York Rare Stamps Auction, taking place at The Four Seasons Hotel, 57 East 57th Street, in New York City, this Dec. 11-13.

Bidding starts at $200,000 with a buyer's premium of an additional $30,000.

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

APS Offering Free Santa Stamp Album

Once again the American Philatelic Society has produced a magnificent full-color mini stamp album which is free and downloadable.

Perfect for the holidays, the 16-page album features various Christmas and Santa related stamps and covers that have been issued by the United States over the years. Besides places for the stamps, it has narrative sections about The Legend of Santa Claus and the Travels of Santa. The 'Travels' section has spaces for foreign stamps featuring the jolly old man.

Needless to say this would make a great last minute Christmas gift for someone.

And here's an idea for you stamp club publicity chairpersons - send out a press release to your local paper announcing that these(and other APS albums) are available free to the public at your next club meeting. This is a great way to promote the hobby and your club... maybe gain a couple new members for your group!

Financial support for the development of these album pages is provided by Mystic Stamp Company.

To download your Santa album, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Maria Sharapova - Stamp Collector

According to Jonathan Sacks of, "Stamp collecting has surged in popularity in recent months, with eBay reporting a 30% increase in stamp sales and Britain's Royal Philatelic Society claiming a significant rise in membership."

Jonathan goes on to pen, "This rise in popularity is also bringing celebrity stamp collectors out of the woodwork. One of these collectors is tennis star Maria Sharapova. While Sharapova does not fit with the image of the typical stamp collector, she has actually gathered postage since she was a child."

Jonathan quotes Maria Sharapova as saying, "It is something introduced to me when I was very young. I have been very lucky over the years to travel to some amazing countries and I always try to collect stamps from every place I go. I am hoping one day that I will be able to hand my collection over to my kids.”

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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Google's Gmail Sending Out Free Holiday Cards Via Snail Mail

Jason Toff, associate product marketing manager for Google's Gmail, posts on the Gmail Blog, "Every year around this time I start thinking about the annual holiday email I send to friends and family members. I usually email my mom, dad, sister, friends and co-workers. But the one person who appreciates my season's greetings the most — my grandma — is stuck in the pre-digital age of snail mail. Of course, I could go to a store, aimlessly wander through the aisles, choose a card, wait in line to pay for it, go to the post office, pick up some stamps, etc., etc. — but wouldn't it be so much easier just to fill out a form and have Gmail handle the rest? "

"This holiday season, as a token of our appreciation to our most enthusiastic fans, we'll snail-mail a free holiday postcard on your behalf. Yes, through the mail and everything," says Jason.

He goes on to say, "We'll only be able to send cards to US addresses and to a limited number of people (due to limited Gmail elf availability), so be sure to request one soon."

To send a card, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 07, 2009

Stamps for the Wounded

As we commememorate Pearl Harbor Day, Joseph Robertia of Alaska's Peninsula Clarion reports since 1942, the Stamps for the Wounded program has collected stamps and other stamp collecting related materials, and redistributed them to veteran's hospitals across the U.S. as occupational and recuperative therapy for wounded soldiers.

According to Joseph, "Thirty-five years ago, Livingston, Texas, resident Virginia "Cy" Turner had a cousin -- a veteran of World War II -- who had a stroke. At the time, doctors had given her cousin tweezers and two shot glasses -- one filled with BBs, as part of the rehabilitation process to improve his fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination."

Turner is quoted as saying, "He was supposed to move the BBs from one glass to the other. It was nerve-wracking and he got BBs everywhere."

Instead of BBs, Turner suggested stamps and the rest, as they say, is history.

Between her collecting efforts in Alaska and Texas (where she lives), Turner has collected more than 15,000 pounds of stamps to be used in veteran's hospitals around the country.

"They'll use them to make mosaics, crafts or for matching exercising," she said. "It occupies their time, eyes, hands, and above all, their minds."

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

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Post Marks Spread Holiday Cheer

Glenn Estus, president of the Vermont Philatelic Society was interviewed on WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vermont about holiday postmarks.

Shown in the piece are holiday covers being cancelled at the North Pole, New York and Bethlehem, New Hampshire post offices.

Glenn (shown above) writes on the Virtual Stamp Club website,"... the postal clerk was actually the general manager of the Santa's Workshop theme park. In the winter time the post office is located in the business offices. In the summer time it's located in the main park itself."

He goes on to say, "From 1953 to about 2004, the North Pole office was a station of Lake Placid, NY. As a matter of fact in 1976 when the Olympic stamps were issued in Lake Placid, the North Pole also had them on sale the first day since it was a part of the Lake Placid post office. The U/Os created using the postmark that was very relevant since the post office is on the slopes of Whiteface Mountain, the venue for the downhill skiiing events. About 2004 it was transferred to the Wilmington, NY post office."

Click here to view video.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Buying and Selling Stamps on eBay

The Trade Forum website reports, "...people using eBay for their stamp collection need to follow the code of conduct that is based on Philatelic Code of Ethics, the Standing Resolutions of the American Philatelic Society, and specific conditions of sale that are used in typical trade and transaction practice by the organized philatelic community."

According to the site, "eBay developed this with the American Philatelic Society aid in improving safe transactions in the 'Stamps' category of eBay. Traders are encouraged to follow the code of conduct when they sell stamps on eBay. If they disobey, eBay could impose disciplinary action or even suspend or take away their selling privileges.

"By following the guidelines, the stamp seller agrees not transact fakes or stamps in unacceptable condition, unless they clearly declare the stamps as fakes or reproductions or altered. They also agree not to take part in advertisement and transaction of stamps by wrong practices like false or misleading claims and inaccurate information. They also agree not to transact stamps from questionable sources or owners, to refund the payment for stamps that an approved expert has found to be different from the stamp originally advertised and offered by the seller, and to follow all laws related to philatelic concerns.

"Another main tool in the eBay stamp collection category is Quick I.D., an online authentication tool for stamps. Traditionally, stamps are identified through the formal certification process done by the American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX). However, this service is expensive. If a person is thinking of buying stamps on the web, or wants to research the stamps in his own collection, they can use Quick I.D."

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

Friday, December 04, 2009

Youngblood New Editor of 'Topical Time'

A post on the Virtual Stamp Club website reports Wayne Youngblood has been hired as the new editor of the American Topical Association (ATA)'s member publication Topical Time. He will begin his initial three-year term by editing the January/February issue.

The post, which is attributed to ATA Executive Director Vera Felts, goes on to say,"This will also be the first issue to be created fully electronically and printed in full-color. Since our current (partial-color) printer would need to charge a price for full-color that we cannot afford, Wayne, together with Doug Clark, Chair of our Topical Time Makeover Team, is currently getting estimates from potential printers."

In the past, Wayne has had writing and editing positions at Linn’s Stamp News, Scott Stamp Monthly, and the Stamp Division of Krause Publications. Currently, he serves as editor of the American Airmail Society’s Airpost Journal and the Scandinavian Collectors Club’s Posthorn.

Wayne is quoted as saying, "I’m thrilled to be working with the American Topical Association to take Topical Time to the next level. As members know, the publication is already an essential tool for topical and thematic collectors. My goal, with the switch to computer technology, editorial tweaks and full color, is to make the magazine a “must-read” for many others in the hobby as well."

According to the post, Wayne’s topical interests include playing cards on stamps, mummies, American Indians and peppers.

For more on the American Topical Association, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Happy Birthday Sir Rowland! reports that today is Sir Rowland Hill Day. Hill was born December 3, 1795 and died in 1879.

In 1997 as a joint venture between Britain's Royal Mail, the British Philatelic Trust and the Association of British Philatelic Societies, the Rowland Hill Awards were established and honored philatelic innovation, initiative and enterprise.

According to Wikipedia,"The awards were last given in 2006 for 2005 winners. The awards have not be made since then and the scheme appears to be dormant. They are not connected with the Rowland Hill Award given by the Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs in the United States,"

Award winners are presented with a certificate, printed on special paper, showing the Czeslaw Slania engraving of Sir Rowland Hill which was used on a 1995 British stamp (shown above) honoring Hill, and an award featuring a facsimile of the engraving die.

For more on the Rowland Hill Awards, click here.

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

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Stamps Raise Funds for Israel

Roundup Reader and reporter Rachel Neiman sends along an interesting article she wrote that appears on the website.

It concerns the Jewish National Fund – Keren Kayemet (JNF-KKL) which, according to Rachel, "...raises funds using the trusty old Blue Box method of coin collection — in addition to Tree Planting Certificates and Soliciting Big Donations."

Rachel writes, "...few today remember that the JNF-KKL also issued and sold stamps which, for a brief period in May 1948, were actually used as postage stamps in the newborn State of Israel."

She points out the stamps hold a special place of honor in JNF-KKL history and an exhibition of stamps based on Dr. Arie Ben’s research into 108 years of the organization’s activity has been created.

Dr. Ben is the founder and director of the JNF House museum and educational center, where he and several other collecters last week revived the JNF-KKL Stamp Collectors Club which was first founded in 1937.

Shown above, one of the stamps created by the Jewish National Fund to help raise money to purchase land in Palestine and to develop the land once the State of Israel had been established.

Click here to learn more about these and other stamps from Israel.

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Postal Hotel

Oklahoma's NewsOK website reports, "The U.S. Postal Center in Norman, which operates the largest hotel in the state, used to cater only to federal employees and other large groups. Since summer, however, the hotel has opened its doors to the general public."

While the postal center owns the 996-room hotel, it is operated by the Marriott Corp.

Yves Badaroux, the executive manager (shown above) is quoted as saying, "You get Marriott quality at affordable rates, although we’re not branded as Marriott. We think we’re the best kept secret in Oklahoma.”

Because the hotel houses federal postal employees in Norman for training that sometimes lasts up to 12 weeks, "we try to make it as easy and as much like home for them as possible,” Badaroux said in the piece by reporter Jane Glenn Cannon.

According to the article, about 25,000 postal employees from across the United States come through the training center each year.,

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