Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Grand Rapids, Michigan's American Legion Post 493 writes on its website, "A bloody battle was fought during World War I in a region called Flanders. The area in France was completely devastated. In the spring of 1919 the poppies still bloomed among the ruins and where the men had fallen in battle. The memory that the soldiers brought home was that of the poppies blooming in the field of blood. The poppy became a symbol of sacrifice of lives during the war and represented the hope that none had died in vain.
A poem was written about the battle in Flanders Fields and the Poppy by Col. John McRae in 1915.

In part it reads;

In Flander’s fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place…
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch – be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep…

Today remember those men and women who gave their lives in the service of the nation.

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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Postmaster General’s Collection Being Transfered to the Smithsonian

The Press Room of the Smithsonian Institution has announced that the Postmaster General’s Collection is coming to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum on a long-term loan from the U.S. Postal Service.

According to a Smithsonian press release, "The Postmaster General’s Collection began in the 1860s as a modest set of Post Office Department files filled with records and a small sampling of stamps. Now, thousands of stamps later, the same archive has become a one-of-a-kind philatelic resource with unusual, rare and unique holdings."

It goes on to say, "The collection, located at Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., will be fully documented, sealed and transferred across town to the National Postal Museum beginning later this year."

The collection may best be known for its extensive holding of U.S. die proofs — proofs made from the dies on which stamp designs are engraved. The collection also contains rejected and approved stamp designs, color proofs, uncut press sheets, full panes of stamps and historic artifacts.

Elements of the collection will be displayed in the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery when it opens in 2012.

Shown above, 1946 stamp featuring the original Smithsonian Institution building on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the Postmaster's Collection, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Karl Rove - Tiffany Dinner Speaker

This just in from the American Philatelic Society... Karl Rove, 24-year APS member and senior advisor to former President Bush, will be the speaker at this year's APS StampShow John K. Tiffany Dinner being held Thursday, August 12 in Richmond,Virginia. 

According to the lead article in the June APS Special Delivery E-Newsletter, Rove gave a  presentation on Political Campaign Covers: My Philatelic Passion at Washington 2006. No word on what he'll be talking about this time.

Tickets for the event which cost $125 each are now available and include a $50 donation to the APS Endowment Fund.

John K. Tiffany (1843-1897) was the first president of the American Philatelic Society.

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

Friday, May 28, 2010

China Issues Stamp on Calligraphy Paper

The Global Times reports, "A new set of stamps featuring calligraphy masterpieces from four of China's most famous masters, such as Lan Tingxu (303-361AD), has caused a stir among local philatelists, yet the real excitement is not some much the content as the form. For the first time, the stamps are being printed on Xuan Zhi, Xuan paper, a traditional Chinese material that has been used for calligraphy for over 1,000 years."

Cai Yang, director of China Philatelic News and a stamp collector is quoted in the piece as saying, "The stamp is the first of its kind to better reflect the idea of calligraphy. Before the calligraphy paper, stamps have also been made from silk, gold or silver foils, and tree skins."

"Just days after going on sale on May 15, prices for the stamps have risen from 7 ($1) to 22 yuan ($3.2) per set of six," writes reporter Yin Yeping.

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

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Students' Art Turned Into Stamps

Minnesota's Spring Grove Herald reports two local youngsters recently had their works of art turned into postage stamps after attending a painting class for fifth through 12th grade students. Sponsored by the local library, the students learned about artist Pablo Picasso and then painted their own masterpieces following his style.

The idea came from Spring Grove Postmaster Patty McManimon-Moe who is quoted in the piece by Marlene Deschler as saying, "I receive an Internet newsletter through the post office and in one edition a postage stamp design contest in Cavour, S.D., was featured. I called that postmaster and talked with her about how they ran the contest and other details."

After the painting classes were complete, a committee voted on the paintings they felt would best be represented on a stamp.

Patty donated a framed set of customized stamps to each of the winners for them to have as a keepsake. The stamps are also for sale for $8.80 for a sheet of 20.  The stamps actually cost more but the town is paying the difference so that postal customers may purchase them for the same amount as a normal stamp.
Shown above, The Picasso stamp winners hold their framed stamps. In the center is Postmaster Patty McManimon-Moe.

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Historic California Post Office Saved

Forty-five Kaweah, Calif. residents will continue to pick up their mail at the 100-year-old Kaweah Post Office thanks to a last-minute effort to save the service according to an article that appeared in California's Visalia Times Delta.

Reporter Teresa Douglass pens, "The 10-by-12-foot wooden post office was built by local cattlemen in 1910, according to Dody Marshall of the Three Rivers Historical Society. The men paid $2.50 each for the lumber and built the post office with their own hands."

Shown here, volunteer Kevin Foster picks up his mail at the Kaweah Post Office. Ken volunteers to keep the post office boxes functioning.

To read the entire article and see a slide show on the post office, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Customer Stuck With Counterfeit Money from the Post Office

Reporter David Lazarus writes in the Los Angeles Times, "A business inadvertently gives you counterfeit money — are you stuck with it? In most cases, yes. But what if that business happens to be a branch of the federal government?"

Lazarus goes on to say, "Los Angeles resident David Lipin found himself asking this question the other day after he cashed a $1,000 Postal Service money order at a West Hollywood post office."

According to the article that appeared in Tuesday's Business section, a postal clerk gave him 10 $20 bills and eight $100 bills. When he stopped at a nearby gas station to fill his tank, he tried to pay with one of his new $100 bills.

Lipin is quoted as saying, ""The clerk took a close look at it and said it was fake. Then she looked at some of the other $100 bills. She said they were fake too, and she called the police."

Alarmed, Lipin phoned a lawyer friend. At his friend's urging, he too called the Los Angeles Police Department to report that he'd been given bogus bills. "I wanted it very clear that I was a victim and not someone trying to pawn off some counterfeit dollars," Lipin said.

Lazarus asks, "Even though he got his bogus cash from the U.S. Postal Service redeeming a Postal Service money order, shouldn't Uncle Sam bear some responsibility?"

Wayne Williams, deputy special agent in charge of the Secret Service's L.A. office, said, "Not really. The post office operates as a business. It takes in money from customers. Postal workers don't really have special equipment or training to spot counterfeit bills. Unless they're in on it, this isn't their responsibility."

Shown above, David Lipin with phony $100 bills which were actually $5 bills that had been bleached and altered.

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

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sale of 'Treskilling Yellow' Shrouded in Secrecy

The Associated Press reports, "The Swedish 'Treskilling Yellow' retained its title as the world's most expensive stamp when it changed hands at a private sale shrouded in secrecy."

The one-of-a-kind 1855 misprint was sold to a group of buyers who asked that their identities and the winning bid be kept confidential according to auctioneer David Feldman. Feldman declined to reveal whether the sale matched the 2.875 million Swiss francs (then about $2.3 million) price it set a record for in 1996.

Reporter Frank Jordans writes, "The Treskilling Yellow is the only known misprint of an 1855 three shilling stamp that was supposed to be green. It has fabled status among collectors and is considered one of the world's most valuable objects for its size."
Frank points out, "For years the owner of another unique stamp, the 1856 'British Guiana 1 cent Magenta,' remained a mystery until it transpired that it had been bought for nearly $1 million by chemicals fortune heir John du Pont in 1980... That stamp is believed to lie in a bank vault while du Pont serves a 13- to 30-year sentence for third degree murder."
According to Frank, the first collector to own the 'Treskilling Yellow' is said to have been a Swedish schoolboy, who found it in 1885 among a pile of letters left by his grandparents. A similar tale is told about the 1 cent Magenta."
Shown above, a 1992 stamp from Sweden featuring the 'Treskilling Yellow'.
To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grandparents Encouraged to Promote the Hobby

Although National Grandparents Day isn't until Sept. 12 this year, Education Director Henry Lukas at the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History writes to let Round-Up readers know that the museum has declared next month as "Grandparents Month" and urges grandparents to introduce their grandchildren to stamp collecting.

Henry says that he hopes “the younger generation can learn from the older generation, the many benefits and joys that can come of starting a stamp collection.”

To encourage young people to consider taking up the hobby, the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History on the Regis College campus in Weston, Mass is inviting grandparents to bring their grandchildren to the Museum during June to help them learn about stamps and stamp collecting.

Henry says, there will be many US commemorative stamps starting from the 1920’s that should bring back grandparents’ recollections of their collecting days.

For more information, contact the museum at 781-768-8367 or
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Investment Suggestions Include Gandhi Stamps

Although it's been a while since Alex Rogolsky has posted anything on his StampSelector blog, he has made some interesting investment suggestions in the past.

One of those is the investment potential of Gandhi topicals.

According to Alex in a March 28 posting, "The stamp market is heating up in India, and as vast numbers of upwardly mobile Indian converts to the insidious cult of Philately enter the fold, their focus has been on topicals. It should come as no surprise that among the most popular topicals in India are stamps featuring Gandhi."

He goes on to say, "However, Gandhi topicals have been so hyped recently that minor, unlisted errors (commonly known as "freaks"), which only a few years ago might have brought only slight premiums over the prices of the normal stamps, have sold for absurdly high prices. Normally, I'd consider such sensational "lemmings-to-the-sea" type of behavior to be a sign of a stamp market bubble for the issues affected, similar to the short-lived mania for Lady Diana issues following her tragic death.

"In my opinion, this situation is somewhat different, because the future of philately in India is very bright indeed, and because the topic is Gandhi, who many Indians view as being like Washington, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus rolled into one."

Shown above, Gandhi  stamp issued last year by the United Nations.

For more tips, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rare New Zealand Invert To Go on Public Display

Reporter Bernard Carpinter of New Zealand's The Dominion Post pens, "Mistakes in manufacturing usually make products worthless, but an error in printing one New Zealand stamp makes it worth about $300,000. "

The 1903 fourpenny stamp – the only one known to exist – was part of a set of New Zealand scenes first issued in 1898.

According to Bernard, "Eighty of the upside-down stamps were printed but no-one noticed till 1930, when a farmer in England detected the error while looking through his childhood stamp album.

"He was trying to find valuable stamps he could sell for cash in the Depression. A year later it sold at auction in London for £161 - a large sum at the time."

NZ Post chief executive Brian Roche is quoted as saying, "The 'fourpenny Lake Taupo Invert' stamp is a unique national treasure and it is timely to make it available for all New Zealanders to see."

The stamp has Lake Taupo and Mt Ruapehu printed upside-down even though a heavy postmark makes it hard to spot the error.

Shown above, Patrick Brownsey has a close look at New Zealand's rarest stamp, the "fourpenny Lake Taupo Invert".
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tunisia Holds International Conference on Future of Postal Stamps reports the "Future of Postal Stamps" is the focus of the international conference which opened on Tuesday in Tunis.

The event was organized by the Tunisian Post, in association with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP).

Representatives of the African Postal Union and senior officials of the Universal Postal Union and the World Association for Development of Philately are taking part.

According to the article, "The event represents an opportunity to discuss ways to boost security in the making of postal stamps such as the fight against counterfeiting and illegal issuance of stamps as well as to promote innovation in this sector in order to guarantee sustainability of this activity in light of the international technological changes."

According to USPS spokesperson Mark Saunders, no representatives from the United States Postal Service are attending the conference. Mark went on to say, "Our participation has been by simply answering questionnaires about our program."

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Men and the Mail of the Pony Express

Christopher Reynolds, in a Los Angeles Times travel piece, followed the historic trail of Pony Express riders from St. Joseph, Mo. to Sacramento, Calif. and reports on the men and the mail they carried.

According to Christopher, "By some accounts, that first load included just 49 letters, five private telegrams, some Eastern newspapers and a bunch of telegraphic dispatches to be printed by Western newspapers. The riders, often teenagers, typically weighed 120 pounds or less, were issued lightweight Bibles and signed an oath that said that 'I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm,' and so on."

He goes on to pen, "Pay was $50 to $100 a month (accounts vary). They rode with pistols or a rifle or unarmed. After 25 miles or so, that first rider would trade his horse for a fresh one, and after 100 miles or so, he would hand his letters off to another rider. On they would sprint through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and finally California, except for those who died from Indian attack, exposure to the elements or just plain falling off their horses.

"From that first batch of Pony Express mail, historians say, eight letters were addressed to Sacramento, and 25 more were carried aboard the boat to San Francisco. By the last months of the cash-strapped Pony's operations, about 35,000 letters had been carried by its riders."

Shown above, Pony Express rider monument in Old Town Sacramento. Christopher said he thought the statue looked more like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger than a teenage Pony Express rider.

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

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Mona Lisa of Stamps reports, "A record for the world's most expensive postage stamp is likely to be set this weekend, when a Swedish stamp, described as 'The Mona Lisa' of the philatelic world, goes on sale with an estimate sale price of around €2m (approximately $2.5 million )."

The 1855 Swedish Treskilling Yellow, shown here, will go under the hammer on May 22 at Feldman Galleries, Geneva, without a reserve price.

David Feldman, founder of the Swiss auction house, is quoted as saying in the piece by Tara Loader Wilkinson, ""As the Mona Lisa is to the art world, and the Hope Diamond is to jewels, so the Treskilling Yellow is to postage stamps."

What makes it so valuable?

According to Amey Stone, who writes on the Luxist website, "Back in Sweden in 1855, when the currency was known as the skilling, the 3 skilling stamp ('treskilling') was printed in green. An 8 skilling stamp was printed in yellow. But due to a printing error, a few 3 skilling stamps were printed in yellow. No one knows how many."

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

Monday, May 17, 2010

Coca-Cola Philately

This year's International Coca-Cola Collectors Fair will be held next week starting May 24 in the Netherlands according to Bobby's Coca-Cola News.

Bobby, whose last name is somewhat of a mystery, collects all sorts of Coca-Cola memorabilia including stamps and covers.

Both a member of the American Philatelic Society (APS) and The Coca-Cola Collectors Club (TCCCC), he writes on his blog, "I started collecting stamps many years before I started collecting Coca-Cola bottles and cans. Stamps got me interested in geography, history and languages at an early age. The intersection of these two hobbies is my collection of Coca-Cola envelopes and postcards. Each bottler cover or postcard provides some historical and geographical facts about Coca-Cola. The foreign covers also provide some linguistic challenges and lessons."

Shown above, one of Bobby's earliest Coca-Cola bottler envelopes from the 1920s.

To visit Bobby's website and see some of his other covers, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Carl Herrman - The Creative Mind Behind 400 Stamps

Carl Herrman, 71, a former art director for USPS is featured in an article that appears on the website. During his long career, Carl, shown here, helped oversee the design of over 400 U.S. postage stamps.

In the piece, Carl, a Las Vegas resident,  is quoted as saying his personal favorite is the stamp depicting Hawaiian Olympian and surfer Duke Kahanamoku, a 37-cent stamp released in 2002.

According to the article, "Although Herrman is no longer with the Post Office – he left in 2008 – he said almost 30 more stamps bearing his designs are slated for release through 2013; however, philatelists and stamp consumers alike will have to wait to see what Herrman designed."

“I’m not allowed to talk about (the to-be-released stamps),” he said. “They wouldn’t like me to do that. I would get in trouble.”

The article goes on to say, "Herrman compares his art to that of an orchestra conductor. He doesn’t make the music -- or, in this case, the stamps -- himself. Rather, he describes himself as the creative mind behind the stamps, working with those he calls the best photographers and illustrators."

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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Katharine Hepburn Stamp Debuts in Connecticut

"A little bit of Hollywood glamour arrived in Old Saybrook Wednesday as the U.S. Postal Service unveiled its new Katharine Hepburn first-class postage stamp," writes reporter Jenna Cho on Connecticut's website.

Shown above, actor Sam Waterston and Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center Executive Director Chuck Still look on as the Katharine Hepburn commemorative stamp was unveiled Wednesday at the center. Also participating in the ceremony was Postmaster General John Potter.

Old Saybrook, CT is where the actress's family maintained a summer home for over 91 years and where Hepburn retired following her triumphant film and theater career.

Joseph Bakes points out in another article that appears on the website, "The 44-cent commemorative [which was designed by Derry Noyes] features a publicity photo by Clarence S. Bull from the MGM movie “Woman of the Year” in 1942, the year she turned 35. She received one of her 12 Academy Award nominations for the role. She eventually won four Oscars."

He goes on to say, "Showing the span of her career, the selvage of the 20-stamp pane has a portrait from her Broadway stage role in “West Side Waltz” in 1981, when she was 74. She received a Tony nomination for that role. "

Hepburn is the 16th inductee into the Postal Service's "Legends of Hollywood" commemorative stamp series.

She joins other "Legends of Hollywood" on stamps, including Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The series began in 1995, with Marilyn Monroe on a 32-cent stamp.

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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Living Brothers and Sisters on New British Stamp

Shown here are John Dawson and his two sisters, Barbara Southard and Rosemary Brett, on a  stamp which is part of new British set marking the 70th anniversary of the Blitz.

They were photographed in 1941 huddling together at London's King's Cross station before being put on a train according to Neil Millard in article that appears in UK's Sun newspaper.

Neil writes, "The children, each wearing an identity tag, had already endured months of the World War II air attack by Hitler's Luftwaffe, which began in 1940."

He goes on to say, "The trio, now 76, 74 and 73, eventually returned safely to their home in Greenwich, South East London, where John still lives."

Julietta Edgar, Royal Mail head of special stamps is quoted as saying she hoped the collection would serve as a "poignant reminder" of the "huge contribution" the public made to the war effort.

Shown above, the brother and sisters as they look today. 

To read the entire article and watch a video about the stamp, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Miniature Messages

Here's a book you might want to add to your philatelic book shelf, Miniature Messages: The Semiotics and Politics of Latin American Postage Stamps by Jack Child.

A review on says, "In Miniature Messages, Jack Child analyzes Latin American postage stamps, revealing the messages about history, culture, and politics encoded in their design and disseminated throughout the world. While postage stamps are a sanctioned product of official government agencies, Child argues that they accumulate popular cultural value and take on new meanings as they circulate in the public sphere. As he demonstrates in this richly illustrated study, the postage stamp conveys many of the contestations and triumphs of Latin American history."

It goes on to say, "Child combines history and political science with philatelic research of nearly forty thousand Latin American stamps. He focuses on Argentina and the Southern Cone, highlighting stamps representing the consolidation of the Argentine republic and those produced under its Peronist regime. He compares Chilean stamps issued by the leftist government of Salvador Allende and by Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. Considering postage stamps produced under other dictatorial regimes, he examines stamps from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. Child studies how international conflicts have been depicted on the stamps of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and he pays particular attention to the role of South American and British stamps in establishing claims to the Malvinas/Falkland Islands and to Antarctica. He also covers the cultural and political history of stamps in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Grenada, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela and elsewhere."

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

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Third U.S. Stamp For Ronald Reagan?

Mark A. Kellner writes in the Washington Times, "There he goes again: Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States, is expected to "three-peat" as the subject of a U.S. commemorative postage stamp on the occasion of his birth's centennial next year. "

According to Mark, "The website of the Reagan's foundation lists the issuance of a U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp among the planned events for the Reagan Centennial Celebration."

No official announcement has been made by the Post Office of a new Reagan stamp next year.

When contacted for confirmation of such a stamp being planned, USPS spokesman Roy Betts is quoted in the article as saying, "this is the first I'd heard of it." Roy said the 2011 stamp schedule was still in progress pending the late-summer announcement.

Mark's article points out, " All modern U.S. presidents since John F. Kennedy have been honored with a commemorative stamp, generally within a year of their passing. Reagan's first postal tribute, a 37 cent stamp, appeared in 2005; it was reissued less than a year later when first-class mail rose to 39 cents."

Shown above, Reagan souvenir sheet from Grenada.

To view other Reagan stamps from around the world, click here.

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

India Post on Twitter

Indian's Deccan Herald reports, "The Department of Posts (DoP) is the first government organisation to join the social networking site Twitter. The DoP page titled ‘PostOfficeIndia’ already has around 200 followers from both India and abroad, in less than two months of its operations."

Reporter Ajith Athrady pens, "The DoP has posted information about its services, new schemes and promotions for users on its Twitter page. It has posted links to its website, telling users how they can calculate postage tariffs or know pin codes of their respective areas. "

A senior official in the Department of Posts is quoted as saying, "“If anybody has any query regarding the department’s services, they can seek clarifications by tweeting and the department will reply promptly."

"The page has also become a boon to those who pursue philately as a hobby, as it has been informing them about limited edition stamps that India Post keeps on issuing from time to time. The DoP has already started a ‘tweet-campaign’ for India’s biggest-ever stamp show that will be held in Delhi next February, " according to the article."

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

Monday, May 10, 2010

Postal Administrations Ranked by Number of New Stamps has released its ranking of 140 countries according to the number of new stamps that were issued in 2009 along with the user-friendliness of their postal administrations' websites.

According to a press release put out by, the availability of each site’s English version, the presence and ease of use of an e-shop was also taken into account.
In 2009, Japan issued  more than 300 new stamps and France 210 stamps.
They are followed by those countries which issued from 100 to 150 stamps in 2009.

In decreasing order these are: Cuba, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, Russia and Portugal. The third group of countries – United Kingdom, Australia, China, Spain, Venezuela, Malaysia, USA, Thailand, Turkey, Italy, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Hungary, Mexico – issued from 70 to 100 stamps.
Forty-three postal administration websites earned high marks.

They were: the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Spain, USA, Italy, Isle of Man, Hungary, Mexico, Guernsey, Jersey, Sweden, Argentina, South Korea, Serbia, Maldives, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Slovenia, Gibraltar, Malta, Uruguay, Belarus, French Polynesia, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Luxembourg, Chile, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Bermuda, Morocco, Norfolk Island, Faeroe Islands, Namibia, Estonia.

For the full rankings, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Woman Runs Post Office From Her Home

Pennsylvania's Progress website reports, "People patronize post offices every day for one thing or another - to buy stamps, get money orders or to pick up mail - but few go to a post office that's inside someone's home."

Staff writer Terry Whetstone pens, "That's the situation in Glen Hope for Annie Hawkins. She just celebrated her 42nd anniversary of running the post office, which is in her home. She and her husband, Herb, have lived with the post office in their home for the 42 years she has worked there."

According to the article, "There are about 75 customers who get their mail on a daily basis at the post office and while the post office is quite small compared to others, she said it offers the typical items, stamps, money orders, bulk mailing, etc. Annie said that through the years as children from the borough have gone off to college they bring their friends with them to check out the small post office when they come home on breaks."

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

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Computers and Collecting - Latest APS "On The Road" Course

Computers and Collecting with Barbara Boal, editor of the American Philatelist, will be presented Aug. 10-11 prior to the American Philatelic Society (APS) StampShow being held in Richmond, VA.

Gretchen Moody, APS Director of Education, writes to say, "You will enjoy two days of tips and fun as you learn how to incorporate the computer with collecting — explore and learn about software, scanning, designing exhibit pages, personalized album pages or newsletters, and enhancing scans and digital images. The instructor will be in touch with students prior to the course to learn of specific needs that the course can address. Students will receive handouts, hands-on instruction, and other digitally-based resources. Some basic knowledge of computer use is necessary to receive the most benefit from this course. We will be working on a PC, but most of the information easily translates to the Mac. A computer is not necessary, but to play along, bring your laptop!"

Cost is $180 for APS members, $280 for nonmembers until July 14. To receive the early registration discount. After July 14th, registration is $195/$295.

You can also register online (for this and other APS courses) at .

For more information about the course, contact Gretchen at (814) 933-3803 ext. 239.

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

Friday, May 07, 2010

Negro Baseball Leagues Illustrator "Thinks It's About Time"

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Kadir Nelson is glad to see the U.S. Postal Service honor black ballplayers with two new stamps.

Kadir, 35, who illustrated the stamps which will be issued June 4, is quoted in an article by Anne Krueger as saying, “I think it’s about time.”

Kadir also wrote a book, We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball that has some more of his paintings of various players and the lives they led in the segregated league which operated from 1920 until about 1960.

According to the article, "Nelson, who has illustrated about two dozen children’s books, also created stamps honoring black writer Richard Wright and Anna Julia Cooper, a prominent black scholar. He has received two Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards, a Caldecott Honor and an NAACP Image Award for his work."

Shown above, San Diego artist Kadir Nelson (left) signing a copy of his book We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.

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

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Postal Food Drive This Saturday

The National Association of Letter Carriers website reports, "Only a few days remain until the May 8 NALC National Food Drive—an icon in the nation's effort to help millions of families facing hunger—with expectations that the drive will break through the 1 billion pound mark in total donations collected since the union's effort began 18 years ago."

According to the site, "The drive this year hopes to exceed last year's 73.4 million pounds total, which would easily surpass the 1 billion total mark, since the current total stands at 982.7 million pounds."

NALC President Fredric V. Rolando emphasized that as successful as the food drive has been in the past, it simply must be even better this year.

He's quoted as saying in an April 5 article on the site as saying, "“Millions and millions of families are suffering – struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. Food banks, pantries and shelters need our help more than ever this year. As families count on them for support, they’re counting on us and we will not back off on our commitment.”

Rolando also noted that donations are particularly critical at this time since most school lunch programs are suspended during the summer months and millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.

You can help “Stamp Out Hunger” by putting non-perishable food items in a bag and place it by your mailbox before your mail carrier usually arrives.

Canned meats and fish, canned soup, juice, pasta, vegetables, cereal and rice are the types of items that will help local families in need. Please do not include items that are expired or in glass jars.

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

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Young Man's First Exhibit Wins Gold Medal

Alexander Haimann reports on the National Postal Museum blog that James Chenevert won a gold medal at the World Series of Philately Stamp Show in Boxborough, Massachusetts this past weekend for his exhibit Security Features of United States Postage Stamps 1974-2009

James (shown here with his with his Mentor Jeffrey Shapiro) is part of the American Philatelic Society's Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship (YPLF) and this was the first time he had competitively shown this exhibit.

According to Alex, "It was less than nine months ago that James began his year-long Fellowship and selected the Exhibitor Track. Under the guidance of his YPLF Mentor, Jeffrey Shapiro, James collected the necessary material, conducted research, designed his pages, mounted the exhibit and entered it into competition."

He goes on to say, "For years, many of the brightest and most energetic young collectors have found that, while they are welcomed into philately and encouraged to begin, there is no ready way for them to enter into and learn on a long-term basis from the world of organized philately — very much an adult world, and one that can appear cold, unreceptive, and intimidating to young people. The YPLF exists to break down that wall — to enable young people who already have shown a sustained interest in stamp collecting to have an enriching and dynamic experience with a specific aspect of the stamp hobby, selected by them in partnership with a series of adult mentors."

To read the entire post and see parts of James' exhibit, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Austria Shows Gay Pride With New Stamp reports, "Austrian Post will be making philatelic history when it releases a postage stamp commemorating the 15th Regenbogenparade (Rainbow Parade) in Vienna on July 3."

Jona Solomon, co-president of Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien, Austria’s oldest and leading gay and lesbian organisation is quoted in the piece as saying, "“To our knowledge this is the first time in the world that a postal authority is issuing a special stamp on a gay/lesbian occasion. At least, we are not aware that this has happened before anywhere in the world.”

Kurt Krickler, HOSI Wien’s secretary-general is also quoted.

“We are really proud that Austria is delivering a real sensation here recognising the Rainbow Parade’s significance as one of Austria’s largest and most important events against social exclusion and discrimination. We hope that many postal authorities in the world will follow and dedicate stamps to LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender] themes.”

With a face value of 55 eurocents, the postage for a standard letter or postcard within Austria, 250,000 stamps have been printed. The stamp can be purchased as from June 25 but will only be valid for postage from July 3.

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

Monday, May 03, 2010

Is Stamp Collecting Becoming Cool?

Britain's Independent ran another good story over the weekend about stamp collecting, Stuck on you: How The World Fell in Love with Stamp Collecting Again.

In it, author Peter Stanford scribes, "Philatelists of the world unite! (Yes, all 2.5 million of you.) There's no need to feel embarrassed about your hobby, because stamp collecting is officially cool – and investors looking for a sure thing are driving up prices for the artistically admired little squares..."

Tim Hirsch, director of auctions at the stamp specialists Spink, confirms that the demographic is changing. He's quoted as saying, "In the past couple of years, we have seen many more younger buyers than before. What is particularly noteworthy is that many of them didn't even collect stamps as children [known in the trade as 'returners']. These are people being drawn to stamps for the first time."

"So what is transforming stamp collecting from something that even its estimated 2.5 million devotees were slightly ashamed to own up to in public, to being, as one new convert puts it, 'the new knitting'?" writes Tim.

He suggests two reasons. The first is financial – and another consequence of the global economic meltdown.

"As collectables," he says in the article, "stamps have continued to show steady, robust increases in value, year on year, without violent swings. So in these uncertain times, they are undeniably attractive to investors. The second factor bringing new life to what had been a stagnant and ageing a rediscovery of the intricate aesthetics of stamps."

According to Tim, "It was a different sort of emotional journey that brought 58-year-old design guru Stephen Bayley back to stamps. He was clearing out his parents' house after their deaths when he rediscovered his childhood stamp albums and re-engaged with them.

Stephen sees the crucial factor in today's revival in interest in stamps as neither financial nor aesthetic.

"It is the elegiac aspect that is important," he stresses. "For some there is a nostalgia for their own past, but more widely people are realising that stamps are not likely to be with us for very much longer. They are rather like other minor art forms – such as ashtrays in pubs – that are soon to be lost. That realisation generates a wish to collect them, to preserve them as part of a disappearing culture."

Shown above, Stephen Bayley with his childhood album.

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

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Happy Birthday Penny Black!

Britain's Independent reports 'The Penny Black' turned 170 years old yesterday.

Reporter Simon Usborne writes, "For those of us outside the fusty world of philately, there are few reasons to get excited about stamps. Most childhood collectors grow out of the pastime as they do fossils or football stickers. To their annoyance, those who carry the habit into adulthood are considered a step above trainspotters in the hobbyist hierarchy.'

He goes on to say, "But before you turn the page on this story of stamps, just try, for a moment, to set aside prejudice and consider one sticky little square of paper that surely deserves to be coveted. The Penny Black, which first went on sale in London on 1 May 1840, is neither the rarest nor the most valuable stamp in the philatelist's album, but it is the most beautifully designed and nobly conceived. It also changed the world in ways that should excite us all."

Douglas Muir,curator of philately at the British Postal Museum and Archive, is quoted in the piece as saying, "Stamps are microcosms of the age and place that reflect a great deal about the attitudes, history and geography of a country. You can say the same today. It's hard to compare the Penny Black to the Harry Potter stamps issued in 2007, but a hundred years from now, historians will look back and learn things about our popular culture."

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

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The American Topical Association and The Joy of Stamp Collecting

American Topical Association Executive Director Vera Felts (shown here) is featured in an article that appeared in Corning, New York's Leader.

Reporter Matt Hawkins of GateHouse News Service says Vera stumbled upon the hobby when she sent in a few cents for a set of stamps from a cereal box.

She is quoted as saying, ""I sent in my allowance, and what came in the mail? Beautiful stamps. They were women with plaited hair. It opened up a whole world to me."

A sidebar to the article indicates the American Topical Association (ATA) has 2,600 members worldwide with 61 countries represented. The organization has 550 checklists of stamps and 47 separate study groups.

To read the entire article, click here.

Click here to learn more about the American Topical Association.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM