Saturday, July 31, 2010

National Postal Museum Honors Philatelic Achievement

The website reports that the National Postal Museum (NPM) has announced two recipients of the 2010 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award—Michael Madesker and Robert P. Odenweller.

According to the post, "The Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award celebrates outstanding lifetime accomplishments in the field of philately, including original research that significantly advances the understanding of philately and postal history, exceptional service to the philatelic community and the overall promotion of philately for the benefit of current and future collectors. The honorees were selected by the National Postal Museum Council of Philatelists, a 29-member body of American and international philatelists, from open nominations submitted this past year."

Michael Madesker of Canada is a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London and The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada. He is also a signatory of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists and is motivated by his passion for youth philately.

Robert P. Odenweller of the United States is a researcher, writer and judge. His national and international leadership in each role has demonstrated his exceptional knowledge and expertise while he has mentored scores of now-accomplished philatelic leaders.

Shown above, visitors to the National Postal Museum looking at stamps in the America's Stamps exhibit.

To learn more about these two distinguished philatelists, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Duck Stamp Envelope Sold For Gulf Conservation

The Interior Department is selling a new duck stamp envelope to raise money for conservation in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill according to the Associated Press.
The new duck stamp envelopes were unveiled Tuesday. They feature a silk rendering of a photograph of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Florida, as well as the 2010-2011 federal duck stamp.

They sell for $25 $10 more than a duck stamp alone. The extra $10 will be used to buy land for national wildlife refuges on the Gulf Coast.

All migratory bird hunters must buy a duck stamp along with state licenses and permits.

This year's stamp shows an American wigeon painted by artist Robert Bealle of Waldorf, Md.

Click here to purchase the special edition Federal Duck Stamp envelope or call 1-800-852-4897.

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mail Model

A male mannequin covered in postage stamps is one of about 3500 works by 500 selected artists for sale at the New Zealand Art Show at TSB Bank Arena from Friday to Sunday according to an article that appears on the website.

Reporter Tom Hunts writes, "Mail Model, by Paraparaumu artist Rachel Goodman, took about 120 hours and a thousand stamps to complete, with stamps largely from Trade Me [New Zealand's leading online shopping website], as well as some from her own collection. "

Response to the piece has been mixed. Rachel is quoted as saying, " People either really love it or really hate it."  The stamps – some dating back to pre-decimal days – brought back memories for some.

"People will look at a stamp and remember what they were doing or how old they were."

Shown above, a portion of the mannequin.

To read the entire piece, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You've Got Mail!

The Tom's Guide website reports, "If you somehow don't use screen alerts for your messaging services, and want a visual reminder of your procrastination, here's an $18 USB peripheral available for pre-order. The USB Mail Box Friends Alert is a small plastic mailbox that lights up and plays a sound when a new mail or message comes in, flipping up its own little flag to draw your attention."

Shown above, the USB Mailbox supported services include Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Windows Live, Live Mail, Facebook, Twitter, and generic POP3 email. The mailbox actually turns from green to red to indicate how many unanswered messages you have according to the site.

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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First Day Cover Collecting

With Americover just around the corner, About.Com Stamp Collecting Guide John Finch pens an interesting article about The Styles of First Day Covers.

In the piece that appears on the website, John outlines a few of the most accepted ways of collecting First Day Covers (FDCs).

These include....
  • By Cachet Maker
  • By Stamp
  • By Time Period
  • By Topic 
How Do You Obtain FDCs?
According to the American First Day Cover Society, "Collectors may buy envelopes, apply the stamps and send them to the USPS for servicing (canceling). The instructions for doing this are in the USPS’s Postal Bulletin [or in the News Release Section on their website] or in collector publications or websites. Or the covers may be purchased ready made from cachetmakers or stamp dealers."

Shown above, the first "cacheted" FDC. It was created by George Linn, founder of Linn's Stamp News, to commemorate the death of Warren G. Harding in 1923.

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Postmark Collectors Celebrate Their Hobby

Reporter Kenton Robinson quotes Andy Mitchell in an article about postmark collectors as saying, "One time somebody compiled a list of 10 reasons to collect postmarks. And one of the reasons was 'Nobody ever asks you twice what your hobby is.'"

This weekend, the Post Mark Collectors Club will held their 49th annual convention in New London, Connecticut.

According to the piece which ran on the Associated Press wire, "...about 100 of the 400-plus members of the national organization were expected to talk about postmarks, trade postmarks, buy and sell postmarks and paw through the boxes of old postcards and envelopes stacked on the tables of the Radisson conference room to look for postmarks to add to their collections."

Andy says collecting postmarks is a hobby that attracts women as well as men, though the women approach it a little differently.

"The guys like me tend to be 'completists,' like I've got to get all of Connecticut," he said.

"Some people do it differently. They narrow it down. Like they get special pictorial cancellations like this," and held up an envelope with a special cancellation from Groton marking the 50th anniversary of the Nautilus going under the North Pole.

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"The King's Best Highway"

In his new book, The King's Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America, author Eric Jaffe describes the early days of colonial mail delivery between Boston and New York.

According to a review by Bill Kauffman that appeared in the Wall Street Journal,  "By 1700 mail 'ebbed and surged' along what was by then called the Post Road. Traveling on horseback, sack-bearing 'post riders' crossed rivers and swamps and hills, plunging 'deep into the woods and blind into the darkness' as they hop-scotched the network of inns that doubled as post offices."

It goes on to say, "Ben Franklin, as colonial America's deputy postmaster general, played a major role 'in shaping the modern mail service,' Mr. Jaffe says. Franklin issued punctilious edicts that ranged from mandating sensible accounting practices to requiring post riders to blow their horns every five miles, even if only the bluebirds were within earshot. 'You are not,' Franklin instructed riders, 'out of Friendship or Compliment to any Person whatsoever, to delay his Majesty's Post one Quarter of an Hour."

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

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Postage Protest

In response to the USPS proposed raising the cost of first-class stamps from 44 cents to 46 cents, a coalition of associations, non-profits and businesses called the Affordable Mail Alliance has been formed according to the Association and Non-Profit BisNow website.

The group, which has 630 members, includes the Magazine Publishers Association , Direct Marketing Association and PostCom, the association for Postal Commerce.

Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers executive director, and spokeperson for the group, Tony Conway is quoted as saying, "Our people are outraged. It's unprecedented, right now with the economy the way it is, the damage it's going to do."

He goes on to say this is the first time the USPS has argued for a rate increase on the basis of immediate financial concern. Tony, who worked for USPS for 34 years, says proposed increase would be about ten times the rate of inflation.

The article points out that Consumers Union, the non-profit which publishes Consumer Reports, estimates that it would have a $2.5 million increase in postage if the proposal goes through. A small Catholic charity providing human services in Illinois says that a 5% increase in postage would cost it $56K. The non-profit gets 85% of its income from direct mail, and the group estimated that cutting back one or two mailings could result in lost income of $250K to $500K.

Shown above, Tony Conway and 32-cent philanthropy stamp issued by the U.S. in 1998.

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

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Kansas City "Stamp Cave"

As part of their weekly Cool Jobs in Government series, recently interviewed Khalid Hussain, manager, Stamp Fulfillment Center in Kansas City, MO.

"There is approximately 5 million square feet of underground space here in this facility, and . . . close to 1,500 employees work in this complex. . . . We are three-quarters of a mile inside, as you come into the entrance, and we are 150 feet underground." Khalid says. 

Khalid indicated that the center is under the ground in caves that are about 270 million years old.

As far as working in the cave, Khalid says it has its advantages and disadvantages. When it is 105 degrees outside, it's wonderful in the cave. Usually around 72 degrees. Same in the winter time.

As far as working with collectors from all over the world, "I love what I'm doing and stamps . . . really reflect the greatness of our nation in a miniature art form. Stamp collection is one of the coolest hobbies in the world. People who collect stamps are very unique and distinct, and very patriotic people. So, dealing with them and how they appreciate the aesthetic of the stamp . . . that's amazing."

According to the report, there are about $400 - 600 million worth of stamps stored in the facility at any given time.

Shown above, USPS Stamp Fullfillment Center manager Khalid Hussain at his limestone surrounded desk in the world's largest underground industrial office park.

To read or listen to the rest of the story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, July 22, 2010

British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) Looks to Get Huge Grant

The website reports that, "The British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) has been handed a boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards a scheme to establish a new £19m home in Swindon."

According to the article by Pete Hayman, "BPMA has moved closer to securing a grant worth more than £2.6m to help in its bid to provide public access to the former National Postage Museum's collection, which has been in storage since 1998."  

Pete pens, "Among the items included in the BPMA's collection are objects such as red pillar boxes and postal vehicles, as well as examples of every British stamp issued since the Penny Black in 1840."

BPMA director Adrian Steel is quoted as saying, "HLF money will allow us to embark on the next stage of this exciting project to bring this human story of communication, industry and innovation to everyone. "

Shown above, an artist's conception of what the new museum will look like.

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Congressional Stamp Exhibit Being Held At House Office Building

Philatelic items from the personal collections of U.S. Representatives Joe Pitts, Robert Aderholt, Silvestre Reyes, Pete Sessions, Gary Ackerman and Sen. Carl Levin will be displayed at the Rayburn House Office Building (shown above) beginning next week according to a National Postal Museum (NPM) news release.

The exhibit, which is being coordinated by the NPM is designed for collectors and non-collectors alike with unique philatelic material that has never before been seen by the public.

In addition, there will be an activity station called “Stamp Collecting 101” that will introduce the hobby of philately to non-collectors. StampCamp USA will also hold a three-day workshop for youth that introduces the hobby of stamp collecting from the basics up to exhibiting, using creative 3-D and traditional formats filled with hands-on activities.

The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 28 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 29-30.

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cartoonists and Stamps

Writing on the website,  Mike Rhode pens,"The U.S. Postal Service has just issued another set of comics-related stamps. Stamp collecting is an old hobby, and one that’s perhaps faded somewhat, but comics and stamps have a longer history than you’d expect."

He points out, "The first cartoonist to design a stamp was noted editorial cartoonist Jay 'Ding' Darling in 1934—however, he drew 'Mallards' for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Migratory Bird Hunting permit stamp. A Duck Stamp is sold annually to hunters and is used to fund National Wildlife sites."

Mike goes on to write, "In 1956, a children’s stamp 'Friendship—the Key to World Peace' was designed by high school senior Ron Dias, who later became a Disney animator. 1966 saw a 'Bill of Rights 175th Anniversary' stamp by Washington Post political cartoonist Herbert 'Herblock' Block. Walt Disney was honored in 1968; this first Disney stamp eventually led to a stunning amount of them worldwide. In 1993, Bill Mauldin’s Willie & Joe became the first comic strip characters to appear on stamps, as part of a sheet commemorating World War II; Mauldin got a stamp of his own earlier this year."

Mike also is the publisher of the Cartoon Philately blog.

Shown above, 1934 Duck stamp drawn by editorial cartoonist Jay “Ding” Darling.

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spider Stamp Honors Artist and Her Mother

Denise McCarty reports in her World of New Issues column in the latest Linn's Stamp News that, "France's La Poste remembered French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois on a stamp issued June 21, a little more that a month after her death on May 31 at age 98."

Shown above, the stamp depicts one of her giant spider sculptures, Maman, at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Denise quotes Bourgeois, who was nicknamed "Spider Woman," as saying, "The spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver... Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presence that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother."

For more on Louise Bourgeois, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Comic Strip Creators Attend Unveiling Ceremony for New Stamps

Reporter Frank Yonkof of the Columbus,Ohio, Dispatch reports that at the dedication ceremonies for the new Sunday Funnies stamps (shown here) at Ohio State University, "...comic strips' creators attended the ceremony and signed autographs for the crowd of about 200 people, who were evenly split between stamp collectors and comics fans."

Jim Davis, Garfield's creator, is quoted as saying he was thrilled with the honor, and that, "After 32 years of doing comics, it's kind of like a stamp of approval."

"Let's not forget that it was only a few years ago when to get on a stamp you had to be dead," Jim quiped.

The article points out, "The Postal Service released a similar stamp collection in 1995, featuring 20 comic strip designs from 1895 to 1945 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the comic strip. Because they only used comics from the first 50 years, many of the well-known classics, including Beetle Bailey, were cut from the list."

The ceremony was held at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum which is affiliated with the Ohio State University's library system.

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

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Stamp Ilustrator Craig Frazier and the New Scouting Stamp

Scouting stamp illustrator Craig Frazier is quoted in a article that appears on the USA Philatelic: Beyond The Perf website as saying, “I never get tired of seeing my stamps on an envelope. It’s thrilling. There’s something very ‘official’ about it.”

According to the article, "Frazier originally imagined the project from two approaches — 'sea level and up in the sky.' The first try yielded lakeside tranquility; the second offered mountaintop adventure. Adventure won out. The final design shows a  'dual read,' an image within an image. The colorful foreground figure scans the horizon in garb suggesting a modern scout. The wide-brim hat of the background silhouette calls to mind a bygone era — more romantic than historic."

Craig points out in the piece, "“A stamp is really a combination of hints. As an illustrator, I’m looking to include the symbols that let you in as a viewer, to remind you of something deeper still. It‘s what we all want to think of scouting adventures as being — whether we climbed a high mountain or not.”

The Scouting stamp is scheduled to be released July 27.

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

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don Sundman Interviewed by "Esquire" Magazine

Donald Sundman (shown here), president of Mystic Stamp Company and co-author of 100 Greatest American Stamps, was interviewed by Esquire magazine recently about Forever stamps and  "is stamp collecting doomed with youngsters being raised on e-mail?"

In response to the question, "Were we idiots for not stockpiling Forever Stamps in 2007?," Don said, "The Forever Stamp is actually a great benefit for the customer. If you live long enough it'll cost a dollar — it wouldn't surprise me if we have a one-dollar stamp [to mail a first-class letter] in twenty years - so it's a mistake for the postal service, not the customer."

When asked if stamp collecting was doomed, Don said, "There are fewer young people collecting stamps than there were twenty years ago, and certainly fewer than fifty years ago. Back in the '30s and '40s before television, stamps were one of the few tangible items that gave you insight into foreign cultures and languages. Travel was rare, especially in rural areas, so stamps could give people a worldview. For a long time all the big winners on Jeopardy were stamp collectors, because stamp collectors have an intellectual curiosity about things."

He went on to say, "Stamps give you a reason to learn about history, to make connections. The story of communication is intertwined with stamps; it's real history and it's fun. Stamp collectors are like museum curators in a way."

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

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mother Teresa Relics and Stamp

Mother Teresa, who died at age 87 on Sept. 5, 1996, is being remembered with a new stamp by the U.S. Postal Service to be released next month. Mother Teresa's sandals, her rosary, some of her hair and a vial of her blood are among the items that are being displayed in a traveling tour throughout the Midwest according an article that appears on the website.

Columnist Philip Potempa pens, "The image of Mother Teresa in her familiar white-and-blue-edged veil is known to so many, that her photo has even been selected to appear on a new stamp produced by the U.S. Postal Service. It will be released Sept. 5, the day it is unveiled during a ceremony at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. (With stamp prices increasing by two cents in January, it's too bad the U.S. Postal Service isn't donating some of the money from the sale of these stamps to the poor.)"

The new stamp (shown above) will feature a portrait of Mother Teresa painted by award-winning artist Thomas Blackshear II of Colorado Springs, Colo.

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

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kids Don't Know What Philatelic Fun Is

New Zealand's Aucklander reports The Howick Philatelic Society is trying to get young people to join the group but is frustrated because they can't seem to get through to the young people.

Reporter Rowena Orejana quotes one of  the society's members, Ray Clark (shown above), as saying, "I've created a poster: 'Philately is fun'. I sent one to each of the seven secondary schools around. Not a peep from any one of them."

According to the article, Clark, who had a stroke nine years ago, says stamp-collecting is a lot of fun. "Maybe these kids are so used to electronic things, they don't know what fun it is," he said.

He went on to say as far as adults are concerned, "It's therapeutic. You sit in a corner and nobody worries you. I'm out of my wife's hair for three days."

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Major New Match Factory Tenant

According to a press release from the American Philatelic Society, "Graymont, the third largest lime company in North America, has signed a long term agreement for space at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The American Philatelic Research Library and American Philatelic Society have agreed to renovate 7,200 square feet of space for Graymont's Eastern U.S. Regional Offices. When Graymont occupies the space next spring they will become the eighth tenant and use more space in the complex than all but the American Philatelic Society and American Philatelic Research Library."

It goes on to say, "This lease, which will result in a positive cash flow from day one, is a much anticipated step toward the completion of the Match Factory complex, and one that will significantly decrease the amount of unoccupied space. "

The first phase of the American Philatelic Center, completed in July 2003, provided about 15,000 square feet of space for tenants that is occupied by Holiday Financial, Jackson Hewitt Tax Preparation, State Senator Corman's District Offices, the County Bar Association, Tapestry of Health and Hugh Wood, Inc. The American Philatelic Society and American Philatelic Research Library moved into 40,000 square feet when Phase 2 of the APC was completed in May 2004.

Shown above, the Match Factory complex home of The American Philatelic Research Library and American Philatelic Society in Bellefonte, PA..

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

Monday, July 12, 2010

The 'Original' Pillar Boxes

An article on the website points out, "The history of pillar box use in Britain can be traced back to the Channel Islands via Sir Rowland Hill and the well known author Anthony Trollope. Sir Rowland Hill asked Anthony Trollope to visit the Channel Islands in order to investigate solutions to the problem of erratic mail collections on the islands of Jersey and Guernsey. Trollope identified the main cause of the problem as the varied times of Royal Mail boats arriving and departing the islands due to changing tide times and unpredictable weather conditions."

It goes on to say, "Trollope suggested that a 'letter receiving pillar' he had previously seen working in Paris could be the answer so that letters could be posted any time securely and then await collection for boat sailings whenever they occured.

"The Vaudin & Son foundry on Jersey was given the job to produce the octagonal 'pillars'. The first four were erected on Jersey at various locations around St Helier entering service on November 23rd 1852. In February 1853 Guernsey had seen three 'pillar' boxes installed."

According to Wikipedia, the first six in London were installed on April 11, 1855.

Shown above, 2002 souvenir sheet from Jersey marking the 250th anniversary of the very first "pillar" boxes.

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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Railroad Mail Mascot on Display in D.C.

The National Postal Museum reports, "Owney held court in the 'American Experience' tent at the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. National Postal Museum staff and volunteers had three days during the festival to highlight the museum’s collection and its programming."

The site goes on to say, "Owney was a terrier mix who wandered into the Albany, New York Post Office in 1888 and was adopted and named by the postal workers. He was fond of riding mail wagons and began following the mail onto the trains where he quickly became a good luck charm to the railway mail clerks. Owney rode the trains across the country and even made a voyage around the world by steamer in 1895. Beloved by postal workers and the public alike, he acquired tags and metals that were affixed to a jacket that was given to him by Postmaster General John Wanamaker. Owney died in Toledo, Ohio in 1897."

The taxidermy specimen of Owney and some of Owney’s tags are on permanent display in the Postal Museum’s atrium.  However, at the Festival a fiberglass model of Owney, created by the Smithsonian’s Office of Exhibits Central, was displayed.

Shown above, long-time NPM volunteer Ida Marie Giusti stops by to visit Owney. 

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

Saturday, July 10, 2010

10 Ways to Surprise Your Mail Carrier

Round Up reader Sheryl Owen writes to let us know about an article that appears on the website which asks, "When was the last time you stopped your mail carrier to say hello or thank him or her for the work they are doing on a daily basis?"

Listing 10 ways to show love and appreciation for the men and women who bring us good news and bad, the article suggests, " The next time you see your mail carrier, say hello to them and let them know that you really appreciate their efforts to deliver your mail. You can let them know how much you look forward to the letters they bring and other important items. You would be surprised by how much a few kind words can mean to them."

The article goes on to say, "Remember the joy you experienced when you got your first letter in the mail and consider that without the post office you would never have been able to experience it. If you keep that in mind you might view getting your mail less like drudgery and more with anticipation. Plus, you may just be more friendly with your carrier (as if they were the flower delivery person).

...they are providing a daily service to you and do it without requesting anything in return all through the year. Show them you appreciate their dedication."

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

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Apollo 15 Space Cover Scandal

An interesting article appears on the Paul Fraser Collectibles website about about a scandal involving Apollo 15 astronauts back in 1971.

According to the piece, Apollo 15's Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin brought 398 commemorative postage stamp covers with them on their trip to the Moon, with the intention of selling some of them to a German stamp dealer after returning to Earth.

The plan was to sell 100 a German dealer and the other 298 kept to be kept by the crew themselves.

The article goes on to say, "It eventually emerged that the astronaut's profits would have been used to set-up trust funds for their children - an arrangement which was in no way illegal, and which NASA had actually turned a blind eye to in previous space flights.

"Neither was it illegal, nor prohibited by NASA at the time, to take souvenirs up into space. Apollo 15 actually had 243 covers on-board which were authorised by NASA, along with the 398 unauthorised covers.

"But Scott, Worden and Irwin were deemed an embarrassment to NASA and the Apollo program, and subsequently made an example of. The trio were dropped as the planned back-up crew to Apollo 17, and this effectively ended their career as astronauts."

Shown above, one of the covers that flew on Apollo 15.

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

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mail and the Marginalized

Shown here, a tribute to the mail on the side of the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC. It reads...

"Messenger of sympathy and love
Servant of parted friends
Consoler of the lonely
Bond of the scattered family
Enlarger of the common life"

An anonymous author on the website site pens, "Mail is a powerful thing."

In an interesting article Mail and the Marginalized they write, "For the prisoner wrongly accused or the slave trafficked to a foreign country against their will, take away their food and you have a starving person. Take away their communication with others and you have a broken person.

"Slum-dwellers and refugees waiting for resettlement do not usually get to take advantage of infrastructure like postal services. They have to stick together, because “scattered families” in their cases means vulnerability and isolation.

"Texting and tweeting and liking and poking and other silly online options are all well and good, but ultimately they are just quicker, and sometimes more superficial, advancements of that little envelope with a little stamp, filled to the brim inside with words of celebration or tragedy or humdrum."

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

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Postage Expected to Go Up in January

The Washington Post reports, "The cost of a postage stamp will climb 2 cents to 46 cents in January if the U.S. Postal Service earns approval for new rate hikes announced Tuesday. The proposed increases push prices beyond the rate of inflation for the first time as USPS tries to close a $7 billion budget gap amid plummeting revenues and mail volume."

According to WP columnist Ed O'Keefe, "Prices also would increase to 30 cents for postcards and magazine publishers would see an 8 percent price jump, according to the proposals."

First-class stamps have cost 44 cents since May 11, 2009, and first-class mail volume continues to drop. Customers who purchase Forever stamps before the price increase could still use them without paying for additional postage.

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

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Get the Best Deal When Selling Your Stamp Collection to a Dealer

John Finch, stamp collecting guide for, has these suggestions when selling your collection to a dealer.

#1 - Remove yourself emotionally from the negotiations. Try to think like a dealer.
#2 - Try to catalog the collection -- or at least the better pieces in it -- before you meet with the dealer.
#3 - Try to sell to a dealer who specializes in the material you have.
#4 - If you take your collection to a general stamp dealer who gives you a lowball offer on your specialized collection, speak up and tell him why you think he’s wrong.
#5 - If you have a large collection make sure you put the better items where they won't be lost amongst the mass of common material that makes up nearly all collections.
#6 - Don't expect to realize any financial return from the fancy albums your collection may be housed in.  

For more selling tips from John, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, July 05, 2010

Celebrating America's Freedom, Peanut Butter and the Postal Service

Columnist Dan Rodricks writes on the Baltimore Sun's website, "A foreign student I knew in college said he loved America for three reasons: our freedoms, the quality of our peanut butter and the excellence of our postal service. He thought it was cool that we could gather and protest anything we wanted to, whenever we wanted to. He thought the famous brands of peanut butter on the supermarket shelves were all good. And he was absolutely amazed that he could mail a letter from Connecticut on a Monday and have it reach almost anywhere in the country by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest....and this was a Canadian talking - not someone who'd escaped the Soviet bloc"

He goes on to pen, "Americans have always complained about the postal service, and I've had my issues with it from time to time. But, all things considered, when you step back and regard mail delivery over the years, throughout the American story, it rises to something like a daily miracle. Complaints about it are a measure of how spoiled we are."

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Military Postal Service Agency

As an extension of the United States Postal Service, the Military Postal Service provides Department of Defense personnel, their family members and other authorized users mail services around the world.

Their customers receive basically the same level of service as though they were at home in the United States. Differences are based on the country in which they are stationed and the type of military operation in which they are involved.

This is accomplished through partnerships with several other agencies. To move military mail the services of the United States Postal Service, US Transportation Command, Military Sealift Command, Air Mobility Command and Military Transportation Command play vital roles.

They move the mail on commercial and military aircraft and commercial sealift vessels, to nearly two thousand military post offices and located in over 85 countries to include Navy and Coast Guard ships.

Here's wishing the men and women of the Military Postal Service Agency, and all our military personnel, a Happy 4th of July!

For more on the Military Postal Service Agency, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Harbor Mail Boat Service

The National Postal Museum says in an article about New York's Harbor Mail Boat Service on their website, "At the turn of the century the harbor of New York bustled with docking ocean liners, but the majority of these steamers didn't have any foreign mail aboard when they tied up. It had been offloaded miles away and hours before. Beginning in 1897, incoming liners were met at the Quarantine Station in New York Bay, where they were detained for health inspection. There, while health officials examined the passengers and crew, the steamships were relieved of the mail."

According to the article, "The foreign mail, which had been sorted and sacked on the high seas for distribution in the United States, was literally dumped into the hold of a special mail vessel. Then it was hastily shipped to shore where it was forwarded directly to the city post office, loaded aboard waiting railway mail cars, or transferred to other steamships. This novel service was established on July 1, 1897."

The Harbor Boat Service was terminated on April 15, 1937.

Shown above, an illustration of clerks moving mail in cargo hold

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

Friday, July 02, 2010

New Book About British Post Offices

Hell Mail reports a recently published book "Post Offices" by Julian Stray, Assistant Curator at the British Postal Museum & Archive has been added to the museum's online shop. 
According to the write-up, "For generations the local post office has been integral to life in Britain. 'Post Offices' provides an historical overview of the development of this public institution, from the 'letter receiving house' to a familiar presence on the high street. It outlines the range of services post offices have provided over time - from stamps, pensions and postal orders, to savings certificates, dog and TV licences."

It goes on to say, "Highlighting the 'heyday of the GPO' during the 1930s, '40s and '50s, the book recalls childhood memories of post office counters selling stamps and sweets, the weekly pension queue, and the friendly local post master. It celebrates the role of the post office at the heart of the community and the changing nature of the service over time to the present day."

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

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Oldest Employee of the U.S. Postal Service Retires

Chester Reed, 95, the oldest employee of the U.S. Postal Service, retires Wednesday after 37 years at the San Bernadino, Calif., Processing and Distribution Center.

According to an article in the Washington Post, "Reed worked as a mark machinist, mail handler and forklift operator. Colleagues plan to toast Reed's departure with cake and ice cream and by giving him a leather NASCAR racing jacket with the Postal Service logo, sent by Postmaster General John E. Potter. Reed loves cars."

When asked by reporter Ed O'Keefe, "You never took a sick day in your 37 years. Have you ever worked sick?," Chester responded, "Nope, I'm pretty healthy. . . . I eat onion sandwiches. It's very simple: You take two slices of bread, you put a lot of mayonnaise on either slice, then you cut a great big slice of onion and put it in between. The vinegar and the mayonnaise will kill the heat in the onion, and then you'll have a delicious sandwich, which is very healthy."

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