Tuesday, August 31, 2010

25,000 Kilos of Postal Covers Up for Bid in Finland

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yosemite Postmaster Moonlights as a Pianist

The postmaster of Yosemite Post Office is also an accomplished pianist who has entertained tourists, celebrities, royalty and others  in the dining room of Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel.

Carroll landed the year-round gig playing several nights a week in the prestigious hotel's dining room in 1997.

Since then he has entertained United States Postmaster General Pat Donahoe and has accompanied folk singer Joan Baez during her mother's 85th birthday celebration according to an article that appears on the Sierra Star website.

Carroll is quoted in the piece by guest columnist Laura Dvorak as saying"One of my best memories was sitting in the Ahwahnee's great lounge with CIA Director Leon Panetta, listening to a Christmas concert."

Carroll went on to say, "Sometimes waiters mention my other job to guests. Then they visit the Post Office and appear surprised that I really am the postmaster."

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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stamp Illustrator Departs from African-American Themes To Create Mother Teresa Stamp

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports Colorado Springs artist Thomas Blackshear, who typically specializes in African-American themed art, illustrated the Mother Teresa stamp scheduled for release Sept. 5.

Blackshear has illustrated nearly two dozen stamps. Among them are stamps honoring Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, Patricia Roberts Harris, Ida B. Wells and others for the Black Heritage series.

Other stamps with Blackshear illustrations include portraits of Joe Louis, Jelly Roll Morton and Thelonious Monk for the Jazz Series, and illustrations for stamps commemorating James Cagney, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Beau Geste and Stagecoach for the Classic Hollywood Movies series, as well as several stamps for Classic Movie Monsters.

Reporter Steve Rabey of the Religious News Service writes, "The stamp, like Mother Teresa, hasn't been without controversy. Atheist groups, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, complained about a religious figure being featured on a stamp. Postal officials said she was chosen for her humanitarian work, not her religious affiliation."

Rabey interviewed Blackshear and asked him, "How was the image chosen and created?"

Blackshear responded, "The Postal Service sent me a number of photos, and I created pencil drawings based on three of these photos. One drawing showed her as somewhat somber. Another one was more pensive. After the smiling image was chosen, I created the final 5- by-7[-inch] image by using water colors. I kept building up the layers over three or four days until I got the look I wanted."

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

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The "Phonopostal"

Reporter Paul Nolan writes on the Radio France Internationale (RFI) website, "France’s post office is often held up to illustrate what’s best and worst about state ownership. But La Poste is about much more than banking and delivering letters. It is also an important patron of the arts."

According to Paul, "The postal museum in Paris's Montparnasse district was inaugurated shortly after World War II. It has become not only a museum of the history of the county’s postal services but also a major cultural institution offering world-class exhibitions."

The museum has also been at the forefront of new technologies. It uses social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to raise its profile and publicize its collections.

One of the more unusual items to be found at the museum is the “phonopostal” (shown above).

"The strange hand-held gramophone enabled people to record sound by an engraving process onto small cards that could be sent in the post. Even though the experimental device did not take off, it was testament to the French creative and innovative spirit," according to the write-up.

To read the entire article, click here.

[Editor's Note - While you're there, check out the radio feed. Great world music to collect stamps by!]
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, August 27, 2010

Retired Mountie Solves Canadian Postal Mystery

Reporter Katie Bartel of British Columbia's Chilliwack Progress pens, "Cecil Coutts has finally achieved some closure on a 111-year-old mystery that had dogged the retired police officer for 17 years.

"But it's not the kind of case you would think would capture a cop's attention — no missing person or murder or theft.

"Rather, the mystery involved postage stamps and postal history, a hobby in which the 78-year-old Coutts has been heavily involved for more than 55 years."

Coutts got stuck on stamp collecting when he was a 22-year-old rookie cop at Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters in Saskatchewan.
According to the write-up, "While attending an international conference of stamp collectors in Portland, Ore., Coutts happened to pick up a free copy of La Posta: A Journal of American Postal History. Days after he returned home, he cracked open the magazine, and six pages in, his police instincts started vibrating.

"A headline, 'Mystery Cover,' with a photo of an envelope dated 1899 caught his eyes.

"The envelope, which was addressed to a "Miss Lobdell" in Connecticut, had no postage stamp or postmark of origin but it did have a forwarding stamp from Vancouver and a notation that read, "Lost In Fraser River... 1 July Recov'd 22 J'y."

"The owner of the envelope, a Seattle resident, posed the question to La Posta readers: How did this cover get into the Fraser River?"

To find out, click here.

Shown above, Cecil Coutts and the mystery envelope.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stamp "Inspires" New Zealand Wine Label

New Zealand's Marlborough Express reports, "The first independent New Zealand postal stamp from 1898 was the inspiration for boutique Marlborough winery Walnut Block Wines' award-winning label. The stamp is about as old as the Wairau Valley wine company's namesake walnut tree that stands at the heart of the vineyard."

Acdcording to the article by Michael Berry, "Director Clyde Sowman said he was no stamp collector, but had seen the stamp before and had always loved the design. Mr Sowman took the concept to Blenheim graphic designer Alex Lloyd, who designed the label."

"I thought it was very New Zealand and we were looking for a stamp that represented some New Zealand history and also tied in with the age of the [walnut] tree," Sowman is quoted as saying.

Shown above, wine label and the stamp that "inspired" it.

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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

APS StampShow 2010 Winners

Richard C. Malmgren’s exhibit on Hawaiian Postage Stamps won the World Series of Philately Champion of Champions at APS StampShow 2010 held August 12–15 in Richmond , Virginia . The exhibit, focuses on the purpose, design, production and usage of postage stamps issued by three successive Hawaiian governments — the Kingdom of Hawaii , the Provisional Government, and the Republic of Hawaii .

Since 1968, the World Series of Philately (WSP) competition has consisted of Grand award winners from national stamp shows held in the United States from July to June the previous year. This year’s competition welcomed the inclusion of two Grand award winners from Canadian National shows as well.
The StampShow 2010 Grand award winner — Carrier Service in the Major U.S. Cities 1842–1863, by Larry Lyons — is eligible to compete for the WSP Champion of Champions at StampShow 2011, to be held in Columbus, Ohio. Vince King’s exhibit, Texas During the Confederate Period, How Mail Was Handled 1861–1865, won the Reserve Grand award.

The most popular exhibit, taken by a vote of show attendees, was won by Brian, Maria & Alexander Green for their family exhibit Confederate Postal History, CSA Generals’ Mail 1861–65. This award is sponsored by the National Stamp Dealers Association.

Shown above, Richard C. Malmgren (right) receives his award from Wade Saadi, APS President.

To view a complete list of winners, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dirty Laundry and the Post Office

"Back to school supplies included laundry mailing boxes for many college-bound students in the early twentieth century," according to a write-up on the National Postal Museum's website.

It goes on to say, "From the 1910s into the 1960s, mailing laundry was an attractive option for anyone without the time, means, or resources to do the chore themselves. It suited undergraduates, summer campers, military personnel, and others."

Thanks to the introduction of Parcel Post Service in 1913 rates that were affordable and the allowable mailing weight for packages was increased.

Types of containers varied, but they all needed to be made of durable materials; able to withstand repeated opening, closing, and sealing; and be of a manageable size according to the article.

According to the article, "The labor transformation led some students to take care of themselves and travelers found the new laundromats introduced in the 1930s came in handy. More people could fit laundry chores into their lives. At the same time, fewer people could fit much of their wardrobe into a mailing container. With more clothes in the closet and better washing equipment at hand, exchanging laundry by the post had all but vanished by the 1970s."

Shown above, postman with laundry cases.

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

Monday, August 23, 2010

P.O. Box Mail Getting Recycled

The United States Postal Service has announced it's going greener than green.

A recent USPS news release points out, "Customers can recycle their P.O. Box mail as an easy, planet-friendly alternative to taking it home to discard... with more than 10,000 locations across the country, nearly 50 percent more than last year, it’s even easier to be green by recycling Post Office Box mail."

In the release, Sam Pulcrano, USPS vice president for sustainability, is quoted as saying, "“Our history of environmental efforts goes back more than 100 years when the Postal Service was recycling before there was even a universal symbol for it. It’s our goal to make every letter and package a greener experience, and lobby recycling is a great way to be green by recycling discarded P.O. Box mail right at the Post Office.”

The release goes on to say, "Recycling containers are locked and feature a narrow opening — about the width of a magazine, so the mail, and customer privacy, is ensured. Photos of the recycling containers and a complete list of participating Post Offices can be found in the USPS green newsroom and at usps.com/green."

Shown above, a lobby recycling container.

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

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Free Stuff In Your Mail Box

Deborah Morris, the "Fru-Gal", writes on the Bluegrass Moms website, "A man who took my class last year came up to me at another event to share with me a story about his 5-year-old daughter. Since taking my class and ­reading my column, the man has signed up for many of the freebies. His daughter now enjoys going to the mailbox to see what’s there. Even though most of the items are not for ­children, she still says it feels like Christmas every day, he said."

Here's what she got just last week...

Monday: Pint glass from ­Newcastle Brown Ale, bottle of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner with $2 coupon, Surfer magazine, ­Garden & Gun magazine.

Tuesday: Sample of John Frieda ­Collection shampoo and conditioner plus $2 coupon; and a bunch of ­magazines including Martha Stewart Living, Weight Watchers, Town & Country, Road Racing World, Ladies Home ­Journal and Working Mother.

Wednesday: Coupon for a dozen free eggs from Kroger, pedometer from ­Nature’s Bounty plus $7 in coupons and $10 item free from Drugstore.com

Thursday: Better Than Ears dog treat from Wal-Mart plus $1 coupon, and Maxim and AutoWeek magazines.

Friday: Vanilla Organic Lip Balm from Veria; Golf Week, ESPN, ELLE Décor and Four Wheeler magazines; and a $17.95 Visa gift card from Staples, which was a rebate.

Saturday: Marie Claire magazine; and Quick & Easy Diabetic Cooking ­cookbook from the American Diabetes Association and Merck, along with a daily diabetes management book and three Titleist golf balls.

To read the entire article (that has links to more free stuff!), click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Alan Barasch - Computer Programmer, Chef and Collector Extraordinaire

The St. Louis Dispatch features an article about computer prgrammer Alan Barasch who is "known as much for bringing great food to club events as he is for his stamp collection."

Reporter Pat Eby writes, "so many friends want his recipes, he posts them on his everything-Alan website, barasch.com. Look at the Excel tab for code, links and formulas Alan likes. Click on 'stamps" and you'll go postal, right to the Falklands and beyond. And recipes? He's got plenty of creative, fun dishes to try."

Pat goes on to say, "Although he may have been destined to program, the extroverted Barasch doesn't seem to have an inner-geek, even though his hobby is stamp collecting. He's a philatelic expert, specializing in 19th-century Falkland Island stamps. For Barasch, every stamp tells a story. He revels in the history and the artistry of the engraved vignettes and borders of older stamps."

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

Friday, August 20, 2010

What's a Hobby to Do? - Digitize!

Mark Kellner of the Washington Times sees the future of the hobby in digitalization and gives this example...

"With thousands of stamps having been issued since the 1840s introduction of postal adhesives, organizing stamp data is important. The Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, once available on CD-ROM, will be digital again, I'm hearing. That will be a good thing, especially since the printed five-volume reference of 2011 can set you back $400. Charge me $100 per year for the same data digitally, and I'll sign up."

He also points out earilier in the piece, "Those who imagine philately as boring probably have never examined a stamp, seen the intricacy of the design or researched the story behind the postal issue."

"Stamps, you see, were how some of us learned about the larger world around us before the emergence of the Internet, Google or Wikipedia."

Shown above, British Postal Museum and Archive employee digitizing archive material.

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

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Instant Post Offices

Office supplies retailer Office Depot Inc. has begun offering U.S. Postal Service products and services at its stores  — the first nationwide retailer to do so.

According to an article that appears on Florida's Palm Beach Post website, "Office Depot customers will now be able to buy stamps, purchase shipping supplies and mail packages through such shipping services as Priority Mail Flat Rate and First-Class Mail Service. Prices are the same as those at the post office."

Reporter Allison Ross points out in the piece, "Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) is the nation’s No. 2 office-supplies chain. It has been hurt by the soft economy as consumers and small business cut back on discretionary spending. The company has posted 10 consecutive quarters of sales declines, dating back to the first quarter of 2008, although it narrowed its second-quarter net loss more than analysts expected thanks in part to decreased operating expenses."

In a related article that appears in California's San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Richard Maher, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal service, is quoted as saying, ""It's like getting almost 1,100 more post offices instantly, without the overhead of building new facilities."

Office Depot spokesman Owen Torres agreed and said, "As an added benefit, most Office Depot locations are open until 9 p.m., providing convenience for business customers that simply can't make it to the Post Office during normal business hours."

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

John Wise and the First Mail Being Carried Air

Yesterday was the 151th anniversary of the first mail being carried by air in the United States.

On August 17, 1859, "John Wise stood at the town square in Lafayette, Indiana, waiting next to a balloon named Jupiter. Even for a balloon enthusiast and a well-known aeronaut, it was a big moment. Wise was set to carry what would be the first U.S. airmail. A postmaster had handed him a bag with 123 letters. Destination of the balloonist and his precious cargo: New York City," according to a This Day in Tech write-up on the Wired.com website.

It goes on to say, "Delivering letters by air had been attempted before. There had always been carrier pigeons. And in 1785, a balloon flight from Dover, England, to Calais, France, had carried mail."

The first airmail flight in an airplane took place nearly 50 years later, when three letters were carried a few miles between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, California, in February 1911.

Shown above, photo of America's first airmail balloon waiting to take off.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Philatelic Money Machine

Want to make stamp collecting pay for itself?

John Finch, About.com Stamps Guide, pens, "The ideal for stamp collectors, once we move beyond the beginning stage of our hobby, is to make the pursuit of things philatelic pay for itself. This is both easier and harder than it sounds. But if you want to become an active presence in the hobby, there are certain steps you should take at the beginning to get on course while enjoying your ride."

John goes on to say, "Figure out what sort of collector you are: Don't be dazzled by offers of exhibition quality material if you don't exhibit. What are your priorities? Does it matter if the stamp is VF++ or VF? Know your level of happy acceptance and buy the stamp that fits it, not the superb gem that no one but you will see. At the beginning you won't get the machine going with a few high powered stamps. You're not buying junk, but at this point quantity and decent quality is key. "

Other advice from John...
  • Don't even think of buying current stamps in any quantity,
  • Buy mixed collections and lots,
  • Try to keep organized,
  • Read books by dealer authors like Steven Datz and Herman Herst.
To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 16, 2010

The First (and Maybe Last) Stamp Shop in Greater Los Angeles

Los Angeles Daily News Columnist Dennis McCarthy calls Sherman Oaks stamp dealer Burt Doling (shown here) "part of a rare breed."

Dennis writes, "The owner of the first stamp and coin shop in the San Fernando Valley — opened March 1, 1951 — doesn't get many walk-in customers anymore.  Most philatelists (stamp collectors) and numismatists (coin collectors) buy their stuff online or at collectors shows these days. Burt's business is mainly over the telephone with longtime, loyal customers. When you've been in the business 72 years, and traveled the world looking for rare stamps and coins, you've earned a lot of trust and respect. "

According to the article, some of Burt's steady customers included Alan Ladd, Bill Bendix, Chester Morris, Ann Sheridan, James Earl Jones, Jerry Buss and Tom Selleck.

Today, Dennis pens, "it's just him and his adopted dog, Jasper, sitting together five afternoons a week inside the Valley's first, and maybe last, stamp and coin shop. Watching old movies together on a small black-and-white TV with rabbit ears, and waiting for the phone to ring or someone to push the front door buzzer."

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

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gregory Peck, the Civil War and Owney the Postal Dog to be Featured on U.S. Stamps Next Year

PostalNews.com reports the United States' 2011 stamp program was unveiled this week.

Leading off next year’s schedule is the Lunar New Year stamp (shown here) — celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. According to the article, stamps honoring Gregory Peck, the Civil War and Owney the Postal Dog as well as former President Ronald Reagan, actors Helen Hayes, first-man-in-space Alan Shepard and the Indianapolis 500 auto race will be issued.

It goes on to say, "The Postal Service will continue its various stamp themes. The Black Heritage series will honor former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, the Literary Arts series will commemorate Mark Twain and the American Treasures series will feature artist Edward Hopper’s painting, The Long Leg. A strip of five stamps — the newest in the Latin Music Legends series — will feature Tito Puente, Carmen Miranda, Selena, Carlos Gardel and Celia Cruz.

"A panel of 12 stamps will honor American leaders of industrial design and a strip of four stamps will feature the works of African-American artist and writer Romare Beardon. American scientists Melvin Calvin, Asa Gray, Maria Goeppert Mayer and Severo Ochoa will be remembered with a block of stamps.

"USPS will feature the Civil War in a pane of stamps, as well as Garden of Love, a 10-stamp set of flowers. USPS will honor the U.S. Merchant Marine service with a block of four stamps featuring historic vessels. And the Postal Service will issue a stamp honoring Kansas statehood and also its third, ten-stamp set of the Flags of our Nation series."

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

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Young People Stuck on Stamp Collecting

Reporter Jeff E. Shapiro of the Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch covered the APS Stamp Show and quotes James Chenevert, 14, as saying, "The average person who's sending something in the mail doesn't understand the value of what a stamp is -- what it says about history and things that have passed."

Jeff goes on to pen, "At age 6, James Chenevert found his passion while nosing through his father Donald's battered suitcase.Therein was his dad's stamp collection, which Donald Chenevert, a lawyer, had started as a teenager, having picked up the philatelic bug from his father.

"James, who has particular interest in the microscopic printing and scoring that the U.S. Postal Service applies to stamps to thwart counterfeiters, huddled with several other young collectors at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.They puttered with a laptop computer, an example of the fast-changing technology that allows people to communicate the new-fashioned way: by e-mail, which along with express delivery, would seem to reduce postage stamps to an anachronism."

"I don't think you can duplicate these kinds of memories through technology," said Jimmy Tian, 16, of Novi, Mich.

Shown above, Madeleine and Dick DuBois and Liam Confroy, 13, sort through a pile of stamps at the APS show.

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

Friday, August 13, 2010

Australian Collector Designs His Own First-Day Covers

Jack Peake was a woodwork teacher in South Australia but also had a fascination for art and stamps. He combined these passions by designing his own first-day covers for nearly 60 years, usually after work. He is thought to have done several thousand and many were given away according to an article that appears in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Reporter James Cockington points out in the piece that Jack started his hobby about 1948 and completed his last cover four days before he died in 2006 at the age of 89.

When he died in 2006 he left the collection to his two art-teacher daughters. Apart from keeping a few treasured items, they decided to auction it.

The record price (so far) for any Jack Peake cover is this one marking the 1956 Olympics. Given an estimate of $200 by Prestige in 2007, it sold for $2645 including buyers premium.

Shown above, Jack Peake.

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Young Collector Pushes the Envelope

Washington's Peninsula Daily News reports, "At 10, Dawson Marunde pushes the envelope when it comes to stamp collectors -- most are several decades his senior."

According to reporter Jeff Chew, "Dawson, whose grandfather, Larry Priddy, inspired his grandson's interest in stamp collecting, will feature his Pony Express exhibit as part of the annual Sequim Stamp Show on Saturday."

Jeff writes, "Dawson mailed a letter asking the National Pony Express Association for information, and the group that maintains the memory of the Pony Express mailed him back a packet with a CD, informational brochures and copies of a letter with a Pony Express stamp on it, circa 1860-1861 -- worth up to $20,000."

His grandfather, a stamp collector for 54 years is quoted as saying Dawson was just 9 when he got him interested in stamp collecting, buying him his first stamp album for Christmas.

Shown above, Dawson and his grandfather with a facsimile of a Pony Express letter.

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

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicago Cable TV Covers AMERICOVER 2010

Click on the freeze frame above to watch a special one-hour edition of the "Philately Today" Cable-TV series, previewing AMERICOVER 2010, the 55th Annual convention and show of the American First Day Cover Society (AFDCS), which was held August 6-8, 2010 in Chicago.

The program, produced and hosted by Randall Sherman (the president of the host chapter for AMERICOVER 2010, the Chicagoland FDC Society), was aired live on the Chicago Access Network.

Sherman's guests on the program were six members of the Claude Reis Chapter of AFDCS, which is based in the Los Angeles area, who discussed first day cover collecting, their roles at AMERICOVER, special activities at the show (including a dedication ceremony for the Negro Leagues baseball stamps), creating their own covers and various noteworthy events in their careers as cover collectors.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Site Offers Collectors Free Inventory Management System

The Austin Business Journal reports, "Three Austin entrepreneurs have launched a business that operates a website to enable collectors of just about anything to list and trade their items online while forming virtual communities of like-minded collectors."

Called Klect, it offers free online inventory management system for collectors. For an additional fee, the system includes an automated feature that flags items a collection is lacking and lists possible locations for the user to get them. There is also a trade service which chargesw a per item fee.

According to the article, "Ten years ago, during the dot-com bubble, a couple dozen stamp collection inventory software businesses were launched, but none proved to be sustaining. Today, three or four online inventory systems exist, but none have grown to capture a sizable market share, said Ken Martin, executive director of the American Philatelic Society, the Pennsylvania-based stamp collecting organization that claims 36,000 members."

It goes on to say, "The approach hasn’t caught on because for most collectors there is little return on investing hours entering stamp information into a database. Instead, collectors want to spend their time learning about the design and history of stamps, Martin said. 'Compiling lists … [is] not generally why people take up stamp collecting in the first place,' he said."

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Monday, August 09, 2010

Stamp Collector from India Loves Everything Japanese

India's Hindu reports, "Even after collecting 10,000 stamps and a lifetime of loving everything Japanese, R. Ranganathan still pursues his dream of collecting all stamps Japanese. And, who said they had to come only from Japan?"

Reporter Asha Sridhar pens, "He once bought a British stamp that was objected to by the Church of England merely because the artist was Japanese. And, from Congo came a stamp that had Pope John Paul II with Japanese trains behind him. The Pope had never visited Japan, and the story of the stamp goes thus: the Pope had given a message of peace in troubled Congo, and that was read by a Japanese boy at the Nagoya expo in the country."

R. Ranganathan, who now lives in India, became fascinated with Japanese culture after visiting the country on a student scholarship. While there he fell in love with the country's customs and language. This led to a lifelong obsession with stamps and other material with a Japanese connection.

According to the article, "In Japan, more than 90 per cent of children collect stamps. The country has a glowing culture of stamp collection."

Shown above, R. Ranganathan and some of his albums.

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

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Collecting History

The National Philatelic Collection celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2011, making it the oldest intact national stamp collection in the world according to the Smithsonian Institution's website.

In honor of the event, a new exhibit, Collecting History, opened this week in Washington.

The online intro says the exhibit, "... remembers a few of the hundreds of donors who have given their collections to the Smithsonian for the benefit of the nation. It explores the decisive role of twelve successive curators in developing the national collection and exhibiting it to the public. It also invites you to consider the importance of this national treasure and reflect on what the material within it can teach us about world cultures and the American experience."

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

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Stamp Collecting Merit Badge

Scout stamp merit badge counselor interviewed at this year's Boy Scout Jamboree.

Click here for the stamp collecting merit badge requirements.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, August 06, 2010

This Stamp Is Brought to You By....

Jim S. Schultz writes in a letter that appears on South Dakota's Argus Leader website, "As early as 1963, Robert Brodie, vice president of a New York advertising agency, suggested to the U.S. Post Office Department that advertising on the back of postage stamps could help to erase the postal deficit. Nothing developed, and his suggestion was forgotten."

Jim goes on to say, "Again in the early 1980s, Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. proposed the use of private advertisements on U.S. stamps to help reduce the postal deficit. His idea was found impracticable."

He also thinks it would be a good idea to have stamps that are 1-inch by 4 1/4 inches to accommodate space for ads.

Jim believes, "Just about every sports stadium in the country is named after the private donor who helped to pay for the stadium. The Postal Service likewise should allow private companies to help pay for continued mail service."

New Zealand increased its revenue by utilising the backs of stamps for advertising purposes as early as 1893. Shown above are some examples.

To read his entire letter, click here.

For more about advertising on stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Stamps Just Keep On Sticking

New Zealand's Tarnaki Daily News, "Don't try telling New Plymouth philatelist Chas Lilley that postage stamps are a thing of the past. Despite this being the age of Facebook, Twitter and email, The Stamp Shop owner says his collectors business is going just fine, thanks".

Mr Lilley, who trades internationally, said he has made more than 15,000 sales on Trade Me after switching from Ebay on which he had already made some 30,000 sales, according to the piece by Jessie Waite.

Jesse writes, "Originally from London, Mr Lilley has been collecting stamps for 66 years and has several million in his personal collection," and quotes Chas as saying, "Instead of spending my money on sweets, I would buy a stamp and that's how I got going, even through the war I collected stamps."

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

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Canadian Post Slams Senior Scam

Canada's Abbottfords-Mission Times reports local postal workers have thwarted a new scam against senior citizens."

Reporter Jean Konda-Witte pens, "Janene Erickson's oma [grandmother] thought she was doing the right thing when she hot-footed it down to Abbotsford's main post office last week to send money to her granddaughter in need. She had a call from a girl pretending to be Janene, who convinced the cautious senior that her granddaughter was in a car accident in Quebec and needed help and money."

Janene is quoted as saying "... the scam artist had told her oma that 'her eldest granddaughter had been in an accident,' and they didn't know her name until oma replied, 'Janene?' The chances are pretty good that seniors have a granddaughter, and that's where they get the hook."

When her grandmother tried to send a MoneyGram for $2,000 to Quebec from the postal office in Abbotsford, some postal workers thought it sounded fishy and suggested to the senior that she try to call her granddaughter.

Janene (shown above outside the Abbotsford branch post office), 29, answered her cell phone from her job at Abbotsford City Hall and talked to her grandmother just one block away.
Janene and her grandmother are extremely thankful for the postal workers, who were able to thwart the scam artists.

"They took time out of their day to investigate it on their own. We are so grateful to the postal workers. They deserve recognition and commendation. They definitely didn't have to do that, to follow through," said Janene. 

According to the article, Canada Post is aware of the scam and warns seniors to be extra careful.

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

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Booming Chinese Stamp Market

Interasia Auctions Ltd. principal Jeffrey Schneider was interviewed recently by the Wall Street Journal about the booming Chinese stamp market.

In the article that appeared yesterday on the paper's website, Schneider said, "It's such a booming market because you have the influence of China, and an enormous Chinese diaspora too, and they tend to collect Chinese stamps whether they're living in the U.S., Scandinavia or South America."

When asked, "What particular categories of stamps are strong right now in China?," Schneider replied,"Stamps from the Cultural Revolution have become very popular; the value of Chinese stamps from the '60s and '70s is enormous. The value of stamps of the same era from Belgium, the U.K. or the U.S. is less than the face value.|

He went on to say, "The most romantic of all issues for Chinese collectors are the stamps known as the 'Red Revenues.' In 1897, China changed its currency. Its stamps, including revenue stamps used to pay certain taxes, were in the old currency. China ordered new stamps from Japan but they didn't arrive on time, so the government surcharged old stamps with the new values. The revenue stamps are red, and that's a lucky color for Chinese collectors."

Shown above, 1952 stamps from China marking the 35th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution which  are also in high demand.

To read the entire interview, click here.

For more on collecting stamps from China, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 02, 2010

Devout Buddist Combines Religion and Stamps

China's Sin Chew Daily reports that Shu Zhonghan (shown here), a Buddist and a stamp collector, has combined the two.

According the article translated by Lim Liy Ee, "Shu Zhonghan has sorted out thousands of the stamps he collected according to the themes such as the Four Great Bodhisattvas, the Four Great Buddhist Mountains, Buddhist figures and the biography of Gautama Buddha. Each of the theme has lots of stories to tell."

A stamp collector since he was a teenager, Shu became interested in the hobby after seeing a Buddhist stamp on an envelope sent to him by a relative.  Since he was a devout Buddhist, he decided to collect Buddism on stamps.

Since then he has organized two stamp exhibits to promote Buddhism to the public. Shu hopes to  tranlate his exhbits into English  and be able to show it at an international stamp show.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:31 AM

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Paris Postal Museum

The Musée de La Poste (La Poste's Museum)  is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of postal heritage. It has 15 exhibition rooms on five floors, 11 devoted to permanent collections and four for temporary exhibitions, plus a documentation centre, a library, and an auditorium.

Opened in 1946, the museum was the idea of philatelist Arthur Maury.

Maury was born in Paris in 1844. At 16, he became a stamp dealer. Later he wrote Historie des Timbres-Poste Francais, an important work on French stamps as was his Catalogue Complet des Timbres-Poste which became the standard for collectors and dealers according to a write-up that appears on the Doig's Ethiopian Stamp Catalogue website.

As early as 1865 his catalogue offered reprints and imitations of United States local issues.

Shown above, two semi-postals issued by France that helped fund the Paris Postal Museum.

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