Friday, December 31, 2010

Defining 'Fine'

The website features an article about a visit to the Stanley Gibbons Specialist Stamp Department to find out what exactly ‘fine’ means and how slight defects may affect the price.

It starts off by saying...
"Talking to the experts, it quickly becomes obvious that every single feature of a stamp needs to be considered separately before a judgement on its overall condition can be passed. So this article will look at each of those features individually, before drawing them all together and attempting to assess how much more than catalogue price a superb example might be worth and, conversely, how low a price should be put on one of lower quality."
Gum, margins, perforations, tears, creases, perfins, toning, cancellations, and postmarks are all discussed in an updated version of a series of articles first published in Gibbons Stamp Monthly in 2003 under the title of “Defining ‘Fine" which also appears in the introductory section of Stanley Gibbons’ 2011 Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps 1840-1970 catalogue.

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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Be a Post Office Mystery Shopper

BARE International is looking for mystery shoppers to conduct evaluations of Post Offices throughout the United States. Assignments pay $12.50 with reimbursements up to $40.25 for sending a package to a food bank.
No experience is needed and strict guidelines must be followed to include the following...

• Package MUST be shipped to a predetermined address. Address will be provided to you via email as assignments are scheduled.

• Dim Weight shops require you to purchase an over sized dimensional weight parcel prior to visiting the post office.

• Evaluator must present package to clerk and wait to see which mail class is offered. Listen CAREFULLY to what the clerk says so that you can fairly evaluate if they have offered and explained different products and services.

• Package must weigh between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds (no exceptions).

• Evaluator must pay with cash.

• Package must be shipped Priority Mail.

• Evaluator must purchase Delivery Confirmation and Insurance if offered. If asked, you must state that your package is worth under $50.00.

• Your package should be ready to mail, closed up and have no markings other than To/From addresses.

• Evaluator may NOT conduct any personal business while performing their assignment.

• Reports must be submitted within 12 hours from when you exited the Post Office.

• Current Post Office employees and/or past employees who have worked for the Post Office within the past 12 months are ineligible to perform these assignments.

For free registration and to learn more, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Stamp Preview

Tim Rich reports on the website, "As in previous years, the first stamp release of 2011 will be the latest issue in the Lunar New Year series. This year's Lunar New Year stamp design features the Year of the Rabbit. The remaining stamp releases for 2011 include a wide variety of topics and one "repeat" stamp (Edward Hopper)."

•Lunar New Year - Year of the Rabbit

•Black Heritage - Barbara Jordan

•Kansas Statehood

•Ronald Reagan

•Garden of Love - a set of 10 flower stamps


•Legends of Hollywood - Gregory Peck

•Helen Hayes - The "First Lady of Theater"

•The Civil War, 1861 - souvenir sheet of stamps and the first in a five-year series

•Indianapolis 500

•Owney the Postal Dog

•American Treasures - Edward Hopper, The Long Leg - the stamp that was canceled in 2009

•Mercury Project & MESSENGER Mission - a set of 2 stamps, one featuring Alan Shepard

•U.S. Merchant Marine - a block of 4 stamps featuring historic vessels

•American Scientists - Melvin Calvin, Asa Gray, Maria Goeppert Mayer, and Severo Ochoa

•Latin Music Legends - Tito Puente, Carmen Miranda, Selena, Carlos Gardel, and Celia Cruz

•Romare Bearden - set of 4 stamps

•Pioneers of American Industrial Design - set of 12 stamps

•Flags of our Nation - set #5 in the series

•Literary Arts - Mark Twain

•Christmas - Madonna of the Candelabra

•Holiday Contemporary - Holiday Baubles

Click here to see and learn more about the new stamps coming out in 2011.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You Tube Stamp-Related Video Contest

The 2nd You Tube Stamp-Related Video Contest opens on January 1st 2011 and will run until May 31st 2011. The contest is sponsored by the American Philatelic Society and the American Stamp Dealers Association, in conjunction with the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s Council of Philatelists.

This competition is open to all ages. The You Tube Stamp-Related Video Contest is designedto encourage stamp collectors to share their collections with people all over the world through digital means. It is recommended that each video should not be more than 4 minutes long.

All submitted videos will be featured on the American Philatelic Society’s You Tube Channel accessible at (Entries from the first You Tube competition are archived there and may be viewed for ideas). There is no limit as to how many videos each person can enter.

The entries will be judged for an overall champion, plus a youth group, adult, APS Chapters and Clubs, and a professional category – to include stamp dealers. The prize for the overall Champion will be $250.00 and the other categories will receive $50.00 (cash or in-kind gift certificates) per category.

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

Monday, December 27, 2010

Detroit Stamp Collectors Try to Attract Young People

The Detroit News reports, "Metro Detroit stamp collectors say they're trying to attract younger people to their clubs. Members meet monthly to discuss their collections, including stamps and first-day covers — stamped postcards or envelopes processed where the stamp was issued."
But it's slow going.

Henry Czerwick, 73, a former member of the Dearborn Stamp Club is quoted in the piece by Candice Williams, "It's really the older folks that have a passion for it. When they started stamp collecting, there wasn't the Internet. There weren't all the activities they have nowadays. In the old days, it was the way you learned about the world."

Fred Levantrosser, 72, said another club he belongs to, the Dearborn Stamp Club, canceled a show set for May 2011 because it lacked young, fit volunteers to put on the event. The average age of the club's members is in the 80s.

According to Candice, "Avid philatelists say that while younger people may be too busy to collect stamps or attend club meetings, it's an ideal hobby once life slows down."

Shown above, Fred Levantrosser, president of the Motor City Stamp Club, shows off some of his collection.

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Soldier King

Britain's Stamp Magazine features an interesting article about King Albert I shown here wearing a tin hat instead of a crown.

Author Adrian Keppel writes, "Of the many definitive sets issued during the 25-year reign of Belgium’s King Albert I, one stands out – not for its longevity (around three years) or its complexity (14 values, with few varieties), but because of its symbolism."

Adrian goes on to say...
"The new definitive set introduced on July 19, 1919, was striking in depicting the King as a soldier, in field uniform with a tin hat on. Flanking the image were the poignant dates, ‘1914’ and ‘1918’, completing a simple design that was a tribute to Belgian defiance, and specifically to the monarch’s participation in the war effort.
"When Germany demanded passage through Belgium in order to outflank France in 1914, Albert refused. He was famously quoted as having said: ‘I rule a nation, not a road!’ His resistance was futile however, as the Germans invaded Belgium anyway, in a move which was to drag Britain into the war as a guarantor of Belgian neutrality. Albert took personal command of the army. Although it was driven back to a tiny strip of Belgian soil near the coast, for the next four years he continued to lead his soldiers in the trenches.
"Throughout this period, the Germans occupied and ravaged most of Belgium. But in 1918 Albert led the final offensive that was to free Belgium, and the royal family received a heroes’ welcome when they returned to Brussels on November 22, 1918."
The design by J de Bast, engraved by H Cheffer, was printed in the Netherlands by Enschedé, because war-ravaged Belgium was not yet capable of producing its own stamps according to the article.

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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Unusual Stamps

Whether it's an odd shaped stamp or one made with meteor dust, you're sure to find it on the Unusual Stamps website.

While mostly in Italian, the site has enough English to let you navigate it easily. 

Check it out at
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 24, 2010

What Can You Give the Mailman for the Holidays?

Ed O'Keefe writes in his 'Federal Eye: Keeping Tabs on the Government' column in the Washington Post, "Looking to give a gift or tip to your neighborhood letter carrier or postal clerk this holiday season? Keep in mind that the U.S. Postal Service places restrictions on the types of presents they can accept.

"Postal employees may accept gifts valued up to $20, but cannot accept cash, according to a postal spokeswoman.

"Gift cards of up to $20 are also permitted, but the card cannot be redeemable for cash money and must be issued from a single company, not from a bank or shopping mall. Liquor and wine are also prohibited, according to USPS."

Click here for more ideas.

Editor's Note: If you can't afford to give a gift, just a sincere 'thank you'  (and maybe a hug) I'm sure would be much appreciated.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Love of Learning Triggered By Christmas Stamp Album

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D.,president of RayCom Learning, writes in Ohio's Marietta Times that on a Christmas morning back in the 1960s, he received an Ambassador stamp album with which he says he was "ecstatic."

His brother was already collected stamps so they were able to work together on their collections. What made it even nicer was that they could get many stamps from their uncle.

Dr. Ray pens, "Uncle Joe was the president of the University of Texas at El Paso and had people around campus collecting stamps for him. My foreign collection grew rapidly with each manila envelope stuffed with colorful stamps from Columbia, Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. This collection aided me tremendously in my ability to locate countries on every continent. It also helped me with history. When I saw Simon Bolivar on stamps from five different South American countries, I researched him and found he was the liberator of Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela."

He goes on to say, "Stamp collecting was great fun for me. It also intrigued me to learn about geography and history. The stamps made these topics come alive for me. I thought about the person who put each stamp on a letter and the thousands of miles it traveled to El Paso, Texas and then several hundred miles to me."

"All of this curiosity and learning started with watching my brother and his collection. It exploded with that Christmas stamp album and grew with the constant encouragement of Uncle Joe's letters and packages. Learning is an inherent drive within each of us. The best leaders are those who know how to trigger the love for learning," says Dr. Ray.

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All U.S. Commemoratives to be 'Forever' Stamps

The United States Postal Service has announced, "With the issuance of the Lunar New Year: Year of the Rabbit stamp on January 22, 2011, the Postal Service™ will launch a major step forward to enhance the customer experience with the expansion of the Forever® Stamp program."

According to a write-up in the latest USPS Postal Bulletin, "All new First-Class Mail® commemorative stamps issued in 2011 and beyond will be Forever Stamps. And, forever means forever. Forever Stamps can be used to mail a 1-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future. They never lose value. They will always be equal with the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce rate."

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free 'Childhood Amusements in America' Mini-Album

The American Philatelic Society has released another one of their free, downloadable mini-albums just in time for Christmas.

The new Childhood Amusements in America album consists of 16-pages and has spaces for U.S. stamps that feature games and toys "that have amused children in the United States in the past and continue to be enjoyed by children today."

The album starts off with the following commentary...
"Americans are often accused of 'spoiling' their children, which perhaps has something to do with the precarious nature of life on the frontier in the early days of settlement and exploration. In the eighteenth century between 10–30 percent of all children died in infancy; many colonial graveyards have markers that simply read 'baby' or 'infant.' Those children that survived quickly went to work for the good of the family, even the youngest had specific chores, many of which were laborious and even dangerous to modern eyes. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, improved health care and diet for all ages and a growing middle class meant a gradual easing of the pressure to work atan early age. Parents were able to indulge their children in playtime."
Funding for the development of the album pages was provided by Mystic Stamp Company.

To download the Childhood Amusements in America album pages, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 20, 2010

Queen's Head Could Disappear From Stamps

Britain's Telegraph reports, "The Queen's head could disappear from British stamps as part of plans to sell off the Royal Mail. Ed Davey, the postal affairs minister, admitted that the privatisation would mean future owners, which could include the German mail operator Deutsche Post, would be free to stop using a representation of the monarch, which has appeared on every British postage stamp since 1840."

According to the article, "Ministers are reported to be 'locked in frantic talks' with Buckingham Palace to discuss how the Queen will be represented – if at all – on future stamps."

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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

USPS PodCasts

The United States Postal Service's Your Postal Podcast internet site offers free monthly podcasts.

This month's edition is a seven-minute feature callled Darkness and Might: Journey to Alaska and Kuwait. It's described as "...a very cold, dark day, -- in the life of a Fairbanks letter carrier. Hear what it's like to deliver the mail in Alaska's extreme winter weather."

You'll also hear about Priority Mail care packages being received by soldiers stationed in Kuwait, and you'll get a roundup of the latest postal news.

Another podcast of personal interest is John Lennon: Artist, Legend and Stamp collector (29th edition, Oct. 20, 2010) which talks about his early childhood as seen through his collection of postage stamps.

Archives go back to May of 2008. Interesting listening.

To check out Your Postal Podcast, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, December 18, 2010

India's First Stamp Made From Cloth

Subhendu Ray of the Hindustan Times reports, "A unique stamp printed on cloth is all set to grace the collections of philatelists world wide."

The stamp will be issued on February 12, the inaugural day of week-long world philatelic exhibition —Indipex 2011. It will bear the image of Mahatma Gandhi and be printed on khadi according to the article.

Philatelist Madhukar Jhingan is quoted in the piece as saying this is a revolutionary step as no Indian stamp was ever made on any material other than paper. Madhukar also said, "I am sure this stamp will be in high demand. Earlier, a few countries such as Bhutan, Thailand and Austria had successfully experimented with stamps on cloth and other materials."

According to Wikipedia...
"Khadi is not just a cloth, it is a whole movement started by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Khadi movement aimed at boycotting foreign goods and promoting Indian goods, Thereby improving India's economy.
"Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning of khādī for rural self-employment and self-reliance (instead of using cloth manufactured industrially in Britain) in 1920s India thus making khadi an integral part and icon of the Swadeshi movement. The freedom struggle revolved around the use of khādī fabrics and the dumping of foreign-made clothes."

"To this day most politicians in India are seen only in khādī clothing. The flag of India is only allowed to be made from this material, although in practice many flag manufacturers, especially those outside of India, ignore this rule."
To to learn more, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 17, 2010

Air-Freshener Removes Unsoakble Stamps

Guest Columnist Peter Butler writes in It’s Like Magic: Removing Self-Adhesive Stamps from Paper, an article that appeared in the October issue of American Philatelist, that one of the products that seem to work well removing those pesky, unsoakable, self -adhesive stamps is an air-freshener called Pure Citrus.

Discovered in a casual visit to a Home Depot store while looking for another product called Bestine (a solvent that  also removes self-adhesive stamps quickly and easily), Dick Osman,from Glenville, Pennsylvania, was told by Home Depot employees that they didn't stock it anymore.
“What is it you want the solvent to do?” asked the clerk. After Dick’s explanation the clerk responded, “Oh well, if that’s what you need, try Pure Citrus. That’s what we use for that job.” While walking to the location of the air-fresheners, he further explained that the spray was used by employees to remove sale stickers from items needing new stickers for the regular price, the following week.
Peter concludes the piece by saying, "Pick up a non-aerosol, all natural, citrus-based air-freshener, and a tin of Bestine. Raid the medicine cabinet for a little talcum powder and an eyedropper, and you are ready for a very gratifying experience with many new issues. Your U.S. collection will be the better for it and you will be back in business with handsome used stamps in your albums."

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Give The Gift of a Hobby

Gretchen Moody, director of education for the American Philatelic Society, writes on Pennsylvania's Centre Daily website, "When thinking about gifts for children this holiday season, why not consider the gift of a new hobby? With children spending countless hours watching television, playing video games and on computers, it’s more important than ever to introduce them the wide range of leisure activities."

Gretchen, shown here, points out, "A hobby such as stamp collecting can open a world of discoveries. Every stamp has something of interest and with more than 200 countries issuing stamps year after year since the 1840s, there is a lot to discover," and goes on to say, "This holiday season, consider introducing a child to a new hobby. Whether it be stamp or coin collecting, making model airplanes, crafting jewelry or another hobby, a gift certificate for something like an introductory class could be the start of a lifetime passion."

Facebook friend, Gerrie Schmidt, writes, "Great idea to give the gift of a hobby...but not just for children. How about baby-boomer retirees who've been workaholics most of their lives?"

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

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Reagan Stamp Unveiled

Reporter Michele Willer-Allred of the Ventura County Star writes, "One of Ronald Reagan’s favorite places to visit was his ranch in Santa Barbara — the backdrop of a new stamp commemorating what would have been his 100th birthday next year."

The design of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Postage Stamp was unveiled this week by the U.S. Postal Service during a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA.

The stamp will be sold at post offices beginning Feb. 10, four days after Reagan’s Feb. 6 birthday.

According to Michele, "During Monday’s unveiling, Nancy Reagan smiled and affectionately touched a large portrait of her late husband used for the stamp. The portrait was created by Texas artist Bart Forbes and is based on a 1985 photograph of Reagan taken at Rancho del Cielo."

The preliminary design shows a 44-cent value on the new Reagan stamp, but it may become a “Forever” stamp by the time it is sold, said postal officials. Forever stamps sell for the going first-class rate and cover the full postage if rates increase.

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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Antoinette's Stamp Collection

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, "Mia Rosenthal, the lone Philadelphia-based artist, is showing two works from her series 'Antoinette's Stamp Collection,' each of which depicts compositions of British stamps drawn in ink and gouache in Rosenthal's typically whimsical style."

Mia writes,"My aunt was an avid stamp collector, she literally saved every stamp she got through the mail for over 50 years. When she died 2 years ago, her daughter lent me some stamps from her collection. It was never organized in any way, mostly grocery bags just filled with stamps. The drawings I made from the collection are a little memorial to her, and my way of finally organizing some of those stamps.'

Mia Rosenthal lives in South Philadelphia, PA, and teaches at the University of the Arts.

Shown above, Mia's "100 Queen Stamps."

To see more of  Antoinette's stamp collection', click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tennis Stamps Produced In One Day

The website reports, "While places like the US won't allow living persons on stamps, that certainly doesn't apply in Serbia, which cracked the world tennis elite with last weekend's 3-2 win over France in the Davis final."

Reporter Johan Lindahl writes, "So, Novak Djokovic and company are joining the likes of Roger Federer (Swiss stamp) as part of the national postal system. It took just one day after the final for the decision to get the all-clear in Belgrade. The commemorative stamp celebrates 'new sporting heroes,' with action shots of the four winning players: Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic."

Although commemorative stamps themed around the Davis Cup are not rare, with others produced by Russia, Australia and others, the Serbian stamps are the first in the world to be produced in such a short space of time - less than 24 hours after completing the final according to Franz Groter who writes for Hellmail Postal News.

Shown above, Novak Djokovic stamp and cover issued for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Click here for more postage stamps featuring tennis.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Free Letters from Santa, which launched in 2008 and has more than 40 printable letters from Santa to choose from, now has a variety of printable Christmas cards available at the site. Those designs include lots of reindeer, Christmas trees, and, of course, Santa Claus according to a press release received from the company.

It goes on to say, " is a convenient way for friends and family of children (and even grown-ups) to instantly download and print letters from Santa on colorful Christmas stationery. There are free PDF versions to print as-is and $5 customizable DOC versions that can be typed into in Microsoft Word. Letter topics include: baby's first Christmas, letters for Christmas morning, letters for kids with concerns (like the lack of a chimney, or questioning whether Santa exists) and even letters for the family pets."

Founder Kevin Savetz is quoted as saying, "Once a card is downloaded, it can be printed as many times as the user wants, making it an affordable way to reach everyone on your Christmas list from the convenience of your home or office."

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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stamp Collector John du Pont Dies in Prison

Delaware's News Journal and other papers around the country are reporting that John E. du Pont, 72, the eccentric multimillionaire and stamp collector who murdered an Olympic wrestler in 1996, has died in a Pennsylvania prison.

Du Pont was a great-great-grandson of the DuPont Co.'s founder and used his wealth to pursue a wide variety of interests including stamp collecting.

According to the article, "In 1980, du Pont bought one of the world's rarest postage stamps -- a one-cent stamp called the Black on Magenta, printed in British Guiana in 1856 -- for $935,000 at a Philadelphia auction. Several Internet sites of stamp collectors say the stamp is locked in a Philadelphia bank vault.'
Paul Fraser Collectibles estimates the stamp to be worth upwards of $5 million.

Shown above, John E. du Pont being escorted to a sheriff's car on Jan. 21, 1997, just before his trial for murder began.

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

Friday, December 10, 2010

'How To Speed Your Mail Delivery' Hoax Video

'Roundup' reader Michael Mules writes, "This video has been circulating for about 3 years now. There is no such thing as a BRL number or an LPC Code. All of his videos are pranks and not based in truth."

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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Actor Steve Carell - Once a Mail Carrier

The Littleton, Colorado Independent reports Golden Globe award winning actor Steve Carell is launching a new TV comedy inspired by a post office job he once held.

No one is exactly sure on when Carell was a letter carrier in Littleton, but Police Chief John Kelly suggested it was in the early ‘80s according to an article by Nathan Lamb.

Nathan says the town is offering Carell a key to the town and writes, "...Littleton has another connection with Carell, saying his brother Greg designed the town’s new police station. He said word of the town’s appreciation would be communicated through that channel, and Carell would be invited to receive the honor at his convenience."

According to an entry on the website, "Carell will write the comedy, tentatively titled The Post-Graduate Project. It is described as a sweet and nostalgic take on the period of Carell’s early life as a mail carrier and centers on a small-town post office frequented by a quirky but tight-knit group of local twentysomethings."

A veteran of the “Daily Show” and movies such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”and “Evan Almighty”, Carell has earned two Emmy nominations in the past four years for playing office manager Michael Scott on the NBC sitcom, “The Office.”

Shown above, Steve Carell.

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Letters from Soldiers During WWI

Pennsylvania's website reports Nancy Thompson has a stack of letters written in 1918 by several soldiers stationed in military camps in the southern United States.

Nancy is quoted in the article by reporter Leslie Richardson as saying, ""My husband just brought them home one day. I don't know where he got them. I collect old things and I collect stamps. He must have thought I'd like the old stamps, which I did, but when I started looking through (the letters the stamps were on) and reading them, I couldn't put them down."

The letters have return addresses from Camp Beauregard, La.; Camp Lee, Va. and other training camps, and are written on Knights of Columbus stationery.

"When I first got them I started reading some of them and then I stopped because I felt like I was invading her privacy," Nancy said. "But then I saw the letters from the soldiers and I had to read them. Some of them are beautifully written in calligraphy with a fountain pen and others are written in pencil and have faded some over the years. It took a lot of time to be able to get through them but I am so glad I did. What a story they tell."

Leslie points out, according to Knights of Columbus website,"... the fraternal society's founder in 1882 started an Army Hut program during World War I to provide food, reading material and recreational opportunities to troops at home and overseas. The organization set up clubhouses in training camps where the men could write letters, smoke, and drink coffee."

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

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

December 7, 1941 - A Day That Will Live in Infamy

According to a write-up on the National Postal Museum's website, "Private John R. Rion inadvertently left a mark on postal history by mailing an envelope from Honolulu, Hawaii, postmarked on December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. "

It goes on to say,"...destined for his business partner back home in Perry, Iowa. Rion and his friend operated a barbershop. The envelope contained a photograph of a lovely young Hawaiian woman in a grass skirt with floral leis but no message.

"The next morning -- December 7, 1941 -- the Honolulu post office cancelled Rion’s envelope at 8 a.m., the exact time that Japanese torpedo planes struck nearby Pearl Harbor and the unprepared U.S. Navy battleship force. The harbor filled with flames and smoke as Japanese bombs sank five of eight battleships and destroyed other ships and combat planes. Over 2,400 Americans died. The unprecedented air raid led to America’s declaration of war on Japan and the mobilization of American troops to the Pacific front."

Rion died in 2006, and his estate donated this historical cover to the National Postal Museum. The envelope is one of the very few surviving examples documenting this defining moment in world history.

To see the envelope and learn more, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 06, 2010

Stamps as a Form of Therapy

StampDad posts on his Kids Need Stamps website, "We know fine art and writing can be used as a form of therapy to help the sick heal faster. But stamp collecting? I am convinced stamp collecting can also be used in this manner. The organization 'Stamps for the Wounded' uses stamps to help wounded soldiers heal faster in hospitals. I have read numerous articles of parents using stamps to help their handicapped or autistic children gain a greater focus on finding their place in the world."

He goes on to list what he's learned from emails, communication and research:

* Stamps give people time to heal by concentrating on something more worthy than their pain
* Stamps provide new knowledge to victims about the beautiful world that surrounds them
* Stamps are tangible devices a patient can feel, touch, place, arrange and rearrange
* Stamps give people with no control a firm sense they have control after all
* Stamps provide entertainment through pursuit of their meaning and country of origin

Kids Need Stamps serves help parents wanting to introduce their children to the world of stamp collecting by providing free stamp starter kits.

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

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Retired Milkman Spots Missing Queen

A retired New Zealand man has unearthed a potentially rare and lucrative stamp according to an article that appears on the Wairarapa-Times-Age website.

Reporter Seamus Boyer pens, "Former milkman Colin Henwood said he had been collecting stamps for 'donkeys years', and had thousands of them stored in old margarine containers at his home."

While sorting through his accumulation, Colin came across an rather ordinary New Zealand stamp..except for the fact it was missing the picture of Queen Elizabeth as shown in the picture above!

David Smitham, from Otaki philatelist company JR Mowbray, is quoted as saying he was circumspect about the find, saying the stamp was "interesting", but that he was "not prepared to say it was genuine".  He said stamps were sometimes exposed to sunlight or chemicals to change their appearance.

Colin said he had no idea of any potential value of the stamp, but was not interested in selling it or any others he had.

"No, most of them I just give away."

Colin said he started collecting stamps while working as a milkman after asking his customers along his route to save him any stamps they might not want.

It should be noted that Colin also collects golfballs, clocks and Jaguar cars.

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

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Get Your Penny Blacks Now

Stanley Gibbons reports it sold out of the company's stock of Penny Blacks imported for the International Stamp and Coin Expo in Beijing last month and an order placed for 10,000 of the worlds first postage stamp by a major trade buyer.

Stanley Gibbons CEO, Mike Hall, is quoted in a Gibbons press release as saying, "We normally sell no more than a hundred penny blacks in any given year so this trade order creates a demand 100 times the normal market size.We might end up with most of the penny blacks in the world going to China. The Chinese are already paying twice our catalogue price to get their hands on them."

Stanley Gibbons Director of Sales and Marketing, Keith Heddle, goes on to say, "The Asian market is hungry for items with historical significance; almost as soon as a rare item becomes available in this market, it sells. As much as we would love these historical documents to stay in the UK for study by future generations and to preserve our heritage, there just isn't the demand for them here that we witness in India and Asia in particular."

According to the 2010 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report, compiled earlier this year by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, the number of wealthy individuals in Asia has exceeded those in Europe for the first time, with the Japanese elite investing heavily in luxury collectibles. The report also highlighted the mania for memorabilia in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan according to the release.

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

Friday, December 03, 2010

Philatelic Gifts for the Holidays

John Finch makes some suggestions on what stamp collectors might like for the holidays on the website.
  • A subscription to Linn’s Stamp News
  • A high value stamp they wouldn’t buy for themselves
  • A new catalog
  • A book with a stamp collecting related subject
  • A vacation to the country they collect
  • A weekend at a big stamp show or exhibition
  • Stock Pages
  • Membership in a philatelic club or organization
  • Time alone with their stamps 
  • The latest catalog for their collecting area.
One suggestion John left off (and my personal favorite..Santa are you listening?) is a stamp related tee-shirt, hat, mug (as shown above), mouse pad, or satchel that are available at

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

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Holiday Gift Items Available at Post Offices

Florida's website reports, "For the first time, the U.S. Postal Service is selling the holiday "Let It Snow" CD and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" DVD in 5,000 selected Post Offices across the country. They will be offered at a discount if a customer purchases Priority Mail at the same time as the CD or DVD."

Debra Mitchell of the U.S. Postal Service writes, "Postal customers purchasing one of the CDs or DVDs will be given a $2.00 discount if the item is sent via a small Flat Rate Priority Mail box. When purchasing the CD or DVD, the shipping carton is intentionally left open so the customer can put in a greeting card or other personal note."

According to the article, "The holiday "Let It Snow" CD is an exclusive collection of 11 holiday music classics from very well-known artists. Packaging for the CD is in a decorative snowflake box. The CD regularly sells for $12.99. With Priority Mail Flat rate postage the CD sells for $10.99."

The holiday "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" DVD is the classic holiday TV cartoon special of the reindeer who saved Christmas. The DVD regularly sells for $14.99. With Priority Mail Flat Rate postage, the DVD sells for $12.99.

Also available is an Evergreens greeting card set.

The note card set features artwork from the 44-cent Evergreens Forever stamps (shown above), depicting the foliage and cones of four different conifers: ponderosa pine, eastern red cedar, blue spruce and balsam fir.

Each note card set costs $11.95 and includes eight custom-designed envelopes and Evergreens Forever stamps. There are two note cards for each stamp design, with descriptive text about the featured evergreen printed on the back of each card. The inside of each card is blank.
To read the entire article, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mom's and My Stamp Collection

Mark Tronson writes on Australia's Christian Today website, "My mother had given me her stamp collection many years ago, as I received a huge amount of Mission mail every day, and I simply kept the stamp collection alive and well with those stamps from all over the world."

He goes on to say, "My own family would know that Boxing Day was the annual stamp day. I'd take over the kitchen table with the year's supply of stamps, sort them and carefully lodge them into the stamp albums, which included one for each of our four children.

"The left over stamps were placed into a sealed tin and kept for five years and then shipped to the Australian Baptist Missionary Society (now renamed Global Action). Five years was a good 'stamp time zone' as by that time there would be a very large number of stamps to send off.

He goes on to say, "Many Mission societies around the world use stamps as a fund-raising mechanism. Stamps are collected, sorted by country and then sold to Stamp Wholesale Connection companies who in turn sell them on or use a third world country to sub-contract the business of separating the stamp and packaging them."

Mark also points mentions that, "Most supermarkets today still have a stamp section where customers can purchase small packs of used stamps from almost any country in the world. It continues to be a huge world wide business even with emails and social networking. An astonishing number of letters and parcels around the world are posted each day."

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