Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stamp Collecting Runs in the Royal Family

While newly-wed Prince William may not be a stamp collector, he certainly has a lot of royal relatives who were.

According to the official website of British monarchy, "Housed in St. James's Palace, the Royal Philatelic Collection is said to be the world's most comprehensive collection of postage stamps of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Starting in the early nineteenth century, the Collection was put together by Royal stamp enthusiasts. Key figures in its development were Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria, and King George V, a keen stamp collector who built up a collection of world renown."

It goes on to say, "Later monarchs continued to preserve, develop and enjoy the Collection. Today the Collection continues to grow. It receives stamps of the UK and many Commonwealth countries in mint blocks of four or six. Occasional purchases of rare historical items are also made to enhance the Collection further...Unlike the Crown Jewels and the Royal residences, the Royal Philatelic Collection is privately owned by The Queen, rather than belonging to the nation. Her Majesty does give permission for selections from the Collection to be shown at major exhibitions internationally and in the UK."

Prince William's grandmother looking over HER grandfather's stamp collection.

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

Friday, April 29, 2011

British Wedding Stamps Being Offered by US Postal Service

The Associated Press is reporting, "If you're hunting royal wedding souvenirs on the U.S. side of the pond, the Postal Service is there for you. Britain's Royal Mail issued special stamps for the wedding and American postal authorities are offering them as part of a commemorative packet. The British stamps can't be used on mail in this country, but collectors wouldn't be doing that anyway."

It goes on to say, "The Royal Wedding Presentation Pack sells for $7.95. It includes a miniature set of the stamps, which feature two official engagement photos of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and a brochure with color photos and the story of how the couple met. Also available are the commemorative stamp sheet alone or an envelope with some of the stamps and a special postmark. They're sold through or by calling 800-782-6724."

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two Thousand Postal Employees Take $20,000 Buy Out

Sean Reilly of Federal Times reports, "More than 2,000 U.S. Postal Service administrators have signed up for an early-out deal that will give them $20,000 in return for leaving their financially struggling employer by the end of next month..."

According to Sean, the $20,000 incentive will be paid out in equal installments this November and in November 2012.

He goes on to say, "The buy outs will account for about two-thirds of the 3,155 administrative slots that the Postal Service is cutting under the reorganization....Of the authorized administrative reductions, 1,179 will come from headquarters and headquarters field units, 345 from area administrative offices and 1,631 from district administrative offices, according to the Postal Service."

The agency also plans to trim about 2,500 front-line supervisory jobs and 2,000 postmaster positions according to the article.

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Last night at the meeting of the Philatelic Society of Los Angeles the subject of 'specimens' came up as part of a member's show and tell. Not knowing much about them, I thought they were basically prototypes of proposed stamps and stationary created as part of an approval process. Turns out I was wrong.

According to Wikipedia, "A specimen stamp is a postage stamp or postal stationery indicium sent to postmasters and postal administrations so that they are able to identify valid stamps and to avoid forgeries.The usual method of invalidating the stamps is either overprinting in ink or perforating the word Specimen across the stamp and where English is not the common language, the words Muestra (Spanish), Monster (Dutch), Muster (German) or Образец (Russian) have been used instead."

Wikipedia goes on to say, "Specimen stamps have been in use since the earliest issues and in 1840 examples of the Penny Black, Two penny blue and the Mulready Letter Sheet were sent to all British postmasters. These stamps were not marked in any way, but when the first British one shilling stamp was produced in 1847, examples sent to postmasters were marked with the word 'Specimen' in order to prevent their postal use.

"Since 1879 members of the Universal Postal Union have supplied stamps to each other through the UPU's International Bureau and stamps supplied this way have frequently found their way on to the philatelic market. Specimen stamps have no postal validity so postal administrations are free to distribute them as widely as they like and this can include to stamp dealers, philatelic magazines, government bodies, embassies and as promotional items for philatelists."

Shown above, 1902 Colony of Natal stamp showing Edward VII overprinted 'Specimen' .

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Milk Chocolate Eggs Banned By Post Office

Reporter Lauren Sage Reinlie of Fort Walton Beach, Floridia's Daily News pens, "At the post office at Ramstein Air Base in Germany behind the plate glass window of a locked display case are items that cannot, under any circumstances, be shipped to the United States: bullets, lighters, alcohol — and a lone, foil-wrapped chocolate egg.

She goes on to say, "The egg is a Kinder Surprise, a piece of hollow chocolate with a small toy hidden inside. It is popular around the world but banned in the United States under a 1938 law that prohibits embedding  'non-nutritive' objects into candies."

According to the article, Leslie Dannelly, whose husband is stationed at Ramstein, was shocked to find that she couldn’t mail home the popular milk chocolate candies because of the choking hazard.

In a effort to get what she considers the "ridiculous" ban lifted, Dannelly has created a website and begun all-out campaign to get the law changed.  Her website includes an online petition, which she eventually plans to send to Congress.

Apparently, Dannelly isn’t the only one who wants to get the eggs to America. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized nearly 25,000 of them last year, most of them from travel bags or mailed packages.

Post office workers at Ramstein Air Force Base told Dannelly they had a bucketful of the eggs returned after Christmas.“I said ‘You guys ate them, didn’t you?’ They said ‘Yeah.’ I would have, too.”

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Social Aspects Of Stamp Collecting

An article on the website goes into the social aspects of stamp collecting which is often overlooked when talking about the benefits of the hobby.

The anonymous article points out, "Stamp collecting is a pleasure in which you participate, and an experience which you will share with other collectors wherever you meet. It is, in fact, an open sesame to companionship and lifetime friendship with people of importance almost everywhere in the world. Your own position in the scheme of life is of no consequence. A paper hanger, because of his great interest in his stamps, was recently elected president of a stamp society whose members were largely high-powered executives in the financial world. The stamps had given the paper hanger a common ground of interest with interesting people whom he could never have met by any other means. The relationship was, of course, a two-way affair. The executives likewise had met through their hobby a person whom they would never have had the pleasure of knowing except through their collecting activities. Strangely enough they had found each other to be sound and interesting fellows worth while knowing. "

It goes on to say, "This cutting across the lines of the 'social classes' is widespread throughout the world of stamp collecting. The doors of the most 'exclusive' stamp societies are wide open to everyone genuinely interested in collecting stamps. They are exclusive only in that to become a member one must possess the ordinary attributes of conducting oneself as a gentleman. I know of no stamp club in this country that bars membership to anyone of any race, creed, or color, nor do I believe that there are many philatelic societies anywhere in the world that make any such distinctions. This is not something widely publicized or boasted of. It is just a natural part of stamp collecting as a hobby that has always been so. In this respect stamp collecting is one of the great forces in the world that, in combination with other such universal activities, will eventually bring about peace and understanding among all the nations."

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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why Stamp Collecting is a Good Hobby

Royal Mail has put out a press release promoting its stamps and other philatelic items for the upcoming Royal Wedding. The release also promotes the hobby and gives the following reasons why stamp collecting is a good hobby.

* Stamps give us a glimpse into our history and this is something that excites a lot of us. Collecting stamps will take us through the past and make us feel more in touch with past generations. A lot of people like to know where we have come from as much as they want to know where we are heading.

* Stamp collecting is a hobby that is open to people regardless of the amount of money they have at their disposal. No matter how little or how much you have to spend on your hobby, you can do it with stamp collecting. Believe it or not, you can build up your own stamp collection without spending a small fortune.

* It is very important to our health to keep our minds active. Mental functioning is improved with an active mind and as well as that, we can deal with stress much easier too.

* There is actually a lot of fun to be had when collecting stamps so this is a huge reason to take up this hobby.

* Stamp collecting has a great social element to it; you can join clubs and go to conventions. The arrival of the internet has meant a huge increase in the amount of socialising that stamp collectors are able to enjoy.

* There are so many different collections that can be started up by a stamp collector; you could just collect fun stamps, historical stamps or international stamps if you wanted.

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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Personal Letter from a 16-Year-Old Marilyn Monroe Sells for $52,460

Britain's Daily Mail reports, "A never-before-seen letter penned by 16-year-old newly married Marilyn Monroe describing her early life as a desperate housewife has surfaced after 69 years. Signed 'Norma', and written in pencil, the eight-pages long letter dated September 14, 1942 is addressed to her foster mother Grace Goddard."

According to the article, it was sent from Van Nuys, California on Sept. 14, 1942 which goes on to say, ""The actress describes her married life with 21-year-old James Dougherty, saying: 'He really keeps me busy cleaning the house and fixing meals, everybody told me that it is quite a responsibility being a housewife, and boy, I'm finding it out. But it really is a lot of fun."

The letter was sold at an auction for $52,460 by Los Angeles-based auction house, Bonhams and Butterfields which had placed a pre-sale estimate of  $25,000- $30,000 on letter and envelope.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on this story and to see a copy of her handwritten letter, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free Album Pages and Philatelic Wallpaper

With film star Gregory Peck being honored next week with a new commemorative, the American Philatelic Society (APS) has released the latest in its series of free album pages - Hooray for Hollywood and Hooray for Hollywood - The Sequel.

The 16-page Hooray for Hollywood album features stamps depicting stars and subjects from the silent era and early talkies. The 38-page Sequel album contains spaces for stamps depicting directors, actors, actresses and other more recent movie related subjects.

Together they make a great introducion to the hobby and gift for those who are not already collectors.

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

To download these and other album pages, click here.

PS - The APS also offers a variety of  free downloadable wallpaper for your computer screen. Click here to view.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stamp Collecting Attracts High Achievers

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald reports, "It seems that philately is the hobby that attracts high achievers."

Daphne Martin (shown here) has obtained two doctorates during her life, one in geology and one in medieval history. She's quoted in an article about the Philatelic Society of Australia (Philas) by James Cockington as saying, "I got bored after finishing the first one."

According to James, "Her main interest is in early stamps of Japan, Great Britain, France and the Belgian Congo, as well as revenue stamps and German letter seals. The last category is perhaps the most unusual. These colourful embossed paper circles were used to seal official envelopes in 19th and early 20th-century Germany. Each bears the title of the government official who was authorised to use it."

He goes on to write, "Everyone of importance had one, including Zeppelin commanders. These airships were used on the Western Front at the beginning of WWI. Martin paid $1000 for a series of 10 Zeppelin seals.Her collection of 5500 seals is possibly the largest in Australia. Martin says her children show little interest in her stamps but may change their minds when they inherit them and are pleasantly surprised by what they fetch at auction."

Daphne is 85-years-young.

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stamps Delight Mom and Her Kids

Lynn Youngblood (no relation to well-known philatelic writer Wayne Youngblood as far as I know) writes on Missouri's website, "When my kids were young one of our favorite pastimes, besides spending time outdoors, was stamp collecting. One year for Christmas I bought each of them a Philatelic Book which came with special, clear sheet protectors."

She goes on to pen, "My three kids would do chores, save their allowance and anything else they could think of to earn money and save up for stamps. Then we would visit the big philatelic center downtown. It was quite an adventure entering the big United States Post Office building and going into the special Philatelic Room. They each had their special categories they would collect, Hollywood movie stars, Habitats, Cartoon Characters, and more. For Christmas, I would always buy them a sheet or two of the newly released stamps in their collection. One year after all the presents had been opened I asked my son, Jake, who was about 10 years old at the time, what was his favorite present. To my surprise he said it was the stamps!"

Lynn comments, "My youngest child, Rebecca, was born on April 22. To anyone who is environmentally conscious, or a green-nut, that date may ring a bell ... it’s Earth Day. She used to tell me that she was my Earth Day baby! Imagine then, my delight when I discovered that the U.S. Postal Service Philatelic has designed a brand new Go Green Forever stamp."

 "I know what will be in my kids Christmas stockings this year," Lynn says.

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

After 80 Years USPS Halts Regular Sunday Delivery to Loma Linda, California

After nearly 80 years, mail will no longer be delivered to thousands of Loma Linda, Calfiornia residents on Sundays.

According to a KABC report, "Mail delivery had been taking place on Sundays instead of Saturdays for religious reasons. Loma Linda has a large Seventh-Day Adventist population, and Saturday is their Sabbath.

The U.S. Postal Service said it is trying to save the extra money it has to pay carriers to deliver on Sundays. The 15 mail carriers serving Loma Linda's 8,000 homes will make their final Sunday delivery April 17. Saturday delivery starts April 23."

Only Express Mail delivery will now be available on Sundays in the small California city.

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:15 AM

Monday, April 18, 2011

Postage Increases Take Effect Today

While the cost of mailing a one-ounce letter or birthday card will remain the same, that second ounce will cost you more starting today when new postage rates take effect.

According to an article on the Post & Parcel website, "The major changes for retail customers will include a three-cent rise in First Class Mail additional ounces (to 20c per ounce), a one-cent rise for First Class Mail postcards (to 29c) with stamped postcards going up to 32c, and a rise for letters or postcards bound for Canada and Mexico to 80c." Letters and postcards to other international destinations remain the same 98c rate.

Retail rates for first-class parcels will be $1.71, up from $1.22. Postcard rates will be 29 cents, up from 28 cents, among other rate increases. The rate rises do not affect Express Mail or Priority Mail.

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

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Curious Collections

Art in Miniature is the title of a stamp exhibition being held this weekend. Hosted by the Marlborough Stamp Collectors Club, the exhibition will feature several unusual collections according to New Zealand's Marlborough Express.

Lynne Nicholl collects stamps with a tobacco theme. It isn't a politically correct theme in 2011, she admits, but her 80-page display of tobacco stamps won the open section of an international stamp competition in Johannesburg, South Africa, in October according to the piece.

Donna Stenhouse collects postcards from the 1900s showing elegant Edwardian dresses. She also gathers JRR Tolkien stamps, and is pleased at how they have held their value.

Josh Black showed nine frames of Croatian stamps.

It is the the fourth Art in Miniature show and stamp dealers are expected to attend.

"It is good to have dealers coming to the show," says Josh Black, "but collectors are increasingly doing transactions online. It isn't hard to pay $50 or $60 for a single stamp especially for cover stamps."

Shown above, Marlborough Stamp Collectors Club members Lynne Nicholl, Donna Stenhouse and Josh Black show pages from their collections.

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

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When is the Statue of Liberty not the Statue of Liberty?

Reuters headlines, "Oops! Statue of Liberty Stamp Shows Las Vegas Lady."

According to the news agency, "After printing 3 billion copies of a new postage stamp bearing an image of the Statue of Liberty, the United States Postal Service received a strange question from a stamp collector."

Reporter Jonathan Allen asks, "Did postal officials realize the photograph was not of the famed statue in New York Harbor, but of a less-feted fiberglass and Styrofoam replica outside a Las Vegas casino?"

Apparently, they did not.

Roy Betts, a USPS spokesman, is quoted in the article as saying, "The USPS became aware of what it is calling a 'mischaracterization' about a month ago."

Allen writes, "Betts partly blamed Getty Images, the stock photography company that supplied the image, for ambiguously labeling the image in its database. While the image is simply titled  'Statue of Liberty,' the keywords attached to it include 'Nevada' and 'Replica Statue of Liberty - Las Vegas,' although Betts say this information was added only after the USPS raised the point with Getty."

The USPS said it will correct the catalog information connected with the stamp and live with the error, and has no plans to issue a recall according to the report which concludes with, "The USPS has previously issued 23 other stamps featuring the Statue of Liberty, and officials said all of them show the actual statue -- they think."

News of the mix-up was first reported in Linns by Jay Bigalke. Good goin' Jay!

To read the entire article, click here.

To hear the National Public Radio interview with Jay regarding this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, April 15, 2011

Purple Heart Stamp Redesigned

Mainstream media are touting the upcoming release of the new Forever Purple Heart with Ribbon stamp which goes on sale May 2.

Different in design from previous stamps honoring the bravery and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, the Forever designation comes at the urging of veterans and veterans groups around the country.

According to a USPS news release, "This new stamp features a photograph taken by Ira Wexler of Braddock Heights, MD, of the Purple Heart medal awarded during World War II to 1st Lieutenant Arthur J. Rubin (1917-1978). Rubin, a native of the Bronx, NY, began his military service with the U.S. Army in May 1943. He was injured twice in 1944—on July 6 and July 10—during military operations near Sainteny, a village in the Normandy region of France and was awarded a Purple Heart and an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Purple Heart. On July 8, 1944, for gallantry in action during a fierce German counter-attack, he received a Silver Star. In February 1946, Rubin returned to civilian life. Upon his death in December 1978, Rubin was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors."

The release goes on to say, "In 2003, the Postal Service issued its first Purple Heart stamp. It featured a photograph, also taken by Wexler, of a Purple Heart awarded to Lt. Colonel James Loftus Fowler (USMC) in 1968 following an action on the border between North and South Vietnam."

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to members of the U.S. military who have been wounded or killed in action.

For more on the history of the Purple Heart, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mailboxes Benefit Habitat for Humanity

An article on Wisconsin's website reports that several local schools and youth groups participated this week in Mailbox Garden which turned 12 mailboxes into works of art through a partnership between the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity and the Fox River Mall.

According to the mall's website, "Schools were provided with a mailbox and $50 for supplies. Students then designed and decorated the mailboxes, making each a one-of-a-kind work of art. Shoppers, parents and Habitat supporters are invited to bid on the mailboxes or donate to help your school be the top fundraiser. All proceeds benefit Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity and the school that raises the most money will be awarded a $500 gift card, courtesy of Fox River Mall."

Shown above, the Fox River Academy's entry titled "Grandpa's Tool Box."

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hanoi Stamp Market Attracts Non Collectors

Vietnam's Thanh Nien News website reports, "Every Sunday at 10 a.m. the market is set up at a corner of Trieu Viet Vuong Street with a couple of plastic stools, one or two small tables made of bamboo and several cups of tea. The market does not have shops or sellers, because the market goers, mainly senior citizens, office goers and university students, don’t go there to buy and sell, but to exchange stamps, in a barter system of sorts."

According to the piece, "Pham Hao, one of the market’s founders, said it started out with a few collectors gathering for talks and showing their collections. But, gradually the gathering became well known, attracting collectors from other localities to come here to exchange stamps, and then without anybody’s notice, it has become a market. In fact, it has attracted many collectors from provinces like Hung Yen, some 64 kilometers from the capital."

It goes on to say, "Meanwhile, the market also attracts people who are not collectors. They visit it just to listen to stories about the stamps that carry lots of cultural, historical and artistic information."

Shown above, collectors at the Hanoi stamp market.

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Royal Couple Splits....On New Niue Stamps

The BBC reports there is a controversy on the Polynesian island of Niue over their new stamps that mark the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The stamps, which were designed and printed by New Zealand Post, are sold as a pair but can be torn down the middle.

According to the report, "The leader of the Pacific nation of Niue has mounted a robust defence of stamps marking Britain's royal wedding which have a perforated line that splits the happy couple."

Niue Premier Toke Talagi is quoted as saying, "People indicated the stamps... meant the couple will separate in future. I don't know why they would interpret it that way. I don't think it means that. I think it means we're very happy celebrating the royal marriage."

The stamps might even draw tourists to Niue, he added, because people would want to see where they were from. 

The royal wedding takes place in London on 29 April.

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

Monday, April 11, 2011

Stamp Collecting - A Link To One's Childhood

Reporter Julie Carpenter of Britain's Sunday and Daily Express writes, "A taste for stamp collecting is something to be confided quietly not sung from the rooftops."

She goes on to pen, "according to experts at Stanley Gibbons, the world’s biggest dealers, it doesn’t have to be this way. The hobby is on the increase and, internationally, there is a veritable boom. Stamps are the third most traded commodity on eBay and prices are going sky high. In the UK the reason for this is partly because the baby boom generation, who took up ­philately at school, are returning to the hobby in their retirement."

According to Julie, “These are people with disposable incomes who also often have an emotional connection to stamp ­collecting because their fathers used to travel and they would send back letters or postcards. So while their fathers may no longer be alive, the hobby is a way to link back to them and to their childhood.”

Writer Simon ­Garfield, author of The Error World: An Affair With Stamps, is quoted in the article and says he, like many collectors, started at school. “This was the Sixties and there wasn’t much else to do. There weren’t computers or video games, just the weekly trip to the cinema, reading or playing football. Stamp collecting was encouraged because it was safe and reason­ably intellectual."

Garfield points out that many people are taking up the hobby again as a way to “recapture one’s lost youth” but explains that much of the appeal lies in “the thrill of the quest, the desire to hunt down that really rare stamp that you read about when you were at school and there’s almost the feeling that when you’ve got it you’re not so interested any more and you move on to the next one”.

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

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Royal Mail Bars Saucy Seaside Postcard Smilers

The Times of Malta reports, "The company behind many of Britain’s classic saucy seaside postcards has been barred from putting a selection of the images on stamps because they are considered 'too racy'. Bamforth – which publishes the cheeky cartoon cards that are a familiar sight on seafronts across the UK – applied to have 10 of its pictures printed as a customised Smilers sheet by the Royal Mail.

"But only three of the 10 were considered suitable. Smilers are personalised stamps created by the Royal Mail for firms and individuals from submitted images which can be used to send letters, just like any other stamps."

Reporter Dave Higgens pens, "Leeds-based Bamforth said it is furious about the decision given the millions of postcards which have been sent over the decades and the amount of trade this has generated for the nation’s postal service. It called the decision  'censorship gone mad'. The firm said it had carefully planned its Smilers submission and brought in postcard dealer Gary Worsnop to select 10 of the company’s 45,000 images to represent each decade from 1900 to 2000."

A Royal Mail official said: “Smilers allow customers to personalise their post by combining one of their own photos with a Royal Mail stamp. There are a number of restrictions on images which can be used on Smilers stamps, including images which may be deemed offensive or depict full or partial nudity."

Shown above, one of the postcard images which were rejected.

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

Saturday, April 09, 2011

2010's Top Ten Most Touching Stamps

The editorial board has chosen its "Top 10 Most Touching Stamps" of 2010.

According to the site, "Last year quite a lot of stamps worthy of entering this list have been issued, in part due to the theme of 2010 EUROPA stamps "Children’s books". StampNews had a really difficult choice to make, but still we decided in favor of several stamps from this series."

The top three choices were as follows...

#1 Winter Tales - stamps by Denmark whic are shown above.

#2 Teddy Bear stamp by Germany + Upin and Ipin stamps from Malaysia.

#3 Funny Vegetables stamp booklet by Finland + Luminous beauty of South African beadwork on stamps.

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

Friday, April 08, 2011

Holocaust Exhibit Provides Hands On Experience

"The Nazi Scourge: Postal Evidence of the Holocaust and the Devastation in Europe" will be open to the public April 10 at the Chicagoland Jewish High School in Deerfield, Illinois.

"The exhibit, owned by the Florence & Laurence Spungen Family Foundation, will display more than 300 World War II postal artifacts: stamps, covers, postcards, letters, bank notes, forgeries, and manuscripts from concentration camps and Jewish ghettos," according to an article by Reporter Lilli Kuzma that appears on the Evanston-Review website.

Danny Spungen, 49, a life-long collector and philatelist, purchased the collection in 2007, and has toured with it in the U.S., and other countries, including Greece, Holland, Belgium, and England. In June, the show travels to Italy.

Lilli quotes Spungen as saying, "I will be going to a school in China, too. The whole exhibit will be translated to Mandarin, and, in 2013, China is issuing a coin in commemoration of the Shanghai Ghetto." The Collection was translated into Greek for the Pan-Hellenic Philatelic Exhibition: Patraphilex 2010.

Spungen acknowledges former collection owner, Ken Lawrence, of Pennsylvania, in the article and explained that he shows the pieces, because "I promised this man I would not let this collection sit in a closet."

The exhibit also includes hands-on artifacts such as a Jewish badge and a Nazi armband both of which can be seen in the photo above.

School official Stephanie Smerling says, "Our kids will choose and write about an artifact and how it made them feel. I'm the parent of a 10th grader, and this exhibit provides a unique perspective, brings the Holocaust home in a very personal way."

For additional information and to view exhibit items online, visit .

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

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Best Library Cover Story Ever

Larry T. Nix writes on his always interesting Library History Buff Blog that, "On May 8, 1952 two Spaniards from Bilbao, Spain sent a letter to the Los Angeles Public Library in hopes of winning a bet. The bet was based on the envelope (shown above) in which the letter was enclosed."

He goes on to say, "The envelope was addressed only with a drawing, and the bet was that this would be sufficient to get the envelope and enclosed letter delivered to the library. The letter (English on one side and Spanish on the other) requested that the director of the library respond if it arrived safely."

To find out if the envelope made it to its intended destination, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mercury Stamp Artist - Donato Giancola

Reporter David Chiu writes on Brooklyn, New York's CarrollGardens website that local resident and artist Donato Giancola's artwork was selected for the upcoming Mercury Messenger stamps to be released by the United States Postal Service on May 4.

According to David, "Giancola, who is also a teacher at the School of Visual Arts, painted a 7' x 8' work called 'Prometheus,' which portrayed astronauts. That work led him to create the art for United Nations stamps that centered on the theme of space. As Giancola recalls, his space portfolio must have caught the attention of Phil Jordan, an art director with the Postal Service."

Giancola admits he was surprised to get the assignment. "They needed someone who had knowledge about space equipment and astronauts but also could do a portrait," he said. "Even though I never done an astronaut portrait before, it was evident that I could pull it together."

Dave says Giancola is happy to have his art depicted on the stamps and quotes him as saying, "I'm getting rid of all the stamps I have. I’m using them all up!" This will be my stamp."

Show above, Giancola with his portrait of Astronaut Alan Shepard.

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

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Illegal Drug Revenue Stamps Popular With Collectors

Alabama's Anniston Star reports, "A little more than a decade ago, the auditors in Charles Crumbley’s office were at the front lines of the drug war, finding ways to squeeze tax revenue out of drug dealers caught in the act. These days, Crumbley rarely gets a call about the state’s tax on illegal drugs. And when he does, the calls are usually from pranksters or philatelists."

Assistant Metro Editor Tim Lockette writes, "Crumbley is director of the Investigations Division at the State Department of Revenue. Normally, his office investigates people and businesses suspected of tax fraud and tax evasion [however]... the department still sells the tax stamps — glossy green, orange and pink stickers with a seal that bears the state’s name and an admonition to 'just say no' to the drug being taxed."

Tim goes on to say, "State officials don’t ask people why they want the stamps — there’s that Fifth Amendment prohibition on self-incrimination. But most customers, Crumbley said, volunteer that they’re buying the stickers as a joke or for a stamp collection.The marijuana stamp is by far the most popular. But then, Crumbley said, it’s the cheapest. There are stamps available in denominations up to $40,000, which doesn’t happen to be a big seller."

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

Monday, April 04, 2011

Military Hero Declines Being on New Zealand Stamp

The New Zealand Herald reports, "A new stamp issue honouring New Zealand's 22 Victoria Cross holders is to be issued without the country's best-known living war hero."

Reporter Yvonne Tahana quotes New Zealand Defence Force medals policy adviser Jack Hayes as saying, "Corporal Apiata, VC, was involved in early discussions about the stamp issue, and while supportive of honouring those who have been awarded the VC in the past, he felt it was not appropriate for his image to be on a postage stamp at this stage."

Apiata was awarded a VC in 2007 - the first in 60 years - for rescuing an injured colleague while under fire in Afghanistan. He will be represented on his stamp by his medal.

NZ Post will launch the Victoria Cross - the New Zealand Story, a series of 22, 60c stamps, on April 14.

Shown above, Corporal Willie Apiata.

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

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Volunteer Testers Needed for New British Postal Museum & Archive Website

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is building a new website and is looking for in-person and virtual volunteers to help them test it.

According to a post on the BPMA website, "All volunteer testers will go into the draw to win a voucher from Amazon worth £50. You can participate in the testing programme by either attending a Group Session or by becoming a Virtual Tester."

In-person testers will be asked to use a draft version of the new BPMA website and complete a number of tasks. The virtual testing programme will involve participants accessing a draft version of the new website on their computer and completing an online survey. This should take about 20 minutes and participants will be able to complete this at any point between Monday 28 March and Friday 15 April.

In-person training programs will take place:

2-4pm, Monday 4 April in Clerkenwell, Central London

10.30am-12.30pm, Saturday 9 April in Brixton, South London

Travel expenses to attend a session if you are travelling from within London or the South East of England. Light refreshments will be supplied at the sessions according to the post.

If you would like to volunteer to attend either of the in-person training sessions or to become a virtual tester, e-mail .
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Other Stamp Designing President Roosevelt

Yesterday, April 1, Round-Up reader John Langlois wrote on his always intriguing 1898 Revenues website about the revenue stamp which was designed by President Roosevelt.

Not philatelist Franklin, but rather his 5th cousin Theodore!

According to John, "President Theodore Roosevelt, the first great conservationist President, considered extending certain Spanish-American War taxes in order to support and expand his goal of preserving some of America’s great natural areas...And the President considered how these great reserves would be cared for, and in turn, how that care would be supported."

John goes on to pen:
"Realizing that the Spanish-American War taxes on checks and drafts were to expire at the end of June, 1901, Roosevelt proposed to some of his trusted advisors whether a one-year extension of the check tax (2 cents per check) could raise the revenue necessary to support to National Parks programming through the end of his term.
"Looking over a 2 cent battleship documentary stamp while at his home at Sagamore Hill, New York, Roosevelt took it upon himself to create a redesign.  If the check tax was to be extended to make the tax seem as non-intrusive as possible, why not make a subtle change to the existing tax stamp, one more in-line with the ruggedness and the spirit of park preservation?
"Just as private die proprietary users like Johnson and Johnson made subtle changes to the battleship design, Roosevelt thought that the replacement of the battleship with a canoe, the well known water craft of the rugged and self-reliant American Indian, would make a perfect center for a new stamp.
"After consultations with the Secretary of the Treasury Lyman J. Gage, Yerkes and Gage agreed that an extension of the check tax would be unnecessary. This would make Roosevelt's search for revenue much simpler. Yerkes promptly told Roosevelt of the lack of a need for a tax extension, and the matter, and the stamp above, were soon forgotten."
Shown above, the revenue stamp Theodore Roosevelt designed.

Click here to read the full fascinating post...which by the way, John says is completely bogus.  April Fool!

Good one, John!
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, April 01, 2011

Intelligent Stamps, Smartphones and the Future of Postage

Kyle Studstill writes on the PFSK website about how technology is impacting the use and delivery of postage.

Last year, he says, Royal Mail has introduced what it claimed as the world’s first intelligent stamp, utilizing image recognition technology to launch digital content via a smartphone. The stamp, part of the Great British Railways edition, displays a short film showing Bernard Cribbins reading Auden’s famous poem The Night Mail.

He points out that a similiar experiment was attempted in Spain with the Mancudos [sic] stamps which redirected a smartphone's browser to an Internet address through which the user could view a promotional video about the Alhambra of Granada.

Now, according to Kyle, "A new development is taking shape in Denmark, which takes the approach of removing the stamp entirely to make postage delivery a more seamless process. Citizens can text a shortcode to receive a generated string of letter/number characters, which is written onto the envelope as the postage in lieu of a physical stamp. The user is charged for postage through their wireless provider. Springwise reports that a similar service exists in Germany with plans being made in Sweden as well."

Will the U.S. be next?

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