Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Collecting Postage Currency

According to George S. Chuaj and William Brandimore on the website, "The First Issue of U.S. Government stamp money is the only one of the five issues to be identified by name as Postage Currency. The initial printing of the First Issue was released through Army paymasters on Aug. 1, 1862, and was provided for general circulation a few weeks later."

They go on to say, "Although it is a moot point, Postage Currency probably constitutes an illegal issue of fractional notes. Rather than being strictly 'postage and other stamps of the United States,' and despite being 'receivable for postage stamps at any U.S. post office,' Postage Currency took the form of reproductions of postage stamps printed on paper which carried the promise of the United States to exchange the currency for United States Notes, which gave Postage Currency the attributes of a promissory note, a development beyond the intent of the enabling Act of July 17, 1862."

Chuaj and Brandimore point out, "An interesting feature of the First Issue is the existence of notes with both perforated and straight edges. Apparently, the idea of perforated Postage Currency was a carry-over from the postage stamp printing process and was discarded when the demand for Postage Currency exceeded the capacity of the perforating machines."

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Postcards Preserve History

Joan Broz in an interview with Susan Brown Nicholson that appears on Chicago's Daily Herald website points out, "Postcards became popular at the beginning of the 20th century and were collected right from the start. They offered a wide diversity at a reasonable cost."

She goes on to say,"In the early 1900s, Eastman Kodak introduced a Folding Pocket Kodak designed so the general public could use its postcard-size film to take photographs and have them printed on postcard backs. Real Photo postcards, such as the Lisle street scenes, enabled people to make a postcard of any picture they took.

"At first, postcards could have only writing in the front and the address and stamp on the back. After 1907, postcards had an image on the front with a divided back, as we have today. Fold-out postcards, popular in the 1950s, were a series of postcards attached into a strip."

Nicholson is quoted as saying,“Postcards have always been an advertising tool and still are today. The 1907 versions are not considered ‘junk mail’ but collectibles.”

According to the article, subject matter, condition, desirability and demand all determine a postcard’s value.

Shown above, the front cover of Advertising Postcards by Robert W. Reed and Claudette Reed.

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stamp R Us - A Novel Idea to Engage Youthful Collectors

Stacie Chan quotes Sequoia Stamp Club President Jim Giacomazzi. on the Redwood City, CA Patch website as saying, "“There may be a time when stamps don’t exist. It’s discouraging, but you can’t stop progress.”

According to the article, stamp clubs around the area have been closing, including the 46-year-old Sunnyvale Stamp Society that met twice a month. The Sequoia Stamp Club, in contrast, has been lucky enough to enjoy a steady membership since 1947 and has come up with a novel idea to engage young people in the hobby.

"Rather than fighting for time in hectic teens’ schedules, the Stamp Club created a youth organization, Stamps R Us, that makes stamp collecting easy for the average busy student," Chan says.

Darlene Hickok, the Stamps R Us Chair, said it’s a “learn by mail” club. Members in Stamps R Us range from 6 to 17 years old, all with their own set of activities.  Ironically, the Stamp Club mails the 35 members various stamps and the hinge tongs [sic] to place them in their books.

“Parents really appreciate this so their kids can do it on their own time and they don’t have to drive them to a meeting place,” Hickok said.

Shown above, 1974 stamp from Romania.

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Honeymoon

Florence Gilkeson reminiscences on North Carolina's website about how she spent her honeymoon on the Outer Banks. "It was 1957," she writes,"and coastal North Carolina was still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Hazel. Beaches were almost barren."

She says, "I began collecting stamps in childhood. My interest in the hobby became even more intense after I met my future husband, also a stamp collector. Friends teasingly suggested that we had to get married because it would have been too difficult to separate our stamp collections if we decided to break up. A divorce settlement would have been even worse."

She goes on to say, "Intrigued by quaint villages then untouched by development, we rambled through Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Collington. It also occurred to us that these rural post offices would be good places to fill gaps in our stamp albums. That dream was quickly squelched at the first office we visited.

"The clerk was friendly enough, but before she could open her stamp drawer for our scrutiny, a dour-faced man emerged from a back room and sharply informed us that the stamps were not for sale. Shocked at such rude (and probably illegal) behavior, we simply stalked out and didn't make a stink.

"We really were not looking for rare or unusual stamps, just some regular stamps in odd denominations not as popular as the more colorful commemoratives. Apparently the man (most likely the postmaster) feared we out-of-towners would buy something desired by a local collector he was protecting."

 Undaunted, she and her husband had a much better experience at the next post office they visited...

According to Florence, "Our luck returned on our way home. We stopped in Swan Quarter, a small inland town in Hyde County, where the postmaster turned out to be a most gracious lady. Not only did she offer a variety of stamps, she she also gave us a commemorative envelope with a cachet publicizing the storied gameland/wildlife refuge at nearby Lake Mattamuskeet. But first, she autographed the envelope.

"If you're unfamiliar with philately, I must advise that such an envelope, especially bearing the postmaster's autograph, is a collector's delight. It may not be valuable in the monetary sense, but it is certainly an aesthetic asset."

Shown above, 2010 Hurricane Awareness stamps from the Bahamas.

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Icelandic Mail Carriers Turn Weight Lifters website reports the Icelandic postal service endured its hardest week of the year as Icelandic postmen and women became burdened with bags which  were twice as heavy than even Christmas week. 

The average weight of a postman/woman’s bag in Iceland is 44 lbs. It goes up to 88 lbs. around Christmas. But this week that figure jumped to 220 lb, average with some carriers with longest routes carrying as much as 660 lb. by the weekend.

The reason...the new IKEA catalogue is being delivered to every home in the country.

According to the report, "Unlike most unsolicited mail, the IKEA catalogue is generally well-received by householders; many of whom impatiently call Iceland Post to ask where their copy is."

IKEA, the Swedish furniture retail giant, has operated in Iceland since 1981.

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

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Royal Family Jewels

Caroline Stephenson writes on behalf of Royal Mail that a set of eight new stamps celebrating the 350th anniversary of making of the British Crown Jewels have been released along with a presentation pack, first day cover, stamp cards, and a coin cover.

"The British Crown Jewels are known around the world as a dazzling collection of objects representing royal sovereignty. The Crown Jewels are also remarkable due to their continuity of use: the collection is still used in a coronation ceremony that has changed little in a thousand years.This year marks the 350th anniversary of when many of the pieces were made for the coronation of King Charles II in 1661, following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Available 23 August 2011," according to information found on the Royal Mail website.

The site goes on to say, "Over the intervening years the collection of state regalia, commonly known as the Crown Jewels, has been added to and remodelled for various members of the royal family and royal occasions."

Shown above, Jewel House Warders Barry Morgan, Craig Joyce, Sandra Bond and Tom Raper pose outside the Tower of London to help launch Royal Mail’s new Crown Jewels stamps collection.

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

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Edward Hopper Stamp Sets Sail at The Huntington Library

A stamp depicting the Edward Hopper painting "The Long Leg," which is part of the collection of The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., was released yesterday.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, "First-day-of-issue cancellations, with a commemorative postmark depicting a sailboat, were offered for sale outside the Huntington [Library] Bookstore to mark the the release. Hopper postcards, notecards and prints that could be stamped and postmarked as collectible keepsakes were also offered."

As reported in Linn's Stamp News, the intended release of the Edward Hopper stamp, featuring his painting "The Long Leg" in 2009 was canceled due to economic reasons.

 Painted in oil on canvas around 1935, the painting depicts a boat sailing against the wind near Provincetown, Mass. It also includes Cape Cod's Long Point Lighthouse.  "Long Leg" is a nautical term.

The stamp is the 10th in the American Treasures series, which began in 2001 and is intended to showcase works of American fine art and crafts.

Shown above, a visitor looks at original Hopper painting at the Huntington Library while members of the Claude C. Ries Chapter of the American First Day Cover Society cancel envelopes and other items outside.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One of Philately's Rising Stars

While visiting Los Angeles, Alexander Haimann gave an interesting and fun talk last night at the Philatelic Society of Los Angeles (PSLA).

Alex  "PowerPointed" about how he got into the hobby, his worldwide stamp collecting adventures and told the society members about the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship.

According to a write-up on the American Philatelic Society website, "As a YPLF Fellow, you will have fun with other youth stamp collectors; experience the world of stamp collecting from the inside; visit important sites that all stamp collectors want to see; produce articles and presentations based on your interests and research; and gain experiences to make you a better student and leader — not to mention you will get all sorts of great stamps and philatelic material!"

Alex is a great advocate for the hobby and one of philately's rising stars. He's also a MBA Candidate at Washington University - Olin Business School of St. Louis.

For more on the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship , click here.

Shown above, (from left to right) PSLA President Carl Shaff II, Alexander Haimann, SESCAL Youth Activities Chair Bill Janson and, myself, SESCAL Scout Stamp Saturday Chair Don Schilling.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service

An on-line exhibit on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's website features interesting tidbits about the United States Postal Inspectors.

According to the site, "One of the most unusual postal inspector assignments was in the mid-twentieth century when individual inspectors were assigned to the White House. When the President left the White House, the assigned inspector traveled with him. Travel duties included overseeing the dispatch, delivery and protection of the President’s mail, using a specially-assigned White House mailbag (shown above).

Pictured here in 1937 is Postal Inspector Herbert G. Theurer who carried the Presidential  mailbag to Galveston, Texas, where President Franklin Roosevelt was staying while on vacation and was enjoying some offshore fishing aboard the presidential yacht Potomac

To visit "Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service," click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 22, 2011

Still in Love With Stamps

In an article on the Wall Street Journal website titled, "Still in Love With Stamps," Margaret Studer writes, "Stamps retain their attraction in an electronic world. Demand is boosted currently by a 'vast' new generation of collectors in China and India, says Sotheby's world-wide philatelic consultant Richard Ashton, adding that young buyers are also very active in South America. In contrast, he notes, growth in Europe is coming from 50-year-olds newly entering the market, often financial-industry retirees. While the U.S. market is huge, stamps from Great Britain and its former empire are the biggest collecting area, notes Mr. Ashton."

Pointing out several important auctions are being held this month and next, Studer pens,"Sotheby's London will auction the British philatelic collection of the late Lord Leonard Steinberg, founder of the Stanley Leisure Group, a chain of betting shops and casinos. More than 2,000 items will come under the hammer."

She goes on to point out, "A special aspect of the collection is that Lord Steinberg concentrated on blocks of four or more stamps. Mr. Ashton explains that blocks, which tend to be rarer, are generally more valuable than the same number of single stamps. For example, a block of four may sell for £50,000, and four of the same single stamps for £20,000."

Shown above,  a block of nine 1840 "Penny Blacks"  which is expected to bring £150,000-£200,000 at auction.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:08 AM

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Philately Get His Stamp-of-Approval

Barry-Lee Coyne writes on Oregon's website, "My Uncle Julie first introduced me to stamp collecting when I was about 9, living in post-World War II Brooklyn. He knew of my interest for following current events from the daily papers so he connected the two by pointing out that Franklin D. Roosevelt was an avid philatelist who spread the popularity of the hobby by getting his Postmaster General to issue lots of commemoratives."

According to Coyne, stamp collecting opened up a whole new world for him and "made history come alive."  He highly recommends stamp collecting to anyone wanting to "expand" themselves and maybe needs a little help finding a wife.

"It happens that stamp collecting helped seal my courtship with my future bride, Carmela, " Coyne says.

"When we dated in the early '80s, I mentioned her Filipino heroes, Rizal and Magsaysay, and she was quite impressed. Apparently, the imprint stuck and we've been married since 1981.
We're no longer in mint condition, but just like many an envelope, we've travelled a long and winding journey together."

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Muttly Terrier Who Rose From the Ranks of the Homeless

"Owney was a muttly terrier who rose from the ranks of the homeless to celebrity status with his image on the new forever U.S. postage stamp. His life was that of a courageous 19th-Century pioneer pup, fighting the odds, if not the Indians," writes humorist Maggie Van Ostrand on the Huffington Post website.

She goes on to say, "Owney was born in Albany, New York. Probably. One can never tell with a one-night stand. He may have been born in 1886, 1887 or 1888, more or less. You see, births were not registered back then unless you were human. Owney badly wanted to be human and even more than that, he wanted to be a mailman in the RMS (Railway Mail Service). Some say that Owney began his career walking to work with a human postal clerk who took a shine to him and let him hang out at the work place. Others believe Owney simply crept into the post office, unnoticed, and began his career that very day, when he fell in love with a mail pouch."

According to Van Ostrand, "Owney is right up there with Lassie, Old Yeller and Benjie with many books written about him: Owney The Post Office Dog and Other Great Dog Stories, by Joe L. Wheeler; The Further Adventures of a Lucky Dog: Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot by Dirk Wales; Owney the Mail Pouch Pooch, by Mona Kerby; A Small Dog's Big Life: Around the World With Owney, by Irene Kelly; and All Aboard, Owney! The Adirondack Mail Dog, by Jennifer Gordon Sattler."

There's even an Owney The Dog iPhone app. and an Owney iPad interactive ebook, issued in conjunction with the Postal Museum's Owney LookAlike contest. (Voting begins September 16).

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

Friday, August 19, 2011

Free Stamp Collecting Brochures and Information on Line

Got a youngster or a friend interested in stamp collecting? 

Besides giving him or her a packet of stamps and a few minutes of your time, why not provide them a couple brochures that shows them how to soak, hinge and house their stamps along with a lot of other good to know stuff.

The Education Department of the American Philatelic Society has several introduction to stamp collecting brochures which are downloadable.

These include...

 - The World of Stamps
-  Welcome to Stamp Collecting
-  10 Low-Cost Ways to Start Collecting Stamps
-  Three Tips for Stamp Collectors: Soaking Stamps, Choosing an Album, and Using Tongs

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Pony Express Rides Again!

The San Francisco Chronicle reports hundreds of horse enthusiasts and history buffs have begun transporting mail along the original 1,966 mile Pony Express route from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Calif. 
Reporter Natalie Orenstein pens, "Every summer, more than 600 riders don clothes similar to what the original riders wore and relay letters across the country. A letter can be mailed via the volunteer riders for the 1860 price of $5. The group has grown so rapidly that although the original Pony Express riders rode 75 miles apiece, the modern-day participants are allowed stints of just 2 to 10 miles."

She goes on to say, "The 850-member National Pony Express Association has been re-enacting the famed letter-carrying service each year for more than three decades."

You can follow the ride with Twitter updates at @xptomcrews or visit the National Pony Express Association website at

Shown above, Pony Express 80th Anniversary stamp from 1940.

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thinking Outside the Mailbox

Murray Martin, chief executive of Pitney Bowes, was interviewed by reporter Matt Hartley for a Q and A article titled Thinking Outside the Mailbox which appears on Canada's Financial Post website.

Hartley asked Martin, "Let’s start with the legacy business of Pitney Bowes, which is the postal services. We’re seeing a lot of changes in the postal industry and we recently went through a labour dispute here in Canada with Canada Post. People are starting to receive much of what they once got in the mail — such as magazines and bills — via the Internet. With all that changing technology, what role do you expect the postal system and Pitney Bowes to play going forward?"

Martin's response...

"First of all, I think the postal networks around the world are very last-mile delivery networks. There are a lot of things that will need to be delivered in the last mile. As you look at e-commerce, it is increasing the number of deliveries that are required. You have small parcels which are really mail; that side is going to continue to grow while you have shrinkage in letter volume. It will change the dynamics of the way postal networks operate around the world, how they need to be competitive with others that are in the last-mile area, but they certainly have an advantage because they have a mandate for global coverage.

"When it comes to Pitney Bowes, a lot of the mail that we process is transaction mail. That has had very low digital conversion globally. Our type of mail has not had a major transition. However, we are launching digital products that will supply secure delivery of those value transactional documents so they don’t get lost in email, spam filters, or so they don’t cause the consumer to go to a dozen different websites and remember different passwords and log ins to get their information."

Shown above, Murray Martin, chief executive of Pitney Bowes.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BlackBerry on New Canadian Stamp

The website reports, "Forget the recent William & Kate commemorative stamps. RIM’s BlackBerry smartphone has been immortalized on ink in the Canada Post 'Made in Canada' inventor series. In total there are four inventions that were honoured: Electric Oven, Pacemaker, Electric Wheelchair and the BlackBerry."

According to Canada Post, "Canadians are an inventive bunch. In fact, Canadian inventors have patented more than a million inventions—but far too many of us would be unable to name more than just a few. From Ginger Ale to insulin, from Bombardier’s  'Ski-doo' to Plante’s goalie mask, plus the 'Jolly Jumper,' instant mashed potatoes, the lawn sprinkler and the modern plastic garbage bag, items created from Canadian imagination and insight are a part of our daily lives."

Senior designer Karen Henricks is quoted in the write-up as saying, “Given that the innovations span such a long timeline — from the oven in 1892 to the modern BlackBerry — our design challenge was to find a way to visually link the four stamps. We chose consistent cropping and angles, as well as a palette of co-ordinated colour tints and type, to tie the stamps together as a series.”

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why the Post Office Does It

"For one dollar, you can send a birthday card to your uncle in Alaska (3,370 miles from Philadelphia) and an anniversary card to your aunt in Hawaii (4,910 miles away), and the post office will give you back 12 cents change," writes Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Daniel Deagler.

He goes on to pen, "How on earth can the U.S. Postal Service make a profit on this transaction? It can't. But profit is not the mission of the post office. Its mission is to get your letter delivered in a timely fashion.

"Although it may appear as if the U.S. Postal Service and its private-sector competitors are providing the same service - moving some physical object from point A to point B - the private competitors do it to make money. If they can't make money doing it, they don't do it."

According to Dan, "The Postal Service, on the other hand, does it out of a commitment to universal delivery. If you have a letter with a stamp and a valid address, it's going. So the critical difference between the Postal Service and its private-sector competitors is not what they do, but why they do it."

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

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Indian Stamp Dealer Sells 1000s of Stamps on Line

India's Business Standard features an article about Rakesh Kumar Gupta, owner of the Indian Stamp Company.

Reporter Aabhas Sharma writes, "About 30 years ago, when Rakesh Kumar Gupta set up the Indian Stamp Company in Meerut, it was more out of a hobby than anything else. As a child, Gupta was fascinated with stamps and used to collect stamps from all over the world. 'Stamps were my window of knowledge as I came to know about countries which I had never even heard of,' says the Meerut-based owner of some of the rarest stamps available.

"Even in this era of e-mails, Blackberrys and social networking, Gupta gets inquiries from not only India, but all over the world. Five years ago, he decided to go online with his stamp collection and since then, his business has grown considerably. On an average, he says that online he sells more than a 1,000 stamps per week.

"His buyers are mainly middle-aged people as they are the ones who have actually been exposed to stamps and know their importance, he says. 'The current generation is too busy on Orkut and playing online games to indulge in such a wonderful hobby,' he rues. But still, he doesn’t believe that is a dying art or hobby. 'Several of my customers come from different parts of the country and sit for hours with their kids browsing the collection,' he says."

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Being a Modern Day Stamp Collector Ain't Easy

Reporter Matthew Nash of Washington state's Sequim Gazette reports becoming a stamp collector is getting harder in an article about the Strait Stamp Society's 16th annual stamp show being held this today.

He quotes Cathie Osborne, show chairperson, as saying, “It used to be that collectors would soak off stamps but now self-stick stamps don’t come off as easily. You have to use chemicals. Kids can’t use those.”

Society member Roy Castell said it's also difficult to remove stamps from Great Britain because of the glues they use.

Lou Ladwig points out the new preference in the post office is for labels rather than stamps so "it takes away part of the fun of receiving a package."

In years to come, Osborne, who collects collect stamps with bells on them, thinks people will remain interested in stamp collecting, but it will probably be harder to find used stamps.

“It’ll be interesting to see where it (the hobby) goes," she said.

Shown above, Roy Castell, left, and Richard Fleck at a meeting of the Strait Stamp Society.

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

Friday, August 12, 2011

World’s First Undersea Post Office

In August of 1939, as part of a scientific facility off the coast of the Bahamas, a special oval postmark that was inscribed “SEA FLOOR/BAHAMAS” was used to cancel covers posted at the Sea Floor post office.

According to Christer Brunstrom on the Philatelic Database website, while the post office itself was closed sometime in 1941, there is still today considerable interest in the Sea Floor covers which were  mailed to collectors all over the world.

According to Christer, today these covers sell for prices ranging from $30 to as much as $200 on e Bay.

Christer also points out that in 1965, the Sea Floor post office and the man who created it, John Ernest Williamson, are depicted on a five-shilling definitive. Shown here is the $1 stamp of the same design which was was re-issued a year or so later  when the Bahamas went to decimal currency.

Shown above, a 1940 cover cancelled at the undersea post office in the Bahamas.

For more on the undersea post office, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dutch Stamp Collector Triggers International Incident

Dutch broadcaster RTV Utrecht reported on Monday a  Dutch stamp collector has not returned from a trip to North Korea.

According a report on the South Korean website Chosun Ilbo, "Willem van der Bijl of Utrecht visited the North on July 17 to buy North Korean stamps and propaganda art. He was supposed to return home on July 30 but has been out of contact."

It goes on to say,"There is speculation that the Dutchman may have been arrested for trying to buy rare stamps from an individual North Korean, whom foreigners are banned from contacting.

"If so, this could damage relations between the North and the EU, the Dutch press said. The EU has been talking with the North about ways of giving it humanitarian food aid worth 10 million euros (approximately W15.5 billion)."

Shown above, imperforate 50ch brown Kim Il Sung stamp, shown above (left), is one of North Korea's scarcest issues. Mint singles regularly sell for $300 or more according to an article, Stamps of North Korea Provide Challenges, found on the Michael Rogers, Inc. website.
Click here to learn more about the missing Dutch collector.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Postal History Gaining Popularity

Reporter Jason Chow writes in the Wall Street Journal, "In the rarified world of stamp collecting, there’s an even smaller niche for collectors focused on used envelopes with rare stamps on the covers. This subgenre is called postal history, and the collectors are among the most dedicated philatelists."
 Louis Mangin, director at stamp-auctioneer Zurich Asia is quoted in the piece as saying, "I find collecting postal history more interesting than collecting just regular stamps and the demand for this kind of material is going up substantially as Chinese collectors are getting more sophisticated.”
Mangin went on to say, "While stamps have fallen in value or remained stagnant in Western countries as the hobby has declined, the Chinese market has exploded in the past five years, thanks to both genuine collectors and investors who see the stamp market as a better place for their money than equities."
Shown above, 1931 registered first flight cover from Manchuria with special cachet ‘Commemorating Inauguratiion of International Air Mail Service’ Valued at $300 on Geoffrey Hack's Fine Stamps and Postal History website.
To read the entire article, click here
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Getting to Know A Postal Museum Director

Gary Levitt of Delphos, Ohio is featured in an article titled "Getting to Know A Postal Museum Director" that appears on the Delphos Times Bulletin website.

Reporter Ed Gebert pens, "Levitt, a former Delphos postmaster, is now the director of the Museum of Postal History on Main St. in Delphos. The project began after a 60th anniversary celebration of that city's post office building back in 1993. A makeshift series of displays was assembled in the 2,200 sq. ft. lower level of the post office. "

Levitt remembered, "We didn't have any money. We took some two-by-fours, routed out a little edge and found some old storm windows, and that became the display case!"

According to the article, "The idea to begin a more traditional museum soon followed, and after two years of negotiations, Levitt got the approval to do it. After nine months of work, the original version of the Museum of Postal History opened in 1995. However, putting together displays quickly on an almost non-existent budget took its toll."

It goes on to say, "Today, the Museum of Postal History is housed in a 11,112 sq. ft. building, offering plenty of room for displays and improvements. Levitt freely says that there is much work to do still, but already there is much to see. There are stamps, of course, but the museum looks at how delivering the mail helped establish and expand this country."

"As with any museum," writes Gebert, "funding is tight. The museum has no admission charge, so to help raise the $32,000 in basic expenses for each year, Levitt takes off his museum director hat and puts on a travel agent cap, hosting motorcoach trips that offer special entertainment and information from one or more of Levitt's many friends and acquaintances."

Shown above, Gary Levitt.

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

Monday, August 08, 2011

New Zealand Woman Hoarding for 50 years and Stamp Dealing for 30

New Zealand's Taranaki Daily News  reports, "Hundreds flocked to the Taranaki Philatelic Society stamp fair at Fitzroy at the weekend, but the postage enthusiasts were keeping their wonders firmly away from light, heat and moisture... [and] were keeping mum on how many they owned."

Stamp dealer Valda Palenski is quoted in the piece by reporter Kate Saunders as saying, "A good stamp collector doesn't count stamps on the number they've got, it's the quality of stamps, their scarcity and grade."

"Mrs Palenski numbers her collection in the thousands and has been hoarding for 50 years and stamp dealing for 30," writes Saunders.

According to Mrs. Palenski, "There's usually one or two big spenders, they were there for quite a while. They always have to find that one stamp they've been looking for."

Shown above, Valda Palenski with a Penny Black.

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

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Rural America Worried About Post Office Closings

Reporting from Odd, West Virginia, Harry R. Weber of the Associated Press pens, "From Alaska to Maine, residents in rural areas are holding their collective breath after the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service said this week it was considering closing 1 in 10 of its retail outlets to save money."

He points out, "For rural America, the post office is more than a convenient place to mail letters. It's income in areas where jobs are scarce, a place to pay the bills, and at times, a neighborhood spot to socialize."

According to Weber, "The post office in the rural West Virginia town of Odd is one of more than 3,600 local offices, branches and stations that could be on the chopping block. Residents there say getting by would be difficult without it."

Once an office is selected for a review, people served by that office will have 60 days to file their comments. If an office is to be closed, they will be able to appeal.

Shown above, Mail carrier Tamera Eskins, delivers mail to the Odd Post Office

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

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Post Office of the Future

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald reports, "A 24-hour pick-up hub run by Australia Post at St Leonards is being trialled and ''the post office of the future'', being trialled in Brisbane, will have 24-hour parcel lockers."

Alex Twomey, Australia Post's general manager of external affairs, is quoted as saying, ''It's reinvigorating a bit of excitement about getting the mail at night, which I like. The thrill of the post arriving is coming back.''

In a related article on the Courier-Mail website, reporter Sophie Foster pens, "Executive general manager retail services Christine Corbett said plans to transform the post office was approved by the Brisbane City Council on Tuesday, with much of the work to be done on weekends and at nights to minimise disruption. She said the changes were in line with Australian e-commerce trends that gave Australia Post a huge revenue growth opportunity."

Shown above, an artist's conception of what the 'post office of the future' might look like.
To read the entire Sydney Morning Hearld article by Rachel Olding, click here.

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

Friday, August 05, 2011

Sotheby's To Sell The Philatelic Collection of Lord Steinberg

Sotheby's London will offer The Philatelic Collection of Lord Steinberg, in a series of two sales on 6-8 September and 21 September 2011.

According to a company press release, "Lord Steinberg of Belfast died in London on 2 November 2009 at the age of 73. He was one of the great entrepreneurial success stories of the post war era. The grandson of immigrants who turned a single unlicensed betting shop at the back of his father's Belfast milk counter into the Stanley Leisure Group, a chain of 640 betting outlets and 45 casinos which employed 7,000 people."

It goes on to say, "Over the course of his life, he assembled 33 stamp albums, with each item on a separate page meticulously written-up by a skilled calligraphist. The exacting nature of stamp collecting was of great appeal to Lord Steinberg, and he approached the task of building up his collection with the same rigorous patience that he applied to his business acquisitions. He accumulated vast reserves of knowledge in the field of stamps, and would pursue his desire to possess mint blocks of four and larger multiples with a determination unmatched by rival collectors."

Shown above, casino magnate and stamp collector Lord Leonard Steinberg

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

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stamp Collection Starts a New Career

Michael H. Hodges of the Detroit News reports."When [Bill] Rauhauser was in 10th grade, his father gave him his old stamp collection. Walking to school, Rauhauser complained he didn't give two hoots about stamp collecting. Another kid said his father had given him a camera, but stamps were way more interesting. Could they trade? With that switch, Rauhauser, 92, acquired a primitive Argus camera and dove into a calling that would ultimately come to define his adult life, " writes

According to Hodges, "Had it not been for that stamp collection, Bill Rauhauser — dean of Detroit street photography for more than 60 years — might never have found his calling."

Photography legend Edward Steichen included Rauhauser's portrait of two girls leaning against a soldier in the 1955 "Family of Man" exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, one of the most influential photography shows of all time.

Shown above, Bill Rauhauser.

To read the entire article, click here.

To visit Bill's website, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Stamps Mark President Obama`s 50th Birthday

To mark President Obama's 50th birthday tomorrow, Aug. 4, countries are issuing stamps in his honor.

The Voice of Russia website is reporting, "Russia’s Post Office has issued a collection of stamps and envelopes to mark the 50th jubilee of the US President Barack Obama."

According to the site, "Russia`s Post Office also presented the US leader with a postmark featuring his portrait. Mr. Obama liked the gift, stamped several envelopes and then signed one of them with dedication to the museum of the Russian Post Office."

Shown above, sheetlet issued by Guyana to mark the president's 50th birthday.

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

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rogue Mailman Caught with GPS Device

The New York Post reports authorities have nabbed a crooked Diamond District mail carrier with the help of a cleverly placed GPS after more than 25 packages containing diamonds and other valuables went missing.

According to the article by reporters Douglas Montero and Danny Gold,"Rogue mailman Shameek Dickerson's scheme came to light after customers along West 47th Street in Midtown began complaining that they never got packages they had been expecting."

"So investigators from the Post Office Inspector General's office and Manhattan DA placed a tracking device inside a package bound for the district that was designed to send out an alert when the parcel was opened.

"Dickerson claimed he had been forced to plunder Diamond District-bound packages after a man threatened to 'kill him and his disabled brother' if he failed to comply and hand over the spoils, a prosecutor said at his arraignment July 23."

The US Postal Service said mail theft is a "rare occurrence" among the city's 8,323 mail carriers.

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

Monday, August 01, 2011

Jacob Perkins and the Men Who Engraved Early U.S. Stamps

The Philatelic Database website has reprinted a 1955 article from an unkown newspaper or magazine which talks about the people who engraved the nation's first postage stamps.

According to the piece, "The man to whom banknote engraving, and therefore stamp engraving, probably owes the most is one Jacob Perkins born on July 9, 1776, at Newburyport, Massachusetts."

It goes on to say Perkins perfected a process whereby vignette dies engraved on separate pieces of steel could easily be transferred from a flat piece of steel to a steel cylinder which, after hardening, could rolled to any desired position on the plate. Another of his inventions was the process of hardening steel without damaging the engraved surface of the plate.  He also invented a roller, whereby the ink could be spread evenly over the engraved plate.

In 1818 Perkins left the United States and settled in England. There he established a banknote printing firm, under the name of Perkins, Fairman and Heath. In 1822, when he returned to the United States he changed the name to - Perkins, Bacon and Co.

The original printing press for the Penny Black (shown above) was invented by Jacob Perkins and is on display at the British Library in London.

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