Friday, August 31, 2012

Grilled Issues of the United States

On the Mystic Stamp Company's website there's a "Help and Resources" section which contains a "Stamp Learning Center."

There you will  find out all sorts of interesting things like "Grilled Stamps."  And no, we're not talking about cooking up a bunch of stamps on the bar-b-que!

According to Mystic, "From 1867-1875, a method of preventing canceled U.S. stamps from being reused was put into action – 'grills.' The grilling machine, which was invented and patented by Charles F. Steel, used a roller pitted with small depressions (which created a 'points up' pattern) or with small raised pyramids (which created a 'points down' pattern) to break the fibers in the paper. These broken fibers allowed cancellation ink to thoroughly penetrate the paper. This meant even regular pen ink, which was used to cancel stamps at smaller post offices, would be impossible to remove completely."

They go on to say, "Early in the 20th century, noted stamp collector William Stevenson categorized grills by size and shape, and sorted the stamps by 'grill family.'

Click here to learn more.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Systems At Work

"Each day the United States Postal Service processes hundreds of millions of pieces of mail and delivers to over 150 million addresses. At the center of this bustling postal network are more than a hundred Processing and Distribution Centers spread across the United States," according to U.S. Postal Service Facebook posting.

Click on the photo above to follow these letters, catalogs, magazines, and parcels as they make their way through the Postal delivery network in a video which is also giant screen exhibit at the National Postal Museum in Washington DC.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Germany to Issue a Circumcision Stamp

The OnIslam website is reporting, "The German postal service plans to issue a stamp reminding Germans that Jesus underwent circumcision as an eight-day baby, amid heightened debate about the religious practice."

According to the article, "The stamp will be issued on the 200th anniversary of the German Bible Society on September 11. It will show a page from the New Testament that includes a description of Jesus being circumcised."

The 85-cent stamp bears a passage from the Gospel of Saint Luke that includes the words, "On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus."

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Franklin Roosevelt’s Postage Stamp Quilt

"A new book tells the story of Estella Weaver Nukes and the special quilt she made for stamp collecting President Franklin Roosevelt," according to a write-up on The American Philatelic Research Library (APRL)'s blog.

Author and quilt historian Kyra E. Hicks told APRL Librarian Tara Murray that she had no idea of Roosevelt’s passion for philately until she started researching Franklin Roosevelt’s Postage Stamp Quilt: The Story of Estella Weaver Nukes’ Presidential Gift. 

The 44-page full-color paperback is available from for $12.95.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Stamp Insider" Video About Stamps

The Stamp Insider has posted a video American Stamps which it calls "a visually compelling thirty-minute documentary about the designers and artists who create our postage stamps."

The Stamp Insider is published digitally six times per year by the Federation of New York Philatelic Societies, Inc., a non-profit organization

Current and past issues can be found on the site by clicking here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stamps Teach

American Philatelic Society President Wade Saadi writes in the September American Philatelist, "In a perfect partnership, APS Director of Education Gretchen Moody and a subcommittee of the National Postal Museum’s Council of Philatelists chaired by Omar Rodriguez, designed, formulated and implemented a pilot program that integrates the use of postage stamps in lesson plans, worksheets, and classroom learning centers."

Saadi goes on to pen, "In its initial launch, the pilot program was offered by ninety-eight teachers in more than twenty states and reached 3,734 students. Fifty of the participating teachers responded with written evaluations with 86 percent saying they will use the program again within the next six months. There were 554 students who returned feedback postcards and, of these, 443 felt stamps were of some help in teaching
them their lesson. Around the same percentage want more lessons with stamps as a teaching aid. These numbers, by any measure, are quite impressive."

According to Saadi, "About 95 percent of the students in the pilot were in the first through sixth grades, so the appeal of stamps in the early years of schooling seems broad. Stamps Teach currently offers a total of fifteen lesson plans for math, science, social studies and language arts, with more planned."

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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Philatelic Tribute to Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Editor Jeevan Jyoti pays tribute to the late Astronaut Neil Armstrong on her Rainbow Stamp Club website.

Jyoti writes, "US astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took a giant leap for mankind when he became the first person to walk on the moon, has died yesterday at the age of 82 on 25th August 2012. The moon and Armstrong will always be remembered together by the generations to come !! This Post is a philatelic tribute to the ‘First Man on Moon ‘ !!"

Click here to view stamps featuring Neil Armstrong.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Troops Get Special Cancellation

The 1461st Transportation Company, a Jackson-based Michigan Army National Guard Company which is deployed in Afghanistan are getting their own special postal cancellation today.

The Michigan Live website reports, "A postal cancellation in the shape of a HET — or heavy equipment truck —  will take place from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday at the downtown Jackson postal branch..."

Postal worker Deb Marriott is quoted in the piece by reporter Jordan Spence as saying, "“I got together with Sgt. 1st Class George Bridge (from the 1461st) and asked him what would best represent the transport company? We decided on the truck, since their job over there is to transport large equipment with the HETs."

For friends, supporters and  family members of the troops who don’t live in the area, Marriott they will put a special hold on the cancellation for a month, so they are able to send letters in.

Collectors and others can send self addressed envelopes to: Postmaster, 113 W. Michigan  Ave. Jackson, Mich. 49201.

Shown above,  a HET (Heavy Equipment Truck)

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

How the Parcel Post Revolutionized Retailing

In 1913, President William Howard Taft and Congress approved the parcel post. It allowed the Post Office to begin delivering a variety of items to customers in rural America and revolutionized retailing in the United States.

Reporter Marc Levinson writes on,"Back before the parcel post, the U.S. Post Office had only a marginal role in moving goods. By law, it could deliver only packages of 4 pounds or less. All shipments, no matter the distance, cost a steep 1 cent per ounce; mailing a 4-pound package cost three hours’ pay for the average worker."

Levinson goes on to say, "The parcel post did even more than its most ardent advocates anticipated. During the first six months of 1913, the Post Office carried an astonishing 300 million parcels, 15 for every U.S. household. A fifth of the population, the 20 million people living outside of express companies’ service territories, could for the first time easily send and receive packages. And thanks to the government’s new role in handling packages, Americans everywhere, from big coastal cities to remote mountain ranches, could at last experience the joys of shopping by mail at far lower prices than they could find close to home."

According the Coney Stamps website," In 1912, stamps were introduced to pre-pay postage on parcels. Parcel post Stamps were issued in twelve denominations, and had the same look, format and color. So much so that postal workers had trouble telling the difference between the 1¢ and $1 stamps. In 1913, parcel post charges could be paid for with any stamp, and parcel post stamps became obsolete."

Shown above, parcel post stamp showing a mail carrier delivering packages.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trains, Inverted Planes and a Lifetime of Stamps

Reporter Regina Lynch reports on New York's NewHydePark Patch website, "For many, it’s hard to say that they have a job they truly love. For Bruce Hecht, he claims he hasn’t worked a day in his life. Hecht’s love of stamp collecting started when he was given his first album at 8 years old. He continued to collect, and started doing it as a part time job when he was 18. His other job was in the textile business until one day in 1975."

In 1976, Hecht switched to being a full time stamp dealer specializing in Canal Zone, U.N. and train stamps as well as those from the United States and worldwide.

In the article, Hecht shares a story about the "Inverted Jenny" that got away.

According to Lynch, "About 12 years ago while helping one client, Hecht was able to find one of those stamps for $62,000, which he says was a good price. The client, however, decided last minute not to close the deal. Today Hecht says that the stamp would sell for a quarter of a million dollars, minimum." 

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

D'oh! USPS Over Produced Simpson Stamps

"The money-losing U.S. Postal Service guessed that TV cartoon character Homer Simpson and his family were twice as popular as Elvis Presley when it came to sales of commemorative stamps. As Homer would say, 'D’oh!' In a move that wasted $1.2 million in printing costs, the service produced 1 billion of  'The Simpsons' stamps and sold 318 million," writes Angela Greiling Keane on

According to Keane, "The Postal Service inspector general in a singled out the overproduction of stamps marking the 20th anniversary of the cartoon’s run on News Corp. (NWS)’s Fox network as an example of failing to align stamp production with demand."

The inspector general criticized the process the service uses to decide how many stamps to produce, saying it’s unscientific and too much of a judgment call.

In response to the report, the Postal Service said the problem was caused in part because the Simpson stamps had a fixed value unlike a “forever” stamp and could no longer be used by themselves to mail a letter after postal rates increased.

The Simpson stamps, sold in 2009 and 2010, came in five designs featuring Homer, his wife, Marge, and children Bart, Lisa and baby Maggie. The stamps sold for 44 cents, 1 cent less than it costs now to mail a letter. 

To read the entire article, click here.

To read the Stamp Manufacturing and Inventory Management Audit Report click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stanley Gibbons Would Be 'Philattered'

Britain's Plymouth Herald reports,"Stamp collector George Williams (shown above) has put his impressive collection on display at the public library in Albert Road for people to peruse as well as information about one of the city's most internationally famous sons, Stanley Gibbons."

Williams is quoted as saying, " "Stanley was the forerunner of collectors. As sailors came into the Barbican, bringing their stamps with them, he would purchase them and that's how it started off."

According to the article, "Mr Gibbons was a colourful character, finally selling off his stamp business and travelling the world on the sizeable proceeds. Born in 1840 and dying in 1913, he did not only collect stamps during his life, but also wives. Sadly – and somewhat suspiciously to some historians – he outlived four of his wives, but passed away himself before his last wife, Sophia Crofts."

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

To Mail a Letter in 1847 Could Cost a Day's Pay

According to Gerald Tebben writing on Ohio's Columbus Dispatch website, "Things got sticky in Columbus in August 1847 when city Postmaster Samuel Medary received the first batch of federally issued postage stamps. Unlike the rubber stamps he had been using to mark postage on letters, the new stamps were pieces of paper backed with lick-and-stick adhesive."

Tebben goes on to say, "The 5- and 10-cent stamps were used to prepay postage. The light brown, 5-cent stamp, which pictured Benjamin Franklin, would carry a letter weighing up to a half-ounce for up to 300 miles. The black 10-cent stamp, which pictured George Washington, was good for greater distances."

"At a time when the laborers digging Ohio’s canals were paid just $5 a month, that postage could rival a day’s wages," Tebben points out.

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

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Burroughs Stamp Gets Tarzan Yell

Los Angeles Daily News staff writer Dana Bartholomew reports, "The unmistakable yell of Tarzan ripped through the trees Friday above Tarzana Community and Cultural Center. Then off came the veil from an oversize newly released postage stamp of San Fernando Valley author Edgar Rice Burroughs and his tree-climbing, ape-man hero.

 Dana Bartholomew goes to pen, "In a first-day-of-issue ceremony, hundreds of officials, community members, Burroughs family members and fans hailed the author on his home turf, on what was once his sprawling Tarzana Ranch. From across the nation, they came to trumpet Tarzan of the Apes, Lord of the Jungle, on the eve of his 2012 centennial birthday."

Shown above, Linda Burroughs, left, Dejah Burroughs and John R. Burroughs at the Aug. 17  unveiling of the Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan stamp.

To read the entire article, click here

For more on Burroughs and Tarzan in a related article by Bartholomew, click here 
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Prussian Blue

Keith Heddle, Investment Director at Stanley Gibbons, writes on the Proactive Investment website,"King George V was known as the 'Philatelist King'. He was passionate about stamps. So when the Royal Mail came to issue stamps to celebrate his Silver Jubilee in 1935 it was only right that the King would be heavily involved in their production."

According to Adrian Roose also at Stanley Gibbons, "On January 17th 1935 the final design was presented to The King for his final approval, with one question...what colour did he want the stamp to be? Given the choice of 'prussian blue' or 'blue' The King opted for the latter."

However, things did not go exactly as planned. 

To learn how the 2½d Prussian blue (shown above) became one of Great Britain's rarest stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, August 17, 2012

Domestic and Foreign Mailboxes to go on Display

The National Postal Museum reports, "Work has started on the conservation treatments of the 3-D objects going on display in the new William H.  Gross Stamp Gallery; opening in the fall of 2013. The first batch of objects being treated are foreign and domestic mail collection boxes. The countries these collection boxes are from are West Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and one collection box from a U.S. Naval ship." 

According to Rebecca Johnson, Preservation Technician and Offsite Coordinator, "The majority of these collection boxes were used and have signs of regular wear, which is part of their history. The goal of a conservation treatment is not to return these collection boxes to 'like-new' condition, but instead to stabilize moving joints and loose paint flakes and remove dirt or grime which is best for the long-term health of the object. This includes the inside as well as the outside of each box. There are no keys to open these boxes, but we could hear something moving around inside that did not belong there. The only way to find out what was inside was by removing it through the mail slot."

Found inside were personal postcards from Georgia and Texas, someone’s letter to the water department and another to State Farm.  Visitors mistook them for" active postage repositories" when they were on display many years ago.  Needless to say the mailed letters that will never arrived and the museum is currently deciding what to do with them. 

Shown above, Postal Museum employee removing debris from inside an Israeli collection box.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Carrier Alert Program

"This year, the U.S. Postal Service's Carrier Alert Program is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and the importance of the program was demonstrated firsthand last month," writes reporter Jessica Cohen on Ohio's website.

According to Cohen, "Letter carrier Kathy Frampton provided Page Road resident Katherine Lorencz, 64, with assistance July 9 when Frampton heard Lorencz yelling from her home."

Frampton is quoted as saying, ""I am familiar with Ms. Lorencz's situation, and I keep an eye on her.When I heard her yelling, I was thinking, 'Where is she?' I couldn't see her from the road."

Cohen goes on to say, "Frampton had last seen Lorencz on the morning of July 7. Sometime during the course of the weekend, Lorencz fell and was experiencing joint pain from the fall, according to Fire Chief Rob Reinholz. Frampton called 911, gave Lorencz some water and waited for first responders to come and take over."

David Van Allen, regional spokesperson for the USPS, is quoted in the piece as saying, ""As [the carriers] deliver mail every day, they pretty well know the trends of people. If they notice that mail is accumulating and hasn't been picked up for awhile, that's a good cue that the person might need to be checked on. The carrier may call a relative, knock on the door, then call the police."

Carrier Alert is a joint program of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the Postal Service, but its foundation is built on the local service organization, which might be the local United Way, Red Cross or Agency on Aging. The agency handles promotion, registration, administration, establishing local procedures and funding.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Promoting the Hobby with 'Stamp Collecting 101'

The American Philatelic Society (APS) has put together a guide to organizing and presenting an adult workshop where attendees can  learn about stamp collecting.

Called "Stamp Collecting 101", some of the topics the workshop covers include...
  • How to get started
  • Where to find stamps
  • When to soak stamps (and when not to soak)
  • How to safely store collectibles
  • How to use catalogs and reference materials
  • How to use the necessary tools of the hobby
  • How to identify worldwide stamps
With National Stamp Collecting Month coming up in October, this would be a great community event for local stamp clubs and others who want to promote the hobby.

For more information on how to host your own "Stamp Collecting 101" workshop, click here

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canadian Quarterback Takes a Licking

Canada's "Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Danny McManus took a licking in his 17-year CFL career — but never quite like this,"  writes Drew Edwardson website.

"McManus’s mug will be prominently featured on one of the nine new commemorative stamps issued by Canada Post, celebrating this year’s 100th Grey Cup Game," according to Edwards.

McManus is quoted in the article as saying, "“It’s very neat. Most guys have football cards or you might get your name on a plaque somewhere, but not very many guys have their face on a stamp.”

McManus says his two young boys are talking about starting a stamp collection, now that dad has his own.

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

Scouts Earn Stamp Collecting Merit Badge

Fourteen Boy Scouts completed the requirements for their stamp collecting merit badge at AMERICOVER 2012 in Irivine, Calif. over the weekend.

During the 4-hour workshop on Sunday, scouts learned about different types of stamps; where to get stamps; how to soak, hinge and mount stamps; how to use tongs, magnifiers, perforation gauges and catalogs; different types of albums; and designed a stamp.

They also got a tour of the bourse and exhibit area where they spoke to several dealers and exhibitors.

Each scout received their own notebook along with  tongs, U.S. and foreign stamps, hinges, manila stock pages and Vario stock pages.

Materials and other items were donated by the American Philatelic Society, American Topical Association, The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER), the Claude C. Ries Chapter of the American First Day Cover Society, Scouts on Stamps Society International, Stephen Patillo and the Mystic Stamp company.

Shown above, scouts along with instructor Don Schilling (center) and scout dads Markus Vester (left rear) and Alwin Morgenstern (far right).  

For more information on the Boy Scout stamp collecting merit badge requirements, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Facebook Experiments in Postcards

Marc Sanchez writes on the Tech Report blog, "Remember postcards? How about stamps? Facebook does, and its mulling over getting users to buy into the antiquated idea of sending real friends real notes on real paper through the real mail. Big Face is working with a small group of users, giving them the option to turn their pictures into postcards and mail them off to their friends. It says pricing is still being worked out, although the app Postagram does a similar function with Instagram pics for $0.99 a pop."

According to Sanchez, "The few users who are in the feature’s tester group will see a “Mail Postcard” button at the bottom of photos they’re viewing. Clicking it opens a screen to enter the friend’s address and message. Users can ask their friend or check their profile for their mailing address if they don’t know it. For now you can only mail your own private photos to friends, or mail friends their own photos that you can see. It doesn’t work for public photos or photos from Pages."

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

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Stamps Build Bridges of Friendship

Stamp collecting might sound like a throwback, a hobby geared for the days when people still snail-mailed letters to one another, and let their kids steam off the stamps and place them carefully in albums or scrapbooks for study and safekeeping. But philately is still a passion for many, and still has the potential to bridge even some of the widest gulfs, as full-time dentist, spare-time dedicated stamp collector Les Glassman recently discovered."

writes,"A collector for the last 48 years, he began with stamps of dogs and cats as a 4-year-old, then moved on to amassing a significant collection from the Portuguese colony of Mozambique, and expanded to stamps from Jerusalem, exhibiting the postal history of the city. Now a Jerusalemite himself, though raised in Johannesburg, Glassman and his siblings were encouraged by their stamp-collecting father. He learned about the world from his stamps, said Glassman, because  'stamps know no borders.' It was amazing to see all the different countries.”

Steinberg goes on to pen,"Glassman has exhibited his collection and won prizes throughout the world, and done so on behalf of the Israel Philatelic Society since moving here. But his most significant experience as a philatelist came in June, when he became an ambassador of sorts while exhibiting in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel."

"For many of the participants from Indonesia, Glassman was the first Jew they had ever met, never mind an Israeli, and one wearing a yarmulke at that, he said. And when he gave out starter stamp packets from the Israel postal society to local kids at the exhibition, he said, “it was like I gave them gold,” according to Steinberg.

Shown above, Les Glassman and his stamp exhibit.

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

Apollo 15's Contraband Stamp Debacle

"Little things can sometimes have big and damaging effects on a mission. In the case of Apollo 15, the 'little things with big consequences' were... postage stamps. It might be one of the stranger Apollo-era stories but the Apollo 15 crew put their careers in jeopardy over 298 postage stamps," Amy Shira Teitel writes on the Discovery News website.

According to Teitel, Apollo 15 took 250 envelopes with special issue space stamps to the moon. Commander Dave Scott had a cancellation device on hand and cancelled each stamp at Hadley Rille, the missions lunar landing point.

She goes on to say, "But memorabilia dealer Walter Eiermann saw the potential of selling these covers for profit and got the crew to take 300 more than the 250 they were authorized to carry. The idea was that Eiermann and each crewman -- Scott was accompanied by command module pilot Al Worden and lunar module pilot Jim Irwin -- would have 100 to sell after the mission. He also have the crew $7,000 for their troubles.

"Everything would have been fine had Eiermann not gotten over-zealous when he finally got his flown covers back after the crew returned on Aug. 7, 1971. He started selling them for $1,500 USD a piece in Europe, and it wasn't long before US authorities got wind of what was happening. The crew tried unsuccessfully to recover the covers but NASA got there first; the agency also confiscated 298 of the 300 the crew had taken for themselves (two were destroyed before the flight)."

Teitel writes, "In an attempt to save their careers, the astronauts returned the $7,000, but pressure from a congressional inquiry forced NASA to suspend the three men from flight status. They were also forced to sign an agreement saying they would never take memorabilia into space for personal profit again."

Shown above, one of the covers that were flown to the Lunar Surface on Apollo 15.

According to the website, "Once back from the moon and while on the USS Okinawa the crew added the twin 8c stamps and had the covers cancelled and date stamped at the on-board ship's post office, they then signed the covers on the flight from Hawaii back to Houston."

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

Thursday, August 09, 2012

LA Mayor Volunteers at Nation's Only All-Volunteer Post Office

Reporter Donna Littlejohn writes on California's Daily Breeze website, "As part of a swing through San Pedro for a couple of appearances Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decided to try his hand at selling a few U.S. postage stamps."

So the mayor and his entourage stopped off at the Assistance League's 48-year-old, all-volunteer-staffed contract post office station which is the only one of its kind in the nation according to the article.

After taking an oath as a volunteer, the mayor enthusiastically asked customers waiting in line, "Who wants some stamps?" 

After waiting her turn, Sunny Moss of Torrance, CA, said, "I need $1,020 worth of stamps. I need 20 coils of 45-cent stamps and six coils of 20-cent stamps."

According to Littlejohn, "The mayor's smile faded. His brow furrowed. He asked her to repeat the order as he wrote it down. The mayor turned to his volunteer trainer. 'What's a coil?' he asked."

Shown above, postal clerk for a day Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Tonga's Typewriter Stamp

Janet Klug pens an interesting article in this week's edition of Linn's Weekly Stamp News about how developing business technology impacted mail and stamps.

Klug writes, "In the days before and for a while after the use of a new invention called adhesive postage stamps, letters were handwritten. Invoices and orders scribbled with poor penmanship were likely to be misread, costing a business or customer valuable time and money. Bookkeepers and clerks were hired based at least in part upon their ability to write a clear hand. Legible handwriting was essential, and business colleges taught lovely Spencerian script handwriting as well as bookkeeping and other business skills."

Then something happened around 1874 - the typewriter began making its debut in business offices throughout the country.

Klug points out, " In 1896, when the typewriter was still fairly new technology, at least one of the machines made their way to the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific. Tonga was experiencing a shortage of half-penny stamps. The typewriter was used to type 'Half-Penny-' on a small number of sheets of the several denominations of stamps that had already been surcharged once before."

She goes on to say, "Another stamp issue was produced entirely by a typewriter in 1895. A British missionary with a typewriter was drafted to use the machine to make postage stamps, which he did. These were simple things, with a "U" typed in the upper left corner and a "G" in the upper right corner for Uganda Government."

Shown above,  an 1896 overprinted ½p-on-1½p-on-2p stamp (Scott 36) from Tonga.

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

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Historic Santa Monica Post Office in Jeopardy

California's Santa Monica Lookout reports, "With the postal service shuttering and selling off many of its valuable buildings around the country to help stem its hemorrhaging budget, Santa Monica’s downtown post office could end up in private hands..."

Postal officials are quoted as saying that closing the Santa Monica Main Post office would save the agency $3 million in ten years, despite an initial cost of consolidating the operation with another nearby post office facility.

Built in 1938, the building at Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue is one of Santa Monica's few examples of Works Progress Administration (WPA) structures and has been recommended to be put on the National Registry for Historic Buildings.

Shown above, Santa Monica post office dedication on July 24, 1938.

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

Monday, August 06, 2012

Joining a Stamp Club Has Advantages

Breck Pegram writes on Kentucky's State Journal website,"It has been said that stamp collecting is a hobby that lends itself well to being a solitary undertaking. I suppose that is correct if you tend to be a loner. If you want to approach stamp collecting basically alone, you’ll miss much of the fun and the knowledge that the hobby provides."

Peghram points out, "In a stamp club you see what others collect and how they collect it. You get ideas and most of all you get helpful advice from your fellow stamp collectors. Many members of the Kentucky Stamp Club help each other with everything from the procurement of the stamps to helping order supplies needed to put stamps in an album or other fitting display units.

Shown above, members of Kentucky Stamp Club in Frankfort, KY share a laugh.

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

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Dealing With Stamp Dealers

Gary Eggleston, BellaOnline's stamps editor writes, "Working with a stamp dealer is not the same as going down to your local hardware store to buy a screwdriver. A good stamp dealer will take an interest in what you are collecting. A good dealer will keep an eye out for items that you are looking for. This type of dealer will help to keep the spark in your stamp collecting adventures."

Eggleston advises, "Before you locate the one or more 'great stamp dealers' who can help you through your stamp collecting odyssey, you will need to shop around some. If there is only one dealer in your locale, you will need to cultivate a relationship with this dealer. If you have more than one dealer in your area, then by all means see which one offers you what you are looking for."

According to Eggleston, "A stamp dealer’s membership in a recognized stamp dealer’s organization or guild is very important. but it shouldn’t be the only determining factor...The reasons that a given stamp dealer chooses not to join a stamp dealer’s organization are varied and do not always indicate that the dealer is a shady operator. Of course it doesn’t hurt to inquire as to why they don’t belong to such a group."

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

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Retiring Mail Carrier Honored With Decorated Mailboxes

The Explore Baltimore County website reports, "About a dozen residents stood along the 200 block of Edridge Way Friday morning, their mailboxes decorated in honor of the man who has delivered their mail at 10:30 a.m. sharp for more than three decades."

Reporter Dudley Bradburn, 62, would retire once he completed the route the Baltimore Highlands native began covering 31 years ago, long before many of the residents of the street off Edmondson Avenue had moved in."

Conlin goes on to write, "Mary Van Wyngaarden, who has lived on the 200 block of Edridge Way for 27 years, recalled that her daughter, now 30 years old, would wait in a rocking chair for Bradburn to come and give her a lollipop when she was younger."

Shown above, Dudley Bradburn and one of the boxes along his route.

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

Friday, August 03, 2012

British Paint Mailboxes Gold

The Associated Press is reporting, "Some of the country's iconic red mailboxes were painted gold Thursday, to celebrate gold medals won by British Olympians."

Royal Mail is quoted in the piece as saying, "Champion cyclist Bradley Wiggins and rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were honored with a gold mailbox in each of their hometowns. It's the first time the mail service has changed the color of its mailboxes in more than a century. The boxes have been red since 1874."

According to the write-up, "The Royal Mail plans to paint another mail box gold every time a British Olympic or Paralympic athlete wins a gold medal during the London games. The pillar boxes will remain in use, and will stay gold for some time. The mail service did not specify when they will be repainted red."

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

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Willie Stargell "8 on 8" campaign

The Postal Service and the Pittsburgh Pirates have designated August 8, to kickoff the "8 on 8" campaign that encourages fans to mail eight letters to their friends and family using the new Willie Stargell stamp according to a a U.S. Postal Service press release.

While the Pirates retired his number 8 jersey in 1982, the late Hall of Famer whose 21-year-career with the Pirates included being named MVP of the 1979 World Series, continues with the issuance of a forever stamp last month. Also honored were Ted Williams, Larry Doby, and  Joe DiMaggio.

Stargell's wife Margaret Stargell is quoted in the release as saying, "Willie would be so humbled by this timeless recognition. Both he and my father Fritz Weller, who was a letter carrier for the Postal Service, would be thrilled to know that people will reach out to their family and friends with a letter of love in his honor on 8/8."

The press release points our that although Stargell was not involved in selecting number 8 for his jersey, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on 8/8/88, and his car's license plates read "HOF. 8.8.88."

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

60 House Bills to Name Post Offices, Zero To Fix Mail Service

ABC News reports, "In the 18 months the 112th Congress has been sworn in, the House has introduced 60 bills to rename post offices. Thirty-eight have passed the House and 26 have become law. During those 18 months, the House has produced 151 laws, 17 percent of which have been to rename post offices, according to Congressional Democrats."

Reporter Amy Bingham writes, "Not a single bill has come to the House floor aimed at reforming a Postal Service, which is bleeding billions of dollars because of Congressional mandates."

Bingham goes on to pen, "Today the United States Postal Service will default on a Congressional mandate to pay $5.5 billion to “prefund” health benefits for future retirees. On Friday, the House of Representatives will leave town for a five-week summer vacation. There is no plan to take up postal reform before that summer recess."

"So far this year, almost 50 bills to rename post offices have been introduced," writes Bingham. "Three of those bills have made it to the president’s desk, representing a full 13 percent of all legislation signed by President Obama this year. Throughout the previous legislative session, the 111th Congress introduced 427 bills to name post offices and passed more than 70 of them."

Shown above, plaque honoring First Lieutenant Oliver Goodall after whom Pasadena, California's main post office was renamed earlier this year. Lt. Goodall was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II and worked as a postal service employee after the war.

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