Monday, December 31, 2012

New Children's Book - "The Stamp Collector"

The Stamp Collector by Jennifer Lanthier, François Thisdale, illustrator,. is reviewed on the website by Kerry Clare.

Clare pens, "In measured, precise prose, Lanthier tells the story of a Chinese boy who discovers a discarded postage stamp and realizes he is connected to a wider world. As stamp collecting becomes his passion, another boy in the countryside develops his own passion for telling stories. Their lives intersect years later, when the first boy becomes a guard at the prison where the second has been locked up for his political writings."

Clare goes on to say "The writer is sent letters from readers around the world, though he’s not permitted to receive any of them. With his interest in stamps, the prison guard takes note of the mail and eventually feels compelled to deliver the letters to the writer as evidence the world has not forgotten him. Weakened by his years in prison and near death, the writer tells his stories to the guard, who promises to share them. He does so by writing a book that begins as The Stamp Collector does: “This is the story of not long ago and not far away ..."

For additional information, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Stamp for Every Holocaust Child Lost

Reporter Christine Igo Freeman writes on Massachusetts' Foxboro Reporter website that the Foxborough Regional Charter School has collected 1.5 million stamps to honor the 1,500,000 children killed in the Holocaust.

According to Freeman the schools goal is to collect 11 million stamps.  Six million Jews and five million other victims of Nazi aggression in Europe before and during World War II in including 1.5 million children.

The Holocaust Stamps Project began in 2009 and is one of the Community Service Learning (CSL) classes that students in grades 5-12 take in addition to their regular classes.

If you would like to participate in helping the school reach its goal, send your stamps to Holocaust Stamp Project, Foxborough Regional Charter School, 131 Central Street, Foxboro, MA 02035. If possible, sending them trimmed is greatly appreciated and even better if you can provide a count of how many you are donating.

Shown above, teachers and children with 1.5 million stamps they have already collected.

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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Great Texas Stamp Collection

Mike Cox writes on the Austin, Texas website,  "Still one of the most popular hobbies despite the continuing erosion of first-class mail by email, stamp collecting has millions of U.S. enthusiasts. Turns out some of the rarest — and now most valuable — stamps ever pasted on an envelope were printed in Texas early in the Civil War by several Confederate postal officials."

He goes on to say, "The story of these Texas-made stamps is well-told by Charles W. Deaton in “

: How Some Stubborn Texas Confederate Postmasters, a Handful of Determined Texas Stamp Collectors, and a Few of the World’s Greatest Philatelists Created, Discovered, and Preserved Some of the World’s Most Valuable Postage Stamps.” (University of Texas Press, $27.95 in hardcover.)

"That not-so-postage-stamp-size subtitle pretty much covers what the book’s about. The only information it leaves out is that the story also involves big money, greed and its progeny, crime."

Click here to preview the table of contents and introduction along with additional information. 
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 27, 2012

USPS May Start Selling Mag Subscriptions

The Columbia Journalism Review reports, "Your next magazine subscription may well be purchased at the post office—the Postal Service could begin selling magazines directly to consumers as soon as next month."

According to reporter Peter Sterne, "The news comes from the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee. MTAC is a committee made up of representatives from the US Postal Service and various industries related to it—from magazine publishers to envelope manufacturers. Most of their discussions are concerned with arcane mailing regulations, but one proposal is relevant to journalists and media companies."

Sterne goes on to say, "The plan is for the Postal Service to install posters with QR code in post offices around the country. Customers could then scan the code with their phones and subscribe to different magazines. Alternatively, they could just subscribe to magazines online, through USPS did not respond to requests for comment."

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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Mail

In the mood for a philatelic Christmas movie you probably haven't seen? Then try Christmas Mail.

According to Hallmark's Spirit Clips website, "Sparks fly during the holidays when Postman Matt (A.J. Buckley: 'CSI: NY') meets mysterious new coworker Kristi (Ashley Scott: 'Jericho'). As an official 'Santa Writer', Kristi is buried in children's letters to Santa. Her job-to respond to every letter addressed to St. Nick. Their petty boss is suspicious of this new employee and enlists a reluctant Matt to spy on her. The more Matt gets to know Kristi, the more he falls for her.

It goes on to say, "After learning of Matt's forced betrayal, Kristi is devastated and leaves the post office. Will the magic of the Christmas season be enough to bring them back together? Christmas Mail is an endearing Christmas tale that will appeal to the entire family this holiday season."

Click here to sign up to Spirit Clips and watch this and other films during a free one week trial.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Busiest Day of the Year for USPS

Tuesday is expected to be the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service.

USPS officials are anticipating 658 million pieces of mail to be sent out, which is more than a 100 million more than an average day.

Thursday is the last recommended day to send mail expected to arrive before Christmas Eve.

After that, USPS recommends the two-day priority mail service or overnight express mail.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Friday, December 14, 2012

“Modern Art in America” Miniature Sheet

Due for release in early 2013, the “Modern Art in America” miniature sheet shown above marks the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show in New York - the first exhibition to introduce modern art to American audiences on a large scale.

According to a write-up on the ArtFix Daily website, twelve works, dating from 1913 to 1931, will be featured.

These include Stuart Davis’s House and Street, Charles Demuth’s I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, Aaron Douglas’s The Prodigal Son, Arthur Dove’s Fog Horns, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, Marsden Hartley’s Painting, Number 5, John Marin’s Sunset Maine Coast, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie’s II, Man Ray’s Noire et Blanche, Charles Sheeler’s American Landscape, Joseph Stella’s Brooklyn Bridge, and Gerald Murphy’s Razor.

For more information about the artists and to pre-order, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Movie Promotes Stamp Collecting

Saturday Night Live comedian turned serious actor Bill Murray has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical."

Murray portrays Franklin Roosevelt in the new film Hyde Park on Hudson.  While Murray does not collect stamps as far as we know, Franklin Roosevelt certainly did and the film uses stamp collecting as part of the the story line.

The film takes place during the summer of 1939 at Hyde Park in New York during a weekend visit of  the King and Queen of England.

In one of the opening scenes, Roosevelt asks his cousin, Daisy, if she would like to see his "some of his stamps." As she looks through one of the albums filled with pictures of world leaders on stamps, she comments, "You must have met them all." Roosevelt replies, "Not all of them," as the camera cuts to a close up of a stamp with Hitler on it.

Later in the film he asks the visiting King George VI if he collected stamps.  He responds, "I used to." Roosevelt then advises King George to find a past time where he will not be disturbed. "People know not to disturb me when I'm working on my stamps, " Roosevelt says.

Shown above, 1945 stamp picturing Roosevelt and his Hyde Park home.

Click here for more about Hyde Park on Hudson.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yet Another Philatelic Holiday Gift Idea

USPS is offering a set of Twentieth-Century Poets note cards that have beautiful lines from ten great American poets and evocative illustrations created by artist Vivienne Flesher.

The set includes ten cards (blank inside, so you can customize), ten envelopes, and ten corresponding Twentieth-Century Poets (Forever®) stamps. According to the USPS, "The cards are perfect for any occasion and offer something a little unexpected this time of year. Get a set for yourself or for the poetry lover in your life!"

The ten writers featured in the set are Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams.

 To order, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are Christmas Stamps Unconstitutional?

Susan Esther Barnes writes on the Jewish Journal website, "I was at the Safeway checkout counter this week, about to respond with my usual, 'Yes, thanks' when asked whether I had found everything I need, when instead I blurted, 'Oh, wait! Stamps! The cashier kindly charged me for stamps, reached into her drawer, and handed over a book. I glanced down as she placed them in my hand, while my mind registered the drawings of Santa and his reindeer. I inquired hopefully, 'Do you have any that aren’t Christmas stamps? I’m Jewish.' Alas, the answer was, “Sorry, no.”

She goes on to pen, "If other people want to have Christmas stamps, Christmas Coca-Cola cans, and Christmas Oreos, that’s perfectly fine with me. But I don’t want them, and I don’t think they should be foisted on me against my will. It does raise the question, however, of what the U.S. Postal Service is doing selling postage stamps with religious symbols on them. Does that not constitute promoting a religion, which is against the US Constitution?"

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Stamps Displayed at Club Meeting

Several members of the Dakshina Kannada Philately and Numismatic Association in India brought more than 1000 Christmas stamps to a recent meeting according to the Hindu Times.

The oldest stamps displayed were from 1945, followed by stamps issued in 1953, 1958, and 1959. Twenty-five countries were represented.Topics included Christmas carols, angels, Santa Claus, holly, poinsettia, the Nativity scene and Christmas trees.

Shown above, the Dakshina Kannada Philately and Numismatic Association.

To read the entire article, click here.

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

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Another Philatelic Gift Idea

The Fort and Field website is offering some unique masking tape that has stamp designs on it.

Made in Japan, the tape can be used to "to seal a note, decorate a gift, in an album, anywhere for a bit of color!"

According to the site,  "The tape is easy to reposition and tear by hand and is transparent (but not too much) so one or multiple colors and prints can be layered over each other for great effect."

Cost is $7.50 for a 11-yard roll.

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

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The History Behind Postal Currency

According to the American Numismatic Association's website, "As the Civil War began, many people started to stockpile their money, causing a serious shortage of coin currency. To replace the shortage of coins, people began to use postage stamps as currency. John Gault came up with the idea to 'encase' the stamps in order to provide extra protection for them.

"Even with this case around the stamps, the stamps could be taken out and used as normal postage. US Treasurer Francis E. Spinner recognized that people were using postage stamps for currency; he recommended to Congress that a new paper money series should be produced.
"In August of 1862, fractional currency, otherwise known as postage currency, was developed. The design for the postage currency was based off the design of 5-cent and 10-cent stamps. This form of money was printed in 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent and 50-cent denominations. Postage currency was short-lived: It existed from August 1862 until May 1863 and was replaced by fractional currency. Fractional currency, which was used until 1876, was not only a different design and size, making them easier to distinguish, but it was also difficult to counterfeit."

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

Friday, December 07, 2012

Collecting Pearl Harbor Postal History

Today marks the 71st Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. A day that will live in infamy and one which makes for interesting collecting.

Fred Schmitt writes in one of his postal history newsletters, "There are many different kinds of mail that would be considered 'Pearl Harbor-related.' In essence, collectors are interested in postally used covers (which can be even more desirable if  the contents are intact) not only to and from Hawaii in the weeks before and just after the attack, but also mail from a much broader period to and from the 116 named ships that were in the harbor on the morning of the attack."

He goes on to say, "Either kind of mail can be military--related mail or civilian mail (such as letters to
and from sailors on the vessels, soldiers at Schofield Barracks, or airmen at Hickam Field. Another important related area is the collecting of covers bearing patriotic slogans and artwork that were produced and in use after the attack and all during the war."

Shown above, a censored cover with a Naval ship cancel dated December 7, 1941. Although there's no indication where the cover originated, it is still valuable according to Schmitt.

To view some examples, click here and here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ohio Post Office Saves Rudolph

The Associated Press reports, "The most famous postmark of all has been saved, thanks to volunteers in the northwest Ohio village of Rudolph."

According to the piece by "Thousands of letters flood the village post office every December so that they can be stamped with a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer postmark. But the tradition was in danger of ending when the post office staff was cut down to one, and the work became too much to handle."

Charlotte Lamb, who's in charge of the tiny post office, is quoted as saying,""I struggled with it for a little bit, but then I just realized no matter what I wanted, it couldn't be done by me alone."

The article goes on to say, "When word spread, pleadings from local politicians and townsfolk persuaded the U.S. Postal Service to allow volunteers to stamp the special Reindeer Station postmark on the 80,000 letters and cards that come in from across the country. Close to 75 people, including a few retired postal workers, have signed up to work daily shifts."

Rep. Randy Gardner, who reached out to the postal service, said, "The reindeer stamp generates about $8,000 to $10,000 in revenue for the post office."

To get Rudolph's postmark on your holiday cards, send them already stamped, in a large envelope or box to: Postmaster, Rudolph, Ohio 43462

To read the entire article, click here.

Click here for a related story about the post office that saved Rudolph..
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Rosa Parks to Get a Stamp

USPS has announced that civil rights champion Rosa Parks will be honored with a stamp sometime next year.

According to a USPS press release, "In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks courageously refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man, defying the discriminatory laws of the time. The U.S. Postal Service is proud to honor the life of this extraordinary American activist who became an iconic figure in the civil rights movement."

It goes on to say, "The stamp art, a gouache painting on illustration board, is a portrait of Parks emphasizing her quiet strength. A 1950s photograph served as the basis for the stamp portrait. Artist Thomas Blackshear II created an original painting for the stamp, which was designed by art director Derry Noyes."

Parks died in 2005.

Click here for more on Rosa Parks.
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posted by Don Schilling at 5:18 PM

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

New American Philatelic Research Library Online Exhibits

The American Philatelic Research Library (APRL) has added some new exhibits to their online collection.

These include:
  • British East Africa, the stamps and their usage, 1890-1902 by George T. Krieger (Grand and Gold, Houston 2011)
  • Haiti’s 1c Royal Palm of 1892 by Peter C. Jeannopoulos
  • Indian Post Office in Zanzibar 1878-1895 by Geoge T. Krieger (Gold, Penpex 2006)
  • Uganda on British East Africa by George T. Krieger (Gold and Grand, NY Mega Stamp Show 2007; Gold and Grand, Houston 2004)
Click here to browse the rest of their growing collection on our website

Click here to search the APRL library catalog for exhibits available for loan.

If you would like to make a copy of your exhibit available on our website, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Monday, December 03, 2012

"Mail and the Civil War" Papers Available For Download

Papers and presentations from the 7th Annual Postal History Symposium, held last month at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, are now available to download.

The theme of the symposium was “Blue and Gray: Mail and the Civil War.” Presenters covered diverse aspects of mail during the Civil War period such as “Decorated Envelopes as Weapons of War,” and “The Madison, Florida Postmaster Provisionals: Anatomy of a Postal History Research Project.”

The 2012 symposium featured ten talks delivered by philatelists and academic scholars, as well as a keynote presentation, “The Post Office as Civic Institution in Civil War America,” by Dr. Joseph M. Adelman, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Framingham State University.

The cover shown above was part of the Postal History Society talk "The Fort Sumter Issue of 1961: A Commemorative in Conflict" which was given by David M. Frye

Click here to view presentations and abstracts.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Sunday, December 02, 2012

No Stamp - No Letter to Santa

Reporter Chris Doucette writes on Canada's Sun-News website, "A mother of two said she was told to put stamps on her kids' letters to Santa if she wanted them to reach the North Pole. And the Grinch-like move by Canada Post is not getting a stamp of approval from children."

According to Doucette when Hailey,7, and Tyler, 10, Cormack went to the post office to mail their letters with their mom, Vanessa, they were shocked when the postal worker informed her they needed to purchase stamps.

Vanessa is quoted as saying, "I've been sending letters to Santa since I was a kid and I've never needed a stamp," she said. And the fact (the postal worker) told me in front of my kids really took the magic out of it."

The exchange then prompted "an awkward exchange" with Tyler. Her son, who has been mailing his wish list most of his life, asked her,‘Why did Santa change the rules?"

"She didn't have any cash on her, so she and the kids had to return home with their letters still in hand. Vanessa made some phone calls and was told by a worker at a different post office to go ahead and mail the letters without stamps," pens Doucette.

She says she also spoke to someone at Canada Post's head office and was told the stamp requirement was "a new policy" but that letters without postage will still get to the North Pole this year.

Canada Post officially began accepting Santa letters, without stamps, in 1982.

Shown above, Vanessa and her children.

To read the entire article, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Guernsey Post Will Issue a 'Smart' Stamp

BBC news is reporting that Guernsey Post will issue a miniature sheet of stamps that can be scanned with a smart phone. Using a special mobile phone app, collectors and others can then view a special documentary about the fish shown on the stamps.

According to the article, the images and footage taken for the stamps are the work of Sue Daly, a world-renowned underwater photographer. Ms. Daly  photographed the  fish during her summer dives around the island.

Boley Smillie, Guernsey Post's chief executive is quoted as saying, "We are extremely pleased with this exciting new product. The technology, which is easy to use, brings the stamp to life and adds another dimension for our collectors to explore."

Click here for more on the world's first 'smart' stamp issued by Great Britain.  

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM