Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

“Inverted Jenny Invert” Not a Hit With Collectors

The Postal News Blog reports, "The US Postal Service thought it would be an exciting idea to intentionally “misprint” some of its recent 'Inverted Jenny' commemorative stamps, with the famous upside down biplane flying right side up.

"But it seems that stamp collectors, the intended audience, are not impressed. A commentary in this week’s Linn’s Stamp News by Scott catalog editor Charles Snee says the gimmick 'exposes the lack of understanding that the Postal Service exhibits toward the hobby and collectors'.

"While the 100 'misprinted' panes will certainly rise in value thanks to their scarcity, that won’t be reflected in the Scott catalog, considered the bible of the stamp collecting hobby. Editor Snee noted when the stamps were announced that Scott’s listing policy excludes 'intentional varieties created in small quantities'. As far as Scott is concerned, the “exciting” stamps will merit a mere footnote in the catalog. "

To read the entire post, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Monday, October 28, 2013

New York’s Youngest Professional Philatelist

"Andrew Titley speaks in a discombobulating accent that is both suave Brit and brash New Yorker. He is 25 years old, but could pass for younger. He loves Brooks Brothers suits, Ferragamo shoes and drives a 3-Series BMW. But what really revs him up are, well, postage stamps. Specifically, rare and collectible stamps that can command staggering prices. Titley is likely the country’s youngest professional philatelist," writes Christopher Wynn on the website.

Titley is an appraiser for the international office of the Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York which is one of the largest stamp auction houses in the United States. According to Wynn, Titley is "frustrated by the industry stereotype of the fuddy-duddy old man poring over books of cellophane-protected postage."

He quotes Titley as saying "Stamps have a reputation for being geeky. It’s almost a stigma: ‘My grandfather did it.’”

Wynn goes on to pen, "Awkwardly, in Titley’s case, his grandfather really did do it. Titley says his Welsh grandfather worked for the United Nations and helped the family collect stamps wherever they traveled, from Fiji to Egypt. When his grandfather died decades ago, Titley’s dad, who had moved the family to Long Island, passed the collection on to him. Titley became obsessed — and just a wee bit conniving. When he was 12, he grew bored with his dad’s stamps and wanted to build his own collection. He stole his father’s eBay login and sold Dad’s stamps to fund his own purchases, many of which turned out to be good investments."

 Shown above, Andrew Titley at work.
Titley still collects stamps for himself in his off-hours. - See more at:

 To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Saturday, October 26, 2013

‘Stamp Collector’ Boots Banned

Reporter Chris Wright writes on the "Who Ate All The Pies?" website that, "Newcastle centre-half Steven Taylor has been banned from wearing a pair of specially-made boots with 'The Stamp Collector' stitched on them for Sunday’s North-east derby clash against Sunderland over fears they may incite the ire of the Black Cats faithful."

According to Wright, "The personalised message is a reference to Taylor’s admission in the build-up to last season’s Newcastle-Sunderland derby that he 'would rather be a stamp collector' than watch Sunderland play."

Shown above, 2013 stamp from Finland celebrating one of its weird sports -  boot throwing.

For more on this story,  click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Family Day at the Spellman Museum

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Downloadable Book on Forensic Philately

Stamp dealer extraordinaire Michael Ball, shown here, writes on his Facebook page, "Here's a great new technical book on Forensic Philately and a great asset for understanding how stamp expertising is done. You can go to this website and actually download the book for free. It's a $150 value I'd say for what's in it. If you are beyond a beginning stamp collector and even if you think you're already an expert you're going to love the data in this book. The pictures are also outstanding and very useful."

Click here to download the PDF Hi Res file."

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Rarest Stamp You Never Heard Of

It's one of the world's greatest rarities, but many collectors have never heard of it. In this video, Don Sundman of Mystic Stamp Company explores the history of the Black Honduras.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Medal of Honor Stamps to Be Released on Veteran's Day

Facebook friend, and editor of the Scott catalogues, Chad Snee reports that next month the Postal Service will release  two Forever® stamps that salute those gallant individuals who received the nation’s highest award for valor in combat  - the Medal of Honor.

The stamps will be released on November 11, which is Veteran’s Day.

For more on this story, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kalamazoo, Michigan Featured on Japanese Souvenir Sheet

"Postal stamps adorned with images of Kalamazoo are currently circulating in Japan, as post offices in Kalamazoo's sister city, Numazu, launched the souvenir stamps as a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship," writes reporter Christina Cantero of the Kalamazoo Gazette on the Michigan Live website.

The stamps are sold at 31 post offices in the Numazu area, and are valid to use anywhere in the country. Each stamp is worth approximately 80 cents according to Cantero.

"The collection includes images of the Kalamazoo Transportation Center, a historic bi-plane at the Air Zoo and the Heritage Guitar Company, as well as a larger stamp featuring the East gateway to Downtown Kalamazoo, and an even larger image of South Haven. according to Cantero.

To read the entire article and see additional photos of the new stamps, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Top Five Free Online Stamp Catalogues Reviewed

Fellow blogger Keijo Kortelainen from Finland writes on his excellent Stamp Collecting Blog, "One of the frequently asked questions by newbie stamp collectors concerns free online stamp catalogues: are there any, and how to find them. So, I thought it would be fun and useful to write a short review list of what I consider the top5 alternatives. I hope You have fun exploring the below websites..." 

After listing the site, Keijo goes on to talk about the pros, cons and overall evaluation of each site.

Shown above, Keijo Kortelainen and some of his stamp stockbooks. 

To check out his comments, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Every Stamp Collectors Nightmare

New York CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff reports that a Long Island Rail Road commuter found a valuable stamp collection Friday afternoon during his ride home and he’s trying to find the stamps’ rightful owner so he can return them.

According to Gusoff, "Brian Ginsberg found the collection in a green and white canvas bag with the word 'Greenway' printed on it. To ensure that the couple returns the collection to its rightful owner, the Ginsbergs have kept one identifying mark a secret — something only the true owner would know."

Nora Ginsberg, Brian’s wife, is quoted in the piece as saying, "“It’s obviously something that someone’s taken years to accumulate, and it’s meticulously cared for.”

For more on this story, click here.

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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders On Stamps

June Thomas reports on the Slate website that the Harvey Milk Foundation and the U.S. Postal Service have confirmed that San Francisco politician Harvey Milk ,who was openly gay, will be featured on a new postage stamp next year.

Thomas says, "Most reports observe that Milk will be the 'first openly LGBT official ever featured on a U.S. stamp.” As is so often the case, openly is the key word in that statement.'"

She points out in her article, "The USPS has put several lesbian, gay, or bisexual people on stamps over the years—including Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Samuel Barber, Elizabeth Bishop, Isadora Duncan, Langston Hughes, Frida Kahlo, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Cole Porter, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, Rosetta Tharpe, Andy Warhol, Walt Whitman, and Tennessee Williams—and there are surely many others who qualify but whose inclusion might be disputed."

She also mentions Medal of Honor recipient Mary Edwards Walker who was given a stamp in 1982 in recognition of her service as a Civil War surgeon.

 Thomas questions Walker's sexuality by saying, "Walker was wed shortly after she graduated from medical school in 1855, but the marriage was short-lived, and for much of her life Walker, who preferred to dress in men’s clothing—and was arrested several times for doing so—dedicated herself to the causes of women’s suffrage and “dress reform.”

Shown above, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker photographed in 1911, along with the stamp that commemorates her Civil War service

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It Takes Commitment to Be A Stamp Collector

writes on Australia's Sunshine Coast Daily website, "With literally more than two million stamps in his collection, Toowoomba's Bob Littlehales admits it takes a lot of commitment to call yourself a stamp collector. He estimates he spends around 12 hours each week mulling over his collection, cataloguing and researching different varieties."

Accord to Farmer, Littlehales has been collecting for 57 years but still finds something new and different to get excited about.

Shown above, Toowoomba Stamp Club president Bob Littlehales with some stamps worth between $900 and $1700 at the annual stamp day at St Paul's Lutheran Church hall.

To read the entire article and additional photos, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Post Office Incites Philatelic Frenzy

Reporter Matthew Healey writes in the New York Times, "In an effort to rekindle the public’s excitement over stamp collecting and interest a new generation in the hobby, the United States Postal Service has created an instant stamp rarity — a twist on one of the world’s most famous and valuable stamps."

Healey reports, "The campaign involves the post office’s recent reprint of the classic 95-year-old stamp error known to collectors as the Inverted Jenny, which shows a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, or a 'Jenny,' printed upside down."

A sheet of 100 of the airmail stamps somehow got mixed into the normal post office stock and was purchased in 1918 by William T. Robey.  Robey later sold it to a stamp dealer and "purchased a house with the proceeds," according to Healey.
Today the stamps are one of the world's most famous philatelic mistakes and has become known as the "Inverted Jenny."  Today they sell for close to a million dollars a piece.

The reprints,however, sell for $2 each and are being issued in a miniature sheet of six as shown above.

Healey points out that, "100 of the new sheets actually show the airplane flying upright. Each sheet is individually wrapped, so no one can see the stamps before they are bought. A note is included with the right-side-up rarities, alerting buyers to their true nature. Lucky finders can obtain a certificate signed by the postmaster general."
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is quoted in the piece as saying, "The last time we had a stamp issue everybody got excited about was the Elvis stamp, 20 years ago,” Donahoe said.

Healey goes on to say, "One of the first right-side-up rarities was found by a Canadian collector, Glenn Watson of Newmarket, Ontario. According to the Postal Service, Mr. Watson, a longtime collector of United States and Canadian stamps, had ordered the sheet from the postal store on eBay. He called his discovery a “total surprise.”

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Friday, October 11, 2013

Federal Reserve Choice and her Husband Collect Stamps

The Associated Press is reporting, "Janet Yellen, the White House's choice to lead the Federal Reserve starting next year, is known as a meticulous perfectionist, an unusually accurate prognosticator and a firm believer in the use of Fed policy to reduce unemployment," and she's a stamp collector.

According to the report, "Yellen and her husband, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, have held a mix of big-company stocks and investment funds in a trust. And they share a fondness for stamps.The two held between $4 million and $13 million in assets as of Yellen's financial disclosure report for 2012. Their stamp collection was valued at between $15,000 and $50,000."

Shown above, philatelists Janet Yellen and husband, George Akerlof. 
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Every 15th Person on Earth is a Stamp Collector

Yesterday, October 9th, was World Post Day.

On that day in 1874, the industry’s main international organization, the Universal Postal Union, was established. Russia was among the organization’s 12 founding countries according to the Russia Behind the Headlines website.

According to the site, "Every 15th inhabitant of Earth is a philatelist who collects postage stamps. The United Nations published statistics that conclude that philately, the study and collection of stamps and other related items, is now the most widespread field of collecting in the world. During the Soviet Union, this hobby was very popular among schoolchildren. For some, it became a serious passion."

To lear more about World Post Day, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Could Fishing Licenses Save the Post Office?

"If Congress wants it to be a self-sustaining operation, it has to loosen its micromanaging grip," says the Los Angeles Times in one of yesterday's editorials titled "Free The Post Office."

The Times editorial board believes, "Congress should make up its mind: Either it wants the Postal Service to be a government agency under its thumb, which would require federal subsidies, or it wants a self-sustaining operation, in which case it has to loosen its micromanaging grip.

It can't have it both ways.

According to the editorial, "A bill in the U.S. Senate would cut a path in the latter direction, giving the Postal Service more autonomy, though not as much as postal officials would like. The Postal Reform Act of 2013, S 1486, by Sens. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), would allow agency managers to renegotiate pensions for new employees and to base funding of retiree health plans on the demographics of employees."

It goes on to say, "The legislation would give the agency authority to provide new services, such as selling fishing licenses or acting as an identification-verification service for people who want to do online business with the federal government. It would be allowed to sell a wider range of retail items and to ship alcoholic beverages."

To read the entire editorial, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:00 AM

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Is There a Conflict of Interest in Sale of U.S. Post Offices?

, Community Manager at Stanley Gibbons PLC /, writes on LinkedIn that  California Senator Diane Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum stand to make between $950 million and $1.1 billion on the sale of U.S. Post Offices.

According to Stephano, Blum is a senior executive at CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) which has been contracted to sell 56 U.S. Post Offices across the country.

Stephano says that CBRE will be making a minimum of 3% and as much as 6% commission on each and every sale.

Shown above, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California).

For more on this story, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:09 AM

Monday, October 07, 2013

USPS to Destroy “Just Move” Stamps

Linn’s Stamp News reports that the US Postal Service will destroy the entire press run of a stamp series aimed at getting children to be more active.

According to Linn’s reporter Bill McAllister, three of the stamps in the fifteen stamp series raised safety concerns among sports figures on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

The stamps in question depicted children performing a cannonball dive, skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet.

The unsafe depictions came to light after USPS Marketing chief Nagisa Manabe asked Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps. That was apparently the first time the stamps had been reviewed by the Sports Council.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:48 PM