Are Stamp Collectors an Endangered Species?

By admin | April 13, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Columnist Harry L. Rinker writes on his website a disturbing article about the future of certain hobbies.

While not specifically mentioning stamp collecting, some of his Ten Signposts to Identify Endangered Collecting Categories do sound frighteningly familiar.

Harry lists these 10 indications that a hobby is becoming extinct…

SIGNPOST 1: The average age of collectors exceeds 60. An average age of 55-60 is a warning.

SIGNPOST 2. It is possible to count the number of major collectors on two hands and/or the number of collectors is 50 or less.

SIGNPOST 3. A collectors’ club or clubs disappearance.

SIGNPOST 4. Objects from the collecting category are no longer available or found in limited quantities at antiques malls, shops, and shows.

SIGNPOST 5. The sell-through rate on eBay drops below 20 percent.

SIGNPOST 6. Nothing is able to check the steady decline in value.

SIGNPOST 7. Objects disappear or are sold in lots at auction.

SIGNPOST 8. No new specialized price guide or reference book on the collecting category has appeared within the last five years.

SIGNPOST 9. Trade periodicals provide little to no coverage of the collecting category.

SIGNPOST 10. The collecting category disappears, is grouped with other collecting categories, or is totally ignored in general antiques and/or collectibles price guides.

Harry writes “Rinker on Collectibles,” a weekly syndicated column, which appears in trade papers and daily periodicals around the country.

To read the entire article, click here.

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“Postcrossing” Sends Love Around the World

By admin | April 6, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

The Jakarta Post features an article about the online project “Postcrossing.”

The free service allows people from around the world to send and receive postcards to each other by providing names and addresses of people who have signed up. The only cost is the postage and the postcards.

According to reporter Dian Kuswandini, “The project now receives an average of 303 postcards every hour, amounting to almost 4 million to date,” and has 167,000 members from more than 200 countries.

Dian goes on to write, “The idea is: If you send a postcard, you will receive at least one back from a random “Postcrossing” member from somewhere else in the world.”

Created almost 5 years ago by Slovenian philatelist Paulo Magalhães who “loved to receive snail mail — not just from friends, but also from remote places.”

Paulo is quoted as saying he believes, “The project does more than just create friendships, it also sends love and lights up thousands of smiles across the world.”

Last year, for example, “Postcrossing” encouraged its members to send postcards of butterflies to lupus patients for World Lupus Day (butterflies are the lupus symbol).

Then there was the Australian man who ended up marrying a Finnish woman after meeting through “Postcrossing.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Click here to go to “Postcrossing.”

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“Privilege” Franking

By admin | March 30, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog


“Privilege” franking is a personally pen signed or printed facsimile signature of a person with a “franking privilege” such as certain government officials (especially legislators) and others designated by law or Postal Regulations. In the United States this is called the “Congressional frank” which can only be used for “Official Business” mail.

According to Wikipedia, “In the United States, the franking privilege predates the establishment of the republic itself, as the Continental Congress bestowed it on its members in 1775. The First United States Congress enacted a franking law in 1789 during its very first session. Congress members would spend much time “inscribing their names on the upper right-hand corner of official letters and packages” until the 1860s for the purpose of sending out postage free mail.

“Yet, on January 31, 1873, the Senate abolished “the congressional franking privilege after rejecting a House-passed provision that would have provided special stamps for the free mailing of printed Senate and House documents.” Within two years, however, Congress began to make exceptions to this ban, including free mailing of the Congressional Record, seeds, and agricultural reports. Finally, in 1891, noting that its members were the only government officials required to pay postage, Congress restored full franking privileges. Since then, the franking of congressional mail has been subject to ongoing review and regulation.”

The site goes on to say, “The phrase franking is derived from the Latin word ‘francus’ meaning free. Another use of that term is speaking ‘frankly’i.e. ‘freely’. Because Benjamin Franklin was an early United States Postmaster General, satirist Richard Armour referred to free congressional mailings as the ‘Franklin privilege’.

It is interesting to note that the President of the United States does not have personal franking privileges but the vice president, who is also President of the Senate, does.

Shown above, a U.S. Congressional franked mailing.

To learn more, click here.

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Drugs Hidden Under Prison Postcard Stamps

By admin | March 24, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Florida’s St. Petersburg Times reports, “Postcards sent with love from a wife to her incarcerated husband had a little something extra — drugs, crushed to a powder and hidden underneath the stamps.”

” A clerk in the jail’s mail room noticed a bumpy-looking stamp, reported it to a deputy who peeled the stamp back to reveal a blue powder that later tested positive for oxycodone,” according to the article by reporter Erin Sullivan.

The wife was arrested and charged with eight counts of introduction of contraband into a detention facility - seven postcards with oxycodone and one with morphine.

She told authorities she sent the drugs because her husband asked her to do it.

The jail changed its mail policy last year, forbidding letters in envelopes to inmates and only allowing correspondence on postcards to reduce contraband.

To read the entire article, click here.

For a related story on on the switch to prison postcards, click here.

Rating 4.00 out of 5
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The Stamp Collecting Habits of King George V

By admin | March 23, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

UK’s Telegraph reports, “From May 7 to July 25 the British Postal Museum and Archive, in collaboration with the Royal Philatelic Collection, is putting on an exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London of stamps and postal memorabilia from the reign of George V. This is because May 6 is the centenary of the King’s accession to the throne, and, as you may be aware, he was Britain’s most famous stamp collector.”

According to reporter Simon Heffer,”Men of George V’s generation (he was born in 1865) took up philately for at least one of two reasons: either they used them as an aid to geography, collecting especially Crown Agents’ stamps from what was then our vast Empire and its colonies, and to assist an understanding of the extent of British power; or they collected because they had a desire to have a small private art collection housed in an album. It would be easy to imagine that the King pursued the hobby (to which, in later life, he would devote three afternoons a week) because it was a practical means of keeping track of his territorial possessions around the globe. In fact, the anecdotal record suggests he had a keen eye for design and took a close and at times rather technical interest in it.”

Simon goes on to pen,”It is certainly true that he would keep track of auctions of rarities and use his private money to spend what were then astronomical sums on stamps to fill gaps in the Royal Collection: which, as a result, is probably the best in the world. In 1904 he paid £1,450 for the Mauritian 2d blue, then a record price for a stamp. The next day a courtier, having read about the sale in a newspaper, asked the then Prince of Wales whether he had seen that ’some damned fool has paid £1,400 for a stamp’. ‘Yes,’ the Prince replied. ‘It was this damned fool.’ Were one to go at auction today, it would probably realise at least £750,000.”

Shown above, rough sketch for a King George V memorial stamp that was never issued.

To read the entire article, click here.

Rating 4.00 out of 5
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“Masterclass”

By admin | March 23, 2010

Submitted by Akphilately Blog

Ahem. Well, not really, just some ideas on how to keep your stamps, maybe, or maybe even just to show you how I do it. For Pablo!
:-)
As I said yesterday, I’m now rearranging my general world collection in stockbooks, like this:
I group countries together in regions, based on how Stanley Gibbons groups them in their different parts of their catalogue. I use different coloured books for each regions, so part 1 (British Commonwealth) is in black books, part 2 (Austria & Hungary, where this page is taken from) in blue books, part 3 (Balkans) in red books, etcetera. I use black paged books because I think the stamps come out great on a black background. I make the info strips at the top in Microsoft Word. Just a plain document, add one table of one column, and in that way you get around ten strips on one page. Cut them out neatly and slide them in your stockbook. As easy as pie!
I find that the enormous advantage of this is a) it’s easy to set up, and b) easy to maintain. New additions can be either aded to the page or you can easily shift stamps around and make everything fit again. All you then have to do is write some new info strips (yes, I do keep documents of all strips made (one document per book), so as not to have to retype everything). I’ve done three books so far and am very happy.
I used to mount everything like this:
The great disadvantages of this way are: a) you’ll never finish the job, b) there’s so many pages to make because you somehow get less stamps on a page, and c) as soon as you have new stamps that need to be fitted in somewhere, you start wasting so much paper in having to redo whole pages and d) what about all the extra mounts you constantly need to use and buy. And I was fed up with the loose sheet format in binders. Made everything look like a schoolboy scrap book rather than a collection to be proud of / enjoyed thoroughly. So I’m glad I’ve stopped doing that. All I need now is to find some good use for all those empty binders!
My proper collection, of Queen Wilhelmina, is still on pages, like so:
I am however, considering doing these in books too. maybe in a more luxurious book of proper leather, with clear interleaves (or whatever they are called). But I’ll give that one another think.
What I will keep on loose pages is my Peacemaking collection.
This is a more thematic collection with more write-up so I don’t think that would work as well in stockbooks with info strips. besides, I’m hoping to one day start showing this to others so I would need loose pages anyway. I may, however, one day choose a different type of binder. I quite like the ones with pegs, but you’ll need proper stamp pages for those and they don’t usually fit standard printers. I haven’t solved that problem yet! Bigger printer I suppose. But I just bought another one so I’ll leave that for a while yet.
Anyway, here ends my guided tour through my collections!
:-)
Adrian
Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Linns Trys To Revive Old Subscribers With Free Copies

By admin | March 22, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

John Apfelbaum, president of Earl P.L. Apfelbaum auctioneers, writes on his blog, “Trying to revive their declining subscriber base, Linns is planning to send an additional 100,000 copies of their weekly magazine to older subscribers who have let their their subscriptions lapse.”

John goes on to say, “The hope is that they will see the new Linns and resubscribe. Trade press and specialty societies have been clobbered in the last ten years. Back then, to be a serious collector one had to get a weekly philatelic magazine and be a member of a national philatelic society in order to buy stamps and keep up to date with philatelic happenings. Now, because of the Internet, there are hundreds of philatelic websites and blogs devoted solely to stamp collecting and millions of items are offered online. Online collectors can get far more stamp offers and philatelic reading than they could possibly want for free. People only belong to the APS and subscribe to Linns out of habit or a sense of loyalty to their philatelic past.”

To read the entire post, click here.

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Aviation

By admin | March 22, 2010

Submitted by Akphilately Blog

Blimey! It’s coming up to two month since I last wrote something here! I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve all deservedly deserted me in droves! But please do come back as I will promise to mend my ways! It’s just that sometimes life gets in the way of stamp collecting, and nowadays even my work for the various stamp magazines gets in the way of updating my blog!
I’m actually reorganising my general world collection. Until now I had that stacked away in stockbooks, in alphabetical order, hoping to one day have enough time and courage to properly mount everything I have. I’ve made a number of starts doing just that, but every time I’m disappointed with the results. I think I have come to the conclusion that I like stamp books rather than binders with loose leaves. And so I’m now putting them in those same stockbooks again, but this time with a better page layout, a strip with info on the top and grouped together in regions. I’m doing about ten pages a day and it’s going great! Right now I’m in the Balkans, in Rumania to be precise. It’s great to handle all my stamps once again and reacquaint with forgotten items and enjoy the beauty of them! Here’s a few I’ve handled last night.
Aviation was very big in the Rumania of the 1920s and 1930s. I’ve read somewhere that in those years some 2000 planes were manufactured there, which seems guite a lot for those days! On an airmail set of 1928, we find the Blériot SPAD S.33 Biplane, which by the way, is not a Rumanian but a French plane.
Blériot and SPAD had merged and come up with this biplane, of which some 40+ were built. The plane was used by Franco-Roumaine for routes on the European continent.
The 1931 airmail set depicts various planes over Rumanian landscapes. The only value I have, the 3l carmine, depicts a biplane (in the background) and a Farman F.300.
Again, this is a French plane, built in the early 1930s. This F.300 type is a prototype of which only one was made. It was used by Farman’s own airline.
Funding of all the Rumanian airmail activities was partially done by a postal tax. Special Aviation Fund stamps were introduced in 1931. They had to be used in combination with ordinary postage stamps. The very first types were meant for voluntary use, but within a year it had become an obligatory thing.
The stamp I’m showing you here was issued in 1936, and is quite a beauty I think.
:-)
Adrian
Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Collectors Anonymous

By admin | March 15, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Vijay Nagaswami writes on India’s Deccan Herald website, “Collectors collect a wide range of things, from the relatively common place stamps and coins to obscure and exotic things that would astonish the non-collector, such as elephant toenails, which are not, as one may imagine, collected by being intrepid enough to find a pachyderm in need of a pedicure, but a type of American knife of very early 20th century vintage (which one can buy off the Net).”

In an article titled “Collectors Anonymous,” Vijay scribes, “Most of us tend to collect something or the other in our lives, even if not completely consciously and sometimes when we shift residence we cannot understand for what purpose we have an impressive collection of unused shoelaces or rolls of ribbons of different colours.”

He goes on to say, “But this does not make us collectors, for we are not subject to the most important aspects of collecting: The joy of the hunt, the exhilaration of object ownership and the joy of seeing it regularly amongst one’s possessions. Also evident is the pain experienced by the collector when a coveted object is misplaced, carelessly handled, broken or unobtainable for whatever reason, as well as the increasing quantities of time that are devoted to the collection, even at the risk of neglecting other priority domains in the collector’s life.”

“The mindset of a collector is best summed up in the following statement that appeared a few years ago on the website of ‘The Card Collector’s Company’: “A Card Collection is a magic carpet that takes you away from work-a-day cares to havens of relaxing quietude where you can relive the pleasures of a past time brought to life in vivid picture and prose. This is history from an original source.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Canada’s Surprise Gold Medal Stamp

By admin | March 15, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Canada’s Telegraph Journal reports, “Canada Post was more than confident that one of our country’s athletes would win the first Olympic gold medal on Canadian soil at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. It secretly went ahead and printed some five million stamps in advance of the games to commemorate the event.”

The piece by columnist David Williams goes on to say, ” So, when freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau did a back double full on the first jump and then a back iron cross to win Canada’s first home-earned gold medal on the third day of the games - Sunday, Feb. 14 - Canada Post issued a previously unannounced stamp that was available immediately on line, then in post offices in Vancouver the next day and across Canada starting Feb. 16.

“It was the first time in Canada Post’s history that the company commemorated an event the day it occurred. Previously, the stamp had been one of the best kept secrets ever at the post office. An initiative of this magnitude would have been unheard of only a few years ago.”

According to David, “As bold as Canada Post’s surprise gold medal stamp was, the move wasn’t nearly as dramatic as some other postal administrations around the world, such as Australia, Austria and Croatia. Those countries put a close-up photo of every individual gold medal winner on their stamps. Canada Post put an illustration of a gold medal on its stamp, not a photo of Bilodeau himself. The nearest our post office could come to that was to use a small, distant shot of skier Chandra Crawford, gold medal winner in Torino in 2006, on one side of one of the two Olympic spirit stamps.”

Shown above, Olympic Gold souvenir sheet issued by Canada Post. The stamp, designed by Naomi Broudo and Violet Finvers of the Vancouver-based firm Tandem Design, shows a Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medal. Gold maple leaves are scattered around on the booklets of 10 stamps and souvenir sheets of two stamps.

To read the entire article, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Postal Service and Newspaper Business Models Outdated

By admin | March 15, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog


The Hill website reports the head of the U.S. Postal Service said that his organization’s business model is as outdated as the newspaper industry’s.

According to reporter Drew Wheatley, “John Potter, United States Postmaster General, cited changes in technology and channels of communication as justification for a revamp of the Postal Service’s delivery schedule and pricing system.”

Potter is quoted as saying, “”Twenty years ago we would laugh at the notion that a newspaper would ever embrace the idea that maybe the channel of the future is electronic and that you may have to change your business model.

He went on to say, ” “Likewise, the postal service is in a situation where the behavior of America is changing and we have to fix and change our business model to adapt to it.”

To read the entire article and the interesting comments, click here.

How Would You Fix the Post Office? Click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Stamp Thieves Jailed

By admin | March 12, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Britain’s Sun newspaper reports a young woman has been jailed for “secretly plundering one of Britain’s biggest stamp collections — to blow it on drugs.”

According to reporter Richard Moriarty, the woman along with her boyfriend stole her stepfather’s collection while he was in the hospital. Up to 80 Penny Blacks, 600 Penny reds and 400 Penny blues, worth more than £46,000, were taken to pay for illegal drugs.

“A court heard the pair are both heroin addicts and most of the stamps have never been recovered,” according to the article.

The woman was jailed for two years and her boyfriend jailed for nine months.

The judge told them: “You took full advantage of this gentleman’s hospitality to steal a significant part of his much-prized stamp collection.

“It means much more to him than its monetary value - it is a life-long hobby to which he was devoted.”

Shown above, Penny Reds and Penny Blues.

To read the entire article, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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FDR’s Grandson Visits National Postal Museum

By admin | March 11, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Last month, Curtis Roosevelt toured Delivering Hope: FDR & Stamps of the Great Depression at the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. with Director Allen Kane and exhibit curators Cheryl Ganz and Daniel Piazza.

According to a post on the NPM website, “The oldest grandson of FDR and Eleanor, Curtis Roosevelt lived with his grandparents in the White House from 1933 until the president’s death. Though Roosevelt now lives in France, he was back in the U.S. on a six-week tour to promote his book, Too Close to the Sun: Growing up in the Shadow of my Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor.”

The post goes on to say, “Curtis Roosevelt shared personal remembrances of FDR’s stamp collecting activities, and said that his grandfather tried (unsuccessfully) to interest him in the hobby. Roosevelt said that his grandfather’s collection made him a better informed president. During wartime briefings, FDR rarely needed much background information on faraway islands and places; he already knew their location, history, and resources from their stamps.”

Shown above, Curtis Roosevelt views the auction catalogues from the sales of his grandfather’s stamp collection. He said that he and other members of the family regretted the estate’s decision to break up the president’s collection as lacking an appreciation for heritage. Pictured with Roosevelt is NPM curator Daniel Piazza.

To view the entire post, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Connecticut Postmaster Starts “Philatelic Wednesdays”

By admin | March 11, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

An article on the New Canaan, Connecticut Advertiser website leads with, “With a quarter of a century of United States Postal Service experience under her belt, Nancy Cornelio is ready to be the first female postmaster at the New Canaan post office since the position was first created in 1818.”

Reporter Carrie Schmelkin pens, “In addition to her daily tasks of overseeing retail windows, customer services and day-to-day operations, Cornelio said she is ready to continue to build on the relationship between the office and the community by creating weekly and monthly traditions.”

According to Carrie, “At the top of her list is holding Wednesday Philatelic Days, where residents can learn the art of stamp collecting as well as monthly seminars about the importance of businesses using direct mail as opposed to e-mail announcements.”

Shown above, New Canaan post office’s new postmaster, Nancy Cornelio, greeting a customer.

To read the entire article, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Janet Klug Appointed to Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee

By admin | March 9, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Postmaster General John Potter announced yesterday the appointment of Janet Klug, the former president and current member of the board of directors of the American Philatelic Society, to serve on the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC).

According to a USPS press release, Janet, a lifelong stamp collector who says she “never met a stamp she didn’t like,” is the current chair of the New Initiatives Committee on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s Council of Philatelists.

Postmaster Potter is quoted as saying, “Janet brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the committee. She represents one of the many voices of the stamp collecting community and we welcome her to CSAC.”

Janet writes regular columns about stamp collecting for Linn’s Stamp News and Scott Stamp Monthly, and her work has also appeared in American Philatelist, Stamp Collector and Global Stamp News.

Her recent publications include Guide to Stamp Collecting (2008) and 100Greatest American Stamps (2007), which she co-authored with Donald Sundman.

Members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Postmaster General. The committee, established in 1957, is composed of 15 members, whose backgrounds reflect a wide range of educational, artistic, historical and professional expertise. All share an interest in philately and fulfilling the needs of postal customers.

Janet will join the committee in April.

To read an interesting interview with Janet about her stamp collecting interests, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Postcards Document Early Train Wreck

By admin | March 9, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog


“Plane crashes are today’s headlines, but train wrecks were the major newsmakers 100 years ago,” writes reporter Matt Surtel on New York’s Daily News website.

According to Matt, local resident Mark Milcarek came across four old postcards that documented a train wreck that happened more than a hundred years ago.

“The resulting impact was horrific. It left locomotives, train cars and wreckage strewn over the countryside. Photographs taken the next morning were quickly made into postcards,” pens Matt.

Mark, who found the images online, is quoted as saying, “I just came across them and because they had a date and some information with them, they were something you could trace.”

After buying the postcards, Mark began researching the accident looking through old newspapers and learned that the wreck occurred in early January 1907 after a northbound Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh coal train lost its air brakes heading north in the town of Gainesville.

Ken Wilson writes on his Postards [sic] - A Brief History of Postcards & Postcard Collecting website, “The use of postcards exploded in the early 1900s. They were the “e-mail” of their day.Cards included advertising, artwork, and documentation of current events, and places.”

To read the entire train wreck postcards article and see additional pictures, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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The Happiest Mail Boxes on Earth

By admin | March 9, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Patricia Raynor writes on the National Postal Museum blog, “If your vacation destination this year happens to include Walt Disney World® in Florida, try playing the game of who can spot the most mailboxes. From Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom® to the international pavilions at Epcot,® careful observers will discover a variety of mailboxes scattered around the many park attractions.”

According to Pat, “If you begin your park journey at Main Street USA, you will be transported to the turn-of-century-the 20th-century American small town with a lamp-post mounted collection box that fits right in to the time period. At Epcot®, you will find collection boxes such as the United Kingdom’s eye-catching red pillar post box or the American turn-of-the-century Owens- style lamp mail box (shown here), on loan to the park from the U.S. Postal Service. Disney cast members collect mail from this box each day for eventual delivery to postal service facilities in Orlando, Florida.”

To read the entire post, click here.

To see and learn more about American mailboxes, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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A Printer, a Gallery and the New Abstract Expressionism Stamps

By admin | March 9, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Tom Buckham writes in the Buffalo News about a “serendipitous convergence of business and art.”

Tom reports, “When Ashton Potter USA Ltd. in Amherst bid last year on a contract to print a series of postage stamps commemorating the art movement known as abstract expressionism, no one there realized that Albright-Knox Art Gallery owned four of the 10 featured paintings.”

The printer, Ashton Potter, the world’s largest producer of postage stamps with secure printing plants, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery are both located in and around Buffalo, New York.

The Albright-Knox works in the commemorative series are Pollock’s iconic “Convergence,” Mark Rothko’s “Orange and Yellow,” Robert Motherwell’s “Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 34” and Arshile Gorky’s “The Liver Is in the Cock’s Comb.”

Yesterday evening the gallery held a special event celebrating stamps and art.

Titled, “The Hobby of Kings: Stamp Collecting and the Albright-Knox,” members of the public were given tours of the paintings and invited to create postage stamp scrapbooks. Also on hand was stamp expert Lou Montesano from Lincoln Coin & Stamp Company, Inc. who answered questions about stamps and stamp collecting.

To bring the evening to a close, the gallery showed Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog (1989), an episode from the acclaimed Decalogue series which featured estranged brothers slowly developing a fanaticism for the stamp collecting of their late father.

To read the article about the printer of the new stamps, click here.

For more on the Albright-Knox Gallery, click here.

Shown above, Barry Switzer, chief executive officer of Ashton Potter USA, displays a press approval sheet for the postage stamp series honoring abstract expressionists.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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USPS Considers Post Office Lottery

By admin | March 4, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

A post on the USPS Inspector General’s blog asks, “Could Longer Lines Be Coming to Your Local Post Office…Lottery Lines?”

It goes on to report, “According to a representative on the Postal Regulatory Commission’s staff, a Postal Service-run lottery ‘could offer the potential for substantial profits for the Postal Service and utilize its current retail infrastructure with its 36,000 retail outlets.’ Popular lottery formats in many states include drawings and instant lottery tickets.

The claim is that running a national lottery could help the U.S. Postal Service close its multibillion-dollar budget gap. It could also build foot traffic to post offices, increasing retail sales of postal products.”

Is it appropriate for the Postal Service to offer a national lottery?

Click here to let the Inspector General know what you think.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Space Stamp Artist Robert McCall, 90, Dies

By admin | March 3, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Space.com reports, “Artist Robert McCall, whose visions of the past, present, and future of space exploration have graced U.S. postage stamps, NASA mission patches, and the walls of the Smithsonian, died on Friday of a heart attack in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 90.”

According to reporter Robert Z. Pearlman of CollectSpace.com, “McCall created the art for 21 space-themed U.S. postage stamps, ranging in subject from the moon landings to the unmanned probes sent to Mars and Jupiter. His design for a commemorative marking the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project adorned the largest stamp published in the United States.”

Robert goes on to say, “In 1981, McCall designed eight stamps celebrating STS-1, the first flight of the space shuttle. At mission commander John Young’s request, McCall also designed the insignia that Young and Bob Crippen wore aboard Columbia for the two-day mission.”

It was through the stamps and patches that he created did McCall ultimately see his artwork merge with their subject matter and enter space. The Apollo 15 astronauts flew his “Decade of Achievement” two-stamp pane to the Moon, and the last men to walk on the lunar surface did so while wearing an Apollo 17 mission patch designed by McCall.”

Shown above, McCall holding a sheet of the “Decade of Achievement” stamps.

To read the entire article, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

By admin | March 2, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Emma Kat Richardson writes on the Bookslut website, “War is hell, and Sarah Blake, author of the new novel The Postmistress, has 101 ways to prove it.”

The story takes place in 1940 and tells the story of events in pre-World War II New Hampshire as well as bomb ravaged London through the eyes of three American women.

Emma goes on to pen, “For example, did you know how graphic and devastating bomb explosions over a populated London skyline can be? Or that beloved and cherished family members (some of them even doctors and family men, no less!) oftentimes disappear without word, in much the same way their steady stream of written correspondence has the annoying tendency to abruptly dry up? These lessons (and many, many more) are all to be found here, bound and sandwiched between the interlocking stories of three World War II-era women and their copious struggles to make those elusively pesky ends meet, no matter how often the powers that be insist on moving those ends just out of reach.”

Jennifer Donovan writes in an Amazon review of the book, “At the center of the story, and the town, is the old-maid postmistress Iris. The post office and the daily intake and output of mail create the hub of this small town. When Iris holds on to a letter that’s been left in her care, the bedrock of order that she has created for herself is shaken. How will this affect Iris? How will it affect the doctor’s wife, and even the female reporter far away in London?”

To watch a video of the author talking about her new book, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Bisected Stamps

By admin | March 1, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog


According to the Alphabetilately website, “A bisect is a postage stamp cut in half (usually diagonally), and used to pay half its face value, e.g. half a ten cent stamp to pay five. The practice has been permitted (in the US at least) only for special situations (e.g. a shortage of stamps). The most recent of them was over 60 years ago, so genuine bisects are usually rare and valuable. There are even trisects! Note that a bisect “off cover” (or not “tied” to the cover by its cancellation) is usually worthless, since it is the proof of actual usage that makes it desirable - anyone can cut a stamp in half, but if it survives the mails that way, it becomes something special. Don’t try it today - it’s illegal to cut, deface or even overlap stamps on your mail.”

Shown above is an extreme example of bisected stamps which has an interesting story behind it.

Alphabetilately webmaster, William M. Senkus, wrties “There’s no pretense of postal validity about this cover, a souvenir prepared by the author at Pacific 97. I call it my “ultimate bisect cover”. One of the odder pasttimes of collectors at philatelic events is the creation of such souvenirs, though most are more conventional First Day and event covers. I had to stand in line for almost an hour just to reach the counter with this one, and then was told that the stamps, having been cut in half, were no longer postally valid, and even though the cover would never pass through the mails, it could not be cancelled! I pointed out that there was over $2.50 in postage on the envelope, and surely it would do no harm to cancel it. Twenty minutes and several levels of consultation later, I was told it could be cancelled, though not in the manner I had requested - I forget now exactly what the changes were, but was pleased with the result, as much for the commotion it caused as for the actual product.”

Senkus goes on to say, “I have just (October, 2001) been informed by a fellow collector who saw my page of Pacific 97 souvenirs that the USPS actually authorized bisects of stamps from the two USPS souvenir sheets issued at the show. He says that the slightly odd conditions were that the cuts must not separate the digits of the denominations, and the bisects were valid only during the show. So diagonal separations were ok, and horizontal separations were ok, but vertical separations (cuts from top to bottom down the middle) were not. Since I was not told about that when I submitted the cover above for cancellation, I can only presume that if this is true, the policy was revealed to the public only after the show; so if one thought to try it, one succeeded, but one never knew whether that success was a fluke or deliberate.

“And this could help explain, perhaps, why my cover caused such a stir among the clerks and required a secret backstage consultation - If they had said the bisects were totally illegal, they would have been lying, while if they had told me the problem with my cover was that I had bisected the triangle stamps, they would have been revealing that the other bisects were ok. So perhaps they decided to let the cover pass as it was, and let me think the whole thing was a special favor.”

For more on bisected stamps and covers, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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Five Myths About the U.S. Postal Service

By admin | March 1, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Postmaster General John Potter writes in today’s Washington Post, “For 235 years, the U.S. Postal Service has delivered your mail in snow, rain and dark of night. However, tough market conditions are creating new challenges for our business. Misconceptions about the future of our enterprise abound; dispelling these myths will show that we can continue to deliver the mail.”

He goes on to list, and respond to, what he considers five myths about the U.S. Postal Service.

They are…

1. The Postal Service wastes taxpayer dollars.
2. The Postal Service is inefficient.
3. Mail is not reliable.
4. The USPS is not environmentally friendly.
5. The USPS can’t compete with the private sector.

He concludes with, “Though we operate in a difficult legislative and economic environment, we are prepared to forge ahead. On March 2, we are releasing our plan for future financial viability and greater business flexibility — a plan that will keep the Postal Service thriving for years to come.”

Shown above, U.S. Postmaster General John Potter speaking during a news conference last summer about the Postal Service’s financial troubles.

To read the entire article click here.

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Korean War Memorial Sculptor Wins Stamp Photo Appeal

By admin | March 1, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

The Am Law Daily reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled, 2-1, in favor of 85-year-old sculptor Frank Gaylord regarding a photo of his Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. that was used on a U.S. postage stamp.

According to the article, “John Alli, a retired U.S. Marine and an amateur photographer…took hundreds of photographs of the memorial on a snowy day and eventually produced a single, haunting photo. In 2002, the federal government paid Alli $1,500 to use his photo as the basis for a 37-cent postage stamp.”

Reporter Zach Lowe writes, “The U.S. Postal Service raised more than $17 million from sales of the stamp–including about $5.4 million in sales to collectors–before the agency retired it.” Gaylord, the suit argued, deserved a piece of that money in damages and sued the government in the Court of Federal Claims in 2006.”

The government won the case saying the photo and stamp of the memorial was “fair use”. It also found that the memorial constituted architecture, and thus was not subject to the usual copyright protections.

Having lost the case, Gaylord, who served as an Army paratrooper in World War II, received no damages.

In 2008, Gaylord and his lawyers appealed the case and this week they won on the grounds that “a new work must make some sort of criticism or commentary to fall under fair use,” which clearly the stamp and the photo on which it was based did not.

The appeals court remanded the case for a hearing on damages. The government could petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

Shown above, the preliminary design for the 2003 Korean Memorial stamp.

To read the entire article, click here.

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Mail Delivery 12 Times a Day!?!

By admin | March 1, 2010

Submitted by Stamp Collecting Round-Up Blog

Randall Stross writes in the New York Times, “In Victorian London, though service wasn’t 24/7, it was close to 12/6. Home delivery routes would go by every house 12 times a day — yes, 12. In 1889, for example, the first delivery began about 7:30 a.m. and the last one at about 7:30 p.m. In major cities like Birmingham by the end of the century, home routes were run six times a day.”

He quotes Catherine J. Golden, a professor of English at Skidmore College and author of Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing (2009) as saying, “In London, people complained if a letter didn’t arrive in a couple of hours.”

An overview of Posting It on the University of Florida website points out, “Although ’snail mail’ may seem old fashioned and outdated in the twenty-first century, Catherine Golden argues that the creation of the Penny Post in Victorian England was just as revolutionary in its time as e-mail and text messages are today.”

Shown above, a British mail carrier in 1839.

To read the entire article, click here.

Rating 3.00 out of 5
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