Tuesday, April 24, 2007

$5 Million stamp collection auction to benefit Doctors without Borders (New York Times)

Little Bits of Paper Make a Big Gift

Yachts and fine art are often the hobbies for wealthy money managers. For Warren E. Buffett, it’s bridge.

But for William Gross, manager of the bond powerhouse Pimco, his passion for the last 15 years has been collecting stamps.

Now, Mr. Gross plans to auction off his collection of classic British stamps and donate the entire proceeds, estimated at $4 million to $5 million, to Doctors Without Borders . . .

Full story at:
(Includes picture of all three of the world’s first adhesive postage stamps on one envelope)

Friday, April 20, 2007

U.S. Postal Service's Greetings from America Postage Stamps, The History Channel® team up to promote "The States" (Press Release)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It seems only fitting that a pane of stamps that made history when it was released will help the History Channel take viewers on a tour of the United States.

Beginning Saturday, April 21, and running through June 23, The History Channel will air a 10-part, weekly series that chronicles the unique histories of each of the 50 states. Each state profile will be introduced using one of the "Greetings from America" stamps, a pane of 50 stamps . . .

Full story at:
http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2007/ pr07_030.htm

Postage rates going up again (Charlotte Sun-Herald, FL)

Size does count.

At least that's what they're saying at the U.S. Post Office.

On May 14 a new method known as shape-based pricing, using size, weight and thickness, will determine postage for individual mail pieces.

Another change that will take place on May 14 is postage rates: They are going up.

The cost of a 1-ounce letter will rise to 41 cents, up from 39 cents; postcards will go to 26 cents, up from 24 cents; and a flat-rate box will be $9.15, up from $8.10. . . .

Full story at:

The Big Picture at Stamps.com (The Motley Fool)

Let's see Stamps.com (Nasdaq: STMP) lick its way out of this jam. The online postage specialist suffered a steep slide in its customized photographic stamps business, forcing sales to drop and leading the company to lower its bottom-line guidance for 2007.

It shouldn't have come to this. PhotoStamps were introduced a couple of years ago and took off. It seemed hokey at first -- especially with folks paying as much as $17.99 for a sheet of 20 customized stamps . . .

Full story at:
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2007/ 04/20/the-big-picture-at-stampscom.aspx

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Vote for your favorite Star Wars U.S. Postage stamp (usps.gov)

Vote once a day for your favorite Star Wars stamp to win!

Choose from this sheet of 15 Star Wars stamps and cast your vote every day.

The winner will be made into a separate sheet of 20 stamps.

It's only the second time in history that fans will decide which stamp will be issued bythe U.S. Postal Service®.

The choice is in your hands. Time is running out. . . .

Full story at:

Voting for Your Favorite Star Wars Postage Stamp Gets Even Easier (starwars.com)

The light side and the dark side are battling for honors in the race to become America's favorite Star Wars stamp.
After two weeks of voting, Yoda is in the lead -- but Darth Vader is menacingly lurking close by. And to ensure that Star Wars fans have every opportunity to vote, the United States Postal Service has made the process of voting online at www.uspsjedimaster.com even easier.

Instead of waiting for a confirmation email, once a fan has entered his or her e-mail address, the vote is cast -- it's that simple. The site has even added an option to receive a reminder to vote the next day.

Since its launch, the votes have been pooring in at www.uspsjedimaster.com, and will continue through May 23. Will Yoda's lead hold? Will he succumb to the dark side? Will the third-place Emperor emerge victorious? The world will find out the results on Friday, May 25, when the winning stamp will be announced at the first-day-of-issue ceremony of the Star Wars stamp sheet . . .

Full story at:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rugby League Postage Stamps Mark One Hundred Years (Scoop, NZ)

Rugby League Stamps its Mark on a Hundred Years

One hundred years of New Zealand rugby league is being celebrated with the latest release of New Zealand Post’s centenary stamps.

A 50c stamp featuring an image of New Zealand’s first rugby league team, the ‘All Golds’ who toured Australia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), England and Wales in 1907-08 alongside an image of the team’s inaugural captain, Hercules Richard “Bumper” Wright. Impressively the All Golds won their inaugural test series against Great Britain and Australia.

A $2.00 stamp also takes a nostalgic look at . . .

Full story at:

Washington Wizard DeShawn Stevenson is on a Postage Stamp (AOL Sports)

I kid you not. In fact, six Washington Wizards have their faces on postage stamps: Stevenson, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, and Etan Thomas. . . .

Full story at:
http://bills.aolsportsblog.com/ 2007/04/17/deshawn-stevensons-face-is-on-a-postage-stamp/

Indonesia and China Issue Joint Postage Stamp (Ohmynews.com, Korea)

Move designed to help mutual understanding

On April 13, Indonesia's postal service issued an Indonesia-China stamp series commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Indonesia and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

This issuance is important not only because of the record of the suspension of relations between the countries but also because of the significance of promoting Indonesian stamps to philatelists outside the country. . . .

Full story at:
http://english.ohmynews.com/ articleview/article_view.asp?no=356052&rel_no=1

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stamp collectors cash in with loony postage (Bradenton Herald, FL)

Comics on postage stamps are nothing new. The Looney Tunes series of cartoon characters is a good example. Kids like them. They're funny. What's serious is how many adult collectors are now trying to find them and how loony the prices of some are now.

In 2000, the Postal Service released a sheet of 10 32-cent stamps featuring a picture of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. Nine of the stamps were in a block on the left side of the sheet. The 10th was alone on the right. For an unknown reason a few of the sheets did not have perforations around the single stamp on the right, making it more or less unusable.

Last year, that sheet had a value of $9 - roughly triple the original face value. This year, it increased to $40. The same is true for the 2001 Porky Pig sheet of stamps. Sound like kid stuff? A year ago, it was valued at $12.50. Today it sells for $60. . . .

Full story at (Browse down past coin article to see stamp article) :
http://origin.miami.com/mld/bradenton/ living/home/17067063.htm?source=rss&channel=bradenton_home

Monday, April 16, 2007

NGC Expands Certification Options for Presidential Dollar First Day of Mintage Coin Covers (NGC)

NGC is offering a new certification option for Presidential $1 Coins packaged in United States Mint Official American Presidency $1 Coin Covers. NGC will grade the enclosed Presidential $1 Coins and seal the entire U.S. Mint cover within a clear semi-rigid plastic sleeve. This allows the U.S. Mint packaging to be preserved while receiving the advantages of an NGC certified grade.

A label across the top of the holder describes the cover and enclosed coins. If the coins are of matched grade, as single grade line appears. If they are of differing grade, two lines of text are used to describe each coin individually. These coins are designated by NGC as First Day of Mintage. This designation is also used by the U.S. Mint. . . .


Friday, April 13, 2007

U.S. Mint Presidential Dollar Coin Covers

NGC will be recognizing coins submitted in U.S. Mint Official American Presidency $1 Coin Cover Series holders as "First Day of Mintage." . . .

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Post office began selling new forever stamps today (South Bend Tribune, IN)

SOUTH BEND — The beginning of forever is here for the Postal Service, but there was no rush for the future at the South Bend post office.

Starting Thursday, post offices around the country began selling 41-cent “forever stamps,” single-item postage that can be bought at current rates and used at any time in the future, regardless of rate increases in the interim.

South Bend resident Stephen Busk said he didn’t know the “forever stamps” went on sale Thursday until he got to the post office. When he found out about them, he bought a book of 100. . . .

Full story at:


PHILADELPHIA — If it could ring, it would resonate freedom and independence from using one or two-cent stamps to mail letters when stamp prices change in the future. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today introduced its latest consumer innovation by dedicating the Forever Stamp next to the patriotic icon it depicts. Featuring the Liberty Bell image and the word “forever,” the Forever Stamp — available nationwide today — is good for mailing one-ounce First-Class Mail letters anytime in the future — regardless of price changes. . . .

Full story at:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stamp Futures (Blog Article)

Normally I only post stamp related news, but I thought this blog article was worth reading. I like the speculative part about first class rates versus inflation.

The U.S. Postal Service officially approved a forever stamp today. Forever stamps will go on sale May 14th.

I’ve been waiting for this for a while. I typically need about five stamps a year, but at the pace first class mail rates increase I rarely go through an entire book of stamps before rates go up, forcing me to double up stamps to finish up the book. Now I’ll be able to buy a book of forever stamps and not worry about rate changes.

More interesting, though, is that this creates a new market in stamp futures. Think about it this way . . .

Full story at:

Tennis star Federer on postage stamp (Gulf Times, Qatar)

Federer stamps his mark

BASEL, Switzerland: World tennis number one Roger Federer yesterday became the first living Swiss person to have his picture enshrined on a postage stamp.

“It’s a great moment. I’m proud to be a symbol like the army knife or the mountains,” Federer said at an unveiling ceremony for the Swiss postal service in the 25-year-old’s home region of Basel. . . .

Full story at:
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=143164&version=1&template_id= 49&parent_id=29

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Escala investors lose again in stamp-trading scandal (Motley Fool)

Escala Investors Lose Again

Investors who felt swindled by the stamp-trading scandal that rocked Escala last year have had their hopes of recouping some of their losses blocked -- at least temporarily.

Escala's parent, Afinsa Bienes Tangibles -- the Spanish auction house that owns two-thirds of the domestic coin and stamp trader and is at the center of the maelstrom -- filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection . . .

Full story at:
http://aol.fool.com/investing/small-cap/ 2007/03/19/escala-investors-lose-again.aspx

Forever Stamp Goes on Sale Thursday (AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The ``forever'' stamp will go on sale Thursday, with an opening day ceremony at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

The stamp, which carries an image of the Liberty Bell, will sell for 41 cents and will remain valid for first-class postage regardless of future rate increases.

The current 39-cent price for first class mail rises to 41 cents May 14, but buyers can use the forever stamps before that if they wish.

The stamps will be sold in booklets of 20 and postal officials said there is no . . .

Full story at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/ story/0,,-6546464,00.html

U.S. Postal Servic previews Star Wars stamps (Picayune Item, MS)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Darth Vader and, of course, R2-D2 are among the unforgettable Star Wars characters debuting on 15 new 41-cent postage stamps unveiled today at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, where the first Star Wars movie opened nearly 30 years ago.

The commemorative stamps feature images from all six movies in the Star Wars saga . . .

Full story at:
http://www.picayuneitem.com/features/ local_story_100114929.html?keyword=topstory

Sunday, April 8, 2007

New Forever stamp okay for international use? (Miami Herald, FL)

Q:I understand there will be postage stamps soon that won't show a price. I think these stamps will be good for domestic mail, but I doubt they will be any good for international mail. Am I right? . . .

Full story at:

Below is an excerpt from USPS.gov that covers nondenominated stamps for international mail:

International Mail Manual - Issue 33
March 2006, Updated with Postal Bulletin Revisions Through March 1, 2007

1 International Mail Services - 150 Postage - 152.2 Stamps

d) Nondenominated postage stamps (except for those that bear uniquely domestic markings, such as First-Class Presort, Bulk Rate, Presorted Standard, or Nonprofit Organization) may be affixed to postal items that are sent to foreign countries. The value of such stamps is linked to either a current or a former domestic rate (e.g., the "H" stamp has a postage value of $0.33). Since the international postage rates are always higher than the comparable domestic postage rates, mailers who affix a single nondenominated postage stamp to their outbound mailpieces must add additional postage to comply with the international rate schedule.

Friday, April 6, 2007

A stampede for postage and the price is permanent (Staten Island Advance, NY)

Avoid future increases with a new issue that's never going to change

Stamp collecting will take on a whole new meaning next week, when the U.S. Postal Service's "Forever" stamp goes on sale.

Lots of Staten Islanders say they'll be stampeding, pardon the pun, for the new postage, which has nothing to do with dusty philately and everything to do with a bright opportunity for savings.

It works this way: While the postage for a first-class letter will rise from 39 cents to 41 cents on May 14, presumably just the latest in an interminable string of increases, the 41-cent Forever stamp will be valid for, well, forever. . . .

Full story at:
http://www.silive.com/news/ advance/index.ssf?/base/news/1175860859182240.xml&coll=1

School Bus Driver U.S. Commemorative Stamp (nysut.org)

You can help honor school bus drivers

Campaign to get commemorative postage stamp under way

Driving a school bus takes hard work and sacrifice. Aside from ensuring the safety of students, bus drivers must deal with noise, repetitive stress injuries, impatient motorists and — often — disrespectful students. No bus driver ever sacrificed more than Joyce Gregory, a Tennessee driver and mother who was shot to death by a student in 2005.

NYSUT School-Related Professionals are working to honor Gregory and the hard work of her colleagues nationwide through a U.S. postage stamp honoring school bus drivers. . . .

Full story at:
http://www.nysut.org/cps/rde/xchg/ nysut/hs.xsl/newyorkteacher_7244.htm

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Stamp Collecting: Reporting suspect items to eBay and the SCW (SCADS)

Stamp Collectors Against Dodgy Sellers (SCADS)

March 23 , 2007:

If you see a questionable item on eBay and you want it investigated by the Stamps Community Watch group (SCW), follow these simple steps to maximize the chances of your report getting through to them.

Complete list of steps at:

Afghanistan’s Broken Postal System (American Philatelic Society)

An old Afghan proverb states, “If there is only bread and onions, still have a happy face” — a sentiment similar to, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In that spirit, postal patrons in Afghanistan have long had to make do with that strife-torn state’s piecemeal mail service. For decades it has struggled to carry letters through troubled territories, frequent, often bloody regime changes, and incessant regional conflict.

One of the direct consequences of this has been a stamp free-for-all we can scarcely imagine.

Full story at:

Is eBay stamp racket the Net's stickiest scam? (MSNBC)

(Here's a story to get your blood boiling)

For nine years, forgery ring has been ripping off unwitting collectors

It may be the stickiest scam on the Internet — a nine-year saga of deceit that has seen thousands of altered postage stamps sold to unwitting collectors on eBay and other Internet auction sites. More striking than its longevity, though, is that the mastermind has never been charged with a crime, even though his identity apparently is known to eBay security, law enforcement officials and some of the nation’s leading stamp experts. . . .

Full story at:

Cheap thrills await the collector of old, inexpensive, fascinating stamps (Linn's Stamp News)

The advice to specialize is often given to beginning or intermediate collectors by those who have been collecting for a long time.

The advice is well intended. Although it might not be technically impossible to complete a collection of all the postage stamps ever issued by every country in the world, the likelihood of doing this is very slim. The cost in both money and time, not to mention the space necessary to store the stamps, is beyond the ability of most collectors.

I believe that the goal of completing a collection is highly overrated. Completing a single country collection is certainly achievable in many cases.

But once a collection is complete, what do you do? Do you stop collecting? Are you relegated to collecting only new issues? Do you move on to another country and then work on completing that one?

My advice to new collectors is quite different from the advice to specialize. . . .

Full story at:
http://www.linns.com/howto/refresher/ cheap_20070312/refreshercourse.asp?uID=

Stamp and Coin Collecting for Charities (PR Newswire)

WADDINXVEEN, The Netherlands, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Charities, stamps and coins were never such a good combination before. The recently started http://www.philyauctions.com/ allows collectors to do more than just expand their collection or put it up for sale, it allows them to support various charities at the same time! The basic cost is just 1 cent per lot and will be 100% donated to charity.

The collectors can even opt to donate a percentage of the sale to a charity of their choice.

Bert Froolik, founder of Philyauctions.com and an enthusiastic stamp collector himself, explains: "It is difficult to find low-priced stamps and I thought it was time to do something about that. In order to prevent spam, we choose an entry rate of 1 cent and this cent is donated to charity. In addition, we are inviting reputable charities to register for donations. . . .

Full story at:

Stamp collecting sticking around in the 21st Century (Chicago Tribune)

NEW YORK -- Stamp collecting isn't what it used to be. The hobby once rooted in collectors' homes and schools and in small stamp shops scattered around the country is now grounded on the Internet.

These changes have led to countless rumors that philately, as the hobby is called, is dying.

But while many longtime collectors lament some of the changes their pastime is facing, there is no doubt that philately is thriving. Stamp values are on the rise, and the number of collectors is growing as novices increasingly use the Internet to try their hand at the 170-year-old pastime.

"I could quote you chapter and verse of people saying it's a dying hobby in 1884," said Wade Saadi, president of the Collector's Club, a national group of 750 philatelists, and a member of the American Philatelic Society. "The rare stuff gets more expensive all the time, which is a bellwether that the hobby remains strong."

The U.S. stamp-collecting market had sales of more than $1 billion in 2006, according to Linn's Stamp News, up nearly 7 percent from 2004. This increase is in part thanks to online auction site eBay, according to Fred Baumann of the American Philatelic Society. . . .

Full story at:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/ reviews/chi-0704020149apr04,1,430005.story? coll=chi-technologyreviews-hed