Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Coming January 2008: Ian Fleming's James Bond Postage Stamps

This special stamps issue commemorates the centenary of the birth of James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, as well as the 50th anniversary of the publication of Dr No, the first Bond novel to be filmed. The books illustrated are Casino Royale, Dr No, Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, For Your Eyes Only and From Russia with Love. . . .

More information at: Link

Stamp will commemorate code-cracking computer

A postage stamp is being issued to commemorate the return to action of a code-cracking computer which was developed in Buckinghamshire during the Second World War to intercept Nazi messages. . . .

. . . Now the Bletchley Park post office is issuing 500 postage stamps to commemorate the machine's return to action.

The stamp features the rebuilt machine and is available on a limited edition specially designed envelope - showing a montage of rare photos of Colossus in use during the war.

The stamps are applied to the envelope by hand and post marked using a design based on . . .

Full story at: Link

Monday, November 19, 2007

Values on Rise for Rare Collectibles

In the fall of 2005, Charles Hack, a New Yorker who has made a fortune in real estate and spent a lot of it on old master paintings and Renaissance sculpture, noticed a newspaper advertisement for an auction of a rare stamp.

The 24-cent airmail stamp issued in 1918, popularly known to collectors as the Inverted Jenny, became famous — and valuable — because of an error: the airplane in the center of the design, a Curtiss JN-4, is printed upside-down. Only 100 of the misprints are known to exist. Mr. Hack attended that auction and bought the stamp for $297,000, including commission.

Last Wednesday, Mr. Hack attended another stamp auction, at Siegel Auction Galleries in New York City, and went home with a second Inverted Jenny after bidding $850,000. The final price, with the commission, came to $977,500, a record for an American stamp sold at auction and a confirmation of a trend that is transforming the world of high-end collectibles.

His second Inverted Jenny cost more because it is one of the finest, but auction prices for many rare and high-quality collectibles, including coins and memorabilia, have gone up significantly in recent months.

Just in the past week, a collection of American pattern coins — rare samples made to show off proposed designs, like tests for the first United States pennies in 1792 — was traded for $30 million between an anonymous buyer and seller. The deal, brokered by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, N.J., doubled the previous record for a coin collection. And a rare and pristine poster for the 1935 movie “Bride of Frankenstein,” starring Boris Karloff, was sold Wednesday by Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas for $334,600, which included commission. . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, November 16, 2007

Inverted Stamps at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum

For me, inverted postage stamps have always been the Holy Grail of stamp collecting. Obviously this opinion is not soley mine when you look at the huge hammer prices achieved each time one of these great rarities comes up at auction.

There is something cool about a stamp with a biplane flying upside down as in the case with the "Inverted Jenny," or with a ship sailing upside down as in the case of the "East Lake Navigation" stamp.

Inverted stamps are created when a sheet of postage stamps has to go through two printing passes, usually to add a different color. It is when the sheet is inserted upside down on that second pass that the inverted stamp is created.

Check out the online exhibit of inverted stamps at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. It is probably the closest I'll ever come to actually holding one of these great rarities in my hand.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Snail mail service for First Day Cover

A PENSIONER last night spoke of his shock after receiving a First Day Cover through the post – four years and five days late.

Gwyn Lloyd Jones, of Maes Hyfryd, Caernarfon, ordered a Royal Mail special edition to add to his collection in October 2003.

He should have been among the first in the country to receive the set of first-day stamps commemorating the British Museum.

But the book of stamps arrived two weeks ago – an astonishing 1,466 days since it was posted.

In the 209 weeks it took the stamps to arrive, Mr Jones has sold his entire stamp collection – meaning his collection has started again from scratch.

The collection was posted from Royal Mail offices in Cardiff on October 14, 2003, but their whereabouts for the last four years are unknown.

The set eventually arrived at the house of a bemused Mr Jones on Friday, October 19 – although he did not even remember ordering them.

Mr Jones, 65, who is originally from Menai Bridge, said . . .

Full story at: Link

Missing Inverted Jenny Stamp Found

It appears that the missing position 32 Inverted Jenny stamp has been found in the British Library collection. A picture of the stamp showed up in the August 2007 issue of the British Library Philatelic Collections Newsletter. Ken Lawrence, a member of the APS Library Board of Trustees, noticed the picture and identified the position, as reported in this post at the Virtual Stamp Club. There are two still-missing positions (from a stolen block of 4) that belong to the APS. For this reason . . .

Full story at: Link

“The Madonna of the Carnation” Featured on 2007 Christmas Stamp

WASHINGTON, DC — The beauty and serenity of “The Madonna of the Carnation” featured on the masterpiece by Milanese Renaissance painter Bernardino Luini will represent the spirit of Christmas during the 2007 winter mailing season.

The U.S. Postal Service issued the 41-cent stamp today at a ceremony at the 2007 Mega Stamp Show at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

“The new Christmas stamp helps to celebrate this important holiday, conveying good tidings for families, friends and customers, who look forward to the delivery of their holiday mail,” said Katherine Tobin, member, Board of Governors, U.S. Postal Service, who dedicated the stamp.

Formerly known as Holiday Traditional stamps, the Christmas stamps adorn millions of . . .

Full story at: Link

USPS Releases Holiday Knits Commemorative stamps for Xmas

WASHINGTON, DC —Just in time for the start of the winter holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service joined in the fun by issuing the Holiday Knits Commemorative stamps today at a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the 2007 Mega Stamp Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The four stamps featuring classic wintertime imagery, and were designed and machine-knitted by New York-based illustrator Nancy Stahl, who has previously designed several other stamps for the Postal Service.

“The new holiday stamps provide another way for people to express warm winter greetings on . . .

Full story at: Link

Sunday, November 11, 2007

From Shoe Box to Auction, $172,500 Stamps Pay Off for Collector

A stamp collector who spent a decade hunting through more than 100,000 virtually identical little black stamps, looking for the one that would pay off, sold a strip of three of them on Saturday at a New York auction for $172,500, including a buyer’s premium.

The stamps were issued in 1923 as a memorial to President Warren G. Harding, who had just died in office. Hundreds of millions of the two-cent stamps were printed, and today most of the used ones trade for not much more than a few cents.

But the stamps that were sold at an auction at the Four Seasons Hotel held by Matthew Bennett International, a Baltimore stamp auction firm, have a slightly different spacing of the perforations along the edges. The distinction is barely discernible to the untrained eye, but to collectors it makes all the difference. . . .

Full story at: Link

The Penny Black, world’s first postage stamp on display in Rasht, Iran

TEHRAN -- The world’s first adhesive postage stamp has been put on show in an exhibition at the Mojdeii Orphanage in Iran’s northern city of Rasht.

The stamp, which is on a British sealed envelope, belongs to an Iranian stamp collector Mehran Eshraqi, who bought it about ten years ago in an auction in a foreign country.

The Penny Black, the world’s first official adhesive postage stamp, was issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain on May 1, 1840. It features a picture of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).

The exhibit is also displaying several other significant items including the first Iranian postage stamp which was issued during . . .

Full story at: Link

Maynard Sundman, Littleton Coin Co. co-founder dies at 92

Littleton legend started out small (UnionLeader)

LITTLETON – Fascinated by postage stamps as a young boy and resolved to turn his passion into his life's work, Maynard Sundman parlayed his earnings from magazine subscription sales and raising rabbits into two of the world's largest stamp and coin companies.

Sundman, founder of the Littleton Stamp Co. and the Littleton Coin Co., died Wednesday at the age of 92 in the hometown he adopted more than 60 years ago.

"Here was a man who took a hobby and turned it into a huge international business,'' said Littleton Selectman Brien Ward. "He could have made his living anywhere, but he wanted to live in the North Country.''

Sundman was born in Connecticut and began his first stamp business in 1935 in his parents' kitchen, but it was while serving in North Africa in the Fifth Army that he was introduced to New Hampshire.

In Morocco, Sundman met . . .

Full story at: Link