Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New postage stamp honors Oregon's Sesquicentennial

SALEM — In five months, millions of Americans will get a fleeting impression of Oregon as a place where slate blue mountains stand watch as wind-tossed whitecaps surge past seastacks under an orange sunset.

It’s an image they’ll see whenever they pay bills or sort mail, thanks to a Beaverton artist’s impression of the Oregon Coast, which was unveiled at the Capitol Tuesday as the image that will appear on first-class stamps to commemorate the state’s 150th birthday.

Gregory Manchess’s impressionist-style oil painting will be available in postage form starting . . .

Full story at: Link

Monday, August 25, 2008

Idaho unveils its new postage stamp

BOISE - First it was a quarter.

But now Idaho finally has its very own U.S. postage stamp.

("Apparently this reporter didn't know about Idaho's statehood stamp in 1940? Or the more recent Greetings from Idaho stamp? Or the Idaho state bird stamp in 1982 and then again in 1990? Or how about the Idaho state flag stamp in 1976? Yes, there has already been an Idaho state flag U.S. postage stamp!" - A.C. Dwyer)

Former Governor Phil Batt and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa will join with postal officials in dedicating the new 42-cent Idaho State Flag Postage Stamp at a ceremony on Sept. 2.

The stamp ceremony will be held at the Idaho Historical Museum.

"With the release of these impressive stamps we pay homage to the majesty of our state’s flag," said Dan Frasier, Boise postmaster. . . .

Full story at: Link

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Great Britain and China issue joint postage stamp for Olympic handover

As the nation salutes the astonishing success of Team GB at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad held in Beijing, Royal Mail and China Post have issued an historic joint miniature sheet of four postage stamps to mark the handover of the Olympic Flag from Beijing to London. This was made part of the spectacular Closing Ceremony on August 24.

The Olympic Games souvenir sheet, formally issued on Friday August 22, contains four 1st class non-denominational stamps that depict well-known ancient and modern landmarks in London and Beijing. It was printed litho by Walsall Security Printers in the Midlands and is on sale in the United Kingdom and in China.

Each stamp on the sheet, entitled "Olympic Games - Handover of the Olympic Flag from Beijing to London", features the iconic Olympic rings, representing the five continents of the world. The Queen's head only appears on the Royal Mail version. The stamp issue is the first partnership of its kind between Royal Mail and China Post.

The modern steel structures shown on the stamps are the National Stadium in Beijing, nicknamed the Bird's Nest Stadium because of its architecture, and the London Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe, opened in 2000. The past tradition of each country is represented by the Tower of London, a former royal residence, and the Corner Tower of the Forbidden City, situated in Beijing, home of the Emperor of China. The illustrations are . . .

Full story at: Link

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yosemite Valley Landscape Commemorated on Postage

Albert Bierstadt’s Valley of the Yosemite gets stamp of approval

HARFORD, CT —The U.S. Postal Service dedicated the Valley of the Yosemite commemorative 42-cent first class stamp at the American Philatelic Stamp Show in Hartford, CT today. The stamp image is based onan 1864 oil-on-paperboard painting by landscape artist Albert Bierstadt. The original painting belongs to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The Albert Bierstadt: Valley of the Yosemite stamp, as the eighth issuance in the American Treasures series, is available nationwide today.

“Albert Bierstadt painted the Valley of the Yosemite in 1864,” said U.S. Postal Service Vice President, Employee Resource Management, Deborah Giannoni-Jackson while dedicating the stamp. “That same year, Nevada became our 36th state and President Lincoln signed into law the Yosemite . . .

Full story at: Link

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Art of Disney: Most Popular USPS Stamp Series of All Time Makes Final Curtain Call

‘Art of Disney’ three-set series extended to five ‘stamping ovations’

ANAHEIM, CA — Although Elvis remains king as the single most popular stamp subject of all time with an estimated 124.1 million collected, Mickey Mouse and his friends rule as the most popular stamp series with 211.5 million collected. Originally scheduled to be introduced as three sets during a three-year period, the fifth and final debut for the Art of Disney series takes place Aug. 7, at 10 a.m. PDT in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland when the Postal Service dedicates the Art of Disney: Imagination stamps. The 42-cent first-class commemorative stamps go on sale nationwide that day.

“The Art of Disney stamps have . . .

Full story at: Link

YouTube, Meet the Postal Service: Mark of the Eagle

U.S. Postal Service Delivers New Message to New Audience

WASHINGTON, DC — “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty hi-yo Silver! Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear …”

… when Postal Service products and services were promoted through traditional media channels.

Today marks a new chapter for the U.S. Postal Service, as the 236-year-old institution steps boldly into the next generation with the release of “Mark of the Eagle,” four, direct-to-Internet webisodes that put a new twist on an honorable tradition.

The Postal Service still delivers. No matter what.

“Mark of the Eagle” was written, directed, filmed, edited and produced in-house, leveraging the time and talents of Postal Service personnel. It builds on a print campaign, “Rethink Your Shipping,” that challenges customers to take a new look at Priority Mail, Express Mail and ground packages as economical and dependable delivery options.

The four webisodes can be viewed here: Link

Gem USD: New Rarities Class for Stamp Collectors?

“Purists will always have their rare types, but it will be interesting to see if the ‘Gem USD’ collectors emerge to create another class of philatelic rarity which challenges today’s Scott-based rarities.”

With those words, the lot describer concluded a lengthy description for the 1851 1¢ Blue (Scott 9) shown here as well as in full color on our front cover. Offered in the 2008 Siegel Auction Galleries Rarities of the World sale, this stamp, with a VF Scott Catalogue value of $850, sold for $80,000—$92,000 if you add in the 15% Buyers’ Premium.

Is this the start of “another class of philatelic” rarity, as the auctioneers wondered in advance of the auction?

Before the “purists” shout “NO!” it should be noted that . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stamp collecting suddenly cool for shrewd investors

There may be a hint of the anorak about stamp collectors, but with traditional investments looking as solid as a blancmange investors are turning to stamps and other collectibles to protect their wealth.

Over the past decade, stamps have outperformed the FTSE 100 index, the British housing market and even gold, and an index of 30 rare stamps sold by Stanley Gibbons, the world's biggest stamp dealer, is showing an annual increase of 39 per cent, taking the cumulative increase over the past ten years to about 250 per cent.

Stanley Gibbons, which traces its roots to 1856, when Edward Stanley Gibbons bought a sackful of rare South African stamps from two sailors, reported a sharp rise yesterday in turnover and profits in the first half of this year. Its chairman, Martin Bralsford, said: “The benefits of investing in collectibles as an alternative asset class have never been clearer.”

Mr Bralsford said that the key to the increasing value of stamps and autographs, its two biggest areas of expertise, was the all-consuming passion of collectors. “That is why the prices of rare stamps and historical signatures show no correlation with the stock market, property prices and other traditional forms of investment.”

He said that . . .

Full story at: Link

Royal Mail Joins China Post For Olympic Stamps

Royal Mail and China Post are going for gold in an historic joint issue of a special set of stamps to mark the handover of the Olympic Flag from Beijing to London.

On 22 August the stamps will be available at Post Offices across the UK, two days before the Games’ closing ceremony when the Olympic Flag will pass from Beijing to London. The special stamps mark the first event in the handover celebrations and everyone across the UK can participate.

Stamps with identical images will be issued across China by China Post from 24 August 2008. This stamp issue is the first partnership of its kind between Royal Mail and China Post.

The four 1st Class stamps feature landmarks of the two cities. The astonishing mesh of steel of the National Stadium in Beijing sits next to the London Eye which recently welcomed its 30 millionth visitor.

Representing the past tradition of each country, further stamps show . . .

Full story at: Link

Stamps and coins shine amid investment gloom

Noble Investments, the only listed UK coin dealer and auctioneer, is enjoying a renaissance in collecting as investors who have had their fingers burned in traditional markets seek out a cycle-resistant alternative.

"We've never seen business as strong as it has been this year," said Ian Goldbart, managing director of Noble Investments today, after announcing the £1.25 million acquisition of Surrey stamp trader Apex Philatelics.

Mr Goldbart's bullish assessment of the sedate world of collecting fits with statements last week from Britain's biggest stamps and memorabilia trader Stanley Gibbons, which said the "all-consuming passion" of collectors would insulate the sector from the wider economic slump.

Stanley Gibbons said the price of rare stamps showed no correlation with other assets and increased during downturns.

Mr Goldbart added that high-value stamps are increasingly considered a worthy investment opportunity.

"If it's an investment, then customers want something rare, not something that they could find again next week or next month," he said. . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New 42 Cent stamp gets American flag wrong

A new 42-cent stamp featuring the American flag against an evening sky appears to have 14 stripes -- one too many, FoxNews.com reports.

The stamp in question, "Night," was released by the Postal Service on April 18 as part of a series of four stamps painted by Maryland artist Laura Stutzman depicting Old Glory at sunrise, noon, sunset and night, the news site reports.

Stamp collector Tony Servies observes in his blog StampsofDistinction.com this week that for 190 years, the flag has always consisted of 13 red and white stripes in a specific pattern. There are 7 red stripes and 6 white stripes. Because of the odd number of red stripes, that has meant a red stripe at the top and bottom of the flag, he writes.

That also means, he concludes, this partially blocked flag, which has a white stripe at the bottom, has at minimum 14 stripes and potentially 15 if the traditional pattern was maintained. . . .

Full story at: Link