Monday, January 31, 2011

Neon Celebrate U.S. Postage Stamp to be Issued in March

(USPS Press Release) Good times call for good wishes, as the Postal Service gets in on the act with the Neon Celebrate! stamp to be issued in March. Bringing an extra wish for happiness to anyone celebrating a special time, this stamp features a brilliantly colored design crafted out of neon and glass that adds a spark to greeting cards, invitations, and gift-bearing envelopes and packages. No matter the occasion—birthday, anniversary, engagement, wedding, new job, retirement—this stamp will add another congratulatory wish to the good times being acknowledged.

Inspired by a visit to the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles, Art Director Phil Jordan began to think about the possibility of using neon to depict a stamp subject. He decided that a “Neon Celebrate!” stamp, with its imagery of vivid colors, fit the bill. “Most neon is huge and stamps are so small,” said Jordan. “The mechanics would be a monumental challenge. Not everyone thought we could pull it off.”

After reviewing the work of a number of artists, Jordan chose Michael Flechtner to craft the U.S. Postal Service's first neon stamp design. Interested in neon from an early age, Flechtner honed his glass-bending skills while working in a neon sign shop after graduate school, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture. This background enabled him to create neon tubing that depicted three-dimensional objects instead of the two dimensional forms typically found in signage and other graphic neon displays.

Flechtner came up with the idea for his stamp design while watching a fireworks display. “I felt that fireworks, with all their color, light, and motion, were the embodiment of a celebration,” he says. “Since neon is all about color and light, it was the perfect design for the medium.”

The 2011 Neon Celebrate! stamp is Michael Flechtner's first project for the U.S. Postal Service.

Friday, January 28, 2011

NASA Mercury and Messenger Spaceflights U.S. Postage Stamps to be Issued May 4

(USPS Press Release) The 50th anniversary of America's first manned spaceflight is being commemorated with the issuance of two stamps. The stamps go on sale May 4.

One stamp salutes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Project Mercury, America’s first manned spaceflight program, and NASA astronaut Alan Shepard’s historic flight on May 5, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7.

The other stamp draws attention to NASA’s unmanned MESSENGER mission, a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft to enter into orbit around Mercury.

These two historic missions—Shepard’s Mercury flight and MESSENGER’s orbit of Mercury—frame a remarkable fifty-year period in which America has advanced space exploration through more than 1,500 manned and unmanned flights.

The Project Mercury and MESSENGER Mission stamps were designed by Donato Giancola of Brooklyn, NY, under the direction of Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA. A three-time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist, Giancola is known for his cover illustrations for science fiction authors, including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Phillip K. Dick, and Arthur C. Clarke. His luminous works for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have received recognition through more than a dozen awards.

Giancola based the stamp designs on NASA photographs and images. The Project Mercury stamp depicts Shepard, the Mercury capsule Freedom 7, and the Redstone launching rocket. The MESSENGER Mission stamp depicts the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around the planet Mercury.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Queen Victoria Postage Stamps Sell for $820,000

A quartet of the most important stamps in Hong Kong philately sold Sunday for a record 6.4 million Hong Kong dollars (US$820,000) to an anonymous Asian buyer.

The extremely rare 1865 96-cent stamps in mint condition features a profile of Queen Victoria. The image is based on sketches made by Sir Hercules G. R. Robinson, governor of Hong Kong from 1859 to 1865 (the city’s Robinson Road is named after him).

The block was sold by . . .

Full story at: Wall Street Journal (blog)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lunar New Year is First of ‘All-Forever’ First-Class U.S. Postage Stamps Issued

USPS Photo
MORROW, GA — The U.S. Postal Service issued the first of its “all-Forever” First-Class Mail commemorative stamps in recognition of the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration.

“Today’s event is important, not only because it’s our first stamp dedication ceremony of the new year, but also because it gives me the chance to reinforce one of the Postal Service’s top priorities, and that is to improve our customers’ experience doing business with us,” said Linda Welch, Postal Service area vice president, Southwest Area.

As of today, all First-Class Mail commemorative stamps will be Forever Stamps. Their value will always be equal to the current . . .

Full story at:

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Canada Post's Stamp Program for February 2011

The following Canadian postage stamps are scheduled to be released in February 2011:

Feb. 1, 2011: Carrie Best and Fergie Jenkins

Feb. 7, 2011: Celebration

Feb. 21, 2011: Art Canada: Daphne Odjig

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Canada's Version of the Forever Stamp

Canada Post Photo
With the arrival of January, postage rates are going up, the number of denominations printed on stamps is going down, and the Queen seems to have disappeared. . . . The higher prices mean more new stamp issues to accommodate them, which is good news for collectors. But the shrinking number of domestic-rate stamps with the denomination appearing on them is bad news. Not having the denomination on the stamp makes it harder for collectors to catalogue or to know their date of issue.

Of the 14 domestic-rate stamps to be issued over the next three months, only three have the "59" printed on them; the rest are so-called Permanent stamps with no numbers or denomination showing. Instead, at the top or bottom corner is a . . .

Full story at: Telegraph Journal

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Baby Wildlife and Canadian Pride Featured on Canada Post's New Definitive Stamps

Canada Post Photo
Canada Post has issued the first in a multiple-year series of definitive stamps featuring Canada’s cutest, cuddliest baby creatures - “Baby Wildlife” along with the “Canadian Pride” series highlighting common and uncommon places the Canadian flag appears.

For 2011, the Baby Wildlife series will feature the Arctic Hare (Permanent™ Domestic), the Red Fox (US: $1.03), the Canada Geese (Oversized mail: $1.25) and the Polar Bear cubs (International: $1.75).

“Canadians love their wildlife and they love stamps that . . .

Full story at: Canada Post

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Four Feisty Feminists Follow the Don into Philatelic History

New Australian postage stamps feature: Germaine Greer, Eva Cox, Elizabeth Evatt, Anne Summers

MORE than a decade after Don Bradman was the first person, other than royalty, to have their face embossed on an Australian stamp while still alive, a posse of feisty feminists has stepped up to the envelope.

Yesterday they put on a typically bravura performance at a news conference in Melbourne to mark being stamped for posterity as ''Legends'' in a culture that leans to celebrating sporting prowess over the achievements of agitators.

Germaine Greer, the international agent provocateur who rose from . . .

Full story at: The Sydney Morning Herald

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Author Mark Twain U.S. Postage Stamp to be Issued in June

(USPS Press Release) With the 27th stamp in the Literary Arts series, the Postal Service honors Mark Twain, author of beloved works such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, widely considered one of the greatest novels in American literature. The stamp goes on sale in June. In this tale of an abused boy and a runaway slave who become friends while riding a raft down the Mississippi River, Twain addressed issues of race and racism in America with a frankness that is still startling more than a hundred years later.

He was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in the small village of Florida, MO. As a young man, he worked at various jobs; his time as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi gave Clemens the name under which he later became famous. Big steamboats needed about 12 feet of water—two fathoms, or “mark twain” in the cry of the leadsman who measured the river’s depth—to float safely.

Other works by this prolific writer include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), a celebration of a mythic American boyhood; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889), a novel that satirized aspects of both the Middle Ages and the 19th century; Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894), a novel detailing the complications that ensue after a slave mother switches her baby with that of her master; and Life on the Mississippi (1883), beautifully evoking the river of Twain’s youth.

Art director and designer Phil Jordan used work by stamp artist Gregory Manchess, who based his portrait of Twain, in oil paints on a board, on a photograph taken around 1907 by Underwood & Underwood of New York, now in the collection of the Library of Congress. The stamp background evokes several of Twain’s works set along the Mississippi River of his youth.

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New Zealand Post is Commissioning Postage Stamps to Commemorate Royal Wedding

Prince William and Kate Middelton stamps to be issued in March.

New Zealand Post is commissioning stamps and may issue gold or silver coins to commemorate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The April wedding has whetted Kiwis' appetites for royalty and romance and other businesses are also gearing up to cash in. NZ Post stamps and coins general manager Ivor Masters said two stamps would be issued in March along with a . . .

Full story at:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Buy Your U.S. Postage Stamps for 10% Off

The Secret to Beating the Postage Increase

Yes, it's pretty obvious I know, but 99% of the people reading this article don't think it is possible – "isn't it against the law for the post office to give discounts on stamps?" So what – you don't have to buy them from the post office.

I know it sounds too good to be true, I thought so too until I figured out how to do it.

If you are like me, you have spent hours of your life poring over your expenses in every category, trying to find a place to shave off a percent or two here and there. Then you come to the postage category. You look at that solid and steadily increasing dollar amount, shed a few tears, and . . .

Full story at:

Friday, January 21, 2011

WSU Graduate Designs U.S. Postage Stamp

"I'm just a regular guy, so finally seeing it printed was just mind-boggling."

An artist who created some of his first neon pieces during graduate studies at Wichita State has crafted a neon U.S. postage stamp, the first of its kind.

WSU graduate Michael Flechtner was commissioned by U.S. Postal Service Art Director Phil Jordan. The stamp's release date is March 25.

Jordan asked Flechtner to design a stamp after seeing Flechtner's work at . . .

Full story at: The Wichita Eagle

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe Defends the 'Forever' Stamp

The nation's top mailman says he'd like to meet with former House speaker Newt Gingrich to explain the U.S. Postal Service's use of Forever Stamps.

Gingrich last week blasted the use of Forever Stamps, calling them a . . .

Full story at: The Washington Post

Stamp Collecting is Not Dead Yet; Stanley Gibbons Has a Good 2010

To most of us, postage stamps are nothing more than scraps of paper to be stuck onto an envelope -- a mere promise to deliver a letter or package.

However, to philatelists (stamp collectors), stamps are tiny works of art to be collected and treasured. What's more, stamp-collecting is far from being a peculiarly British obsession. There are estimated to be 30 million stamp collectors in China alone.

Googling 'stamps' or 'stamps collecting' brings up the Stanley Gibbons website as the . . .

Full story at: The Motley Fool UK

Monday, January 17, 2011

New River Gorge Bridge Priority Mail Postage Stamp to be Released April 11

BECKLEY — A priority mail stamp commemorating the New River Gorge Bridge is set to be released in April, but the very first postmark to grace the stamp may not be in southern West Virginia.

Chris Lazaroff, stamp collector and president of the American First Day Cover Society, said, for collectors, it is important for the stamp to be postmarked on the first date of issuance from an area near the image on the stamp. According to current United States Postal Service plans, not only will stamp collectors miss out on the postmark, but . . .

Full story at: The Register Herald

New Postmaster General Sworn In and New Partnership with Ebay Announced by U.S. Postal Service

WASHINGTON — Patrick R. Donahoe today took the oath of office in front of employees and family members to become the 73rd Postmaster General of the United States and the CEO of the U.S. Postal Service.

Pledging to return the Postal Service to profitability and continue to provide high levels of customer service, Donahoe announced a new partnership with eBay as part of a renewed push to generate much needed revenue and the expansion of the Forever Stamp program for customer convenience.

“I am confident that we will emerge as a profitable, market-responsive organization that competes for customers and delivers even greater value to the American people,” Donahoe said.

Earlier this week, the Postal Service signed a new, five-year contract with eBay to provide . . .

Full story at:

Stamps as Long-Term Investment Tools

Check these facts: Stamps are regularly sold for $1 million in auctions. The most expensive stamp in the world is worth $2.97 million. Stamps as an investment are usually immune to market jitters.

No wonder financial advisers suggest adding stamps to an investor’s portfolio. Investments in rare stamps can fetch annual returns of over 45%. On an average, rare stamps have given returns of about 10-15% a year in recent years. A caveat: Rare stamps are not a substitute for traditional forms of investments. They have given steady returns and occasionally . . .

Full story at: The Economic Times

Sacramento's Aging Stamp Collectors Keep the Faith

Scarcity sells in stamp collecting. The older and less plentiful the specimen, the more it gets philatelists' hearts aflutter and sends interest and price soaring.

But when it comes to the demographics of this noble, if a tad fusty, hobby, a scarcity of younger enthusiasts – those yet to be targeted by the AARP – is cause enough to get dealers and collectors to look up from their magnifying glasses and . . .

Full story at: The Sacramento Bee

Royal Wedding to Boost Stamp Collecting

The Royal Wedding bandwagon is gathering pace after Stanley Gibbons, the stamp-collecting and memorabilia group, said its sales would benefit from the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April.

British businesses are forecast to profit from the royal wedding to the tune of £600m and Stanley Gibbons said it expected to be among the winners.

The company acquired Benham Group, a specialist in first day covers, last year and said . . .

Full story at: The Telegraph

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Mayo Clinic "Stamp Collector Specializing in Medicine"

Hematologist Robert A. Kyle, M.D., had always had a fleeting interest in postage stamps, but it wasn’t until he was hospitalized with a lumbar disc injury in 1965 that he became a stamp collector. To help pass the time during what he jokingly recalls as the “40 days and 40 nights” he lay in bed in Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Kyle thumbed through thick volumes of the Scott catalog of postage stamps, identifying stamps he had already collected and looking for . . .

Full story at: Minnesota Medicine

Famous Personalities Honored on Stamps: Links to Medicine is Now Available

New stamp collecting book highlights little known facts about famous people featured on stamps who also have a connection to medicine.
A couple of examples are aviator Charles Lindberg, better known for the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, and Baron von Munchhausen whose exaggerated story telling resulted in a syndrome being named after him.

This is the fourth book co-authored by Robert A. Kyle, M.D., and Marc Shampo, Ph.D.

Get your copy here!

Postage Stamp Long Overdue for NASA Astronaut Alan Shepard

First American in Space Finally Gets Postage Stamp

DERRY – Four years ago, retired town historian Rick Holmes sent a letter to the United States Postal Service calling for a stamp in honor of Derry's beloved Alan Shepard, the first American in space.

Though there's no telling just what influence his . . .

Full story at: New Hampshire Union Leader

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bicentennial To Be Celebrated At County Post Offices in New York

"Every single post office in the county has agreed to do a commemorative cancel."

As a stamped envelope makes its way through the post office, it is typically marked with a few wavy lines, or perhaps a star shape or a bull's-eye.

But like a highly prized stamp itself, a stamp cancellation might illustrate a special event or celebrate the life of a famous person. When Chautauqua County celebrates its two hundredth birthday Feb. 9, it will have its own series of postal markings . . .

Full story at: Jamestown Post-Journal

Friday, January 14, 2011

Black Heritage Barbara Jordan U.S. Postage Stamp to be Issued in September

(USPS Press Release) With the 34th stamp in the Black Heritage series, the Postal Service honors Barbara Jordan, one of the most respected and influential American politicians of the 20th century. The stamp goes on sale in September.

Her prodigious list of “firsts” includes being the first African- American woman elected to the Texas legislature, the first African- American elected to the Texas State Senate since 1883, and the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from the South.

She captured the attention and admiration of the nation with her intelligence and integrity, her ardent patriotism and steadfast dedication to public service, and her eloquent oratory and charismatic leadership.

Staunchly determined to help extend social justice and federal protection of equal rights to all American citizens, Jordan dedicated her life to working for the benefit of others and her legacy will carry on for generations to come.

In 1976, Jordan became the first woman and the first African-American to deliver a keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. Her televised speech—considered the highlight of the convention—described Americans as “a people in search of a national community…attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.” Once again, Barbara Jordan’s message resonated throughout the country.

Jordan ultimately served three terms in Congress, sponsoring and supporting numerous pieces of legislation extending federal protection of civil rights. Her record of success ensured social justice and equal rights for more American citizens.

In 1979, Jordan became a professor of public affairs and ethics at the University of Texas at Austin, where she quickly earned a stellar reputation as an extraordinarily inspiring and challenging professor. She was such a popular teacher, in fact, that student lotteries were held to make the final determination on enrollment in her classes. In 1982, Jordan was appointed to the university’s Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy.

Throughout the years, Jordan continued to keep up with politics and national affairs and was a much sought-after lecturer. In 1987 she testified against the confirmation of Robert H. Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in 1992 she was a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in New York City. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Jordan chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, a post she held until her death.

During her lifetime Barbara Jordan received many prestigious honors and awards, including the 1984 Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award, the 1990 Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, the 1992 NAACP Spingarn Medal, and the 1993 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. In 1994, President Clinton presented Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor.

In 1984, Jordan was elected to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990 and the African-American Hall of Fame in 1993. Also in 1993, she was named one of the most influential American women of the 20th century by the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

The portrait featured on the stamp is an oil painting by award-winning artist Albert Slark of Ajax, Ontario, Canada. Slark based his portrait on an undated black-and-white photograph of Jordan.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Newt Gingrich Slams New Forever Stamps

Looks like Newt Gingrich may never end up on a postage stamp.

The former House speaker, an oft-mentioned 2012 presidential candidate, is weighing in on an issue few Republicans ever talk about in great detail: The future of the U.S. Postal Service.

In his weekly e-mail to supporters, Gingrich blasts a recent decision to make all future stamps . . .

Full story at: The Washington Post

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Collect Postage Stamps

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 US/BNA Postage Stamp Catalog is Now Available

Whitman Publishing has released the new 2011 United States and British North America Postage Stamp Catalog which is now available.

Published since 1935, H.E. Harris’ Postage Stamp Catalog contains current market prices for United States, U.S. Possessions and Trust Territories, Canada and Provinces, and all United Nations. Thousands of stamp illustrations to identify virtually every design and listings by Scott’s numbering system. Includes U.S. Commemorative index and stamp identifier, grading criteria and more.

Get 27% off your copy here!

Stamp Collecting Threatened by Self-Sticking Postage Stamps

It's a sticky problem.

Stamp collecting has been documenting Canada's postal history since the mid-1800s but technology and glue are threatening the old hobby.

It's one of the oft-discussed topics at the annual stamp show, held Saturday at Woodman Park Community Centre.

"Self-sticking stamps are ruining the hobby for collectors, said . . .

Full story at: The Brantford Expositor

Monday, January 10, 2011

Latin Music Legends U.S. Postage Stamps to be Issued in March

(USPS Press Release) Five legendary musicians and performers of the Latin sound whose contributions have had a lasting impact on American music —Selena, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Tito Puente, and Celia Cruz – will be honored on stamps. Among the distinctive musical genres and styles represented are Tejano, tango, samba, Latin jazz, and salsa. The stamps go on sale in March.

For these stamps, artist Rafael Lopez, of San Diego, CA, painted semi-realistic portraits of each musical artist designed to evoke their personality, vitality, and even their sound. He used a warm palette of colors—from brilliant yellows, pinks, and lime green to rich shades of purple and blue—to suggest the flavor and energy these artists brought to their work. Each musician is depicted in mid-performance. One can almost hear Celia Cruz shout her trademark rallying cry ¡Azucar! (Sugar!) or sense Tito Puente's rhythmic intensity as he performed one of his progressive arrangements on the timbales. Art director Ethel Kessler, of Bethesda, Maryland, says, “My goal was that when you see the stamp, you hear the music.”

Lopez's first project for the U.S. Postal Service was the Merengue design for the 2005 Let's Dance/Bailemos stamp pane, followed in 2007 with the Mendez v. Westminster stamp.

Texas-born Selena Quintanilla-Perez (1971-1995)—known to fans simply as Selena—helped transform and popularize Tejano music by integrating techno-hip-hop beats and disco-influenced dance movements with a captivating stage presence. A Grammy recipient, the “Queen of Tejano” broke gender barriers with record sales and awards. Even after her tragic death, Selena remains an important representative of Latino culture.

A superb and evocative singer, Carlos Gardel (1890?-1935) was one of the most celebrated tango artists of all time. Raised in Argentina, Gardel helped popularize the tango in the United States, Europe, and throughout Latin America through his performances and recordings. “The man with the tear in his voice” also achieved fame as one of the stars of the Spanish-language cinema.

Born in Portugal and raised in Brazil, Carmen Miranda (1909-1955) achieved fame as a samba singer before moving to New York City, where she gained instant celebrity in theater, film, and radio. The “Brazilian Bombshell” appeared in 14 Hollywood musicals and recorded more than 300 songs. Her exotic signature outfit and persona are an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Tito Puente (1923-2000) was a musical virtuoso popularly known as El Rey, “The King”. With dynamic solos on the timbales and orchestral arrangements that have become classics in Latin music, Puente helped bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds to mainstream audiences. He performed for more than 60 years, and his legacy includes more than 140 albums.

A dazzling performer of many genres of Afro-Caribbean music, Celia Cruz (1925-2003) had a powerful contralto voice and a joyful, charismatic personality that endeared her to fans from different nationalities and across generations. Settling in the United States following the Cuban revolution, the “Queen of Salsa” performed for more than five decades and recorded more than 50 albums.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

U.K. Makes Sure Queen Elizabeth's Head Will Continue to Grace Postage Stamps

LONDON -- Even if Britain's Royal Mail is sold to a foreign buyer, Her Royal Highness will still grace its stamp, the U.K. government said Sunday.

Sculptor Arnold Machin's depiction of a youthful Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on billions of stamps since it was commissioned in 1967 and has become a classic of British design.

So there was disquiet when media reports suggested that plans to . . .

Full story at: The Washington Post

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 Jersey Post Stamp Program Debuts

2011 Stamp programme

11th January 2011, Jersey - Transport III - Coaches
The first stamp issue released in 2011 will feature a selection of six coaches which have graced the roads of Jersey. The coaches date from c.1926 to c.1961.

8th February 2011, Europa - Forests
Jersey Post 's interpretation of PostEurop's 2011 theme focuses on the foliages of trees which can be found in Jersey's woodland areas. The Europa logo will be depicted on two stamps within the set. . . .

Full list at: Jersey Post

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India and Mexico Release Joint Postage Stamps

India-Mexico Stamps Celebrate Dancing and Commemorate 60 Years of Diplomatic Ties

(India Post Press Release) India and Mexico, both vibrant and pluralistic democracies, established diplomatic relations in 1950 and completed 60 years. To commemorate the completion of the 60 years of diplomatic relations, a set of two stamps are being released by the Department of Posts depicting the Kalbelia dance of Rajasthan,India and Jarabe Tapatio, the national dance of Mexico.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jazz Appreciation U.S. Postage Stamp to be Released Soon

(USPS Press Release) With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service is proud to pay tribute to jazz, America’s musical gift to the world, and to the musicians who play it in studios, clubs, or concert halls, and on festival stages.

Jazz developed originally as an innovative combination of European, American, and African influences. It first flowered near the dawn of the 20th century in New Orleans, LA, where Africans from various places mixed with native-born Americans of diverse ancestry as well as Europeans and people from the islands of the Caribbean. This unique blend of cultures gave rise to a distinctive musical expression—and the blending process has continued, with jazz incorporating further influences from Latin, Asian, and African cultures.

Major jazz figures include composers such as Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Thelonious Monk; singers such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan; and innovative musicians such as Lester Young, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and Ornette Coleman — all internationally admired.

Art director Howard Paine designed the stamp to showcase the work of Paul Rogers, an artist living in Pasadena, CA. In creating the art for the stamp, originally using ink on paper and then finishing his work digitally, Rogers explored the way images could become a visual equivalent of jazz music. He was inspired by the cover art from vintage jazz record albums—work that captured the music’s improvisational quality while built on a clear understanding of its underlying structure.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Civil War U.S. Postage Stamps to be Released April 12

(USPS Press Release) The Postal Service begins a series with these stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, joining others across the country in paying tribute to the American experience during the tumultuous years from 1861 to 1865. The stamps will go on sale April 12.

A souvenir sheet of two stamps will be issued each year through 2015. For 2011, one stamp depicts the beginning of the war in April 1861 at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, while the other depicts the first major battle of the war three months later at Bull Run, near Manassas, Virginia.

The Civil War profoundly changed the country, bringing an end to slavery, transforming the social life of the South and the economic life of the nation, and having a lasting impact on those who lived through the four-year ordeal.

Art Director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA, created the stamps using images of Civil War battles. The Fort Sumter stamp is a reproduction of a Currier & Ives lithograph, circa 1861, titled “Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor.” The Bull Run stamp is a reproduction of a 1964 painting by Sidney E. King titled “The Capture of Rickett’s Battery.” The painting depicts fierce fighting on Henry Hill over an important Union battery during the Battle of First Bull Run.

For the stamp pane’s background image, Jordan used a photograph dated circa 1861 of a Union regiment assembled near Falls Church, Virginia.

The stamp pane includes comments on the war by Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and Robert E. Lee. It also includes some of the lyrics used during the Civil War in “Johnny is Gone for a Soldier,” a song dating back at least to the Revolutionary War.

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President Ronald Reagan U.S. Postage Stamp to be Issued February 10

(USPS Press Release) The Postal Service recognizes the centennial of the birth of Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), America’s 40th President. The stamp issuance is one of a number of centennial events taking place across the nation in 2011 to commemorate Reagan’s life and legacy. The stamp goes on sale Feb. 10.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was a well-known Hollywood actor who appeared in more than fifty films before becoming a prominent political leader. Distinguished by his charisma and oratorical skills, he was one of the most influential Presidents of the 20th century.

In the year following Reagan’s death on June 5, 2004, the Postal Service issued a memorial stamp honoring him for his service as a U.S. President.

The stamp art, by Bart Forbes of Plano, TX, was created in oil wash on board. It is based on a photograph of Reagan taken in 1985, during his second term as President, at his beloved "Rancho del Cielo" (Ranch in the Sky), near Santa Barbara, CA.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

150th Anniversary of Kansas Statehood U.S. Postage Stamp to be Issued January 27

(USPS Press Release) The 150th anniversary of Kansas statehood is commemorated with the issuance of this stamp. Kansas is believed to be named after the Kansas River, which bears the name of the Kansa, one of several Native American tribes in the region prior to European settlement. Kansas became the 34th state in the Union on Jan. 29, 1861.

This stamp, which will be issued Jan. 27, features artwork by renowned commercial and fine-art painter Dean Mitchell. Created specifically for the U.S. Postal Service, this stamp is a symbolic artistic snapshot of Kansas that encapsulates many of the state’s most prominent features: history, industry, agriculture, and pioneering ingenuity.

In the foreground stands a type of efficient windmill pioneered in America during the mid-19th century, first made of wood but later out of metal (like the one shown on this stamp) and fitted with a tail, like a weather vane, to change the direction of the wheel relative to the wind.

In the background stand five modern wind turbines that demonstrate continuity and the forward-looking nature of the modern Kansas economy. Below and behind the windmills is the Kansas landscape, with stylized bands of color implying the varying topography of the state. A golden band suggests the undulating plains of western Kansas and implying statewide prosperity in agriculture, while a green band hints at the forests and hills of eastern Kansas.

Monday, January 3, 2011

World's First Postage Stamp Printed on Cloth to be Issued on February 12

A unique stamp printed on cloth is all set to grace the collections of philatelists world wide. In a bid to popularise philately (study and collection of stamps and related items), India Post has decided to release a stamp printed on khadi. A first such stamp in the country, it will bear the image of Mahatma Gandhi.

"We will issue the special philately stamp on February 12, the inaugural day of week-long world philatelic exhibition —Indipex 2011 — that will be observed in India and Japan this year. President Pratibha Patil will inaugurate the stamp . . .

Full story at: Hindustan Times

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