Blog Update

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My First Day Cover cachet for the Shark stamps issued at the Newport Aquarium on July 26, 2017.

                Hello!  It’s been almost two years since my last official blog post, so I wanted to give an update on my philatelic activities since then. Continue reading

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A Brief History of US Tax Stamps

                It’s tax season in the US, with returns needing to be filed by April 18th this year.  Sounds like a good time to talk about tax stamps!

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A postage stamp commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act’s repeal will be issued by the USPS in May, 2016.

Tax stamps are applied to items as proof of tax payment.  They were first used in America during the colonial period.  In 1765, the British Parliament passed the Duties in American Colonies Act which required colonists to use stamps or stamped papers to pay taxes on certain items or documents.  This caused quite an uproar at the time.  The reason behind the taxes was to pay for British military service protecting the colonies, but the colonists didn’t think that was necessary.  This lead to boycotts of British goods and protests (under the rallying cry “No taxation without representation”) which eventually lead to the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766.

Continue reading

Easter Treats and Postcard Tweets

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My personal collection of Easter picture postcards.

Happy Easter!  At the last stamp show I visited, I thumbed through some dealers’ bargain boxes and found four cute Easter post cards I just couldn’t resist.  This gave me an opportunity to learn a little more about post card collecting.  Vintage post cards are collectable items outside of philately, as unmailed cards are often bought for their pretty designs and historical value.  They make wonderful display pieces that can be easily kept in albums or displayed in frames.

Continue reading

Cats with Cards

03202016_3                I’m well aware of mail and messages sent by carrier pigeon.  You can even collect pigeon post stamps, which are the first air mail stamps ever produced!

                But this week my husband introduced me to this children’s book, which is based on a true story, about a city in Belgium that attempted to us cats to deliver mail.  So of course, as a philatelist and a cat person, I had to dig in and do some research on this fun little bit of postal history.

Continue reading

Fabric Philately

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My new postal-themed purse.

                The past two weekends I’ve been getting a little crafty. One thing I really wanted to make for myself was a new purse, so I went looking for some philatelic-inspired fabric to make it with. I looked through four different fabric/crafting stores and found a variety of material to choose from.

                One thing I noticed while looking for stamp themed fabric was that most of it was less focused on stamps and more focused on France. Vintage Paris, with its romantic imagery, is a popular theme right now for craft products. While I did buy a few yards of pretty pastel fabric covered in images of French stamps, I generally shied away from these types of material. I mostly work with US postal history and don’t know much about French stamps. Since I was planning on carrying this purse regularly, I wanted to be sure if anyone asked about it, I’d have a story to tell. Continue reading

Collections Collide

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“Special Delivery” Pikachu plush from The Pokemon Center.

                This year marks the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, the Japanese cartoon and game series about catching and battling monsters. I’ve been a huge Pokémon fan for years! What does that have to do with philately? Well, stamp collecting and Pokémon might have more in common than you think.

                Last year I visited the Pokémon National Championships in Indianapolis. While we were there, we sat and watched part of the Trading Card Game tournament. The Pokémon Trading Card Game (or TCG for short) was first published in Japan in 1996, since then over 9,000 different Pokémon cards have been designed and printed. Cards aren’t only for those who want to play the game, however, there is also a large number of fans to want the cards for collecting and display.

                Card collecting and stamp collecting are fairly similar hobbies. While Pokémon cards may not have quite the historical value of postage stamps, they certainly inspire a similar passion. Continue reading

Air Mail Images & Iconography

                When you start thinking of postal history, vintage letters, general post office imagery, it probably won’t take you long to envision that classic red and blue border around an envelope. For many years, this border was used to identify an envelope for air mail delivery. Today, however, it is merely decorative. The United States Postal Service ended separate domestic air mail service in the 1970s, and separate international service in the 1990s. Since then, letter delivery by air is done whenever practical with no additional charge. Specific air mail stamps and envelopes are no longer required, but there is something romantic about the classic air mail letter look. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day & the Social Stamp

02142016_1                One of the benefits of working for a stamp collector is that when I want to send mail, I have a wide variety of leftover stamps to choose from. This gives me the opportunity to pick the perfect stamp(s) for any type of mail or occasion. This Valentine’s Day, I sent out postal cards from the Art of Disney: Romance set, supplemented with the 25₵ 1990 LOVE stamps.

                Specific stamps for special occasions seem only natural. When your special someone (friend, family, or significant other) sees that floral or heart patterned stamp, they know they’re in for a Valentine’s treat! It also adds sentimental value and beauty to the envelope if they keep it as a memento. Continue reading

The Birth of a Postage Stamp

                This year the United States Post Office will release over eighty new stamp designs! As with most collectible items, it’s not uncommon for fans of postage stamps to eagerly await the release of the newest designs.

                There’s more to the release of a postage stamp than just stopping by your local post office, though. Each US postage stamp has a “First Day of Issue” ceremony and dedication! Think of it as a birthday party for each stamp. The earliest First Day Ceremony that I could find record of was held in 1940 to celebrate the issue of the 10₵ Mark Twain stamp, part of the Famous Americans series. A First Day Ceremony usually introduces the stamps by explaining the significance or history of the stamp subject, and naming the artists involved in the stamp’s design.

                Last week I visited the AmeriStamp Expo in Atlanta, and was able to see a First Day Ceremony firsthand. As a big fan of flowers and floral imagery, I was very excited to watch the new Botanical Art stamp booklet be issued. Continue reading

#philatelythings

Hello, and welcome to Philately Things.  My name is CJ, and I’ve been working as a philatelic researcher and stamp collection curator for over two years.  I’ve made this blog as a way to share my interest in postal history.

With thousands of stamps created for over hundreds of years, stamp collecting can be an intimidating hobby.  I hope to be a casual, fun resource to spark your interest!

Feel free to leave an ask with any philatelic questions or suggestions for post topics.  I have access to a large personal library of philatelic material and stamp collection, and I’m eager to help you find information if I can.