Let’s Make a Local Post

Local posts and independent mails have been a special interest of mine ever since I started working in philately, but not everyone is so familiar with this subcategory of stamp collecting. In the US, local posts are private companies that carry mail outside of the official government post office. These companies were first organized in the 1840s, to compete with or supplement the Post Office’s service. Although the classic era of local posts ended in the 1860s when new laws suppressed their ability to legally carry the mail, short lived local posts still occasionally pop up – usually through the will of creative philatelists who want to leave their mark in the world of stamp collecting.

I gave a presentation on the history and evolution of local posts for the American Philatelic Society. You can watch a recording of the talk here: https://youtu.be/8I2HvB7hOlA

Creating my own local post is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but never knew exactly when or how to pull it off. Well, it’s 2020, and due to the corona virus pandemic, I haven’t been able to visit stamp shows or first day ceremonies, and I’m aching for a stamp adventure. So it seems like the perfect time to put my local post research to work and create an exciting new local post that I can share with all philatelic friends!

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An Open Letter to Congress

If you are reading this blog, you are probably aware of the United States Postal Service’s current financial struggle. This is something I’ve been concerned about for a while, and I’m pleased that more people are taking notice. While I respect differing opinions, I truly believe that the Post Office is an essential part of America’s infrastructure and I won’t shy away from defending it.

As I finished writing a letter to my representatives in the US House and Senate, I realized that I wanted to be a little louder in expressing my opinion than just mailing letters to my two Senators and House Representative. So I’m publishing my letter here for anyone to read, to help understand why I feel that the Post Office is worth saving.

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Advances in Recycling – Delivered by the Post Office

                It sure is a great week for nature!  This week started with Earth Day on Monday, and the workweek ends with Arbor Day on Friday.  Plus, the brilliant spring weather where I live is calling me to go outside and enjoy the flowering trees and green grass.  It’s a good time to consider the wonders of our planet!

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Recycle More stamp from the 2011 Go Green issue

                It’s also a great time to learn about and consider ways to protect and preserve nature.  One of the most well known and easily practiced ways to reduce waste and slow the depletion of resources is to recycle.  So today I want to write about recycling stamps.

                No, not stamps about recycling (like the 2011 Go Green stamp) – about recycling the stamps themselves.  I’m going to write about Test Stamps and the Environmentally Benign Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Program of 1994.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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