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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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

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