Deadline Soon to Enroll in Western Expansion Postal History Course

The American Philatelic Society, in conjunction with upcoming Westpex, is presenting a two-day seminar, “Western Expansion: As Illustrated Through Postal History.”

Students are urged to sign up now as the deadline to register is March 30.

The course will explain in philatelic terms how California and other U.S. western areas expanded government and business efforts that affected nations and governments to the west by United States presence or ownership. Areas covered include: Hawaii; Mexican-American War results in U.S. expansion; Japan from 1853–1912; the Philippines — Dewey through the Spanish-American War; and U.S. involvement in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion.

The course moderated by John Birkinbine II and led by eight instructors will be held 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 and 27 at the San Francisco Marriott Waterfront Hotel just prior to that weekend’s stamp show.

The cost is $95, but just $55 for APS members. Registration due this week via, or by contacting the APS Education Department, 814-933-3803 or

New Strawberries Stamp Ripe for the Picking This Spring

A new 3-cent Strawberries stamp will be available in coils of 10,000 when formally issued May 5 with a first day of issue in Acton, Massachusetts, the U.S. Postal Service said Friday. This was the first formal announcement of the new stamp from the USPS.

The first-day date coincides with the first day of the Philatelic Show (May 5-7) sponsored by the Northeastern Federation of Stamp Clubs at the Boxborough Regency Hotel and Conference Center. The show will host a first-day ceremony for the new stamp at 11 a.m.

The stamp features an illustration of three ripe, red strawberries surrounded by leaves and hulls adjacent to three smaller, green strawberries in various stages of growth. A small white flower from the strawberry plant completes the picture.

Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp using an existing illustration by John Burgoyne, the same artist for the recent Apples, Grapes, and Pears definitives.

*updated to reflect the ceremony time

New Green Succulent Global Forever Stamp Announced

A new $1.15 Green Succulent global forever international rate stamp will be formally issued April 28 in San Francisco, the U.S. Postal Service said Friday.

The Green Succulent global forever stamp will be valid to send a 1-ounce letter to any country where first-class mail international service is available. The stamp, which features a photograph of an echeveria, a succulent native to the Americas, will be sold in panes of 10.

The stamp release coincides with the Westpex stamp show scheduled for April 28-30 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Hotel. The show will host a first-day ceremony for the stamp at 1 p.m.

William J. Gicker was the art director and Greg Breeding designed the stamp with an existing photograph by Erika Kirkpatrick.

Stamp Madness Round Two Starts

The public has chosen and Round 2 of 2017 Stamp Madness has begun.

Not surprisingly, the two contestants from the United States — the 1962 Mercury space capsule and 1964 World’s Fair stamps — remain in the running, as do stamps from Japan, India, New Zealand, Canada, Greece, and Laos.

The winners of this round will advance to the first Final Four in the American Philatelic Society’s inaugural contest. Lucky entrants from our Preview contest and from the championship round will win some fun philatelic prizes.

Round 1 victors included two stamps each from the Americas: United States’ World’s Fair and Canada Eastern Farm; and from the Afro-India Division: Greece’s Grapes and Bread and India’s Taj Mahal.

Shockingly, no stamps from Europe survived Round 1 and all four survivors come from the Pacific Division: the Elephant from Laos; New Zealand’s Southern Alps and Chapel; the U.S. Project Mercury; and Suigo Quasi-National Park from Japan.

Vote via Facebook or Twitter. May the best stamp win!

Eight Advance in Stamp Madness Bracket

Eight stamps have advanced to the second round of the 2017 American Philatelic Society’s inaugural 2017 Stamp Madness head-to-head bracket contest.

Matchups for Round 2 will be:

The U.S. Project Mercury stamp (which won the most votes in Round 1) from 1962 against New Zealand’s Southern Alps and Chapel (1946).

Japan’s Suigo Quasi-National Park stamp of 1962 against the 1958 Elephant stamp from Laos.

India’s Taj Mahal stamp of 1949 against the Eastern Farm stamp (1946) from Canada.

The U.S. World’s Fair stamp of 1964 vs. the Greece’s Grapes and Bread stamp of 1953.

The stamps, chosen from the years 1946 to 1970, advanced via public voting on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. The eventual champion will be crowned via three more rounds of public voting. Round 2 voting begins Friday.

Some fun philatelic prizes based on our pre-tournament Pick the Winner contest and the championship round will be awarded at the end of the tournament.