Christmas Carols Stamps October 5

Christmas Carols
Christmas Carols

The Christmas Carols forever stamps will debut October 5 nationwide. The first-day ceremony is scheduled to take place at noon at the American Stamp Dealers Association’s Fall Stamp Show. The ceremony will be in the Rheinlander Gallery of the New York Hilton Midtown,  1335 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Ave. and West 53rd St., New York, New York.

The ceremony participants include U.S. Postal Service Brand Marketing Executive Director Christopher Karpenko; American Philatelic Society American Philatelist Editor Jay Bigalke; and U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Director Mary-Anne Penner.

Here is some additional information on the Christmas Carols stamps from the U.S. Postal Service:

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the Holiday season with four new Forever stamps featuring images that illustrate a major theme of each of four beloved Christmas carols: “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “Silent Night” and “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.” Familiar lines from each song highlight the individual stamps. The shades of blue in the backgrounds of the stamps evoke the evening scenes from the four carols. This booklet of 20 stamps includes five of each design. The late Howard E. Paine was the art director. Artist Steve McCracken of Winchester, VA, created original art for the project.

Classic Children’s Books Featured on New Stamps from Royal Mail

Classic children’s books known as Ladybird Books are featured on a new set of stamps issued September 14 by Great Britain’s Royal Mail.

The publishing house traces its roots to 1867, but became a true brand in 1940 when Wills and Hepworth’s publication of what is considered its first title: Bunnikin’s Picnic Party: A Story in Verse for Children with Illustrations in Colour. The book featured stories in verse written by W. Perring, accompanied by full-color illustrations by A. J. (Angusine Jeanne) MacGregor.

With paper rationing in force at the start of World War II, the business designed a pocket-sized hardback of 56 pages that could be produced from a single sheet. The size was 7 inches by 4 5/8 inches and the classic format was born. The publisher found this was an economical way of producing books, enabling the books to be retailed at a low price which, for almost 30 years, remained at two shillings and sixpence.

Since then, the publisher has released more than 650 titles with its heyday of production in the 1960s and ’70s. Ladybird began publishing books in other formats in 1980. Most of the remaining titles in the classic format were withdrawn from print in 1999, when the factory in Loughborough which specialized in this format closed.

The eight stamps — two each of differing denominations — are printed as se-tenant pairs. Three books are shown on each stamp, 24 in all. Each stamp shows a different category of books: Achievements, Adventures from History, Early Tales and Rhymes, Hobbies and How it Works, Key Words Reading Scheme, Nature and Conservation, People at Work, and Well-loved Tales.

Each stamp measures 41 millimeters by 30 millimeters and are printed via lithography by International Security Printers. Royal Mail is selling the stamps via several products, including first-day covers, a souvenir sheet, and presentation pack.

More information is available at the Royal Mail website.



Snowy Day Forever Stamps October 4

“The Snowy Day”
“The Snowy Day”

The United States Postal Service will issue The Snowy Day forever stamps October 4 nationwide. The stamps are based on a children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats.

The first-day ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York. The event is free and open to the public.

The following individuals are scheduled to participate in the ceremony: U.S. Postal Service Government Relations and Public Policy Acting Executive Director Roderick N. Sallay; Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson; Award-winning children’s and young adult author Andrea Davis Pinkney; and Ezra Jack Keats Foundation Executive Director Deborah Pope.

Here is some additional information on the stamp issue from the U.S. Postal Service: The U.S. Postal Service showcases Ezra Jack Keats’ most beloved story, The Snowy Day. Written and illustrated by the celebrated children’s author, it was one of the first prominent 20th-century picture books centered on an African-American child. Each of the four new stamps in this 20-stamp booklet features a different illustration of main character Peter exploring and playing in his neighborhood while wearing his iconic red snowsuit. The images include Peter forming a snowball; sliding down a mountain of snow; making a snow angel; and leaving footprints in the snow. Art director Antonio Alcalá of Alexandria, VA, designed the stamps.

September 2017 American Philatelist Available Online

The September issue of The American Philatelist is online for APS members to view. Here are some of the highlights:

U.N. Philately by Jeff Stage. Don’t be fooled. The United Nations may not have issued its first stamps until 111 years after the Penny Black, but there is still a world of philately to collect. An expert offers some background about U.N. collecting in anticipation of the UNEXPO17, a special World Series of Philately show, in October at the American Philatelic Center.

An Unusual Registered Item by Vincent Centonze. Why would someone send a postal card — easily viewed by anyone — as a registered item? Perhaps it was just as some assurance of delivery … or was there a blatant message the sender hoped to broadcast through the mailstream?

The Metcalf-Hunt Correspondence, 1835-1875 by Robert L. McCaughey. A collection of nearly 200 covers and letters from the 1800s help tell the story of two prominent New England families — the Metcalfs and Hunts — and their hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.

Will-Call Cards and the Traveling Salesman by Wayne Youngblood. Salesmen’s will-call cards provide an interesting collectible area that offers interesting messages, postmarks and other postal cancellations, stamp usage, and advertising, from some of the U.S. postal system’s glory years.

Turks and Caicos Islands by Noel Davenhill. We travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands, likely discovered by Columbus, wound up as a dependency of Jamaica, and finally as a British Overseas Territory. First, just the Turks Islands were occupied, but the salt industry, followed by tourism prompted growth, and philately, on the Caicos Islands as well.

Guinea-Bissau by Bob Lamb. First colonized by Portugal, this small locale on Africa’s west coast first used overprinted stamps from Cape Verde. Stamps after World War II were inscribed “Guiné” and a whole new look was created after independence in the mid-1970s.

Collections Could Become Total Losses From Hurricane Damage

A sizeable chunk of Texas is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation and now Hurricane Irma is heading straight toward Florida and the Atlantic Coast.

Protection of personal treasures pales in the importance of personal safety, so please take care of yourselves and loved ones first. But those suffering through these weather disasters certainly need to consider and cope with their lifelong collections at some point; either before the storm hits or afterwards.

Jonathan Topper of Topper Stamps in Houston, Texas, has been front-and-center amidst Hurricane Harvey; his words are likely good warnings for anyone now in Irma’s path.

“I have lived through eight hurricanes in my life, and the devastation around Houston is just incomprehensible to me,” Topper wrote in an e-mail to the American Philatelic Society.

About 20 people so far have contacted Topper in regards to damaged stamp collections, he said earlier this week; damage to many collections has been “extensive.”

“There will be a lot more. I am familiar with the different neighborhoods that flooded (sometimes row after row of houses) and have spot checked it with our mailing list for local stamp shows,” Topper said. “I know that there are many stamp collections in these areas and I am sure we will hear more about details soon.”

The best way to cope with potential flood losses is to act beforehand. Some of the steps seem obvious, but are worth repeating:

Move precious paper material to higher, dryer ground. If you can’t move it all, move the items most precious to you.

For items you cannot move, pack in water-tight containers; some of these containers are from other realms but could be utilized for paper collections. For example, this past April, Boating magazine tested a couple dozen such containers for several conditions — from drowning to dropping — and gives the results here.

Consider flood insurance.

Hugh Wood Inc. is the society’s official insurance carrier, and works with insuring fine arts and collectibles. Hugh Wood has a satellite office in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania right next door to the American Philatelic Center.

Lisa Souders, a senior account executive based in Bellefonte, said the agency has been (gulp) flooded with calls since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Souders concurred that planning beforehand — with everything from water sensors to builder’s plastic sheeting — is the best hedge against flood damage, though, moving material away from the potential flood zones were about the only way to save collectibles in the case of Hurricane Harvey.

Topper feels that those who didn’t prepare or act will face total losses of their stamps, covers, and philatelic literature.

“The flood waters were dirty and mold seems to starts growing almost immediately here in the warm, moist air,” Topper said. “Mint stamps become unused stamps without gum, and some used stamps are salvageable if we can get them into some clean water and soak for awhile. Tap water is actually better than bottled water as it is chlorinated and that will stop some of the mold growth.”

Topper and American Philatelic Research Librarian Tara Murray noted that helpful information about preservation and salvage of paper collections can be found on the following websites:

American Philatelic Society at

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works at:

The Library of Congress at

Hugh Wood Inc. can be reached through its website or by calling 888-APS-6494.