NEWS FLASH – USPS Dates for 2nd Quarter Stamps

U.S. Postal Service Provides Dates and Locations for 2018 Second Quarter Stamp Dedications

Name of Stamp First Day of Issue Date City State
STEM Education 4/06 Washington DC
Peace Rose 4/21 Shreveport LA
United States Airmail 5/01 Washington DC
Sally Ride 5/23 La Jolla CA
Flag Act of 1818 6/09 Appleton WI

American Philatelic Society’s Winter Show Arrives in Alabama

Stamps, covers, postal history and plenty of connections can be made at this coming weekend’s AmeriStamp Expo in Birmingham, Alabama.

The show, which is admission free and open to the public, is set for Friday through Sunday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The show serves as the society’s 61st winter meeting and convention, with a general and town meeting set for 9 a.m. on the show Saturday. Otherwise, AmeriStamp will present dealers, international-caliber judged exhibits, displays of rarities, meetings of stamp societies and specialty groups, lectures and a designated youth area.

Though there is no charge for admittance, all visitors must register, which can be completed at the show entrance.

Basic information for AmeriStamp Expo can be found online at the APS website and includes the show’s full schedule of events and the show program.

Shoppers should find plenty of variety. Thirty dealers will be on hand specializing in everything from U.S. and worldwide to revenues, stampless and dollar covers.

More than 100 national-caliber exhibits in more than 250 frames will be on display. AmeriStamp is host to the annual Champion of Champions Single Frame Championship as well as the Most Popular Exhibit Championship. Eligible exhibits are drawn from more than 30 annual World Series of Philately shows. AmeriStamp also presents a team competition featuring national-caliber exhibits. In addition, there are multiframe exhibits that will compete for a grand award, with the winner eligible for this summer’s Champion of Champions at StampShow in Columbus, Ohio.

A few of the exhibit titles on show at AmeriStamp (a full list is available online) include “The 10-Cent Prexie, Common Stamp, Uncommon Usages,” “U.S. Army Small Watercraft of World War II,” “The Dagger Issue of Bundi,” and “Vinegar – History and Uses.”

The American Mobile Postal Museum will be on hand with an exhibit presenting artifacts and philately of the U.S. postal service dating back to the 18th century.

The show will offer a show cachet and special cancellations for all three days. On consecutive days, the cancellations will honor the city of Birmingham, black history and the state of Alabama. The APS booth also will offer a selection of books, apparel, and other assorted gifts.

Inverted Jenny, Position 76.
Inverted Jenny, Position 76.

Rarities from the APS – including the Inverted Jenny, a George Washington free frank and the autographed discovery sheet of the Dag Hammarskjöld Inverts.

APS staff members and officers will offer guided exhibit tours Friday and Sunday, and the APS education staff presents an overview for new collectors on Friday and Saturday.

Other presentations scheduled include those reviewing Rowland Hill’s postal reforms of 1837, the works of Scandinavian stamp engraver Martin Mörck, judging international level postal history exhibits, collecting perfins, stratospheric and balloon flights and a look at the Postmark Collectors Club Museum.

The APS youth area, with activities geared toward young collectors, will be open during show hours all three days. Karen Cartier, author of Tales by Mail Book 2, a youth-oriented book, will be on hand all three days to sign and talk about her book.

Cartier will sign books as will Ed Bergen, author of Walt Disney’s First Super Star: Mickey Mouse; and Steve Zwillinger, author of The Path to Gold: 175 Proven Stamp Exhibiting Tips.

The APS general membership meeting is set for 9 a.m. Saturday. An awards banquet is scheduled for Saturday night.

Several societies will meet, have booths, or make presentations during the show. Among those expected to be on hand are representatives of the American Topical Association, Scandinavian Collectors Club, Royal Philatelic Society, Ebony Society Philatelic Events and Reflections, Women Exhibitors, American First Day Cover Society, the Gastronomy on Stamps Study Unit and Penguins on Stamps Study Unit.

The Birmingham Philatelic Society, Alabama’s oldest stamp collecting club, is the local sponsor.

StampStore or eBay?

Original column by Wendy Masorti, APS Director of Sales, republished from The American Philatelist, February 2018

New sellers will often contact the American Philatelic Society with the question, “Should I sell on eBay or StampStore?” Both services provide a way to sell online and charge minimal fees and commissions. Therefore, in order to answer the question, it is important to understand how StampStore differs from eBay.

With emerging technology in the late 1990s, the APS realized the importance of branching out our mail sales program to offer members a way to sell their philatelic material online. Specifically, we wanted to tailor a program to provide members with a hassle-free selling experience. After researching other online services and knowing our clientele, in September of 2000, we launched StampStore with a specific goal in mind – to offer an easy, affordable way for members to sell online without needing internet experience or special equipment.

On eBay, a seller is responsible to upload each listing with a description and has an option to add images (practically a must for philatelic material), which the seller must provide. The seller can choose methods of payment, which can include everything from checks to the electronic PayPal system. The seller must handle all shipping and returns. Sellers on eBay can set their own fees for shipping, which range from free to several dollars per item.

StampStore Sellers FormStampStore, on the other hand, does much of the work for you. You complete a submission sheet for each item (mounting the item along with description, prices, etc.) and mail them to the APS. We take care of scanning images and uploading item descriptions to the online store, as well as advertising, answering buyer questions, payment processing, shipping, and handling returns/refunds. All communication with the buyer is handled by the APS; the seller remains anonymous and is identified only through a seller ID number. Sellers can view reports, change prices, and receive monthly payments for items that sell.

Also, unlike eBay where the seller or a representative must have online access, many StampStore sellers do not even own a computer; they rely on our sales staff to help them change prices or check on statuses of items.
StampStore can provide one-package shipping from several sellers to a single buyer. Since all items are housed at our facility, a buyer can purchase from multiple sellers when placing an order and receive all items in one package. Standard shipping for an order less than $100 is $2.95 plus 2 percent of the sales cost for handling and insurance. If an order is more than $100, the shipping is free of charge. We also offer a 30-day money back guarantee on all items.

We are not saying that you should not sell on eBay, but rather that you ask yourself these questions:

“How involved do you want to be with the actual sale? Do you have the equipment and knowledge necessary to upload and maintain the listings? Do you have the time to package and ship sold items promptly? Are you prepared to handle unhappy customers and process returns?”
Considering that many of our sellers mail in hundreds of submissions to StampStore at a time, you can only imagine the potential volume of questions and shipments they could be dealing with. Also, buyers who purchase multiple items from several different sellers would receive multiple shipments and shipping charges.

It is also important to point out that all members selling on StampStore are APS members and abide by our Code of Ethics. While the APS provides this selling/buying service, the APS does not own the material being sold and does not guarantee the accuracy of members’ content in the listings. While members price and describe their material, they may unknowingly misdescribe the quality or authenticity of the items being sold. Therefore, we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and sellers may be charged fines for their misdescriptions. Seller privileges may be revoked for repeat offenders.

So, only you can answer the question, “eBay or StampStore?” If you are interested in selling with us, request a free seller packet or visit www.stamps.org/How-to-Sell-Online.

Postmaster General Calls on Congress to Enact Postal Reform

WASHINGTON—Postmaster General Megan Brennan called for sweeping postal reform at the U.S. Postal Service’s Temporary Emergency Committee meeting Friday morning, as the Postal Service faces another year of financial losses.

“Despite our best efforts, under the current legal framework we will not be able to stem the tide of our ongoing losses and return to financial stability without legislative change,” she said.

Brennan called on Congress to pass the Postal Reform Act of 2017 and to confirm President Trump’s nominees to the currently-vacant Postal Service Board of Governors.

According to the Postal Service’s website, the board is responsible for implementing an array of postal policies, including the company’s budget and long-term planning.

President Trump made three nominations to the board in October, but the Senate has yet to confirm them.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which oversees postal policy and is responsible for initial confirmation of the Board nominees, did not respond to our emails asking when nominee confirmations might occur.

Nonetheless, Brennan was hopeful that the nominees would be confirmed soon.

“We’re encouraged, in talking with some of our key public officials, that they understand the urgency of this,” she said in a web conference. “As we’ve said from the outset…we are best served, as is the American public, by having a fully constituted board, so I’m optimistic we’ll have them confirmed and on board by our next scheduled meeting.”

As for the Postal Reform Act of 2017, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced the bill in January of last year, but Congress has made no recent move to approve the bill.

If passed, the bill would amend the Postal Service’s employee and retiree health benefits and revise rules surrounding postal rate changes. The bill would also allow the Postal Service to work with state and local authorities to provide government goods and services and would encourage the use of centralized delivery, through which customers can opt to pick up their mail at a centralized location instead of at their front door.

The bill establishes a Postal Service “Chief Innovation Officer” to focus on innovation within the company and would reduce the number of seats on the Board of Governors to five, which has historically consisted of nine governors, who serve seven-year terms.

At Friday’s meeting, Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett outlined the Postal Service’s financial results in quarter one of fiscal year 2018. The Postal Service faced a net loss of $540 million, as first class mail revenues declined about four percent and marketing mail revenues declined about five percent. With the holiday season, package revenues increased around nine percent and international mail revenues increased around the same amount. However, this was not enough to offset the losses.

Brennan attributed the Postal Service’s financial troubles to the high cost of employee benefit programs and to the Congressional mandate to deliver to every American home and business. She suggested that the price cap on stamps and mail services prevents the Postal Service from earning enough revenue to cover costs. She also noted that current regulations limit the Postal service’s “ability to pursue new sources of revenue.”

The National Association of Letter Carriers, the national labor union for city-delivery mail carriers, released a statement on the Postal Service’s first quarter results, echoing the Postmaster General’s call for action from Congress.

“Congress should address the pre-funding burden it imposed in 2006, which requires USPS — alone among all public and private entities — to prefund future retiree healthcare benefits decades into the future,” they wrote. “This produces an onerous annual burden of billions of dollars.”

The only current postal legislation being considered by Congress is the renaming of post offices, a common practice to honor community leaders and other important officials.

by Tasos Kalfas, @TasosKalfasWRGW