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.

Canada Celebrates Canadian Women in Winter Sports

Canada Post of Wednesday (January 24) warmed up for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games in South Korea with five new stamps honoring six barrier-breaking female role models on five new stamps.

The Women in Winter Sports stamps commemorate Sharon and Shirley Firth, from cross-country skiing; Sonja Gaudet, from wheelchair curling; Danielle Goyette, from ice hockey; Nancy Greene, from alpine skiing; and Clara Hughes, from cycling and speed skating.

The stamps were issued and the stars were honored in a ceremony at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Canada Olympic Park, a hub of winter sport, in Calgary, Alberta. Shirley Firth, who passed away in 2013 at age 59, was represented by her husband, Jan Larsson, and daughters Marie and Nina Larsson.

Designed by Roy White, Matthew Clark and Jacquie Shaw of Subplot Design Inc. of Vancouver, B.C., the stamps marry candid photos with action shots of the athletes.

“Sport is a vital element of our cultural fabric. It has the power to build bridges between people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities,” said Carla Qualtrough, minister of public services and procurement. “The women of these stamps have contributed to Canada beyond the medals they’ve won or the records they’ve broken. As a group, they have been champions of accessibility, community-builders and thought leaders.”

“The women who share the podium in these stamps broke barriers, inspired generations and have contributed to our country’s national story both on and off of the ice and snow,” said Deepak Chopra, president and CEO of Canada Post. “They have been ambassadors for their sports, impressive role models and a great source of national pride.”

Here is a little more about the athletes, according to Canada Post:

Sharon and Shirley Firth transformed Inuvik into a hotbed of Nordic skiing. They competed in four Olympic Games and four World Ski Championships and dominated their sport from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, winning 79 medals at the national championships, including 48 national titles.

Sonja Gaudet is the world’s most decorated wheelchair curler, with three Paralympic gold medals and three World Wheelchair Curling Championships. A tireless advocate for accessibility, she is an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Paralympic Committee.

Danielle Goyette scored more than 100 career goals and dominated women’s hockey into her 40s. She won two Olympic gold medals and a silver, as well as eight gold medals at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships. She was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.

Nancy Greene put Canada on the map in alpine skiing. She competed at Squaw Valley in 1960, Innsbruck in 1964 and Grenoble in 1968, winning gold and silver medals. Canada’s Female Athlete of the 20th Century, Greene won 17 Canadian titles, 13 World Cup victories and three U.S. Ski Championships.

Clara Hughes is the only athlete in history to win multiple medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. She made six Olympic appearances, winning six medals: one gold, one silver and four bronze – in cycling and speed skating.

NPM Receives Donation from Family of Dr. George S. Brooks

The National Postal Museum announced yesterday that they have accepted a donation from the collection of the late Dr. George S. Brooks of Winchester, Kentucky. The donation consists of three volumes of postally used envelopes that Dr. Brooks assembled in honor of his son LTJG George S. Brooks, Jr. USN, who was lost at sea aboard the submarine USS Pompano off the coast of Japan during World War II.

Nimitz Cover
Envelope addressed by LTJG George S. Brooks, Jr. USN to his mother, postmarked the day before USS Pompano departed Midway Island on the patrol mission from which it never returned. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz later autographed the cover.

Pompano left Midway Island on patrol August 20, 1943 and never returned; its exact fate has never been conclusively determined. The elder Brooks channeled pride and grief for his son into collecting military mail that chronicled the hardships and sacrifices of wartime, especially the difficulties faced by military personnel and civilians in communicating from forward areas, secret locations and prisoner-of-war camps. Some of the last envelopes exchanged by Lieutenant Brooks and his parents – one marked simply “missing” – are an especially poignant part of the collection.

Mobile, Alabama Cover
The Confederate States established a post office department separate from the United States on 1 June 1861, but did not immediately issue new stamps. In the interim, the postmaster at Mobile, Alabama issued his own stamps that were in use for less than six months.

The donation was made by George S. Brooks II, accompanied by his wife, Kathy, and other members of his family. Mr. Brooks is the grandson of Dr. Brooks and the nephew of Lieutenant Brooks.

Confederate White Necktie Cover
In July 1862 the Confederate States issued a five-cent blue stamp printed from plates that were made in London and smuggled to Richmond, Virginia via a ship that ran the Union Navy blockade. Some printings of this stamp exhibit the striking “white tie” variety, caused by damage to the printing plate.

“Besides adding considerable depth to our military mail collections, the Brooks family’s gift will make it possible for the National Postal Museum to share their grandfather’s passion for collecting with others,” said Daniel Piazza, chief curator of philately.

Love Flourishes on New U.S. Forever Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service today celebrated love of all kinds with the dedication of the Love Flourishes forever stamp during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the Creativation conference held at the Phoenix, Arizona Convention Center. The conference, sponsored by the Association For Creative Industries, is a trade show for all aspects of the arts-and-crafts business.

Love Flourishes is the latest stamp in the popular Love series, which began 45 years ago. The stamp is being sold in panes of 20.

The stamp art features a fanciful garden of colorful flowers surrounding the word “Love” written in cursive script. Hand-painted by artist Anna Bond, the flower garden includes stylized roses, peonies and dahlias in pink, coral and yellow, with pale blue-green berries and fold fronds and leaves.

Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with Bond’s original art.