Have a Ball Stamps June 14 at the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Wisconsin

The U.S. Postal Service will issue June 14 a first-of-a-kind stamps with the look — and feel — of actual balls used in eight popular sports, according to a press release.

The Have a Ball forever stamps depict balls used in baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

A special coating applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process gives them a texture that mimics the feel of a: baseball’s stitching; golf ball’s dimples; tennis ball’s seams; soccer ball or volleyball’s textured panels; and, the different raised patterns of a football, basketball and kickball.

The first-day-of-issuance ceremony will be held at 8 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 14, at the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Hartford, Wisconsin. The ceremony will be part of the U.S. Golf Association’s Flag Day celebration. The Postal Service is honored to be part of this special tribute to those who serve or have served in the military. Nearly one of seven postal employees served in the military.

To attend the standing room only ceremony, you must present a 2017 U.S. Open ticket for June 14, 2017, or a free special access ticket available for request only at usps.com/haveaball. Special access tickets are limited and are only good for June 14, 2017. Confirmed acceptance will be provided and is required for admission. The offer does not apply to U.S. Open ticket holders, active military — who will be admitted free — or children under 12 when accompanied by an adult ticket holder or badge holder.

The eight forever stamps will be issued in panes of 16 that include two stamps of each design. While most traditional stamps are square or rectangular in design, these stamps will be round. Stamp artist Daniel Nyari of Long Island City, New York, and stamp designer Mike Ryan of Charlottesville, Virginia, worked with Art Director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, Virginia to create the stamp images.

World Stamp Show-NY 2016 Frames Available for Sale

While significant quantities of exhibit frames have already been purchased by United States, Canadian, Japanese, Panamanian, and Israeli philatelic organizations, a little more than 1,000 units used only once during World Stamp Show-NY 2016 remain available.

Each unit, which includes the required legs, provides two faces each that hold 16 standard sized exhibit pages. These ultra-durable frames are about half the weight of those used at most U.S. national and international shows over the past 30 years. The frames also come with new screws re-engineered since WSS-NY 2016 for easier setup and added security.

The cost is $150/unit plus actual shipping from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Shipping costs may be avoided by arranging pickup from the American Philatelic Society in Bellefonte or at the August APS StampShow in Richmond, Virginia.

Basic Specs:

• Familiar easy load “A Frame” design
• 4 foot high by 3 foot wide main panels
• Each front/back unit weighs 24 pounds
• Strong and durable polystyrene base
• White polystyrene inner panel
• Clear 1/8” acrylic face sheets
• Easy to attach anodized aluminum legs
• Heavy duty security screws
• Shipped with 2 units per box
• Legs boxed separately
• Includes custom screwdrivers

Watch a video of the frame setup.

To arrange purchase or for additional information, contact Ken Martin at the American Philatelic Society at 814-933-3817 or kpmartin@stamps.org.

Formula One Racing Roars Onto
Five New Canadian Stamps

Five legendary auto racers appear on a new set of stamps honoring the 50th anniversary of Formula One racing in Canada.

The stamps, which will be sold in booklets of 10 and a souvenir sheet of five, depict Canadian hero Gilles Villeneuve, along with Sir Jackie Stewart and Lewis Hamilton, of Great Britain, Brazil’s Ayrton Senna, and Germany’s Michael Schumacher. Three of the drivers are still living.

The stamps were formally unveiled May 15 in a ceremony in Montreal, home to Grand Prix racing in Canada, and will be officially released today, Tuesday, May 16. This year’s race is June 11. Here is the video of the unveiling event:

In addition to the driver’s profile, each stamp features a small checkered flag (indicative of the winning driver in a race), the driver’s native flag, an outline of a race car, the Formula One symbol and the year dates 1967–2017.

Continue reading “Formula One Racing Roars Onto
Five New Canadian Stamps”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day was one of the first holidays honored with a specific U.S. stamp, long predating stamps for the likes of Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Anna Jarvis, of West Virginia, started campaigning for a mothers holiday in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a peace activist who cared for Civil War soldiers from both sides, died. In 1908, Anna Jarvis held a church memorial for her mother and by 1911, thanks in part to Jarvis’ campaigning, all states observed Mother’s Day in some form or another.

A first-day cover for the Mothers of America stamp issued May 2, 1934 was sponsored by the American War Mothers, which lobbied for the stamp.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 signed a proclamation officially authorizing Mother’s Day as a holiday on the second Sunday in May. Jarvis had great disdain for the quick commercialization of the holiday. She also noted that the word “Mother’s” should be a singular possessive, meaning for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.

In 1933, Mrs. H.H. McCluer, of Kansas City, a past National President of the American War Mothers, lobbied first-term President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a special stamp for use in conjunction with Mother’s Day mail. Requests also had been made for a stamp noting the 100th birthday of artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler. FDR, a stamp collector, liked both ideas and sent a design idea to his new postmaster general, James A. Farley. FDR’s design that combined themes, which is very close to the final product, can be seen on the National Postal Museum website.

The stamp (Scott 737) was issued nationwide May 2, 1934 for use on Mother’s Day mail and in tribute to the Mothers of America. It shows a reproduction of Whistler’s painting, Portrait of My Mother, also known as An Arrangement in Grey and Black, and popularly called Whistler’s Mother. Two perforated varieties of this stamp were produced, each on a different press. One is a perforation gauge 11 by 10½ rotary stamp, the other a perforation 11 flat plate stamp.

A cover with the Mothers of America stamp postmarked in Utica, New York, on Mother’s Day, 11 days after the stamp was issued.

Was this the first major U.S. holiday stamp? Some might argue that the Columbians of 1893 helped mark Columbus Day or that the Washington Bicentennial set of 1932 coincides with George Washington’s birthday, then still a holiday marked on February 22. This blog author doesn’t buy into either of those concepts as the stamps marked centennials for individuals, not holidays.

Arbor Day, first celebrated in 1872 Nebraska, received a U.S. stamp in 1932, and is celebrated internationally, but has in many places in the U.S. given way to Earth Day.

A U.S. Special Occasions booklet issued in 1987 includes sentimental greetings, such as Love You, Mother!

On April 20, 1987, the Postal Service issued a Special Occasions booklet of 22-cent stamps with six different sentiments, including Love You, Mother! and Love You, Dad! Despite the misplaced commas that make it look like mom and dad are saying “love you,” even the pickiest of copy editors are known to have sent cards to their mothers and fathers franked with the appropriate stamp with the obvious sentiment.

Rochester, New York Area Stamp Show May 19–20

Ropex Stamp Show, sponsored by the Rochester Philatelic Association (RPA), will be held May 19–20, at the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center, 250 North Bloomfield Road, Canandaigua, New York. Show hours are 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults, free for youth 18 and under. Parking is free.

This year’s show features:
• 17 dealers from the eastern and central U.S. Dealers are encouraging collectors to contact them by email or phone in advance to make sure items of interest will not be left behind.
• 128 frames of exhibits.
• U.S. Postal Service will be present selling current items.
• The American Topical Association will have a booth.
• Youth Booth — welcomes kids all day to learn about the hobby and get free stamps and supplies.

Meetings and events on Saturday:
• All are invited to attend the Ropex Awards Ceremony at 9:15 a.m.
• The Empire State Postal History Society will hold its annual meeting at 11 a.m.
• A regional American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors Open Forum at noon hosted by Ken Martin.
• Judges’ Feedback Forum at 1 p.m.
• Winners of the RPA’s annual youth “Design-a-Stamp” contest will be announced at 2 p.m.

Ropex is commemorating the 200th anniversary of the start of Erie Canal construction. A pair of specially designed cachets are available on the theme.

Jeff Stage, APS Editorial Associate, will staff an APS table and Ken Martin, APS COO, will be judging.

Members of the public are encouraged to bring in their own philatelic material for a free evaluation and identification by knowledgeable RPA members throughout the show.

Full show details can be found online on the club’s website.