Stamp Madness Stampionship Begins

Two contemporary stamps from Canada and New Zealand issued in the same year in the aftermath of World War II have reached the championship round of the American Philatelic Society’s inaugural Stamp Madness contest. The finalists prevailed over 14 other stamps via popular votes in the bracket-style contest held over the past few weeks through Facebook and Twitter.

The public and APS members are encouraged to vote for their favorite through this link. Those voting in this round will be eligible for philatelic prizes after the contest ends at midnight April 10. A random draw will be made from those picking the winning stamp. Prizes also will be rewarded from our Predict the Winner Preview contest. Prizes include books with stamps from the U.S. Postal Service and copies of the new APS book, Cataloging U.S. Commemorative Stamps (2016), by Charles Posner.

Both the Canada and New Zealand stamps overcame some negative odds to reach the finals, including both scoring triumphs over entries from the United States.

Please vote to make your favorite the 2017 Stamp Madness champion.

Canada, from our Americas bracket, is the Eastern (sometimes Ontario) Farm scene stamp (Scott catalog No. 268) of 1946. The stamp defeated Chad Crafts stamp in the first round, the India Taj Mahal in the second, and just bested the U.S. World’s Fair stamp in the semifinals by securing a solid 63 percent of the vote. The stamp illustrates vital farm products and activities. The scene is a composite from four photographs. The farm house is from a photograph taken in Eastern Ontario, the barn from a farm in Western Ontario, the silo from Central Ontario, and the ploughmen and horses from Quebec. Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz, vignette engraved by Warrell Hauck, and printed by Canadian Bank Note Co.

New Zealand, which we had seeded No. 4 in the Pacific Division, features the Southern Alps and Chapel (Scott 256) and is part of the New Zealand Peace and Victory stamps, a set of 11 produced by Bradbury Wilkinson. The 9-cent stamp, dubbed A Spirit of Thankfulness, shows the chapel window at Waiho Gorge. The Franz Josef Glacier can be seen through the window. This stamp has done very well in Stamp Madness. In the opening round, it defeated a Switzerland showing alpine viaducts, and it followed with a somewhat stunning victory over the pre-tournament favorite, the U.S. Project Mercury of 1962. In a close semifinal, New Zealand turned back the Laos Elephants stamp of 1958 by capturing 53 percent.

Continue reading “Stamp Madness Stampionship Begins”

April 2017 American Philatelist Available Online

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

World War I by Ed Dubin and Al Kugel. April marks the 100th anniversary of the United States officially joining the Allied forces of World War I. Dozens of philatelic objects tell the tale of Americans’ involvement before the war, on the home front, on the battle lines, and after the Armistice.

Philately and Philanthropy — The American Philatelic Society and the American Philatelic Research Library present their special annual section thanking donors for their many appreciated contributions in 2016.

Stamp Classics. El Salvador’s Iconic Volcano Stamps by Joseph Iredale. A volcano appears on the first stamps of El Salvador; but which peak is it? Look closely at these four stamps and you’ll see a creative design element.
Collecting Coast to Coast. Diving in the Philatelic Backwaters by Wayne L. Youngblood. Some curious-looking cancellations were administered by devices and in ways we can figure out; some of the back stories remain a mystery.

Expertizing. Upon Further Review by Mercer Bristow. When examining stamps, the APS expertizing committee will work with clients to fill in some gaps not covered by the certificate.

Worldwide in a Nutshell. Bahawalpur by Bob Lamb. Known as a Princely State, Bahawalpur was settled in the 18th century and issued its first stamp under the authority of the Pakistani Post Office after Pakistan and India separated in 1947.

Stamp Madness — The Philatelic Final Four

The field in the American Philatelic Society’s 2017 Stamp Madness contest has been cut to just four stamps after an Elite Eight round that saw a couple of upsets, including a result that was tied online and broken by in-house votes at the American Philatelic Center.

The Stamp Madness Final Four pits the U.S. World’s Fair stamp of 1964 vs. Canada’s Eastern Farm of 1946 and the Elephant of Laos from 1958 against Southern Alps and Chapel from New Zealand.

Please vote via Facebook or Twitter to send your favorites to the championship round!

There were four brackets with four seeded contestants in each. The entire Europe and Afro-India fields have been eliminated, leaving stamps from the Americas and the Pacific divisions.

All of the second round matchups were close, including one — Laos vs. Japan — that was a tie in its online voting and was decided by live voting at APS headquarters. In another second-round matchup, No. 4 seed New Zealand turned back the pre-tournament favorite, U.S. Project Mercury, in a close battle.

Philatelic prizes will be awarded on a random drawing based on both our preview contest in which contestants picked the stamp they thought would win the game and from voting in the championship match.

But don’t hold back until the final to vote. Voting in the Philatelic Final Four will start tomorrow and is open through midnight, April 5.

Here are the capsule summaries of the Final Four contestants.

The Americas
United States (Seeded No. 1 in the Americas) – The artwork for the New York World’s Fair stamp of 1964 (Scott 1244) was created using the artwork of architectural illustrator John C. Wenrich, who worked on both the 1939 and 1964 New York fairs. The stamp features two of the fair’s prominent icons – “The Rocket Thrower” sculpture and the Unisphere globe. The World’s Fair stamp defeated UAR in Round 1 and Greece in Round 2.

Canada (Seeded No. 2 in the Americas) – The Eastern (sometimes Ontario) Farm scene stamp (Scott 268) of 1946 defeated Chad in the first round and India in the second. The stamp illustrates vital farm products and activities. The scene is a composite from four photographs. The farm house is from a photograph taken in Eastern Ontario, the barn from a farm in Western Ontario, the silo from Central Ontario, and the ploughmen and horses from Quebec. Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz, vignette engraved by Warrell Hauck, and printed by Canadian Bank Note Co.

Pacific
Laos (Seeded No. 3 in the Pacific) – A set of seven Asian Elephants (Scott 41-47), including this handsomely dressed pachyderm (Scott 42), was issued in 1958. That year, engraver Jean Pheulpin (see French entry) received first prize for best French philatelic art for a stamp in this set.

New Zealand (Seeded No. 4 in the Pacific) – Southern Alps and Chapel (Scott 256) is part of the New Zealand Peace and Victory stamps of 1946, a set of 11 produced by Bradbury Wilkinson. The 9-cent stamp, dubbed A Spirit of Thankfulness, shows the chapel window at Waiho Gorge. The Franz Josef Glacier can be seen through the window.

The Guidelines
Choosing the field of just 16 special stamps for 2017 Stamp Madness wasn’t easy. Think about it: hundreds of thousands of stamps created worldwide since 1840. We needed a few guidelines to narrow the field. Here were the basic guidelines we used:
• Standard postage stamps only; no airmail, express mail, revenue stamps, etc.
• No specific images of individuals – kings, queens, scientists, musicians, etc.
• Avoid masterwork paintings and photos (statuary and buildings OK).
• Tried to be diverse to designs, colors, topics, and countries. Independent countries only, no colonies.
• No rarities – common stamps only.
• Stamps chosen are from post-WWII through 1970.

As it worked out, there are four general brackets based on geography: the Americas, Europe, Pacific, and Africa-to-India. The first two rounds have the Americas vs. Europe and Pacific vs. Africa-to-India. The top seeds will play the lowest seeds from the opposing bracket in Round 1.

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  www.stamps.org/on-the-road-courses, or by contacting the APS Education Department, 814-933-3803 or education@stamps.org

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!