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.

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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.

Writer, Philosopher, and Naturalist
Henry David Thoreau Commemorated
on a Forever Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates writer, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) on the bicentennial year of his birth.

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

The forever stamp will be formally celebrated May 23 in an 11 a.m. ceremony at the locale to which Thoreau is most connected, tranquil and picturesque Walden Pond State Reservation (at the Visitors Center) in Concord, Massachusetts.

Thoreau’s personal example of simple living, his criticism of materialism, and the timeless questions he raises about the place of the individual in society and humanity’s role in the natural world, he continues to inspire new generations to assert their independence, reinterpret his legacy, and ask challenging questions of their own.

The stamp features and oil-on-panel painting by contemporary artist Sam Weber of Brooklyn, New York. The painting is based on a famous 1856 daguerreotype by Benjamin Maxham. On the right side of the stamp is Thoreau’s signature of his last name. Below the signature is a branch of sumac leaves. Art director Greg Breeding, of Charlottesville, Virginia, designed the stamp. Weber also was the artist for the 2015 Flannery O’Connor 3-ounce stamp.

This is the second U.S. commemorative for Thoreau. A stamp for the 150th anniversary of his birth issued in 1967 features a drawing by sculptor and illustrator Leonard Baskin.

The first-day ceremony is free and open to the public.

Those expected to be on hand include Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy, U.S. Postal Service General Counsel and Executive Vice President Thomas J. Marshall, Select Board Town of Concord Chair Michael Lawson, and Walden Woods Project Board Member, environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr., who has acted in scores of television shows (St. Elsewhere, Living With Ed, Better Call Saul) and movies (This is Spinal Tap, Pineapple Express).

Walden Pond, known as a kettle hole in geological terms, was formed by glaciers about 11,000 years ago. Thoreau lived on the northern shore of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. His account of the experience was recorded in Walden (or Life in the Woods), and made the pond famous. The land at that end was owned by Thoreau’s friend and mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Canada Celebrates Same-Sex Marriage With Fourth Canada 150 Design

The fourth stamp in the Canada 150 set of 10, to be issued June 1, honors the country’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

On July 20, 2005, Canada became the first country outside Europe and the fourth in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide after the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. Previous countries passing a similar law were the Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003), and Spain (2005).

The stamp shows a multicolored Pride flag. It also carries the Canada 150 branding and the combined maple leaf-and-P symbol denoting it as Permanent, a forever first-class rate stamp.

The stamp was unveiled at The 519 in Toronto and live via the Canada Post Facebook page. The 519 is a city agency and a Canadian non-profit that serves the local neighborhood and the broader lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) communities in the Toronto area.

According to its website, The 519 — a space for change — works with its neighbors and the LGBTQ community and offers such services as refugee settlement counseling, consulting, and “free, accessible and accepting space where people can gather, organize, and work toward common goals.”

The Canada 150 set of 10 will be formally issued June 1. Between now and then, six more stamp designs will be unveiled. All picture items that have occurred since the centennial in 1967.

Canada Post has previously unveiled Habitat and Expo 67, the patriation of the Constitution and creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canadarm, as the first three celebratory moments of 10 in its Canada 150 program. Details are available at canadapost.ca/canada150.