Get Ready for a Beautiful Day in Our Neighborhood

BELLEFONTE, Pennsylvania – Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is coming to our neighborhood.

It’s sure to be a beautiful day when the neighborhood from the groundbreaking children’s television show will be the theme for an afternoon of children’s activities. The special day will include a very special guest – Mr. McFeely, who was the postman on the PBS show that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The American Philatelic Society and WPSU-TV, State College public television invite you to join us at the American Philatelic Center, 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte to celebrate Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and a new stamp issued in his honor. Activities for the whole family will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24, 2018.

The event occurs the day after the new Mister Rogers forever postage stamp will be formally released in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Fred Rogers produced and filmed the show about his neighborhood. The show ran for more than 30 years on PBS.

Mister Rogers PhotoMr. McFeely – the postman from the Speedy Delivery Service portrayed by David Newell – will be in character. He will arrive aboard the Penn State trolley and invite everyone inside, where at 2:15 p.m. he will dedicate the new Mister Rogers stamp to become part of the American Philatelic Center’s collection. He will then visit with children and sign autographs.

Other planned activities include an opportunity for children younger than 12 to color a design on an envelope, address it to someone special, affix a stamp to the envelope and mail it (limited to one per child). The APS, through its historic Headsville Post Office, will have Mister Rogers stamps available for purchase.

WPSU will bring its cutout trolley, reminiscent of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Trolley, which is a nice backdrop for photos. Also, Daniel Tiger, star of an animated Mister Rogers spinoff show, will be present via a life-size cutout (more photo ops!). These are set pieces that WPSU uses in live broadcasts.

WPSU will hand out Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Activity Booklets to children 8 and younger along with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood coloring sheets.

In addition to decorating and mailing an envelope, the APS Education Department will offer other stamp collecting activities, including an opportunity for children to create their own free stamp albums.

Children of all ages will be able to reminisce as we share video clips of Mister Rogers Neighborhood during the event.

Tours of the American Philatelic Center will be available.

Deborah Kris Farmer offered the following on the PBS web pages dedicated to Mr. Rogers (

“Fred Rogers was always addressing two audiences. First, he offered children lessons about friendship, emotions, and growing up. And he also offered parents simple strategies for helping their children grow and thrive: how to talk to kids, how to listen, and how to use song, story, and make-believe to communicate important ideas.

“Fred Rogers’ techniques were grounded in his study of child development, said Angela Santomero, the creator of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. “There was a reason behind everything he did. It was all very child centered.”

Public broadcasting station WPSU Penn State is a collection of innovative writers, storytellers, teachers, producers, designers and technicians — using 21st-century tools and media to bring information, education, and entertainment to viewers, listeners, and larger communities throughout Pennsylvania and beyond. WPSU engages communities in the heart of Pennsylvania with educational and commercial-free programs that reach across generations to inform, intrigue and inspire.

Illinois Bicentennial Stamp Ceremony

by Steven J. Bahnsen

The U.S. Postal Service had a splendid ceremony for the Illinois Statehood forever stamp on March 5. Everything seemed to go right at the event held in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in downtown Springfield, Illinois.

In 1818, Illinois gained statehood. This stamp features a multicolored outline of the state with sun beams within the map rising from the bottom to the top. The stamp was issued in panes of 20.

More than 125 people attended the first-day ceremony, which started with dozens of students from the Glenwood High School chorus in Chatham, Illinois singing The Star-Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.

The Postal Service had a roomy sales area staffed with friendly clerks in uniform. Other nearby clerks affixed postmarks onto covers with the new stamp. Museum volunteers handed out programs with a cancelled stamp on the outer envelope.

The master of ceremonies was John Reger of WICS-TV. Welcome and greetings were extended by Alan Lowe, executive director of the library and Randy Dunn, co-chairman of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

A group of volunteer firefighters presented the colors prior to the National Anthem and Invocation.

The stamp was dedicated by Jacqueline Strako, acting chief customer and marketing officer from the U.S. Postal Service.

Illinois Deputy Governor Leslie Munger gave a talk that preceded a video from Governor Bruce Rauner, who was in Chicago that day.

Springfield Mayor James Langfelder spoke, followed by Illinois State Historian Sam Wheeler, who had the closing remarks.

Auctioneer to Sell Scarce Civil War-era Encased Postage at Coin Show

From the Inverted Jenny to the British Guiana 1-Cent Magenta, we love a good story behind our stamps. So you are bound to like this one, which crosses stamps, coins and a specific time in U.S. history. And, this interesting chapter of philately and numismatics are getting a big boost this month, thanks to a major auction.

  When the American Civil War began in April 1861, many thought it would end quickly; both sides expected victory and the general population within the Union and Confederate states were confident. But moods changed when the North lost at the first Battle of Bull Run (July 1861), the Union blockaded southern ports, the 7 Days Battle near Richmond ended in a stalemate and floods of money and resources were suddenly swept away by the need to support military forces. Shortages started to crop up and there was panic based on perceived future shortages.

One of the items people hoarded was currency, particularly hard silver and gold coins. In the North, even the U.S. Mint’s cheaply made copper-nickel cents quickly vanished from the market.

To help, on July 17, 1862, the U.S. government passed legislation allowing people to pay small government debts of $5 or less with postage stamps.

Stamps were fragile, though, and quickly degrade during exchanges. Enter New Englander John Gault, who quickly designed and obtained a patent on August 12, 1862 for “encasing government stamps,” which he called “new metallic currency.”

To create the coins, the corners of a postage stamp were wrapped around a cardboard circle. A thin, transparent piece of thin mica covered the stamp (this would prove to be the weak spot as the mica often cracked and fell off), and an outer metal frame held these items secure. A heavier brass backing, suitable for advertising, completed the piece, which was manufactured by a button-making machine. The product was about the size of a quarter but lighter in weight. Many of the cases of early examples were carried silver plate to make them look closer to real coins.

Gault encased eight denominations of 1861 stamps, from 1 cent to 90 cents (These carry an “EP” number in the Scott catalog). He sold the coins at a slight premium to about 30 companies that needed coins and then also sold advertising space on the back for 2 cents per coin. Merchants and their products included J.C. Ayer & Company selling sarsaparilla to “purify the blood,” White the Hatter, and retailer Lord & Taylor, which survives today. Experts estimate there are about 238 different pieces of encased postage.

The sales of encased coins lasted about a year until the federal government in 1863 passed another law allowing a type of “postage currency,” fractional currency on paper money using stamp designs (these carry a “PC” number in the Scott catalog).

Experts estimate Gault sold about $50,000 in encased postage, about 750,000 pieces. Somewhere between 3,500 and 7,000 are thought to have survived, experts say. The Scott catalog values these pieces at $400 to $16,000, with most in the four-digit range.

On March 9, Kagin’s Auctions, of California, known as a major coin auctioneer, will sell the Michigan Collection of encased postage stamps at the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Irving, Texas.

“It is believed to be one of the most comprehensive sets ever and perhaps currently the finest and most complete including 147 different varieties,” Kagin’s wrote in a news release “It is the result of some 25 years of working with Kagin’s Inc. attempting to fulfill a dream of acquiring all known varieties.”

Kagin’s noted that only a handful of times over the past century have dozens of these items appeared in the same auction.

Kagin’s Auctions, Inc.,
“Encased Postage Stamps,” National Postal Museum Arago website,
2018 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers, Amos Media, Sidney, Ohio.
Numismaster website,

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.