Latin American Food Fest on
New U.S. Commemorative Stamps

Mouth-watering foods with influences from Latin America and the Caribbean appear on six new forever stamps to be released in a formal first-day ceremony at 5:45 p.m. local time April 20 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Delicioso self-adhesive first-class forever stamps (currently 49 cents), sold in double-sided panes of 20 (convertible booklet format), feature bright and playful illustrations of tamales, flan, sancocho, empanadas, chile relleno, and ceviche. The booklet pane includes four of the tamales and flan designs and three of each of the other designs.

The dedication ceremony is being held in conjunction with Salud y Sabor and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The event is a free evening of food, art and entertainment aimed at providing families with an opportunity to connect around nutrition, cooking, healthy lifestyles and culture.

The names of the six dishes appear in a festive font above each mouthwatering image. Each illustration was created by applying multiple layers of acrylic paint to textured boards, using sandpaper to reveal the hidden layers and give the designs a worn, vintage look.

Artist John Parra designed the stamp artwork under the direction of Antonio Alcalá.

ATA 2017 Distinguished
Topical Philatelist Selected

[April 17, 2017 ATA Press Release]

For her wide-ranging contributions to philately, Vera Felts has been selected to receive the American Topical Association’s highest award at the National Topical Stamp Show awards banquet June 24 in Milwaukee.

As ATA executive director since 2009, Felts has brought innovation and a positive attitude to the office and many of the organization’s programs. She spearheaded the highly successful ambassador program which has resulted in hundreds of new members, and managed the transition to a new topical checklist database, which has made ATA’s signature checklists better than ever.

For the past 18 years she has served as registration chair and managed the show cachets for the St. Louis Stamp Expo.  She edited the APS gold award-winning newsletter of the Southern Illinois Stamp Club for 15 years, and co-founded its SIRPEX local show.

A life member of APS, she served eight years as coordinator of its newsletter exchange. At the Science Center in Carbondale, Illinois, in 1999 she founded a long-running youth stamp group.

Felts is revered throughout philately for her devotion to helping people advance and enjoy topical collecting.

The Distinguished Topical Philatelist (DTP) award has been presented each year since 1952, by the ATA, the largest affiliate of the American Philatelic Society.  Don Smith served as chair of the selection committee.  The scrolls signed by all of ATA’s 119 DTPs can be viewed at http://americantopicalassn.org/awardsdtp.

National Park Week 2017 and Stamps

This week, April 15–23, is National Park Week in America! Many parks have been featured on United States stamps throughout the years.

We are encouraging you to share a description of your favorite National Park related stamp issue in the comments part of the blog below and we’ll recap some of the favorites, and include a few of our own, near the end of this week.

Mystery: Alexander Hamilton, a Missing Painting, and a 1957 U.S. Postage Stamp

Alexander Hamilton, a 1957 U.S. postage stamp, and the American Philatelic Society and one of its editorial contributors are all part of a mystery story published today in the New York Times.

Charles Posner is an emeritus professor at the University of London’s Institute of Education. His articles about U.S. commemorative stamps of the 1950s have been appearing in print, online, and now in book form through APS publications the past two years.

Posner was recently researching a 3-cent stamp issued in 1957 that features a profile of Hamilton and Federal Hall. The profile shown on the stamp is based on a painting by someone named John Weimar, Posner said. The painting was once held and exhibited at New York City Hall. But while researching the painting, Posner said no one at New York City Hall today could account for it.

His inquiries led City Hall officials to search for the painting, and further led to curators questioning whether the obscure Weimar existed or could it be confused with a painting by John Trumbull, the famous painter of many historical figures and scenes.

One thing is for sure. The original painting is nowhere to be found.

New York Times arts reporter James Barron shares the whole tale, including interviews with Posner and City Hall officials in his story published today. Barron also is author of a recent book about the world’s most valuable (and famous) stamp, The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World.

Hamilton, of course, is of the iconic 18th-century Founding Fathers of the United States and recently became the hottest ticket on Broadway thanks to the hit musical that bears his name. And now, he’s subject an art mystery.

Nominations Open for Annual First-Day Cover Writing Award

Nominations are being accepting through May 1 for the Philip H. Ward Award for Excellence in First Day Cover Literature, presented annually by the American First Day Cover Society. All works published in 2016 are eligible.

All articles published in First Days, the society’s journal, are automatically considered. Additional literature can be submitted to the Ward Award Committee chair, Mark Goodson, 202 W. Temperance Street, Ellettsville, IN 47429, or by e-mail to bgdsn@comcast.net.

The awards are presented each year at Americover, the annual show and convention of the AFDCS. Americover 2017 will be held August 11 to 13 in Independence, Ohio.

The award is named in honor of Philip H. Ward (1890-1963), a distinguished Philadelphia stamp collector, dealer and journalist who was a pioneer in the field of first day covers. The award was instituted in 1964.

Dorothy Knapp: Philately and Family, a book by Douglas S. Weisz, a well-known first day cover dealer, received first place in last year’s contest.

More information is available through the society’s website, www.afdcs.org/newsblog.html.

Back issues of First Days are available for $4 each postpaid within the U.S. from Jeffrey Bennett, 1601 River Farm Drive, Alexandria, Va. 22308. A searchable electronic archive of every issue of First Days from its inception in 1955 through 2014 is available on DVD for $79 postpaid. Society members can download back issues since 2011 for free on the AFDCS website.