National Day of the Horse, December 13

United States 2-cent Post Horse and Rider stamp from 1869.
United States 2-cent Post Horse and Rider stamp from 1869.

Today, December 13, is the National Day of the Horse, a day annually observed in appreciation for the contribution of horses to the economy, history and character of the country. The domesticated horse we know today was first introduced into North America by Spanish explorers.

Escaped horses eventually spread across the American Great Plains and were later domesticated by the early settlers of the West. Horses played a significant role in postal history, delivering mail and messages for many years. In the early days of U.S. mail when there became a great demand for a more timely transportation of public correspondence, riders on horseback, known as “post riders,” would be contracted to take small bundles of mail and packages, first along post roads and later, through a series of relays, across the country.

Mail transported  by horse briefly reduced the time for mail to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to around 10 days before being replaced by the Transcontinental Railroad and then the telegraph.

Two Courses in Reno; EFOs and Nevada Revenues

blog-reno-2016Two On the Road Course offerings, one before and one during, at the March 3–5 AmeriStamp Expo show in Reno, Nevada.

March 2 Course – EFOs and You

The American Philatelic Society will offer a one-day On the Road Course March 2 titled “EFOs and You: How Your Collection, Knowledge Base, and Exhibit Can All Benefit from Postal Blunders.” The course, taught by Wayne Youngblood, takes place March 2, just prior to AmeriStamp Expo at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada.

Among the many topics the course will cover are:

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Space Pioneer John Glenn and the 1962 Project Mercury Stamp

United States 4-cent Project Mercury stamp.
United States 4-cent Project Mercury stamp.

John Glenn (1921–2016) is linked to one of modern U.S. postal history’s most interesting tales that will likely never be repeated. Here is the story, according to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, with an excerpt below:

On February 20, 1962 , John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. Minutes after his safe return, the Post Office released the Project Mercury stamp—the first U.S. commemorative stamp issued at the same time as the event it celebrated. It had been prepared in complete secrecy in case the mission did not succeed.

To keep the project quiet, the stamp’s designer worked from home while claiming to be on vacation. The picture engraver also gave the impression he was on leave, but came in at night. Another engraver did the lettering on weekends.

Just over 400 people knew the secret, about half of them postal inspectors. As the day approached, stamps were sent in sealed packages to 305 post offices, still a mystery even to the postmasters themselves.

Love Skywriting Stamp to Debut January 7

Love Skywriting (Love series)
Love Skywriting (Love series)

The United States Love Skywriting special forever stamp will be issued January 7 nationwide. The first-day-of-issue ceremony is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. at the Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino Airport, 7000 Merrill Ave #17, Chino, California.

The museum has additional details on the event page of their website.

Here is the USPS media advisory on the ceremony with additional information:

Love Skywriting Forever Stamp Dedication
Includes Skywriting Demo at Chino, CA, Air Museum

WHAT: First Day of Issue ceremony for the Love Skywriting Forever Stamp that will include a skywriting demo to replicate the stamp image.
WHO: USPS Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams
Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Operation Gratitude Chris Clark
Skytypers President Stephen Stinis
Skytypers CEO and Squadron Commander Greg Stinis (skywriter pilot)
Planes of Fame Aviation Historian and Air Museum Moderator Kevin Thompson

WHEN: Sat., Jan. 7 at 10 a.m.  (Free admission to the first 300 attendees)

WHERE: Planes of Fame Air Museum,  7000 Merrill Ave. #17, Chino, CA 91710

BACKGROUND: The 10 a.m. program will begin with a discussion about a World War II Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and how it was used for mail delivery during the war followed by the skywriting demonstration at noon.

The Love Skywriting stamp will add a sweet, romantic touch to letters and cards, not only on Valentine’s Day, but all year round. The stamp art depicts the word “Love” written in white cursive script against a blue sky studded with wispy clouds. Underlining the word is a decorative swirl of smoke. A small, stylized plane, dwarfed by the giant letters, completes the end of the swirl, with smoke trailing from its tail. Louise Fili of New York City designed the stamp, illustrated by Jessica Hische of San Francisco. Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, was the art director.

Note: If the weather becomes an issue, the skywriting demo will take place the next day.

Year of the Rooster Stamp Issue Date Announced

Year of the Rooster (Celebrating Lunar New Year series)
Year of the Rooster (Celebrating Lunar New Year series).

The United States Postal Service will issue the Year of the Rooster commemorative forever stamp January 5 nationwide. The first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, 719 S. King Street, Seattle, Washington.

Here is the USPS media advisory announcing the issue date for the stamp with additional information:

Postal Service to Celebrate 2017 Lunar New Year
Issuing Year of the Rooster Forever Stamp

What: The U.S. Postal Service rings in the Year of the Rooster by issuing the tenth of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Rooster begins on Jan. 28, 2017 and ends on Feb. 15, 2018.

Who: Greg G. Graves, vice president Area Operations – Western Area,
United States Postal Service
Yibo Lu, director, Chinese Radio Seattle’s CRS Office
Beth Takekawa, executive director, The Wing Luke Museum
Ron Chew, CEO, Chew Communications
Assunta Ng, founder and publisher, Seattle Chinese Post and Northwest Asian Weekly

When: Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, 11:30 a.m.

Where: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, 719 S. King Street, Seattle, WA 98104

Background: The most important holiday of the year for many Asian communities around the world, the Lunar New Year is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage.

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