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.

Compex 2017 Show, May 19–21, in Chicago Area

Compex 2017 is being held on the weekend before Memorial Day, May 19, 20, and 21, at the Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois (Chicago area). Hours of the show are: Friday and Saturday — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Compex 2017 (Combined Philatelic Exhibition of Chicagoland) is comprised of nine Chicago area clubs holding their individual exhibits under the same roof at the same time.  Member clubs of Compex 2017 will presents a wide variety of exhibits for the viewing pleasure of all in attendance.

For the second time, Collectors Club of Chicago members have been invited to provide a special section of exhibits at Compex. At present, CCC members will have approximately 150 frames of exhibits on display.   Please be sure to view these exhibits in addition to the Compex club exhibits that will be on display. There will be something of interest for everyone to see.

This year’s theme is, “Honoring the United States Armed Forces.”  The show will have a total of approximately 180 frames of exhibits. Be sure to see the 10-frame special exhibit highlighting the show theme with a potpourri of American military mail from World War I in the Collectors Club of Chicago section.

Continue reading “Compex 2017 Show, May 19–21, in Chicago Area”

Songbirds Fly Onto British Mail

Spring and early summer songbirds — some familiar and some lesser known — appear on 10 new stamps issued Thursday, May 4, by Great Britain’s Royal Mail.

The first-class stamps are in two se-tenant strips of five on separate panes of stamps.

Birds shown are (top row, from left) Great Tit, Wren, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Skylark; (bottom row, from left) Blackcap, Song Thrush, Nightingale, Cuckoo, Yellowhammer.

The stamps were designed by Osborne Ross using illustrations by Italian artist Federico Gemma.

The stamps also comes in a Presentation Pack that includes a detailed color-illustrated sheet that presents each bird with detailed text by bird author Simon Barnes, photo and identifying silhouette.

Royal Mail also is producing a 10-stamp official first-day cover and similar stamp souvenir (with two different special birding cancellations), each with an information card about the birds; and 10 postcards with enlarged images of the stamps.

Canada 150: Space-Themed Stamp
Revealed

Canada Post celebrated May the Fourth — unofficially known among a certain space-fanatic subculture as Star Wars Day — by unveiling a space-themed stamp as the third in its set of Canada 150 stamps.

Unlike the first two stamp unveilings which were held live, Canada Post unveiled the space stamp via text, photos and a video online on its Canada Post Magazine website. The new stamp, and the video featuring the students, represents Canada’s past and future in space technology.

Calm down, Wookie lovers. Star Wars is NOT on the stamp. The vignette shows the Canadarm, a piece of space equipment integral to NASA space missions that was created in Canada. The Canadarm is shown in action on the stamp in a photo shot during a space-shuttle mission. The Earth is clearly seen below.

Special guest Canadian astronaut Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Hansen helped unveil the stamp during a filmed visit with seventh- and eighth-grade students at Glen Ames Senior Public School in Toronto. The students will represent Canada in an upcoming robotics competition in California.

In the Canada Post video, the students demonstrate their robots and Hansen talks with them about how space exploration has become an international universe in which “everyone gets along.”

Canadarm made its debut aboard the space shuttle Colombia and was used for 30 years to help move and maneuver cargo, equipment and astronauts in space. The marvel of Canadian engineering weighed less than 480 kilograms, and could lift more than 30,000 kilograms — the approximate weight of a city bus — using less power than an electric kettle, Canada Post noted.

Canada Post’s video notes that the Canadarm remains in use on the international space station as well as applications on earth.

Hansen, a former captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, was one of two astronauts chosen following a public recruitment campaign in 2009. Hansen has not yet been to space, but he worked in space-like conditions in 2014 when he was part of the aquanaut crew in a NASA underwater project. He lived and worked for seven days in the Neemo 19 underwater laboratory.

Previously announced stamps honor Habitat at Expo 67 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution. Seven more stamps will be unveiled in special ceremonies between now and the official release date of June 1. The sesquicentennial commemoratives celebrate Canada’s 50 years since the centennial.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA; in French, Agence Spatiale Canadienne, ASC) was created in 1989 and formally established May 10, 1990 by Royal Assent and an act of Parliament.

The creation of the agency followed space exploration with missiles and satellites during the years after World War II. After the Soviet Union and United States, Canada in 1962 became the third nation to successfully launch a satellite, Alouette 1.

Canada has an active astronaut, satellite and space technology program. Nine Canadians have participated in 17 manned missions in total: 14 NASA space shuttle missions (including one mission to Mir) and 3 Roscosmos Soyuz missions.

The first 13 flights to space for Canadians, a later 14th, were aboard NASA space shuttles. The other trips have been via Russian Soyuz spacecrafts, the last in 2012. Marc Garneau was the first Canadian in space when he traveled on the space shuttle Challenger in 1984. Garneau also was the first Canadian to return to space when he made a 1996 trip aboard Endeavour, a ship he boarded a second time in 1999.

Roberta Bondar was the second Canadian and first Canadian woman in space when she traveled on Discovery in 1992.

Chris Hadfield is the lone Canadian astronaut to visit the Mir space station when he did so in 1995.

David Saint-Jacques is due to be the next Canadian space when he travels on a Soyuz spaceship scheduled for launch in November 2018.

The headquarters of the CSA is at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in Longueuil, Quebec. Chapman was a leader in Canada’s early space program, leading to the successful launch of Alouette 1.