Maple Leaf-Shaped Stamps Honoring
Canada Sesquicentennial Will Be a First

Several notable Canadians will help unveil 10 commemorative postage stamps in the coming weeks that will mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, which is being celebrated this year.

These will be the first Canadian stamps shaped like a maple leaf, Canada Post said today in a news conference. The exact subject and designs for the stamps have not yet been revealed, but all will celebrate the most significant moments in the life of the country since it marked its centennial in 1967.

Distinguished Canadians, including a country music star, a world-renowned architect, successful business leaders, influential community activists, legendary athletes, and an astronaut will help unveil the stamp designs over the next five weeks at separate locations chosen to illustrate the story behind the achievement, event or milestone that the stamp commemorates.

The first of the 10 stamps will be unveiled on Thursday, April 27, in Montreal. The remainder will be revealed separately over five weeks, culminating with the unveiling of two stamps on June 1. On that day, all 10 Permanent domestic-rate stamps will be available in various formats — at post offices and online, via mail order or phone. Customers can also order in advance at canadapost.ca/canada150 or by phone.

Canada Post made the announcement today and offered a video message with Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra, other Canada Post employees, and Steven MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

With each stamp unveiling, videos with these notable Canadians, other key participants and archival footage will tell the story of that stamp subject on the website https://www.canadapost.ca/web/en/pages/can150/default.page?ecid=murl|pdn|jr|309.

The American Philatelic Society will also post updates on this blog. Subscribe to the blog to receive notifications when new posts go up.

National Park Week 2017
Philatelic Reflections

As National Park Week in America concludes Sunday, many stamp collectors have reflected on the parks that have been so beautifully portrayed over the years on U.S. stamps.

Yellowstone National Park commemorative forever stamp issued in June 2016.

From Mike DePaz: The National Park Stamps from 2016 actually made me go to Yellowstone. I always wanted to see the buffaloes roaming free.

Bandalier National Monument commemorative forever stamp issued in June 2016.

From Melanie G. Rogers: The Bandalier National Monument stamp issued last year is special to me. I have visited that site.

10-cent Great Smoky Mountains commemorative stamp from 1934.

From Jeff Stage: The Great Smoky Mountains of 1934 always seemed pretty majestic to me. I easily remembered the stamp when I finally was able to visit there at the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.

Message in a bottle sent on the first day of issue for the 94-cent U.S. Virgin Islands airmail stamp issued in May 2008.

From Jay Bigalke: In May 2008, I traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the St. John’s USVI airmail stamp (Scott C145). I wasn’t going to pass the opportunity up for creating cool souvenirs and I went all out. Taking advantage of the first-class parcel rate, I sent a message in a bottle to about 30 individuals complete with a drink umbrella, a rolled up message, and other island inspired decorations. Each bottle was franked with two of the new 94-cent stamps and received a first-day cancellation. The bottles then traveled through the mailstream to get to their destinations.

Seeking Future Young Philatelic Leaders

Calling all philatelists between the ages of 16 and 24! Applications for the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Class of 2018 are due by May 15.

The Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship (YPLF) program provides Fellows with a year-long experience traveling to three APS national shows and opportunities to learn from seasoned collectors, exhibitors, writers and dealers.

For application materials and more about the YPLF program go to the website. Or contact us via the form below:

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.

Stamp Madness — The Philatelic Final Four

The field in the American Philatelic Society’s 2017 Stamp Madness contest has been cut to just four stamps after an Elite Eight round that saw a couple of upsets, including a result that was tied online and broken by in-house votes at the American Philatelic Center.

The Stamp Madness Final Four pits the U.S. World’s Fair stamp of 1964 vs. Canada’s Eastern Farm of 1946 and the Elephant of Laos from 1958 against Southern Alps and Chapel from New Zealand.

Please vote via Facebook or Twitter to send your favorites to the championship round!

There were four brackets with four seeded contestants in each. The entire Europe and Afro-India fields have been eliminated, leaving stamps from the Americas and the Pacific divisions.

All of the second round matchups were close, including one — Laos vs. Japan — that was a tie in its online voting and was decided by live voting at APS headquarters. In another second-round matchup, No. 4 seed New Zealand turned back the pre-tournament favorite, U.S. Project Mercury, in a close battle.

Philatelic prizes will be awarded on a random drawing based on both our preview contest in which contestants picked the stamp they thought would win the game and from voting in the championship match.

But don’t hold back until the final to vote. Voting in the Philatelic Final Four will start tomorrow and is open through midnight, April 5.

Here are the capsule summaries of the Final Four contestants.

The Americas
United States (Seeded No. 1 in the Americas) – The artwork for the New York World’s Fair stamp of 1964 (Scott 1244) was created using the artwork of architectural illustrator John C. Wenrich, who worked on both the 1939 and 1964 New York fairs. The stamp features two of the fair’s prominent icons – “The Rocket Thrower” sculpture and the Unisphere globe. The World’s Fair stamp defeated UAR in Round 1 and Greece in Round 2.

Canada (Seeded No. 2 in the Americas) – The Eastern (sometimes Ontario) Farm scene stamp (Scott 268) of 1946 defeated Chad in the first round and India in the second. The stamp illustrates vital farm products and activities. The scene is a composite from four photographs. The farm house is from a photograph taken in Eastern Ontario, the barn from a farm in Western Ontario, the silo from Central Ontario, and the ploughmen and horses from Quebec. Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz, vignette engraved by Warrell Hauck, and printed by Canadian Bank Note Co.

Pacific
Laos (Seeded No. 3 in the Pacific) – A set of seven Asian Elephants (Scott 41-47), including this handsomely dressed pachyderm (Scott 42), was issued in 1958. That year, engraver Jean Pheulpin (see French entry) received first prize for best French philatelic art for a stamp in this set.

New Zealand (Seeded No. 4 in the Pacific) – Southern Alps and Chapel (Scott 256) is part of the New Zealand Peace and Victory stamps of 1946, a set of 11 produced by Bradbury Wilkinson. The 9-cent stamp, dubbed A Spirit of Thankfulness, shows the chapel window at Waiho Gorge. The Franz Josef Glacier can be seen through the window.

The Guidelines
Choosing the field of just 16 special stamps for 2017 Stamp Madness wasn’t easy. Think about it: hundreds of thousands of stamps created worldwide since 1840. We needed a few guidelines to narrow the field. Here were the basic guidelines we used:
• Standard postage stamps only; no airmail, express mail, revenue stamps, etc.
• No specific images of individuals – kings, queens, scientists, musicians, etc.
• Avoid masterwork paintings and photos (statuary and buildings OK).
• Tried to be diverse to designs, colors, topics, and countries. Independent countries only, no colonies.
• No rarities – common stamps only.
• Stamps chosen are from post-WWII through 1970.

As it worked out, there are four general brackets based on geography: the Americas, Europe, Pacific, and Africa-to-India. The first two rounds have the Americas vs. Europe and Pacific vs. Africa-to-India. The top seeds will play the lowest seeds from the opposing bracket in Round 1.