1972 Team Canada Hockey Team
on New Canada 150 Stamp

One of Canada’s most endearing sports teams — the 1972 Team Canada hockey team — was unveiled today as one of the 10 Canada 150 stamps that will be issued Thursday, June 1.

On September 28, 1972, millions of Canadians watched as Team Canada defeated the Soviet national hockey team in Game 8 of the Summit Series, also known as the Soviet-Canada series.

Team Canada beat the odds, overcoming an early two-goal deficit, the game was tied at 5-5. Canada scored the thrilling winning goal with just 34 seconds left in the third period. The stamp shows Canadian forward Paul Henderson celebrating his game-winning and series-clinching goal against the Soviet team.

The stamp was unveiled today in a ceremony in Winnipeg with many surviving members of the team on hand.

Several factors made this a special hockey series.

It was still the Cold War, so political tensions ran high.

Canada, once dominant in Olympic Games (Canada won the first four gold medals, plus 1948 and 1952, had been knocked off the podium with the Soviets taking three straight gold medals, 1964 through 1972.

And, this was the first competition between the Soviet national team and a Canadian team represented by professional players of the National Hockey League.

Harry Sinden chose the 35-player Team Canada, which included captains, Phil Esposito, Frank Mahovlich, Stan Mikita, and Jean Ratelle. The Soviets had a 31-player team, which included many Olympic champions.

The Soviets won three of the first five games, with Canada winning one and other being a tie. Canada won games six and seven, each by one goal, setting the stage for the thrilling Game 8, the series being tied 3-3-1. With the first four games played in Canada, the finale was staged on Soviet home ice in Moscow.

Henderson, who scored the winning goal, had just hopped onto the ice and said, “I jumped on the ice and rushed straight for their net. I had this strange feeling that I could score the winning goal.”

The team and its players received many honors over the years, including the first team to be inducted en masse into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Speaking at that induction in 2005, Team Canada 72 member Phil Esposito said, “A lot of people will go back and say 1972 changed the face of the game and actually I believe it did. I’m not so sure it changed for the better, by the way. But it did change the way we think and look at hockey in this country.”

New Book on U.S. 20th Century
Postal History — ‘Prexie Era’

The American Philatelic Society has just published Prexie Era: Postal History and Stamp Production, 1938–1962, a book highlighting 20th century U.S. postal history. Its focus is on stamp production, domestic rates and postal uses, as well as the changes of international mail routes, delays, and rates shaped by historical events of World War II.

Louis Fiset, who edits and publishes the quarterly newsletter, The Prexie Era, and has written and exhibited widely on the postal history of the period, has compiled 15 essays written by nine experts in the field. Their extensive knowledge and passion for their subject are well known to both collectors and exhibitors.

This will be the first major book on the subject since Bill Helbock’s 1988 tome, Prexie Postal History, and Roland Rustad’s The Prexies, in 1994. Rather than repeat information readily available, information in this volume focuses on a time period when the Prexies were in current use rather than on the Prexie series, exclusively. The Prexie era offers rich opportunities for collecting mail generated during times of explosive change, such as wartime crises and expanded airmail service. Stamps throughout the era contribute.

Topics included in the essays are diverse and range from Albert “Chip” Briggs’s two essays on production and uses of the 3-cent Jefferson stamp to Ralph Nafziger’s World War II censorship of first-day covers. Stephen L. Suffet concludes this volume with a provocative essay arguing why the Prexie era should end in 1962.

Prexie Era: Postal History and Stamp Production, 1938–1962 is in soft cover, 8.5 inches by 11 inches, 276 pages, with 407 full-color philatelic illustrations, seven tables, bibliography with 102 references, and index. It is available on the APS website, $39 to APS members and $43 to non-members (shipping not included.

Have a Ball Stamps June 14 at the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Wisconsin

The U.S. Postal Service will issue June 14 a first-of-a-kind stamps with the look — and feel — of actual balls used in eight popular sports, according to a press release.

The Have a Ball forever stamps depict balls used in baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

A special coating applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process gives them a texture that mimics the feel of a: baseball’s stitching; golf ball’s dimples; tennis ball’s seams; soccer ball or volleyball’s textured panels; and, the different raised patterns of a football, basketball and kickball.

The first-day-of-issuance ceremony will be held at 8 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 14, at the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Hartford, Wisconsin. The ceremony will be part of the U.S. Golf Association’s Flag Day celebration. The Postal Service is honored to be part of this special tribute to those who serve or have served in the military. Nearly one of seven postal employees served in the military.

To attend the standing room only ceremony, you must present a 2017 U.S. Open ticket for June 14, 2017, or a free special access ticket available for request only at usps.com/haveaball. Special access tickets are limited and are only good for June 14, 2017. Confirmed acceptance will be provided and is required for admission. The offer does not apply to U.S. Open ticket holders, active military — who will be admitted free — or children under 12 when accompanied by an adult ticket holder or badge holder.

The eight forever stamps will be issued in panes of 16 that include two stamps of each design. While most traditional stamps are square or rectangular in design, these stamps will be round. Stamp artist Daniel Nyari of Long Island City, New York, and stamp designer Mike Ryan of Charlottesville, Virginia, worked with Art Director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, Virginia to create the stamp images.

Formula One Racing Roars Onto
Five New Canadian Stamps

Five legendary auto racers appear on a new set of stamps honoring the 50th anniversary of Formula One racing in Canada.

The stamps, which will be sold in booklets of 10 and a souvenir sheet of five, depict Canadian hero Gilles Villeneuve, along with Sir Jackie Stewart and Lewis Hamilton, of Great Britain, Brazil’s Ayrton Senna, and Germany’s Michael Schumacher. Three of the drivers are still living.

The stamps were formally unveiled May 15 in a ceremony in Montreal, home to Grand Prix racing in Canada, and will be officially released today, Tuesday, May 16. This year’s race is June 11. Here is the video of the unveiling event:

In addition to the driver’s profile, each stamp features a small checkered flag (indicative of the winning driver in a race), the driver’s native flag, an outline of a race car, the Formula One symbol and the year dates 1967–2017.

Continue reading “Formula One Racing Roars Onto
Five New Canadian Stamps”

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.