New Literature Competition Focuses on Shorter Works

A new literature competition will be inaugurated February 1-3, 2019 at the Sarasota National Stamp Exhibition in Sarasota, FL in cooperation with Writers Unit 30, the society for philatelic authors. The format for this show will be different from the literature events currently held at CHICAGOPEX and StampShow. The Sarasota exhibit will be open only to articles of less than 8,000 words. The “articles only” show is intended to recognize the hundreds of authors of philatelic journal articles who each year contribute to the hobby with new information for collectors, exhibitors and researchers.

According to Liz Hisey, Chairperson of the Sarasota show, “At one point, single frame philatelic exhibits had difficulty gaining the attention they deserved until becoming a separate category in exhibit competitions. The same can be said for shorter articles, many of which provide outstanding research for us, yet are lost among larger philatelic works. We want to set them apart and recognize the authors.”

“This type of competition is needed to focus on shorter pieces that are sometimes overshadowed by longer, more complex works in regular literature exhibits,” says David Crotty, Writers Unit 30 Director and editor of its journal. “This is a real opportunity to help develop philatelic authors which is a major focus of our organization.”

Journal editors and authors are encouraged to submit entries for the show no later than December 1, 2018. A complete prospectus and entry form are available on the show’s web site –

WWI Stamp Dedication Ceremony in K.C.

by Steven J. Bahnsen

With an American Legion band playing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,”  the U.S. Postal Service dedicated the World War I Forever stamp on July 26.  The theme of the stamp  ─ Turning the Tide ─ commemorates the centennial of America’s involvement in the Great War.

A crowd of 150 took part in the dedication ceremony in the large auditorium of the National World War I Museum and Monument, which overlooks downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  The Fort Riley (Kansas) Doughboy Honor Guard presented the colors before the singing of the National Anthem.

Lora Vogt, Curator of Education at the museum, was the Master of Ceremonies. One of her comments hit home with stamp collectors in the audience: she likes self-adhesive stamps(as do those at many organizations that conduct mass mailings), and she thanked the USPS for issuing them.

The principal speaker at the ceremony was USPS Executive Vice President and General Counsel Thomas J. Marshall. Other speakers included Dr. Matthew Naylor, President of the National World War I Museum; Quartermaster General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Quartermaster General Debra Anderson  National Postal Museum Curator Lynn Heidelbaugh; and Dr. Richard Faulkner, Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Joining these people onstage for the stamp unveiling was Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.

All who attended received a handsome program with a first day cancel on the outer envelope, along with a stamp pin to wear. As the American Legion Band’s wind ensemble concluded with “Kansas City”,  people went into the lobby for autographs.

The official unveiling of the new World War I Turning the Tide commemorative.

The Kansas City post office set up separate tables for stamp sales and first day pictorial postmarks.  No.  6¾  envelopes with color first day cancels were on sale as well, created at the nearby Philatelic Fulfillment Center, the so-called “Kansas City Caves.” While no commercial stamp  dealers  could sell cacheted envelopes,  the Gladstone (Missouri) Stamp Club had a table promoting its August 24-25 show.

The WWI stamp dedication was a well-executed event on everyone’s part. It was a pleasure to attend.

A U.S. doughboy fires a massive howitzer on this first day pictorial postmark on covers given out July 26 at the World War I Forever stamp dedication ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri.

Feature Image: The 1st Infantry Division’s Commanding General’s Color Guard in WWI doughboy uniforms presented the colors before the dedication. (Image courtesy Capt. Ed Alvarado, 19th Public Affairs Detachment.)

Scooby-Doo Stamp Ceremony held in Bloomington, Minnesota

By Steven J. Bahnsen

Scooby-Doo First Day Ceremony ProgramThe U.S. Postal Service used a very large venue – The Mall of America – to host the first-day dedication ceremony for its Scooby-Doo forever commemorative stamp. The big event was held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 14. A crowd of about 100 people gathered for the event near the Sears store inside the megamall in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Scooby-Doo is a cartoon character seen on television since 1969 and direct-to-video movies. The stamp was created in conjunction with two partners – Warner Bros. Consumer Products, which owns the right to the cartoon character and the Scooby-Doo Doo Good project, a social awareness and action campaign for youth led by Generation On. There is no mention of the campaign on the stamp, but the selvage of the 12-stamp pane includes the campaign logo.

The first-day event was well planned and organized. Everyone got a program with a stamp cancelled on the envelope, but there were none to spare.

Postal operations were top notch.  Stamp sales and cancellations were conducted at different tables. The clerks were quite experienced, friendly and knew what they were doing and envelopes with the color first-day postmark on the stamp were available for sale.

The dedication ceremony was a fast-paced one lasting less than 15 minutes. Reporters Kiya Edwards, of television station KARE, Minneapolis, was the master of ceremonies. The Minnesota National Guard presented the colors. Postal employee Cheryl Reko sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The principal speaker was Gary C. Reblin, Postal Service vice president of product innovation in Washington, D.C. Josh Hackbarth, vice president of franchise management and marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products offered his greetings and thanks for the stamp.

Scooby-Doo himself next came on stage and joined everyone else to unveil the stamp to the delight of the crowd.

All of this went off without a hitch as everyone had a good time.

USA Philatelic Features Airmail, StampShow and More

USA Philatelic, the “official source of current stamps and stamp products from the U.S. Postal Service,” delivers more than a colorful showcase of new issues in its summer 2018 issue. “The Thrill of the Chase” on page 40 examines the world of collecting stamps by topic ‒ one of the highlights of this year’s StampShow/National Topical Stamp Show in Columbus, Ohio.

This year’s show will be co-hosted jointly by the APS and the American Topical Association (ATA), and will host the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the release of a quartet of new Forever-rate Dragons stamps.

ATA Journal Topical TimeDawn Hamman has a unique perspective on topical philately. Although she only recently began collecting in 2012, she has become an ardent advocate for that popular branch of the hobby, rapidly becoming a vice president of its American Topical Association and a frequent contributor to the ATA’s highly regarded journal, Topical Time.

Although many collectors specialize in stamp topics related to their professions and passions, Hamman notes that topical collecting is “very creative and flexible,” with no limitation on what you can collect or how you can collect it. Topicalists can create stamp, cover and cancel collections tailored to their interests, tastes and budgets.

Hamman looks forward to meeting, exchanging ideas and learning from other collectors at the Aug. 9-12 StampShow/NTSS, beginning with the release of the Dragons stamps Aug. 9 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The APS hopes to see you there, too.

Also of interest to U.S. collectors in this issue of USA Philatelic is a cover story on stamps celebrating the centennial of U.S. airmail service and the dauntless daredevils who flew those early American mails equipped with little more than a compass and a canvas map.

For free copies of the quarterly USA Philatelic, call 1-800-782-6724, or visit

Blockbuster Annual Seminar for Philatelists Underway

For philatelists, the American Philatelic Society’s Summer Seminar on Philately is an annual touchstone event worthy of attention, respect and good times, and this year’s 39th annual gathering has the looks of one to remember.

More than 100 philatelists – including 83 enrolled in classes, 29 of them first-timers – will participate in the seminar, which runs from Sunday through June 29 at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

Participants can partake in more than 20 classes, attend a first-day-of-issue stamp ceremony, bid on items at an auction, hear keynote speakers and enjoy meals and social events. They also will have time to visit, learn about and use the American Philatelic Research Library, which, like the APS, is housed in the center.

Here’s a summary of seminar highlights.

Randy Neil
Randy L.Neil, 2018 Distinguished Philatelist

Randy L. Neil will be honored at a dinner on Thursday, June 28 as this year’s Distinguished Philatelist. Neil – a longtime collector, author, editor and past president of the APS – is a 2000 recipient of the APS Luff Award.

Stamps to be Issued at APCA hobby that often makes the most of rarities will enjoy a rare in-person event at this year’s seminar – a first-day ceremony for a new U.S. stamp; well, actually three new stamps. The new $1, $2, and $5 Statue of Freedom stamps will be during the seminar at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 27. There are a few dozen first-day ceremonies a year, but only a few have ever been held in Central Pennsylvania, the last being the nonprofit Lamb envelope of 1995.

Mary-Ann Penner, Director Stamp Services, USPS.
Mary-Ann Penner, Director Stamp Services, USPS.

On that same day, Mary-Anne Penner, director of Stamp Services for the U.S. Postal Service, will speak during a general session. Other general session speakers are Michael Baadke, editor of Linn’s Stamp News, on Monday; Bill Schultz, nationally accredited philatelic judge, on Tuesday; Justin Gordon, author and Holocaust postal historian on Thursday; and philatelic writer and author Kitty Wunderly, on Friday.

Variety is the keyword when it comes to course. There are more than 130 hours of instruction, including four- and two-day classes, plus electives. Major courses range from Stamp Technology and Intermediate Exhibiting to Washington-Franklins Expertizing and A Comprehensive Postal History of Great Britain, 1510-1850. Electives include King George V and the Royal Collection, First Day Covers in the Mailstream, WWI at the National Postal Museum and Spain’s Quinta de Goya Stamps of 1930.

Members of the Class of 2018 Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship will be on hand, as well Class of 2017 member Ian Hunter, who received a youth scholarship in honor of Gerhard S. Wolff, sponsored by the Wolff family.

APS Executive Director Scott English will address participants at the opening night dinner, which will be followed by a scavenger hunt.

An in-house auction with more than 250 lots will be held Tuesday evening and a Buy, Sell and Trade Night is set or Wednesday.

The APRL offers a station-by-station tour after hours on June 25. Throughout the week, there are extended hours for the APRL, Circuit Sales Division, the APS gift shop and Stamp and Cover store.