First Responders Stamp to be Dedicated

This year’s First Responders forever commemorative stamp from the U.S. Postal Service will be formally dedicated at aerial firefighting center in Montana.

The dedication will be at 11 a.m. Mountain Time September 13 at the Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center in Missoula, Montana. The base is located next to the Missoula International Airport.

Smokejumpers are a highly skilled, rapid response and operationally focused fire resource that provide initial attack suppression on emerging fires, according to the Missoula Smokejumpers Center website (www.fs.fed.us/fire/people/smokejumpers/missoula).

Currently, there are 75 smokejumpers, consisting of men and women from diverse backgrounds, stationed at the base. The range in age from the early 20s to the 50s, and considered “highly trained and experienced firefighters.”

Chief U.S. Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, will lead the dedication ceremony.

Artist Brian Stauffer worked with art director and designer Antonio Alcalá and designer Ricky Altizer to create the stamp, the first U.S. stamp to specifically honor firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel. Images of individuals from all three of those services are rendered in red, white and blue on the stamp.

US Postal Service to Issue Iconic Santa Stamps

WASHINGTON — It’s beginning to look like a classic Christmas! This October, the Postal Service will ring in the 2018 holiday season with four Sparkling Holidays stamps featuring character-rich close-ups of Santa Claus.

The Santa images are from Haddon Sundblom paintings created for The Coca-Cola Company holiday advertisements that ran from the1940s through the early 1960s. Sundblom, a famed commercial artist, depicted a rosy-cheeked, smiling, grandfatherly man in a red suit that came to embody the very essence of “Santa.”

The Sparkling Holidays stamps will be issued as Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Additional details will be announced before the stamps’ release.

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.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? On a Stamp!

Scooby-Doo – the beloved animated Great Dane who slid onto the scene in 1969 as part of an enduring Warner Bros. television cartoon – will appear on a new U.S. first class domestic forever stamp, the U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday.

The stamp will be dedicated July 14 in a ceremony at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

For nearly 50 years, the call of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” has summoned the beloved dog wherever help is needed. The Postal Service, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is say the stamp will help highlight a new social responsibility initiative, called Scooby-Doo DOO GOOD(https://doogood.scoobydoo.com).

The stamp, to be sold in 12-stamp sheets, features Scooby-Doo helping out by watering a blossoming plant in a flowerpot — a simple act symbolizing a component of the “Doo Good” campaign’s effort to provide young people with tools and activities geared toward enriching the environment. The campaign, launching this year in partnership with generationOn, the youth division of Points of Light, also focuses on helping the hungry and acting as animal allies.

Art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, Virginia, worked closely with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, to design this stamp.

The lovable Great Dane Scooby-Doo has solved mystery after spooky mystery, working with his teenage friends — Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy. The charismatic canine has now fronted more than a dozen TV series, plus direct-to-video animated films, comic books and live-action cinematic releases.

In Scooby-Doo’s comedy–mystery adventures, he and the gang investigate strange plots in eerie locales as they travel in their colorful van, the Mystery Machine. Scooby Snacks are always on hand; the tempting treats empower the cowardly Scooby to sniff out clues. Once the gang musters courage, cooperates, and persists in their dogged investigations, the spooky schemers’ plots are exposed.

Three generations of fans have now embraced Scooby-Doo and the “meddling kids,” as they are often called by the villains unmasked at the conclusion of each Scooby-Doo mystery.

Frozen Treats Stamps With That Sweet Smell of Summer

The first scratch-and-sniff U.S. postage stamps will be released later this summer, according to a news release today from the U.S. Postal Service. 

The first-class forever stamps will add “the sweet scent of summer to letters of love, friendship, party invitations and other mailings” the USPS said in its release.

A first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony, free and open to the public, will take place on June 20 at 6 p.m. local time the Thinkery Children’s Museum in Austin, Texas.

Frozen Treats StampsThe stamps feature illustrations of frosty, colorful, icy pops on a stick. Today, Americans love cool, refreshing ice pops on a hot summer day. The tasty, sweet confections come in a variety of shapes and flavors.

Ice pops are made by large manufacturers, home cooks and artisanal shops. In recent years, frozen treats containing fresh fruit such as kiwi, watermelon, blueberries, oranges and strawberries have become more common. In addition, flavors such as chocolate, root beer and cola are also popular. Some frozen treats even have two sticks, making them perfect for sharing.

There are 10 designs – each showing two different treats – that will be sold in booklets of 20. The artwork showcases is from Margaret Berg, of Santa Monica, California, who depicted the whimsical illustrations in watercolors. The words “Forever” and “USA” appear along the bottom of each stamp.

Art director Antonio Alcalá of Alexandria, Virginia, designed the stamps with Leslie Badani of Alexandria, Virginia.

A Postal Service spokesman declined to say if the 10 stamps would have the same or a variety of aromas, noting that information will be released when the stamps are issued. He also noted that the technology used for the stamps will also be explained at that time.

The Frozen Treats stamps represent the third time in a year that new U.S. stamps have featured innovative technology. One June 14, 2017, the USPS issued eight Have a Ball stamps. It was the first time the U.S. issued touch-and-feel stamps in which the stamps had the feel of the sports ball shown. Six days later, on June 20, the USPS issued the Solar Eclipse stamp in which an image of the Moon was hidden behind dark, thermochromic ink until it was warmed, such as by the heat of a thumb’s touch.

The U.S. is a bit behind the world in scratch-and-sniff technology on postage stamps. Bhutan issued the world’s first such stamps in 1973 with stamps that smell like roses, according to an article published May 1, 2015 in Linn’s Stamp News.

The American Topical Association lists 114 stamps on its check list of scented stamps. Roses remain a popular scent on the list along with such fragrances as chocolate, vanilla and coffee, according to the article in Linn’s. Other scents you can find on stamps include honey, cinnamon, pine, apple, lemon, sweet-and-sour pork and fire (burnt wood).