Alzheimer’s Semipostal Will Be Issued November 30

The U.S. Postal Service will issue its next semipostal – the Alzheimer’s stamp – November 30 at the Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center Atrium, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, in Baltimore, Maryland.

The stamp, priced at 60 cents, will be available nationwide that day. The price includes the first-class single-piece postage rate in effect at the time of purchase plus an amount to fund Alzheimer’s research. By law, revenue from sales of the Alzheimer’s semipostal — minus the postage paid and the reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred by the Postal Service — will be distributed to the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2008 42-cent Alzheimer’s Awareness stampIf the stamp looks familiar, you’re correct. The artwork is an illustration that first appeared on the 2008 42-cent Alzheimer’s Awareness stamp. It shows an older woman in profile with a caring hand on her shoulder with the suggestion of sunlight behind her and clouds in front of and below her. On the 2008 stamp, she was facing left; the artwork for this stamp shows her facing right to help differentiate between the two stamps.

Stamp artist Matt Mahurin, of Topanga Canyon, California, created the stamp with the direction of art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland.

President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; today, that number has soared to nearly 5.4 million.

The first-day event will be free admission and open to the public, though an RSVP is required to attend the ceremony. Those interested can RSVP at usps.com/alzheimers.

Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan J. Brennan will dedicate the stamp. In attendance will be Kathy Siggins of Mount Airy, Maryland, who followed the discretionary semipostal program criteria for submitting the stamp suggestion. Siggins’ husband succumbed to the disease in 1999.

Customers may pre-order the stamps at usps.com/shop in early November for delivery shortly after the Nov. 30 issuance.

Semipostal Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service has issued four previous semipostals, starting with the Breast Cancer Research in 1998, which was reissued in 2014. Subsequent semipostals have been the Heroes of 2001 (2002), Stop Family Violence (2003) and Save Vanishing Species (2011).

The Semipostal Authorization Act grants the U.S. Postal Service discretionary authority to issue and sell semipostal fundraising stamps to advance such causes as it considers to be ‘‘in the national public interest and appropriate.’’ Under the program, the Postal Service intends to issue five semipostal fundraising stamps over a 10-year period, with each stamp to be sold for no more than two years.

The Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp will be followed by a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) semipostal in 2019. The next three discretionary semipostal stamps have not yet been determined.

Under the Act, the Postal Service will consider proposals for future semipostals until May 20, 2023.

U.S. and Canada Reveal Designs of Joint Hockey Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service and Canada Post today revealed the designs for their upcoming History of Hockey joint issue.

The stamps will be formally issued October 20 at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena Belfor Training Center. U.S. Postmaster General and CEO Megan Brennan will be joined by Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra at the ceremony.

The stamp format is tête-bêche – a joined pair of similar images in which one is upside down – and the design is strong on nostalgia. On an open pond, a player in modern equipment reflects, literally, on the past. Mirrored in the ice beneath him is a player in vintage gear. The imaginative imagery gives a visual sense of looking back through time. The paired images also depict the game’s evolution and its continuing presence in the lives of players and fans alike.

Each country uses the same basic design with just the country indicator and denomination being different. The U.S. stamps have “USA FOREVER” across their tops; the Canadian stamps have the red permanent stamp maple leaf logo in the upper left corner and “CANADA” in the upper right corner.

The Postal Service is honored to partner with Canada Post to produce The History of Hockey stamps,” said Brennan in a news release. “This sport exemplifies a wonderful tradition of competition and camaraderie between our nations, and these commemorative stamps are a special way to celebrate the game that transcends borders.

A souvenir sheet, which will be revealed during the Oct. 20 dedication ceremony, features a scene that illustrates the evolution of the sport across generations. The selvage — or area outside of the stamps on the souvenir sheet — depicts a father teaching his daughter how to play hockey on a pond.

The stamps were designed by Subplot Design Inc., for Canada Post, the artwork is intended to celebrate and reflect on the history of hockey. KC Armstrong of Toronto, Ontario, shot the photographs. Susan Gilson was the art director of the Canadian version of the stamps. William J. Gicker was the art director of the American version of the stamps.

Professional hockey is celebrating the centennial of the National Hockey League, which formally began competition in 1917. Also, hockey fans are acknowledging the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup, today emblematic of the annual NHL champion.

Canada Post on September 28 issued its final set of stamps in a five-year series celebrating the NHL’s 100th anniversary.

This is the sixth joint issue for Canada Post and the USPS dating back to 1959, and the first in more than a decade. It’s also their first celebrating a sport.

The first joint issue released by the two postal administrations marked the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Since then, they have jointly commemorated the United States Bicentennial (1976), the 50th anniversary of the Peace Bridge (1977), the St Lawrence Seaway’s 25th anniversary (1984) and the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of the East Coast of North America (2006).

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.

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.

Mississippi Statehood Stamp March 31

Mississippi Statehood
Mississippi Statehood

The United States Postal Service will honor the 200th anniversary of Mississippi Statehood with a new commemorative forever stamp being issued March 31 in Gulfport, Mississippi and nationwide.

Details on the ceremony in Gulfport and additional information on the stamp are provided in the USPS press release below.

[USPS Press Release]

Postal Service Saluting 200th Anniversary of Mississippi Statehood
New Forever Stamp Debuts at South Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration

What: The U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 200th anniversary of Mississippi becoming the 20th state on December 10, 1817. The Mississippi Statehood Forever stamp features a photograph taken by Lou Bopp in 2009. It shows a close-up of a musician’s hands as he plays his guitar. Mississippi is the birthplace of many legendary blues artists who created a uniquely American genre of music.

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