Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New stamp honors actress Bette Davis

WASHINGTON (AP) — "She did it the hard way."

That's how Bette Davis wanted to be remembered, and a new U.S. postage stamp honoring her does that iron-willed image justice.

The 42-cent commemorative stamp, being released Thursday in Boston, features a portrait of Davis as she appeared in the 1950 film "All About Eve," in which she played Margo Channing, an aging stage actress battling to save her career as a younger woman schemes to replace her.

In one scene author Joseph Mankiewicz' stage directions for Margo read: "the steel begins to flash," as Davis, her blue eyes glaring, responds to her lover's description of Eve as a "stage-struck kid."

"Stage-struck kid ... She's a young lady — of qualities. And I'll have you know I'm fed up with both the young lady and her qualities! Studying me as if — as if I were a play or a set of blueprints! How I walk, talk, think, eat, sleep!"

Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for that performance.

Indeed, she collected . . .

Full story at: Link

USPS to issue NASCAR Stamps?

(Generally only geniune stamps get posted here, but as a fan of NASCAR I got a kick out of these fantasy stamps. One can only speculate that eventually the USPS will jump on the NASCAR bandwagon. - A.C. Dwyer)

Virtual Stamp Club members have been speculating that the U.S. Postal Service will issue a stamp or, more likely, a set of stamps for NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

Stock car racing is the most popular sport in the U.S. The USPS wants to sell stamps. And there have been few stamps for auto racing.

Cuv Evanson is a first day cover cachetmaker with . . .

Full story and images of NASCAR fantasy stamp designs at: Link

New Kansas Stamp Unveiled

Sunflower State residents can now show their pride every time they head to the mailbox.

A new Kansas stamp was unveiled Monday at Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' office. Postal Service officials and Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten were on hand for the ceremony.

The Kansas stamp is part of a series the Postal Service will issue over the next three yeras. It's called "Flags of our Nation" and will feature 60 stamps - the U.S. flag, the 50 states' flags, five territorial flags and the District of Columbia flag. The first set of 10 stamps was issued earlier this year. Kansas is in the second set being issued this month. The Kansas stamp is
. . .

Full story at: Link

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bulgaria issues 120 years Orient Express commemorative postage stamps on 9/11

The State Agency for Information Technology and Communications (SAITC) released a commemorative stamp collection entitled 120 Years Orient-Express on September 11 2008.

The stamp collection consists of a series of two postage stamps, an illustrated envelope at a price of 0.6 leva and a special postage stamp.

Through the years, many different trains and different routes have used the name Orient Express. Several of these routes have crossed Bulgaria.

The name Orient Express has become synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel.

On June 5 1883, the first Express d'Orient left Paris for Vienna. Viena would remain the end station until October 1883.

At Giurgiu in Romania, passengers would take the ferry across the Danube to Bulgaria's Rousse, from where they would continue their trip by train to Varna and from there by ferry to Istanbul.

From 1885, a different route went into operation, from Vienna via Belgrade and Nis, then by carriage to Plovdiv and by train to Istanbul.

In 1889, the train's eastern end station became Varna, from where passengers could take the ferry to Istanbul. On June 1 1889, the first non-stop train from Paris' Gare de l'Est left for Istanbul.

It was not until the 1891 that the train was renamed Orient Express.

After World War 1 . . .

Full story at: Link

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Top Czechoslovakia stamp collector presents a book with his treasures

“The Rarest Czechoslovak Postage Stamps in the Collection of Ludvík Pytlíček” is the name of a new book which presents arguably the greatest collection of Czechoslovak stamps, compiled by the renowned Czech philatelist Mr Pytlíček. The volume, launched in Prague on Wednesday, also includes the most precious Czechoslovak postage stamp of all times – a four-crown stamp from 1919 of which only a single exemplar is known.

It took Ludvík Pytlíček more than 50 years to put together what is possibly the most comprehensive collection of Czechoslovak postage stamps. Now the most precious items have been presented in a book which includes the pearl of his collection – a golden replica of the rarest Czechoslovak stamp.

Originally an Austrian light-green four-crown stamp, it was used in the newly established Czechoslovak state, and a reversed inscription that says “Czechoslovak Post 1919” was printed on it. Later, the inscription was fixed, but it was precisely the mistake which made the first edition so rare. Mr Pytlíček describes how he got this unique stamp in his collection.

“In 1952, the four-crown stamp was confiscated from . . .

Full story at: Link

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Machin image of Queen Elizabeth II on British postal stamps reigns supreme

No portrait has been more widely reproduced than that of Queen Elizabeth II on the British postage stamp. And it continues to reign supreme.

Name the most reproduced portrait in history. Hmm. The Mona Lisa? The Laughing Cavalier? Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe? This game could last a long time. But, I think I have the correct answer: the portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II on the standard issue British postal stamps. This, it appears, has been reproduced something like 200 billion times. That many? I've found it hard to get a precise answer and this does sound like an awful lot of stamps, but then a lot of letters have been posted since this design made its debut a little over 40 years ago.

The portrait is a cleverly lit photograph showing a silhouette of a bust of the Queen commissioned by the Post Office from the sculptor Arnold Machin (1911-1999). The plaster bust measures 18 by 16 very imperial, or regal, inches and is stored away in the Post Office museum archives. The Machin portrait replaced a long-running issue of stamps depicting a very young Queen Elizabeth as portrayed in a three-quarter view photograph by Dorothy Wilding taken in 1952.

Machin showed the Queen, then half her current age, from the shoulders up wearing a diadem and pearl necklace. Her hair is beautifully realised. The Queen, who has a good sense of humour, had rejected an earlier idea to show only her head. One of her predecessors, King Charles I, was executed some time after the English civil war and his head held up for the crowd to gasp and gawp at. The Queen insisted that she appeared with shoulders and a neck as well as a head.

The stamps remain a . . .

Full story at: Link

Artist plants farm scene on Indiana's state flag postage stamp

WASHINGTON – Hoosiers who send birthday cards by mail or pay their electric bills by check will have a chance to practice some state pride if they buy the latest 42-cent stamps issued Tuesday by the U.S. Postal Service.

The newest set of 10 stamps is part of a series featuring each state, the District of Columbia and the territories.

The dominant image of the Indiana stamp is the state flag. It’s offset by a tiny orange tractor, a flock of blackbirds, some wheat or grass and a cityscape in the background.

“We were after something . . .

Full story at: Link

The Hawaii Flag Postage Stamp

The flags of our nation serve as a source of pride for states. The Hawaii Flag is unique.

It's the only state flag featuring the United Kingdom Flag.

Our Flag is now represented on the newest stamps being sold by the US postal service.

It's here. And it gets the approval of at least one stamp enthusiast.

"Oh it makes me feel really good because I like the Hawaii flag, it's one of the most beautiful flags that we have,"says Craig Miyamoto who was first in line to get his Hawaii flag stamps cancelled.

"The cancellations are done only on the first day of issue, and they are an indication that is cancelled on the first day. It adds a slight premium to it, and has a lot of souvenir value to it."

Miyamoto is a collector, has been for about 50 years.

But the Hawaii flag stamps are for more than just collectors.

"Yes it's a beautiful stamp and i think the people of hawaii are . . .

Full story at: Link

Postage stamp honors Illinois

SPRINGFIELD -- At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn joined the United States Postal Service in unveiling the new Illinois "Flags of Our Nation" postage stamp during a first-day-of-issue ceremony.

Lt. Governor Quinn and Springfield's Postmaster Doug Maxwell spoke at the event and stamp enthusiasts from a local philatelic club were on hand to view the stamp for the first time.

"This stamp is a great way to pay tribute to the Prairie state's flag and collect a piece of history," Quinn said.

“Having the Illinois flag stamp on correspondence will showcase that pride within our communities, our state and beyond," Quinn remarked.

Earlier this summer, the USPS released the first set of . . .

Full story at: Link

Iowa flag adorns new postage stamp

DES MOINES — A new postage stamp unveiled Thursday will honor Iowa by showcasing the state’s flag waving atop a corn field.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver and representatives of the United States Postal Service unveiled the postage stamp during a ceremony at the State Capitol.

Culver said the stamp highlights the symbolic elements on the state flag that represent the core values of Iowans and Americans.

“Today we are meeting to celebrate perhaps the best-known symbol of our state, the Iowa flag,” he said.

He said the state motto that adorns the flag, “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain,” captures the courage and spirit of Iowans, and, along with the flag’s red, white and blue stripes, symbolically tells the state’s story.

The flag was designed by . . .

Full story at: Link

PIMCO Founder Bill Gross Selling More of His Acclaimed Stamp Collection estimated at $1.5 million for Charity

Another portion of the remarkable stamp collection assembled by Bill Gross, Founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO, will be sold in a public auction by Spink Shreves Galleries in New York City on October 3, 2008 with all proceeds to be donated by Bill and Sue Gross to the Millennium Villages Project. The 138 British Empire stamps, conservatively estimated to bring more than $1.25 million, will be displayed in London, England and New York City prior to the auction.

It's the third time Gross has offered portions of his acclaimed philatelic collection to raise millions of dollars for charity, and the second time the Millennium Villages Project has been selected as the recipient of the proceeds.

"This portion of the collection has 138 items; rare and even one-of-a-kind stamps and covers (envelopes with canceled stamps) from across the globe of the 19th and early 20th century British Empire. There are classic rarities from such places as Australia, the British West Indies, the Cape of Good Hope, Cyprus, Gibraltar, India, Malta, and Mauritius ranging in value from a few hundred dollars to a hundred-thousand dollars each," explained Shreve.

"This is a remarkable collection and a remarkable commitment to charity."

Gross, of Laguna Beach, California, is Founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO of Newport Beach, California, one of the world's largest money managers with over $830 billion under management.

The pre-sale estimate for the William H. Gross British Empire Collection is $1.25 million to $1.5 million, with proceeds to be donated by the Gross' to the Millennium Villages Project.

"We again selected the . . .

Full story at: Link

Friday, September 5, 2008

Arnold Machin plaster cast used for image of Queen Elizabeth on stamps is found

A rare original plaster cast used to create the effigy of the Queen's head, which is used on stamps, has been uncovered.

Only a handful of casts of the famous effigy were ever made by renowned sculptor Arnold Machin, who was hired by the Royal Mail to come up with the design for postage stamps.

Three of them are still kept by the Royal Mail but a fourth has been discovered in the cupboard of the artists former studio and is to be auctioned off, a move which is likely to send the stamp collecting world into a frenzy.

The 1966 design is said to be so well-liked by the Queen that she has declined to have it updated and changed over the years, unlike her effigy on coinage.

It is still seen on almost every British stamp today and some 320 billion copies have been made over the last 40 years, making it the most reproduced work of art in history.

Machin, who died aged 88 in 1999, worked on a number of . . .

Full story at: Link