Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Artist makes Barack Obama portrait from postage stamps

A Staffordshire artist has created a stamp portrait of Barack Obama that he hopes to give to him personally.

The 3ft (90cms) by 4ft (1.2m) image of the US president-elect is made from about 2,000 recycled postage stamps.

Artist Pete Mason, 65, said he made it to celebrate Mr Obama winning the Democrat's presidential nomination and finished it for Tuesday's inauguration.

Mr Mason said he had written to his MP asking to meet Mr Obama the next time he was visiting Gordon Brown in the UK.

The ex-teacher, from Hednesford, near Cannock Chase, said . . .

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Biloxi Lighthouse to shine from U.S. postage stamp

The Biloxi Lighthouse, an iconic symbol of survival, shines in the national limelight with news this week it will be featured on a 2009 U.S. Postal Service stamp. The announcement comes on the heels of the beacon replacing the long-established magnolia as the image on Mississippi license tags.

The 1848 lighthouse is one of five chosen from Gulf of Mexico states to be featured in the latest set of stamps in the popular lighthouse series. The series is illustrated by Howard Koslow, a New Jersey painter whose work graces many U.S. historic projects.

The previous four lighthouse stamp series since 1990 have proven popular and often sell out within three or four months. USPS expects this one to be just as popular, if not more so. This series focuses on lighthouses that are hurricane survivors.

The white wrought-iron Biloxi tower awaits Hurricane Katrina repairs but a temporary power line keeps the light on at night. The hurricane surge’s pumping action brought down a 12-foot-high section of interior bricks but, within days of the historic storm the lighthouse that straddles Beach Boulevard shined.

“The Biloxi Lighthouse is a great historical icon for the community,” said David E. Failor, USPS executive director of stamp services, who oversees stamp designs.

The four other towers are the 1852 Matagorda Island Lighthouse in Texas, the 1856 Sabine Pass Lighthouse in Louisiana, the 1873 Sand Island Lighthouse in Alabama and the 1876 Fort Jefferson Lighthouse in Florida.

“We have chosen Biloxi for the first day of issue for all the five lighthouse stamps,” Failor said. “The date is . . .

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Artist Edward Hopper’s The Long Leg to Debut as a New Postage Stamp with a Lighthouse Connection

Each year brings excitement for stamp collectors when the United States Postal Service issues a new round of stamp subjects, and 2009 is no exception.

Many lighthouse aficionados nationwide are highly anticipating the issuance of another USPS series of lighthouse stamps, with this year’s release being Gulf Coast Lighthouses, but the 2009 connection between postage stamps and lighthouses doesn’t end with this five-stamp collection.

The nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation and its Cape Cod Chapter are excited about the summer 2009 release of another postage stamp – The Long Leg by renowned artist Edward Hooper, which features Cape Cod’s Long Point Lighthouse within the stamp art.

A United States Postal Service press release notes, “A sunlit painting by Edward Hopper is showcased in this ninth entry in the American Treasures series. The Long Leg, painted in oil on canvas around 1930, depicts a boat sailing against the wind near Provincetown, MA. The Long Leg is in the collection of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, in San Marino, CA. Art director Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, cropped the painting for use in the stamp art.”

“The American Treasures series was inaugurated in 2001. It is intended to exhibit beautiful works of American fine art and crafts. The stamp will be dedicated Aug. 6 at the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show in Pittsburgh, PA.”

Though Long Point Lighthouse is not the primary focus of Hooper’s painting, its presence within The Long Leg is vivid in appearance, complementing quite nicely the depicted boat sailing inside Provincetown Harbor.

Long Point Lighthouse is one of . . .

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Child photo postage stamps warning from Connecticut Attorney General

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today, prompted by parent concerns, issued a warning to consumers about placing their child's photo on U.S. postage stamps for use in daily mailing.

Blumenthal said a picture of a child on a postage stamp -- together with the return address on the envelope -- may serve as a road map for predators seeking to harm children or their families.

The U.S. Postal Service now offers to personalize stamps with a child's photo, or other personal photographs.

In a letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter, Blumenthal urged that he consult with criminal justice experts to examine whether photos of children on stamps -- and other personal photos -- increase the risk of crimes against children.

Blumenthal said . . .

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Signatures of the Printers of First US Postage Stamp to be Auctioned Feb. 15

(I don't normally post auction info here but this one might interest someone. - A.C. Dwyer)

Three 9.75" x 8" folded letters postmarked New York and sent to the New York State Comptroller's office in Albany, with each being a certificate of delivery from the engravers of either bank notes or printing plates and each signed by a different engraver . . . with signatures of the principals of the firm that printed the United State's first postage stamp.

Full auction listing at: Link

Enveloping rage: Georgia starts a postal war with Abkhazia

Although Abkhazia has not yet been widely recognized, this small republic by the Black Sea issued a set of postage stamps, dedicated to its history and independence anniversary.

An 8th century AD Abkhazian kingdom map, a picture of Mery Avidzba - the first Abkhazian female war pilot, a 15th anniversary of republic’s independence – no matter what postage stamp you look at, you discover new facts about this small Caucasus republic.

Although they still cannot be used outside Abkhazia due to postal blockade, Eduard Pilia, one of the authors of the Abkhazian stamps project, says collectors from Russia and other countries already consider these stamps as rare and valuable.

“Unfortunately, you can’t buy them in Russia yet, but we give these stamps free to many collectors who travel to Abkhazia to get them”, Pilia says.

Georgia says Abkhazian stamps are illegitimate.

Formerly, a part of Soviet Georgia, Abkhazia declared independence from Tbilisi in the early 1990s. A violent conflict followed, claiming thousands of lives. Russian peacekeepers . . .

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Stamp Collecting: Stanley Gibbons chief has investment licked

Michael Hall, chief executive of stamp collecting group Stanley Gibbons, is getting rather defensive about his £10,000 a year habit.

"If you were to tell any friends of mine from the past that I was a stamp collector, they would say you were mad. I was a cool kid at school."

So what exactly is he saying about stamp collectors?

"It is the stigma that is attached. Stamp collectors don't think they are uncool, that is just the general perception. They are normal people, surprisingly," he laughs.

"There is a human instinct to bring order where order doesn't exist. Starting with nothing, you are bringing things together from all over and putting them into one place, seeking out the ones that are hard to find. It's a strangely pleasurable experience."

Mr Hall, 38, started collecting only after . . .

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Growing popularity of email doesn't worry avid stamp collectors

The Cambridge stamp club meets twice a month at the Allan Reuter Centre: the first Thursday and third Monday. Meetings start with passing around of "circuit books" between members, where stamps are available for trade. Clubs members from other cities are invited, because that means an influx of fresh stamps to the pool.

As collectors talk shop and catch up on gossip, many examine stamps using tweezers. They're only interrupted when someone comes around hawking draw tickets to win -- what else? -- batches of donated stamps.

Like Adkin, Tom Griffith is optimistic stamp collecting isn't going to die away any time soon.

Griffith is a member of the Grand Valley Philatelic Association and a former school teacher who lives near Smithville, southeast of Hamilton. Along with travelling to stamp clubs across the district, he helps set up stamp-related programs in public schools, like sending away for "first day of issue" stamps, where the images are related to classroom studies.

Griffith was also involved in . . .

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Express Mail and Priority Mail Stamps Highlight Old Faithful and Redwood Forest

WASHINGTON —Two treasured wonders of the American landscape will be celebrated Jan. 16 when the U.S. Postal Service issues the $17.50, Old Faithful (Express Mail)and $4.95, Redwood Forest (Priority Mail)definitive stamps at the SANDICAL Stamp Show in San Diego, CA. The stamps will be available nationwide that day.

The 2009 Express Mail stamp depicts Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful erupting in the warm glow of an autumn sunset while several bison graze nearby. The 2009 Priority Mail stamp, paying tribute to America’s redwood forests, depicts two people walking through a forest of redwood trees. Both stamps are digital illustrations produced by stamp artist Dan Cosgrove of Clarendon Hills, IL, under the direction of art director Carl T. Herrman of Carlsbad, CA.

The stamps are being issued at . . .

Full story at: Link

Postal Service to Honor Bob Hope with Stamp

WASHINGTON, DC — Postmaster General John Potter announced today that celebrated entertainer Bob Hope will be immortalized on a First-Class commemorative stamp next spring. The stamp image will be previewed on Nov. 24 in New York City at Ellis Island.

“The Postal Service is proud to immortalize the achievements of Bob Hope,” said Potter. “He was not only one of our nation’s most revered entertainers, but he was also a true American who selflessly dedicated more than half a century of his life to entertaining our men and women serving in uniform overseas — both in war and peace.”

Bob Hope (1903-2003) enjoyed a lifetime of success on stage and in radio, television and film. He moved to America from England a hundred years ago (1908) and quickly exhibited a natural talent for making people laugh. Hope traveled around the globe performing for U.S. troops and hosted numerous highly rated TV specials.

Although Hope never officially served in the . . .

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Sent with Love and Hitchcock: US Postal Service Recognizes Horror TV!!

In 2009 when you want to send old Aunt Hilda her 200th annual birthday card, send it with love sealed with a stamp featuring someone equally as old and almost as dead inside. What the hell are we talking about and why would you speak of dear Aunt Hilda that way you ask? Well, the Hilda-shots are because I’m also dead inside, but the suggestions for mailing your card with a stamp featuring Edgar Allan Poe come from a bit of news via . . .

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New Hawaii stamp to celebrate 50 years of statehood

Commemorative issues also will mark Alaska's 50th, Oregon's 150th

The 50th anniversary of Hawai'i statehood will be celebrated in 2009 with a new stamp from the Postal Service.

The stamp shows a surfer and canoe paddlers riding a wave.

Other scheduled stamps in 2009 include:

Statehood anniversary stamps for Alaska's 50th and Oregon's 150th.

A two-stamp series of early moments in television. Included in that series will be . . .

Full story at: Link

U.S. Postal Service will issue Oregon stamp

Word from Washington today is that the U.S. Postal Service will issue a stamp in honor of Oregon's 150th birthday.

The state is planning a sesquicentennial celebration -- sesquicentennial means 150 years. The official birthday is . . .

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Postal Service Previews 2009 Commemorative Stamp Program

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What do Lassie, The Tonight Show, Abe Lincoln, Gary Cooper, Gulf Coast Lighthouses, Civil Rights Pioneers and Wedding Cakes have in common? They're all 2009 stamp subjects the U.S. Postal Service is providing a sneak peek at today. All stamp issuance dates and dedication locations are subject to change. The public is welcome to attend unless otherwise noted.

Alaska Statehood

The Alaska Statehood stamp will be dedicated 11:30 a.m., Jan. 3, at the Captain Hook Hotel in Anchorage to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Alaska statehood. Comprising more than 570,000 square miles of land, Alaska is the largest of the 50 states and home to approximately 670,000 residents. The name of the state derives from an Aleut word meaning "great land."

The stamp features a photograph by Jeff Schultz of a dogsledder taken in 2000 near Rainy Pass in the Alaska Range. Text on the stamp reads "1959 ALASKA."

Lunar New Year: Year of the Ox

The second of 12 stamps in the Lunar New Year series, The Year of the Ox begins Jan. 26, 2009, and ends on Feb. 13, 2010. The dedication ceremony is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m., Jan. 8 at the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), 7th Ave. at 27th St., in New York City.

Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, worked on the new series with illustrator Kam Mak, an artist who grew up in New York City's Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn and is . . .

Full story: Link

Postal Service to issue Sabine Pass lighthouse stamp in 2009

Bill Quick's personal beacon burns brightly for the Sabine Pass lighthouse and he could barely contain his excitement on learning its image will grace a postage stamp sometime in 2009.

Quick, 78, of Nederland, a member of the Jefferson County Historical Commission, also belongs to a group called the Cameron Preservation Alliance, which owns the old lighthouse.

The landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be one of five Gulf Coast lighthouses commemorated on postage stamps in the coming year, said Earl Artis, manager of communications for the U.S. Postal Ser-vice's Dallas office.

The other stamps will feature lighthouses at Matagorda Island; Biloxi, Miss.; Sand Island, Ala, which is near Mobile; and Fort Jefferson, Fla., near Key West.

"Collectors have a fondness for lighthouses," said Artis, who added there is not a firm release date for the new stamps.

"It's an enduring subject," Artis said. "People respond to it very well."

For Quick, fondness is putting it mildly.

He bemoans the lighthouse's forlorn condition and the lack of resources available for its restoration.

He can rattle off facts and figures without hesitation, such as height, 85 feet; diameter at its base, 20 feet; construction, brick - four courses thick; distance from the entry into Sabine Pass, 1,200 feet; visibility from offshore, 18 miles; date of entering service, 1857; lights out, 1952.

The U.S. government ran what was called the Lighthouse Bureau to operate the ship-guiding beacons until technology rendered them archaic, he said.

In 1939, the bureau consolidated with the U.S. Coast Guard, Quick said.

The lighthouse, on the Louisiana side of Sabine Pass, has withstood . . .

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U.S. stamps a window to history

Lincoln visage rates among most familiar

WASHINGTON -- You might think Abraham Lincoln has been a popular subject on U.S. postage stamps.

But you'd be wrong.

The Kentucky-born president is on fewer than two dozen stamps, compared to the hundreds that have featured George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

Even so, many of the Lincoln stamps are some of the most familiar in postal history. And there's a place -- in this bicentennial celebration of Lincoln's birth in what is today LaRue County, Ky., on Feb. 12, 1809 -- where you can view some gorgeous samples of the 16th president on American stamps.

The stamps are on exhibit through the coming year at the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum.

These aren't just individual stamps. They are certified plate proofs, which are the final proofs taken from a stamp printing plate before the stamps are put into production for the public.

The plate proofs are called panes, and they are displayed in the museum on pull-out frames.

Each plate is signed with an approval, stamped with a date and, sometimes, has margin notes.

Think of the Lincoln plates as . . .

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