Bigger stamp shows can be one-stop shopping for all things stamp collecting and related. And April 11-14 collectors on the east coast will be able to attend one of the biggest: the American Stamp Dealers Association's Spring Postage Stamp Show 2013.
With free admission and featuring free appraisals, stamp albums for children, philatelic gift certificates up to $100, an auction of U.S. and worldwide stamps and postal history, the show will also feature first day of issue of the new wedding stamps, When Dreams Blossom and Yes I Do.
The United Nations Postal Administration will also host a first day, featuring six stamps noting important sites in China, part of the World Heritage series.
Considering all of the above as well as the usual group of fine dealers in stamps, covers and philatelic literature, the stamp collector could not find a better place to be for his philatelic needs.
Check the ASDA site for further information.
You stamp collectors that are reading this are here because you have a greater need to know about collecting stamps than just putting them in their albums.
Moving around the About.com Stamps site you can find information about how to buy and sell stamps, what stamp collecting areas are most popular, how to meet other collectors and how to properly store and care for your stamps.
But these relatively short bits of information don't tell the whole story. Collectors who know this will often take the time to investigate further. In doing so they might even decide to start their own philatelic library.
Using the search term "philatelic literature" in the search engine of your choice will provide you with an overview of what a good basic philatelic library might contain. Knowledge is indeed power, and a small expenditure to gain it will pay off well for you in the future.
Mr. Zip has returned, and in a rather upscale way. Now appearing on the Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp and the Arlington Green Bridge Priority Mail Stamp, it seems our selvage-dwelling friend is traveling in style on stamps that have a $19.95 and $5.60 face value, respectively.
Mr. Zip, the character that taught a cartoon-oriented American mailing public about the new wonder of mail routing called Zip Code, made his first appearance in 1962, and found his way onto the border of stamp sheets in 1964.
He not only served an important postal function, but also crossed cultural borders when a reference was made to him on the Firesign Theater's comic dystopian future World's Fair take-off I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus. Referencing the New York World's Fair of 1964-5, where the fair post office employed the slogan Take a Trip with Mr. Zip, one of the characters of Bozos meets another on the funway of the Future Fair and says "Kid, you're hip like a zip, let's take a trip."
It's nice that someone in the future, no matter how strange, was still thinking of stamps.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
If you'd like a good picture of what the stamp business in the real world is like today, you might check out this article at the Los Angeles Daily News by Dennis McCarthy.
It features Sherman Oaks, CA stamp dealer Burt Doling, who hung on through tough times and started a stamp store that stayed in business over half a century.
Not only that, but being in L.A. he had some very interesting customers over the years, including Alan Ladd, William (The Life Of Riley) Bendix, James Earl Jones, and Tom (Magnum, P.I.) Selleck.
Burt Doling, who clearly led a good philatelic life, passed away last week. Collectors in the L.A. area will miss him.
The Discovery Channel's show Auction Kings has taped a segment featuring an opium tax stamp. Narcotics tax stamps were in use from the early part of the 20th century up until about forty years ago. They are listed in the Scott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps and Covers.
Auction Kings also ran a feature on the one cent Franklin Z-Grill stamp, anecdotally known as the most rare and valuable U.S. stamp. Grills, or, indentations pressed into the stamp paper, were briefly used to prevent washing of cancels to allow the illegal reuse of stamps. Few stamps underwent this process and today they are passionately sought-after by collectors. The value of a grilled stamp is dependent upon the rarity of the grill pattern, of which there were a number used on U.S. stamps in the 1860s-1870s.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Richard Frajola, professional philatelist and host of the Philamercury, Frajola's Board for Philatelists posts that an exceptional stamp collection is up for silent auction. Offered through Impact Thrift Stores of Pennsylvania a donated collection including the first U.S. issue, high value Columbian stamps, Confederate States, as well as classic selected worldwide up to the year 1893. Though condition is mixed, with some of the stamps stuck to the album pages, it is also believed that there are stamps of unrecognized value in the collection that would add further to its already high catalog value.
All proceeds from the sale will go to charities. The auction closes on March 20, so don't dilly-dally.
There's a lot more to About.com Stamps than these blog posts. Dig a little deeper for more information that will help you enjoy your hobby to the fullest, while saving -- and even possibly making -- money. Links to recent articles that you'll want to catch up on follow. Click the titles to be taken directly to the articles.
Perhaps the 1938 U.S. Presidential Issue of stamps, aka Prexies, are the modern stamps that are most collected on cover. After all, they aren't exactly the thing that turns the basic stamp collector on. But their wide use over many years produced a great number of covers of interest to postal history collectors. And as the collection of Prexies on cover comes more and more into fashion, regular stamp collectors are increasingly drawn to the area.
A somewhat bland group of nothing more than profile portraits of U.S. presidents, there is not a stamp in the bunch worth a lot, with the exception of the set's well-known error and the high value $2 and $3 denominations. The $1 Woodrow Wilson error is not even obvious when looking at the front of the stamp with the naked eye.
Held to a strong light or dipped in watermark detector fluid and examining the stamp from the back, it is a watermark that tells the collector that the Wilson stamp was printed on revenue paper, not stamp paper. The letters USIR (United States Internal Revenue) are seen on the sheet, while individual stamps show a part of the watermark. And even though an error, it is not one that will fatten an owner's bank account if he sells it. Current value is in the neighborhood of $150. The normal version can be had for between five and ten dollars.
"Presidential Study Commission recommends U.S. Postal Service cancel Saturday mail deliveries as economy measure and that officials study the possibilities of electronic mail transmissions." May 2, 1977
(Entry from Linn's World Stamp Almanac, Third Edition, 1980 Amos Press, Inc.)
It didn't happen then, though the no Saturday mail delivery plan will now begin in August. Or will it?
For those collectors -- and dealers -- who have a LinkedIn account, you now have the opportunity to join American Stamp Dealers and Collectors, a group helmed by Don Schilling. Don is also the proprietor of the essential Stamp Collecting Round-Up blog, an eminently readable free (of course) blog that offers news and views to stamp collectors of every level and interest.
One thing I learned as I became a stamp collector and then philatelist was that those with experience in the hobby are always happy to share their knowledge and expertise with neophytes. In those pre-Internet days that meant visiting stamp shops and shows to pick dealers' brains about stamps and philatelic info. Now, online groups like Schilling's can make your learning a simpler affair.