Category Archives: Episodes

Episode #200 – Stamp Auctions. We also discuss the stamp issue of 1869.

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #200

Welcome to Episode #200.  A mile stone for us and we thank you all for your listening support.  Today we are discussing Stamp Auctions and the stamp issue of 1869 in great detail.  The issue of 1869 has such a story to it.  It changed everything, and I hope we can share a bit of this with you all. Enjoy!

Hosts: Tom, Caj, Mark, Scott

Episode #198 – Lincoln and Davis Elections, and Online Companies Using the Postal System

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #198

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #198 – Today we are discussing the elections of President Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, who were elected on the same date one year apart. We also discuss online modern companies and startups going back to using the postal system for advertising. Scott and Tom will be at Chicagopex next week and there will most likely not be a show then. Enjoy.

Hosts – Tom, Scott, Caj, Mark

Presidents Lincoln and Davis

November 6th 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic Party, becoming the first Republican to win the presidency.

Lincoln received less than 40 percent of the popular vote but handily defeated the three other candidates: Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell by winning 180 electoral votes.

Lincoln carried many states above the Mason-Dixon line as well as California and Oregon. He did not win one southern state ands was not even on the ballot in 10 of them Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. He was the first presidential nominee to not appear on the ballot of every state.

Lincoln, a Kentucky-born lawyer and former Whig representative to Congress, first gained national stature during his campaign against Stephen Douglas of Illinois for a U.S. Senate seat in 1858. The senatorial campaign featured a remarkable series of public encounters on the issue of slavery, known as the Lincoln-Douglas debates, in which Lincoln argued against the spread of slavery, while Douglas maintained that each territory should have the right to decide whether it would become free or slave. Lincoln lost the Senate race, but his campaign brought national attention to the young Republican Party.

In 1860, Lincoln won the party’s third ballot for the presidential nomination with a party platform the promised not to interfere with slavery in the states but opposed slavery in the territories, a homestead act that promised farmland to western settlers, and the funding of a transcontinental railroad.

The announcement of Lincoln’s victory signaled the beginning of secession of the Southern states, which since the beginning of the year had been publicly threatening secession if the Republicans gained the White House.

By the time of his inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded, and the Confederate States of America had been formally established.

One month later, the American Civil War began when Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina. In 1863, as the tide turned against the Confederacy, Lincoln emancipated the slaves and in 1864 won reelection. In April 1865, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a confederate sympathizer, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The attack came only five days after the American Civil War effectively ended with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.

For preserving the Union and bringing an end to slavery, and for his unique character and powerful oratory, Lincoln is hailed as one of the greatest American presidents.

Also on the same day in 1861 Jefferson Davis was elected as the first president of the Confederate States of America. Davis ran unopposed with the election simply confirming the decision that had been made by the Confederate Congress.

Davis like Lincoln was from Kentucky. He attended West Point and took parts in the Black Hawk War of 1832 and the Mexican War from 1846 – 1848. He was appointed to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate from Mississippi after the war and later served a Secretary of War for President Franklin Pierce.  

Though he was the first and only choice for the Confederate States he feared what was to come saying, “Upon my weary heart was showered smiles, plaudits, and flowers, but beyond them I saw troubles and thorns innumerable.”

Davis was elected to a six year term which ended with the end of the Civil War when the Confederacy was dissolved May 5th 1865.

Abraham Lincoln was first featured on the fifteen cent black National Bank Note stamp, Scott No. 77 issued in April, 1866. He was also prominently featured on the ninety cent Pictorial Issue of 1869 which is the Carmine and Black Scott No. 122. He would go on to be represented on many more U.S. stamps.

Jefferson Davis, appeared on a majority of the Confederate States of America stamps, not holding to the convention of only representing prominent figures who were deceased. Davis is featured on Confederate States Scott Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Why do so many hip startups advertise with snail mail

An article on breaks down why many digital first companies are marketing with mailers in this high tech environment.

The idea of having a mailbox full of actual mail seems outdated.

Print magazines are fading, more and more bills are paid online, and many brands have scaled back on printed catalogues, preferring to funnel resources into website upkeep and social media instead.

Yet over the last few years, brands — including hot, digitally savvy, direct-to-consumer ones like Casper, Harry’s, Wayfair, Rover, Quip, Away, Handy, and Modcloth — have taken to targeting customers in the mail.

If you’re in your 20s or 30s and live in an urban city, you probably have gotten, for example, a glossy, blue booklet from mattress brand Casper inviting you to check out its latest products.

Perhaps you’ve tossed these mailers into the trash and moved on to your meal delivery kit. But maybe you’ve done exactly what these companies want you to do, which is to go to their site. Extra points if you buy something using the accompanying discount code found on all their mailings.

Why do these disruptive, online-first companies want to be our old school pen pals?

The rise of young, digital brands spending money to mail us stuff speaks to the cyclical progress of shopping trends. A decade ago, companies looking to reach customers would often buy email addresses from third parties. They’d do giveaways and, if existing customers handed over their family and friends’ email addresses, they’d offer discounts too.

Fast forward 10 years and the virtual mailbox today looks a whole lot like our parents’ IRL mailboxes back then: A total wreck. Our inboxes are overflowing with newsletters, real letters, ride-sharing receipts, lunch-sharing receipts, bills, fake bills, breaking news notifications, not-so-breaking news notifications, brand promotions, sales promotions, social media alerts, spam, and porn. How do we all stay on top of this?

The answer, as you probably know, is that we can’t and we don’t. Emails often get deleted without so much as being opened, regardless of how cheeky the subject line is.

“People our age get hundreds of emails a day, but they only get ten pieces of a mail a day, if that many,” says Pete Christman, the head of acquisition marketing at the shaving company Harry’s, which counts on mailers as part of its marketing. “From a numbers perspective, email is a much noisier environment.”

Advertising on social media has become increasingly difficult too. In case you haven’t noticed, which surely you have, brands are targeting you on social. And in aiming for the ideal consumer for sexy, digital brands, many companies are finding themselves in the same spot: targeting the exact same age group (millennials), living in the exact same areas (heavily populated cities), with the exact same income (middle-class).

This pond brands have to fish in is small and only getting more crowded, which explains why so many digitally-native brands turn to old-school retail methods like opening stores or buying billboards. It’s for this reason that mail is often a better way to catch the attention of new and existing customers than a Facebook or Instagram ad.

“The advertising world gets excited about things like digital and pours money into complicated ads when there’s limited opportunity because everyone is trying to get in front of the same people and there are limited users,” says Christman.

Facebook often raises its ad prices as they become more effective, and so the cost of customer acquisition keeps climbing. The cost of a stamp, on the other hand, is not up to Mark Zuckerberg.

“Direct mail went away for a while, but more digital brands are seeing how well it works as strong marketing,” says Cheryl Kaplan, the president of DTC footwear company M.Gemi, which sends attractive, thick-papered pamphlets to new and existing customers. “It’s a different way to speak with customers who are sick of the ads they see on Instagram.”

But while customers might be sick of ads on Instagram, they’re not sick of ads that look like Instagram. Today’s mailers have a distinctly modern feel.

While brands like Glossier and M.Gemi choose to mail pamphlets out on their own, more companies are opting for a way in which they can share the costs: group mailers.

At some point in time, you probably have been mailed a thick, colorful envelope filled with promotional advertisements from many brands, all packaged and delivered neatly together.

One company that has mastered this type of mailing is Share Local Media, a mailer advertising company that’s been around for about two years, and specializes in working with digitally-native brands. Teju Prabhakar, the company’s CEO and co-founder, has a background in the world of digital. He previously worked at Quidsi, the fast-growing e-commerce company behind, which was acquired (and later killed) by Amazon. After moving to on-demand cleaning startup Handy, Prabhakar decided to start a mailer marketing firm in 2016 because he didn’t think digital businesses took the mail seriously enough.

“Everyone lumps direct mail with TV and radio together, and they are actually pretty different,” he says. “I felt like direct mail could work really well if you get the right targeting format and you are creative.”

Share Local Media now has Instagram-friendly clients like Casper, Joybird, Lyft, Oars and Alp, ModCloth, Away,, Rover, Hims.

People who’ve received these mailers have noticed how striking it is to get mail from startups, of all places, and have even joked about comparing Share Local Media’s envelopes to podcasts, IRL.

Share Local Media charges them a minimum of $15,000 for 30,000 envelopes, a cost that’s split between the companies in the mailer. Prabhakar’s team buys customer addresses and demographic information from the United States Postal Service and third party providers like your credit card company.

Not unlike Facebook, the company is able to provide targeted mailing thanks to a proprietary system that organizes addresses into categories, such as moms, people who’ve just moved, or residents of high income areas. Shared Local Media also does “look-alike” marketing, determining who the brand’s existing customer is and finding similar customers to mail envelopes too. This is exactly the way Facebook helps brands target audiences online, except as Christina Carbonell, the co-founder of kids clothing company Primary, notes, “you give an offer that the person can hold onto. It’s hard to do that in a banner ad.”

As anyone who’s actually bothered to open one of these envelope knows, discount offers are what really matter to customers. Prabhakar advises that every brand puts in “value prop that compels a customer to take action” — a.k.a a coupon code. This, of course, is one of the oldest retail tricks in the book, dating back to when Coca Cola introduced the concept of a coupon in 1887 by offering a free glass of Coke as a way to introduce the drink to shoppers.

Science has studied how coupons can cause a rise in oxytocin levels. Psychology Today has reported on how shoppers prefer to buy products they have coupons for, even if it means spending more money on a product because it provides “smart shopper feelings.” More analysis of the coupon industry has found that 57 percent of shoppers will buy from a company for the first time if they are presented with a coupon.

Are mailers more effective than online advertising?

Shane Pittson, the head of marketing at electric toothbrush startup Quip says “direct mail piece URLs are more likely to be used than URLs from other offline marketing channels” and Christman, from Harry’s, advocates for the practice, noting that sending something to someone’s home can feel more intimate, which is true. But being targeted, unsolicited, at home could be at least as off-putting as being served an ad for a brand you Googled or talked about.

Glossy photography definitely looks better IRL, but it also essentially just ends up in the trash, just like everything else.

Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on how much you enjoy being entreated to spend money — brands see mail as complementary to the rest of their advertising budget. It’s not an “if/or,” says Kaplan, but “is something that adds to the ways we can share our story.”

Show Schedule

November 15
Postal History of World War II in the Pacific OceanOn the Road CoursePrior to CHICAGOPEX- Westin Chicago Northwest, 400 Park Blvd, Itasca, Illinois

Instructor: Ken LawrenceCost: $45 for APS Members $95 for non-membersWebsite:

10am- 4pm

November 16-18CHICAGOPEX
Itasca, Illinois
Westin Chicago Northwest, 400 Park Blvd.

November 17
Manchester, Connecticut
East Catholic High School, 115 New State Road

November 17
Autumn Stamp Festival
Cheektowaga, New York
VFW Post, 2450 Walden Avenue

November 17
Black River Stamp Club Annual Show
Elyria, Ohio
St. Judes School, 590 Poplar St.

Episode #197 – The Colombian Exposition, H. H. Holmes, USPS Supreme Court Patent Case, and Colombian Stamp Issue

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #197

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #197 – Today we are discussing the Colombian Exposition of 1893 including its link to H. H. Holmes, the nations first serial killer. Also the U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear a patent case involving the USPS, and the Colombian Issue of stamps that came out for the Exposition. We also discuss United Kingdom and Canada Christmas issues and upcoming shows, including the Black River Stamp Clubs Ohio show that is going to feature an airmail exhibit. Enjoy.

Hosts – Tom, Scott, Caj, Mark

Colombian Exposition of 1893

October 30th marks the last day of the 125th anniversary of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The fair celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas.

The fair was an amazing spectacle with over 23 million visitors and in at least one way changed the face of the world as we knew it.

The fair included many technological wonders including the first gasoline powered motor car in the United States, the Daimler quadricycle. It also housed an alternating current power plant, a 46 foot long cannon, a 1,500 lb Venus De Milo made of chocolate and Juicy Fruit Gum. The fair was also home to the world’s first ferris wheel. And brought us the Columbian Exposition stamps.

The transportation building contained the horse drawn carts, alongside bicycles and boats, which were all dwarfed by American manufactured steam locomotives. The expositions organizers believing the trains were the transportation of the future.

Only one vehicle in the entire display had an internal combustion engine and it was tucked away in the back of the hall. A wire wheeled quadricycle similar to that which Daimler had displayed in Paris at the 1889 World’s Fair. Even though most Americans had never seen one before the vehicle got almost no notice. It was so overlooked that the press barely covered it and it was not even mention in the exhibition catalog.

It was however noticed by two individuals. Bicycle mechanic Charles Duryea who ended up partnering with his brother to create the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in 1896 and produce a one cylinder Duryea Motor Wagon, the first mass production gas powered vehicle in the United States.

The other notable party to show interest in the Daimler Quadricycle was none other than Henry Ford. Ford returned to Dearborn, Michigan and created what he called the gasoline buggy. Ford drove the carca for the first time on July 4th, 1896 and later sold it for $200.00. Only a few years after that he incorporated the Ford Motor Company. The age of the automobile had officially begun.

Only a few items from the fair still exist today in Chicago. The Palace of Fine Arts is now home to the Museum of Science and Industry, and anand area called the Wooded Island was described as a place to get away from the noise of the fair had fallen into disrepair though in 2015 an $8.1 million dollar renovation was completed.

There was a 65 foot “Statue of the Republic” that served as a symbol of the fair. The original statue is gone, but there is a 24 foot bronze replica that sits in Jackson Park.

The Columbian Exposition also holds on other item of historical note. Close to the site of the Exposition was what many came to describe as the “The Murder Castle” a building owned by America’s first serial killer H. H. Holmes.

Holmes was born Herman Webster Mudgett in New Hampshire in 1861. In 1885 he abandoned his wife and young child fleeing accusations of fraud, poisoning and murder and moved to Illinois where he changed his name to Holmes in what many believe was an homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes took work at a pharmacy near Jackson Park which would become site of the fair 8 years later. Believed to be a masterful con artist and highly charismatic he is suspected of having swindled money from his pharmacy coworkers and used it to buy an empty plot of land in the Englewood neighborhood.

Holmes built a two story building on the lot and later added a third. During the construction Holmes is said to have hired and fired several workers in order to hide the true intentions of the building. The building which is said to have contained several false staircases and doorways as well as small interior rooms that were rigged with gas lines that Homes could control to suffocate guests and then put them in a chute that led to the basement where they would be subsequently killed and disposed of. The basement contained acid vats, quicklime pits and a crematorium. He sold skeletons to medical research facilities with connections he had made during a brief time spent in medical school.

Having become adept at insurance fraud during medical school by desecrating cadavers and saying they died in accidents Holmes was able to collect on insurance policies that he had taken out. It is believed that he used the same tactics on victims of what has been dubbed the murder castle.

Holmes was ultimately captured and convicted of murder of one of his “friends” Benjamin Pietzel. Holmes convinced Pietzel to fake his own death and have his wife collect the insurance money. Instead of finding a cadaver to use as the body however, Holmes actually murdered Pietzel and convinced his wife that he was still alive and in hiding in London. HolmesHolme was even able to convince Mrs. Pietzel to hand over custody of three of her children who he later killed as well.

It is said that Holmes killed anywhere from 20-200 people, but he was only ever directly tied to nine. He was found guilty and hung in Pennsylvania in 1896. It is reported that his neck did not snap and that he slowly strangled for almost twenty minutes.

Years later the Murder Castle was mysteriously burned down. A witness reported that two men had entered the building and a short time later were seen running away as the building started burning.

Can you take a guess a what stands on the site of the now infamous lot?

The Englewood Post Office.

And in true fashion of a con man it was rumored for a long time that Holmes had bribed his way out of the gallows and a cadaver was was buried instead of Holmes. As it was his wish that he be buried ten feet deep and covered in concrete, many people believed that the story was true. The rumors were finally put to rest in 2017 when the grave was opened and the body exhumed for DNA testing as part of a television series where one of Holmes descendants believed that he survived and moved to London to become Jack the Ripper. The tests however indeed proved the body to be that of Holmes.

Supreme Court to Hear Patent Case Involving USPS

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up a dispute involving a small Alabama company that accused the U.S. Postal Service of infringing on its patented mail processing system and improperly convincing a federal tribunal to cancel the patent.

The justices will hear an appeal by Return Mail, Inc of a lower court ruling that upheld the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tribunal’s 2015 determination that the company’s patent covering a system for processing undeliverable mail was invalid.

Return Mail argued that since the Postal Service, a self-supporting independent federal agency, cannot be sued in the same way as private companies it should not be eligible to ask the patent office to review a patent’s validity like private companies can. The Trump administration, backing the Postal Service, asked the Supreme Court not to hear the case.

The case began in 2011 when Return Mail sued the U.S. government, accusing the Postal Service of stealing its technology after the company had tried to license its system but the agency instead developed its own.

The Postal Service challenged the patent’s validity at the patent office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The board’s patent review processes have become especially popular with high-technology companies that are frequent targets of patent lawsuits and have led to a high rate of patent cancellation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last year upheld the board’s decision to invalidate a key part of Return Mail’s patent.

Rulings by the board can prevent further challenges to a patent’s validity in a federal district court, where infringement lawsuits are typically resolved. But the same constraints are not applied to the federal government when it is accused. Return Mail argued that this means the government should not be allowed to launch challenges before the board.

Columbian Exposition stamps of 1893

The Columbian stamps were supplied by the American Banknote Company, which had a four-year contract for the production of United States postage stamps beginning December 1, 1889.

However, where previous contracts had required printing companies to provide designs and plates at their own expense for any new stamps required by the Post Office, the 1889 contract specified that the Post Office would pay those costs.

Indeed, Postmaster John Wanamaker (of department store fame) executed a new contract with American Banknote specifically for the Columbian stamps without any competitive bidding process, which allowed the company to charge 17¢ per thousand stamps, in contrast to the 7.45¢ per thousand it had been collecting for stamps of the 1890 definitive series.

This arrangement prompted considerable public criticism which was not allayed by American Banknote’s argument that the Columbians’ size (double that of normal stamps) warranted a higher price.

Fifteen denominations of the series were placed on sale by post offices on Monday, January 2, 1893. They were available nationwide, and were not restricted to the Exposition in any way. This was a larger number of stamps than the United States Post Office had ever offered in a definite series, thanks to the unprecedented inclusion of stamps denominated $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5: no U. S. postage stamp previously issued had cost more than 90¢.

A sixteenth stamp, the 8 cent, to provide for the newly lowered registered letter fee was added during March. As a result, the face value of the complete set was $16.34, a substantial sum of money during 1893. In 2018 dollars, the set would cost approximately $458.32.

As a result, of the most expensive stamps, especially the dollar values, only a small number were sold and unsold stamps were destroyed after the Columbian Issue was removed from sale on April 12, 1894. In all, the American Banknote Company printed more than 2 billion Columbian stamps with a total face value exceeding $40 million.

Opinion regarding the Columbian Issue at the time was mixed. The set sold well and did not have the sort of criticism that resulted in the withdrawal of the 1869 Pictorial Issue. However, approval was not universal. An organization known as the Society for the Suppression of Speculative Stamps, also called the Society for the Suppression of Spurious Stamps, was created in protest of the creation of this set, deeming the Exposition in Chicago insufficiently important to be honored by postage, and some collectors balked at the Post Office Department‘s willingness to profit from the growing hobby of philately.

Ridiculing the $5 stamp, the Chicago Tribune stated that it could be used for only one purpose: mailing a 62½-pound package of books at the book rate.

The Columbians did not immediately increase in value after being removed from sale, due partly to substantial speculation resulting in a glut of stamps on the secondary market. However, in 2018, in mint condition, a full set has a catalog value of $9,498.00. These prices go substantially higher for never hinged and well centered examples in high grades. Per Professional Stamp Experts Stamp Market Quarterly price guide the price for a never hinged set with a grade of 95 is in excess of $300,000.

It was not only in design and commemorative purpose that this issue proved a watershed in U. S. stamp history. The Columbians, like all previous U. S. stamps, had been produced by private security printers on limited-term contracts periodically presented for bidding. They proved, however, to be the last U. S. stamps printed by a private company for many years.

During early 1894, the American Bank Note Company failed to secure a renewal of its stamp contract because the U. S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing submitted a lower bid; and the Bureau then enjoyed a monopoly on U. S. stamp production for decades thereafter.

It was not until 1944 that a private company again produced U. S. stamps (the Overrun Countries series, which required special multicolor printing) and the Bureau subsequently resumed its exclusive role in production, only gradually relinquishing it over the next sixty years. U. S. stamp operations at the Bureau ceased entirely during 2005.

Scholars believe that the Bureau’s first task during 1894 was to finish some Columbian sheets printed by American Banknote; what makes this theory plausible is that, while many Columbian stamps are perfectly perforated, others are distinctly substandard in this regard, with partially punched chads and/or holes that are missing, ragged or misplaced – flaws that would also mar the stamps of the first Bureau definitive issue, released later during 1894.

New Issues

Canada post releasing Christmas Stamps November 2nd.

Send Christmas greetings to family, friends and loved ones with this booklet of 12 Permanent domestic stamps featuring a fresh and contemporary look at the Nativity.

At the centre, above baby Jesus, is the bright Christmas star. More stars spell out the words Christmas and Noël at the top and bottom of the image.

In a departure from past Christmas issues that have reproduced Old Master paintings, this year’s Christmas stamp tells the story of Christ’s birth through simple, colourful imagery and rich symbolism evocative of traditional folk art.

Ideal for holiday cards and letters, or for sending invitations to seasonal events and parties, these simple, elegant stamps add a warm dose of Christmas cheer to your festive mail.

Also the Royal Mail is releasing their Christmas stamp set on November 1st.

The stamps feature traditional Christmas scenes with people posting their Christmas mail at various styles of post boxes – in the countryside and towns.

The set features eight stamps including 1st, 2nd, 1st large, 2nd large, £1.25, £1.45, £1.55 and £2.25

Show Schedule

November 9-10

31st annual mid-cities stamp club Expo

Grapevine, Texas

Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 South Main Street



November 10

Rubber City Stamp Club 99th Annual Stamp Show

Akron, Ohio

Akron General Health and Wellness Center, 4125 Medina Rd


November 10-11

MSDA Fall Cincinnati Area Stamp Show

West Chester, Ohio

Four Points by Sheraton Cincinnati North, 7500 Tylers Place Boulevard



November 10

2018 Johnstown Stamp Show

Johnstown, Pennsylvania

St. John Gualbert Activity Center, 110 Adams St.

Episode #190 – Mao Zedong, Missing Inverted Jenny Found and Plate Blocks

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #190

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #190 – Today we are discussing Mao Zedong and the recently discovered C3a “Inverted Jenny” discovered in a Chicago area bank vault. We will also discuss plate numbers and plate blocks and new issues including both the United States and Canada’s first responder stamps, and the final release of the United Kingdom’s World War I centenary issue. Enjoy 

Episode #189 Show Notes

Hosts – Tom, Caj, Scott, Dawn

September 9th, 1976 Mao Zedong Dies

Mao Zedong or Chairman Mao died of health complications on September 9th, 1976. He was the leader of China’s communist Government from 1949 until his death.

Born in 1893 Mao joined the Nationalist movement against what was deemed an ineffective royal government in the 1910’s. In the 1920’s he became disenchanted with the nationalist movement and believed that only a revolutionary change could bring China freedom from western domination.

In 1921 he became one of the founding members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Mao became the head of the CCP in 1935 claiming that the other leaders lacked military strategy and zeal. Mao’s forces throughout the 1930’s and World War II continued attacking the Chinese government and were ultimately victorious in 1949. Later in 1949 the communist People’s Republic of China was created.

Many stamps featuring Mao Zedong were issued during his life. The first stamp issued featuring him was PRC Scott number 10 issued February 1st 1950. There are some more notable and higher priced items including Thoughts of Mao PRC Scott numbers 938 – 948 and Mao writing poetry PRC Scott numbers 967 – 980. These stamps all range in price from a few hundred dollars to just over a thousand dollars.

In 1967 there was a stamp created for the 50th anniversary of the Autumn Harvest March which Featured Mao Zedong and Lin Piao against a blue sky. The stamp was never issued, but a few did manage to enter the marketplace. In a 2010 Hong Kong auction a cut stamp showing the right half of the design sold for 235,000 U.S. dollars. Imagine what a whole stamp might get at auction.

Inverted Jenny Missing Since 1918 Found

A Chicago area family has found the missing position 49 Scott C3a the “inverted Jenny”. The stamp which has been missing since shortly after it was discovered in 1918 has been in a safe deposit box unaffected by light and changing conditions.

The owner of the stamp who asked to remain anonymous did not want to risk damaging the stamp and a stamp expert from the Philatelic Fondation flew to Chicago to pick up the stamp in person.

The stamp brings the total of never hinged copies of the stamp to 6 and was graded a 90 by the foundation. Though many of the stamps have been sold to anonymous collectors and their whereabouts unknown, this is one of the only stamps that has been unaccounted for since the discovery of the sheet by William Robey. Only being reported as last sold in 1918. Two other never hinged copies have been certified by Professional Stamp Experts as sound with grades of 75 and 80.

Caj has his own Podcast

Our own Caj has started a side podcast called Relics in History based on his stamp exhibit. He has posted a the first few episodes at (Where). We have a short preview today of his first episode. So please enjoy.

What is a Plate Number and how many stamps do you need for a Plate Block?

First what is a plate number?

As printing plates were manufactured for creating stamps the plates had differing plate numbers that are essentially the serial number of a plate and could be used for quality control. If a problem were noticed on a sheet of stamps the printer could simply look at the plate number to determine where the problem lied.

Prior to 1894 when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began printing postage stamps, private companies were contracted for the work. These companies included Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson of New York and Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear and Company of Philadelphia. These two companies combined in 1879 to become the American Bank Note Company.

Plate numbers appeared in different locations on the sheet and the numbering systems varied by each printer. Rawdon who printed Scott numbers 1 and 2 did not use plate numbers. Toppan, however used a simple approach that had the first plate of each denomination as plate number 1, the second plate number 2 etc.

The National Bank Note Company which existed from 1861 – 1872 numbered their plate sequentially with no regard to denomination. They did start over in the numbering for the two color Pictorial stamps of 1869 – 1870  and again for the Bank Note issue of 1870 – 1871.

While the National Bank Note Company used the same plate number for both color plates future two color stamps used different numbers for each color. For instance the Bureau of Engraving and printing, for its 1901 Pan American issue, used two separate plate numbers; one for the frame and the other for the vignette.

In 1883 the American Bank Note Company started using letter prefixes in front of the plate number.

In 1980 Prefixes had a different purpose than just adding to the plate number. They were used to denote which private printer printed the stamps. Plate number preceded by “A” were printed by Ashton Potter, “V” was for Avery Denison and “G” for Guilford Gravure.

With the issuance of 150th anniversary of Missouri Statehood in 1971 multi colored stamps included a plate number for each printed color. This lasted until 1980 when the Postal Service announced in December that it would establish a plate block as consisting of four stamps with one plate number except in cases where a sheet consisted of more than four designs. U.S. stamps today now have one plate number that contains a single plate number that has each color represented by a number.

Some interesting forms of plate numbers include the early Penny red stamps of Great Britain which contain plate numbers within the stamps themselves. Also the 1943 United States Overrun Countries issues which commemorated countries under Axis control during World War II have the name of the country instead of a plate number.

So with all of these different forms of numbers and locations what exactly is a plate block and how do you collect it? A plate block is a block of stamps and its surrounding selvage that contains a plate number. You need to have all the stamps surrounding the plate number and all the selvage around them to properly collect a plate block.

If a plate number is located in one of the corners of the sheet you may only need to collect the four corner stamps called a plate block of four. Stamps that have the plate numbers located in the centers of a sheet usually require 6 stamps to complete a plate block. This can vary however once you add in stamps with multiple plate numbers. This can lead to blocks of eight, ten or even more.

The Scott catalog does a very good job at describing the number of stamps required for a plate block and the values for the blocks. If a collector wants to get even more involved in plate number collecting there is the Durland standard Plate Number Catalog which contains most of  the plate numbers used for each issue of United States Stamps.

New Issues

United States

Today September 13 the USPS released the first responders stamp. The stamp, celebrating the men and women who respond to critical situations with skill, dedication and uncommon bravery features a firefighter, paramedic, and police officer appearing to head into action in a haze of smoke.

The first day ceremony was held this morning at the Aerial Fire Depot and smokejumper center in Missoula, Montana.

The first responder stamp was designed by artist Brian Stauffer working with art director and designer Antonio Alcala and designer Ricky Altizer and is being issued in a sheet of 20.

Canada is also celebrating first responders this week with a series of releases each day. The stamps feature paramedics, armed forces, search and rescue, firefighters and police officers. Each stamp features a black and white foreground image of a man or woman of the profession with a color background action scene.

The Royal Mail is releasing the final set of World War I stamps honoring the centenary of the end of the war. The set of stamps released today September 13th is a set of six stamps featuring 100 Poppies, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, Second Lieutenant Walter Tull, We are Making a New World, The Grave of the Unknown warrior, and Lieutenant Francis Hopgood’s Goggles. We will include a link in the show notes where you can find more information about these stamps.

Royal Mail WWI Stamp descriptions

Show Schedule

September 12-18
London, England

On the Road Course
EFOs and You: How YOU Can Benefit From Postal Blunders
September 13, 2018
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

September 14-16, 2018
Tukwila, Washington

September 14-16, 2018
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

AWPEX 2018
September 15-16, 2018

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Episode #189 – National Neither Rain Nor Snow Day, Secret Stamp Society, and Younger Collectors

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today epiosode #189

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #189 – Today we will be discussing National Neither Rain nor Shine Day, A secret stamp society that got some steel from the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and younger collectors. We also discuss starting a stamp collection at low cost and upcoming shows. Enjoy.

Episode #189 Show Notes

Hosts – Tom, Caj, Scott, Greg, Dawn

September 7th Celebrates National Neither Rain nor Snow Day

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds ~ Inscription found over the entrance of the central post office in New York City

National Neither Snow Nor Rain Day commemorates the opening of the New York Post Office on September 7, 1914.

The James A. Farley Post Office Building is the main post office in New York City.  Built in 1912 and opened for postal business in 1914, it is famous for the inscription.  In 1982, the post office was officially designated The James A Farley Building as a monument and testament to the political career of the nation’s 53rd Postmaster General.

While the inscription is prominently featured on the building, the United States Postal Service does not actually have an official motto.  However, in 2011 the United States Post Office advertised with the song “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon. The words of the inscription ran across inspirational images of postal workers carrying out their daily duties. Other advertising campaigns have also hinted at the inscriptions motivation. The “Watch Us Deliver” campaign featured carriers delivering precious packages in harsh or awkward conditions. The narrator promises they will deliver the mail “…faster, sleeker, earlier, fresher, harder, farther, quicker, and yeah…even on Sundays.”

The inscription, which was carved by Ira Schnapp, was provided by the designing architects. It is a paraphrase of a motto from the Herodotus’ Histories which describes a Persian system of mounted messengers under Xerxes I of Persia.

Bay Bridge Steel and the Secret Stamp Society that Came Away with Some

At an event in San Francisco stands a small podium which bears an insignia. The Elsewhere Philatelic Society.

In 2015 the East span of the Bay Bridge was torn down with the steel donated to local artists throughout the bay area. The Elsewhere Philatelic Society applied for and was awarded five rivets from the bridge. One of these rivets is now fastened to the podium standing in the park.

The Elsewhere Philatelic Society is a group of folks, many of them artists, that travel around to events in San Francisco. It’s a bit of a treasure hunt where stamps are collected to commemorate your attendance, just as the post office releases stamps that commemorate events.

The stamp designs come from artists and are affixed into passports, though it is with glue and not hinges. No they are not postage stamps, but they are indeed collecting stamps.

So if you ever happen to find yourself in San Francisco then by all means look them up at stamps from elsewhere dot com. You can get yourself a map, become a member, obtain a passport and start a new stamp collection, all the while exploring the art and events of the city.

Low Cost Stamp Collecting

For the beginning collector there are several ways to start a collection on a budget.

Although mailed items are becoming more infrequent the easiest and the cheapest way to start a collection is by collecting the used postage that comes in your mailbox. This can be your own mail or a friend or relative that may be willing to save items for you. Even your job could be a source for stamps if your company receives mail.

Another way is through more advanced collectors that may be willing to help you start by providing duplicate stamps that they may have received.

A beginner collector could attend a show or join a local stamp club. There are many dealers that have bargain stamps that are good for a beginner and clubs offer a way to meet more collectors that might be willing to give you some items in order to start you off on the right foot.

These items and more are covered in more detail in the American Philatelic Society’s brochure 10 Low Cost Ways to Start Collecting Stamps, which can be found on their website

Younger Collectors

The recent APS Columbus show saw an effort to gain popularity with young collectors by having a topical theme of dragons in conjunction with the USPS dragon stamp release.

There were inflatable dragons on some of the dealer’s tables and medieval garbed characters to greet people as they entered. Visitors could have their photos taken with Perf the Magic Dragon who served as the show mascot.

There was also the youth area where you could learn about stamps, as well as receive free stamps to start a collection.

Several dealers also had smiley face signs on their tables advertising “beginners welcome”.

So what else can get a younger person do to start collecting stamps, or anything else for that matter these days? With this question in mind we will discuss what other shows are doing as well as some ideas that may help attract younger collectors.

I recently viewed a video put up by David Hall of Collectors Universe promoting the upcoming Long Beach Expo which features coins, cards, and a few stamp dealers.

Some of the youth activities that are included are a treasure hunt for kids with prizes such as graded Pokemon cards.

There is an America the Beautiful quarter trivia area where kids can win quarters by answering questions about the designs on them.

A currency matching area where kids can match currency to the correct country where it was issued for a chance to win the bills and a currency collection starter kit.

A prize wheel kids can spin for a chance to win anything from a ball or t-shirt to pirate sword, all the way to a half dollar coin or even a rarer item, and a youth Set Registry booth where kids can learn how to start an online registry of coins or cards that they have won at this and past events.

The Long Beach stamp club will be in attendance and has giveaway prizes that include stamp books with two countries with descriptions of those countries, and a stamp drawer with free stamps for kids 6-17.

With these two shows trying to make stamp collecting more interesting to kids what else can be done to attract a more youthful audience to these types of shows?

Scrapbooking has become a popular hobby for many and if combined with stamp collecting, I believe that you could create an album that is very out of the ordinary for what you are used to seeing. Imagine a kid’s album page adorned with stickers, designs, and rubber stamps of dinosaurs alongside hingeless mounted dinosaur stamps. Continue this over several pages of topics and you have an album that many kids would probably start showing off to their friends. Most of the items for scrapbooking are designed around the mounting of photos and as such should be safe for stamps as well.

What can the individual dealers do at their booths to be more inviting to younger collectors and kids? I know that many dealers have a stock of items that they can give to kids for free, but what about a small stock book or album that is just for kids. What if show organizers could provide this if dealers didn’t already have them? My daughters, at shows, have been given bags of 100 stamps at the sign in table or a particular area, but that does not help relieve the boredom once an adult starts looking at items for themselves. If these items were available, a dealer could have a youth or beginner sign at their table in order to signify participation.

With the Columbus show the emphasis put on the topical aspect could be a great way to get new collectors involved in the hobby. Many kids have different interests and there is almost guaranteed to be a topic that that they can relate to in stamps.

Many of the larger show contain auctions held during the show. How about having a kid’s auction? The kids could be given play money to purchase actual stamp that they could keep. They could get a souvenir to bring home and possibly learn about auctions and money management at the same time.

If these types of activities became a way of life at stamp shows, perhaps it might encourage the older generation to bring their grandkids with them to shows. With a potential to learn about history and geography while kids and grandparents share a hobby together.

It has long been said that stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Is it possible that the coin industry is beginning to face the same fears? With the continued rise of credit card usage and cryptocurrency such as Bit Coin cash transactions are becoming fewer and fewer. Could the use of currency in the modern technology driven world be dwindling just as we have seen the reduction of stamp usage due to e-mail and social media?

Show Schedule

41st Annual Stamp and Coin show
September 7th and 8th
Mountain Home, Arkansas

MSDA Fall Show West
September 8th and 9th
Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois

Long Beach Expo
September 6-8 Thurs – Fri 10AM – 7PM Sat 10AM – 5PM
Long Beach Convention Center Hall A
Long Beach, California

The Fall Stamp Show
September 8th
Waterford, Michigan

The Omaha Stamp Show
September 8th and 9th
Omaha, Nebraska

Outapex Stamp Show
September 8th
Appleton, Wisconsin

The Fall 2018 Capex Show
September 9th
Middletown, Pennsylvania