I Was Collecting Stamps That Day

copy-copy-lloydblog_title3.gifMy local paper has been running a “Where were you on November 22, 1963” features this month. Like most of us, I know exactly where I was, and it has a philatelic connection, but I’ve always had misgivings about it. But, after reflecting on the significance of the date, and realkennedy1246aizing that we can’t hold a 10-year-old boy to adult standards, I’ll tell the story.

Every Friday, Mrs. Meade, our 5th grade teacher at Roosevelt School in Ossining, NY, let us have the afternoon as “hobby time.” For myself and three or four of my friends, that meant stamp collecting.

In fact, I believe Mrs. Meade gave me my first first day cover; certainly, my first foreign FDC. I think I still have it somewhere.

Few fifth-graders, then or now, are into exhibiting, so it’s not as if we were going to show each other great rarities and scholarly philatelic research, kennedy1246band, just like adults then and now, our weekly “hobby time” stamp sessions had become largely buy/sell/trade sessions. Mrs. Meade wasn’t happy about that.

That afternoon, she came into the classroom and said hobby time had been canceled, because the president had been shot. I didn’t believe her. After all, no one shoots presidents. In fact, I’m not sure up to that point I knew of anyone who had been shot, much less killed.

So I figured she’d concocted this unbelievable, ridiculous excuse just because she was upset about our stamp swaps. Remember, I was 10 years old.

We returned to our desks and sat there in silence for the rest of the afternoon. I think some of the other teachers came into the room and talked with Mrs. Meade in whispers.

UC37We never had hobby time again, reinforcing my suspicion.

We also didn’t have school the following Monday, of course. I remember walking into our living room, and finding my mother weeping as she watched the funeral on television. “Why are you crying, Mommy? You’re a Republican.”

I was 10 years old.

Poor History Students


Writing the Harry Potter stamps story for Muggle… uh, sorry, for non-philatelist news people the other day made me think about how I felt about this issue and other recent actions by the U.S. Postal Service.

I realized I’m not upset that the U.S. is issuing Harry Potter stamps with only a minimal connection to American culture or history. Other countries’ postal services are going or have already gone that route. Get used to it. As a collector, I have the option of deciding what I buy, what I keep, and what I skip. I’m already fairly selective.

No, what is annoying me is <i>how</i> the USPS people in charge of stamps are doing things.

Twenty stamps on sale for Harry Potter all at once — $9.20 – is overkill. Why not release four a year for five, as the Postal Service did with its Disney stamps a few years ago.

Need to put the Hanukkah stamps on sale sooner, because your customers are wondering why there are Christmas stamps on sale but nothing for the Festival of Lights? Fine, do it – but change the first-day cancels to the actual first-day date. Already canceled the ceremony programs and other merchandise with the old release date? Then at least make a postmark with the correct date available to collectors.

Oh, and don’t put stamps with a Jewish theme on sale for the first time on Shabbat! That’s insensitive.

Don’t care what a bunch of (in your view) out-of-touch stodgy cultural elitists think should be on stamps and what shouldn’t? That’s your prerogative. Tell the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee it’s disbanded or only responsible for a few issues a year. Don’t just ignore CSAC; that’s rude. It’s as if someone took my writing and replaced it with Wikipedia text.

What ought to worry the general public is that most of the members of CSAC are not stamp collectors. They’re experts in American culture, including pop culture.

First day cover collectors (like myself) have their own particular gripes: The postmarks are too big and often don’t print well on actual envelopes and stamps. The information about the postmarks and even the issues themselves is withheld, often until the day of issue. Yes, other countries produce their own cacheted first day covers. None sells as many FDCs as the USPS, not even when you factor in the differences in population.

You don’t want to kill FDC collecting: When stamps are put on first day covers, they are “retained;” they’re not going to be reused ten or 20 years later. Contrast that to the stamp you love to tell us is the most popular ever, Elvis Presley. I’m seeing it now in face-value bins at shows and discount postage lots. Stamp collectors and others are using them to pay for mailings. The Postal Service got a loan, not a gift on all those sheets that were thrown into dresser drawers.

Millions of the Elvis stamp, though, were used on first day covers, and not one of those will now be used for postage.

The same thing is going to happen with the $2 Jenny Invert Reprint. Thousands will be purchased by people hoping to hit the jackpot with one of the “unverts” (with the airplane rightside-up). Thousands of the stamp will end up on packages and letters.

My Latin teacher, Anthony Fiorella, used to say, “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.” (I know it wasn’t original with him.) The Postal People now in charge of the U.S. stamp program aren’t learning from history.

What worries me, though, is that the “Mickey Marketeers” now running the stamp program don’t care about the history. If so, they’re not alone. The attitude in Corporate America these days is join a company, puff up the bottom line, collect the bonuses, parlay the short-term success into a better job, and move on to another company, never looking behind at the wreckage.

I hope that’s not what is happening with the U.S. stamp program. If it is, I hope the people responsible move on before the damage is permanent.

Building the Future; Remembering the Past

by John M. Hotchner

Building the Future:
Visiting grown children is always a mind-altering experience; especially when it is the one among the pack who was a bit of a rebel growing up. Our second son fits this definition. He learned many of his lessons the hardest possible way. We’d tell him he couldn’t do something, and he’d find some method to accomplish the unlikely. And that only begins to tell Jay’s story.

Now just past 40, he needed to increase the living space for his growing family. Living in Southern California, real estate is prohibitive for normal mortals, so he had to find a bargain, and he did: a rickety 100-year old house on the side of a hill, not far down the coast from Santa Barbara. He has now spent two years bringing it up to code and making it habitable; doing much of the work himself, and acting as general contractor for the rest. This included everything from strengthening the foundation to replacing the roof, to laying flooring, to new windows to landscaping, and 1,001 other things that today’s codes require.

The core living space is done, but the house is not finished. He is busily making and executing plans for both inside and outside. He does this with no formal training, but he learned some of what he needed to know from summer jobs and the rest from books, and consults with friends; all this while pursuing a demanding career totally unrelated to homebuilding. Basically, he has a vision, and he is going to make it into reality. As someone who barely knows what to do with a hammer, I am amazed and not just a little proud of his grit and determination.

And I am struck as I sit here in his dining room by the similarities between Jay’s quest and serious stamp collecting. Ignoring the fact that there is not much dirt underneath the fingernails with philately, each of us in philately has a dream. Each of us is substantially self-taught, though we may have had mentors along the way. Each of us recognizes that we will probably not get done every possible project, but we all take pleasure in seeing sometimes slow but steady progress.

Whether it is a complete collection of used U.S., or a perfect house and yard, we all understand that the joy is in the journey far more than in the endpoint. I feel sorry for many of today’s youth; those who are conditioned from the moment they touch their first Game Boy or X-Box controller, to opt for immediate gratification rather than choosing and working toward long-term goals. This is, I think, one of the reasons that stamp collecting does not resonate with young people the way that it used to.

Stamp collecting — and home development — are both about goals for the future. Jay has a part of the house that he is turning into what will be a family activities room. I am developing a new exhibit of a U.S. air mail subject. We are both enjoying mulling over the possibilities, accumulating the raw materials at favorable prices, learning the things we need to know to get it done, and envisioning the payoff when the project is completed; whether it is next year or the year after that.

Both will require an investment of time, knowledge, and money. Both of us will have something of value when we are done, and the satisfaction that we took on a worthy challenge and accomplished it. And we will have enjoyed the process and completing the many small milestones that go to make up a large project.

Remembering the Past:
I am a long-time fan of the monthly Guideposts magazine that my parents introduced me to many moons ago. I would describe it as a non-denominational group of stories from people who describe faith in action in their lives, and I never fail to find at least one story that resonates clearly with my experience.

I was reading the January 2012 issue and came across an article titled “This Way to Memory Lane” by Edward Hoffman. The header drew me in with “It may be unhealthy to dwell on the past. But science has discovered that nostalgia itself is good for us.” If stamp collectors are anything, we are (to coin a word) “nostalgiacs:” people who are constantly returning through stamps to the events of our past illustrated on stamps, and even to the stamps themselves that we remember as we grew up.

I have maintained for years that stamp collecting is both satisfying and good for us in terms of physical and mental health. This Guideposts article provides further evidence, summed up in this paragraph:

“Today, technological and social change happens at a rapid pace, work and travel take us farther from home than ever before, and new information bombards us constantly. It’s easy to feel lost. A high-powered Manhattan executive may get caught up in the rat race, only to catch a scent of horses in Central Park and be reminded of her idyllic beginnings growing up on a Midwest farm. Wherever we find ourselves, nostalgia helps bring us back to our roots, back to the things that are most important.”

That looking back, however brief it may be, is calming. It provides perspective on our disordered world. It allows us to see ourselves not only in the present, but as we were before life wore down our hopes and dreams and expectations, while it also taught us lessons, and gave us more understanding. I think people tend to judge themselves harshly in the present, to mourn for the ideals we think we should have reached: the things we don’t have, have not accomplished, loves lost. Somehow, nostalgia brings us back to a more realistic, a more humble, view of what we have become; thus the calming and even less self judgmental effect.

Playing with stamps gives us a regular dose of nostalgia; especially so if we had an introduction to philately as a child; just one more of the hobby’s many benefits.

Should you wish to comment on this editorial, or have questions or ideas you would like to have explored in a future column, please write to John Hotchner, VSC Contributor, P.O. Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125, or email, putting “VSC” in the subject line.

Or comment right here.

USPS Loses $5 Billion in FY2013

usps_mailboxpickup[USPS press release]

Despite Revenue Growth and Record Productivity, Postal Service Loses $5 Billion in 2013 Fiscal Year

·Revenue Increase Driven by 8 Percent Growth in Shipping and Packages, 3 Percent usps_mailboxpickupGrowth in Standard Mail; First-Class Mail Continues to Decline
· Nearly $1 Billion in Savings Driven by Work Hours Reduction of 12 Million Hours and Optimizing Workforce Flexibility
·Substantial Deficit Liabilities of $61 Billion Exceed Assets by Approximately $40 Billion

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service ended the 2013 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013) with a net loss of $5 billion. This marks the 7th consecutive year in which the Postal Service incurred a net loss, highlighting the need to continue to capitalize on growth opportunities, reduce costs, and enact comprehensive legislation to provide a long-term solution to the agency’s financial challenges.
Even though the Postal Service has implemented a number of strategies that resulted in $15 billion in annual expense reductions since the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was passed in 2006, the combination of onerous mandates in existing law and continued First-Class Mail volume declines threatens the Postal Service’s financial viability.

“We’ve achieved some excellent results for the year in terms of innovations, revenue gains and cost reductions, but without major legislative changes we cannot overcome the limitations of our inflexible business model,” said Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer. “Congress is moving forward with legislation that has the potential to give us greater flexibility and put us back on a firm financial footing, and we strongly encourage that they continue moving forward.”

The legislative requirements put forward by the Postal Service, as outlined in the Five-Year Business Plan, include:
· Restructure the Postal Service health care plan.
· Refund Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) overpayment and lower future FERS payment amounts to those required.
· Adjust delivery frequency to six-day packages/five-day mail.
· Streamline the governance model (eliminate duplicative oversight).
· Provide authority to expand products and services.
· Require defined contribution retirement system for future Postal Service employees.
· Require arbitrators to consider the financial condition of the Postal Service.
· Reform Workers’ Compensation.

Results of Operations
Highlights of yearly results compared to the same period last year include:

· Total mail volume was 158.4 billion pieces compared to 159.8 billion pieces a year ago. Package and Standard Mail volumes grew by 210 million pieces and 1.4 billion pieces, respectively, while the most profitable product, First-Class Mail, fell by 2.8 billion pieces, led by single-piece volume decline.

· Operating revenue, excluding a $1.3 billion non-cash change in an accounting estimate, was $66 billion compared to $65.2 billion in 2012. While this is the first growth in revenue since 2008, declining First-Class Mail revenue continues to negatively impact financial results.

· Operating expenses were $72.1 billion in 2013 compared to $81 billion in 2012. Approximately $8.2 billion of this decrease resulted from higher, legally mandated retiree health care benefit expenses and higher non-cash Workers’ Compensation expense in 2012. Expenses in 2013 include a required $5.6 billion contribution to retiree health care benefits that the Postal Service was unable to make. Continued lack of legislation will likely force the Postal Service to continue to default on these payments. Savings from plant consolidations, restructuring hours at Post Offices, reductions in delivery units, and workforce optimization resulted in approximately $1 billion of savings in 2013.

· The net loss for the year, which was decreased by a $1.3 billion non-cash change in estimate, was $5 billion. However, this change in accounting estimate has no impact on the Postal Service’s receipt of cash, or cash on hand, nor does it lessen the severity of its current liquidity situation. For more information regarding the non-cash adjustment, refer to the Form 10-K, available online.

The Postal Service continues to grow its Package Services business. From fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2013, revenue from Package Services increased by $923 million, or 8 percent, on a volume increase of 210 million pieces (6 percent). By developing innovative services to appeal to the growing parcel delivery market, Shipping and Package Services grew to $12.5 billion, representing approximately 19 percent of revenues. Standard Mail revenue grew by $487 million, or 3 percent, on a volume increase of 1.8 percent.

The growth in revenue from these products is not enough to offset the long-term loss in revenue and volume of our most profitable service, First-Class Mail. First-Class Mail revenue, which peaked in 2007, dropped $704 million or 2.4 percent in 2013. First-Class Mail volume declined 2.8 billion pieces or 4.1 percent.
“Our productivity reached an all-time high in 2013, increasing 1.9 percent, compared to 2012,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett. “This marks our fourth consecutive year of positive total factor productivity growth since the depths of the recession in 2009.”

Work hours in 2013 decreased by 12 million or 1.1 percent, despite an increase of approximately 774,000 delivery points during 2013.

“The reduction in work hours and the optimization of work force flexibility that we have available to us contributed to a savings of nearly $1 billion in compensation and benefits costs,” said Corbett, “a reflection of our efforts to improve productivity and to respond to the decline in mail volume.” Since 2000, the Postal Service has reduced work hours by a cumulative total of 516 million work hours, equivalent to 293,000 employees, or $22 billion in annual expense savings.”

At the end of the 2012 fiscal year, the Postal Service reached its statutory debt ceiling of $15 billion for the first time, and it remains at the limit at the end of the 2013 fiscal year. “Our liquidity continues to be dangerously low and our liabilities exceed our assets by approximately $40 billion,” said Corbett. “This underscores the need for Congress to pass legislation that improves our financial position and that gives the Postal Service a more flexible business model to improve its cash flow. Despite reaching the debt limit, Postal Service mail operations and delivery continue as usual and employees and suppliers continue to be paid on time.”

Complete financial results are available in the Form 10-K, available after 11 a.m. ET today at http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/financials/welcome.htm

USPS Priority, Express Mail Hikes in January; same day service for $5


Unlike the rates for mail where it has no competition (first-, second-, and third- or bulk rates), the USPS does not need permission to raise prices for shipping services, where it competes with other carriers such as UPS and FedEx. It plans to increase the latter in late January:

[USPS press release]
U.S. Postal Service Announces Shipping Prices for 2014
Overall Price Increase Less Than 3 Percent

WASHINGTON — When new Postal Service Shipping Services prices take effect in usps_deliveryJanuary, customers will see an overall price increase of 2.4 percent.

In addition, Postal Service customers will have a new delivery choice for domestic Priority Mail Express in 2014. The new delivery service option will allow customers to send domestic Priority Mail Express packages to most locations in the U.S. by 10:30 a.m. for an extra $5.00 fee. Domestic Priority Mail Express is a fast, reliable service which offers day-specific delivery information, up to $100 free insurance and free package tracking.

Highlights of the new retail pricing for domestic Priority Mail Express products include:

  • Retail Flat Rate, Padded Flat Rate and Legal Flat Rate envelopes — $19.99
  • Flat Rate Boxes — $44.95

Domestic pricing for Priority Mail Flat Rate products will remain affordable in 2014, with retail prices starting as low as $5.60.

Most domestic Priority Mail products qualify for free insurance up to $50 or $100, and one, two or three date-specific delivery is based on destination ZIP Code. Improved USPS Tracking makes it easier to see packages at pick up, confirmed final delivery and many points in between.

“The Postal Service remains the best in value in the shipping business,” said Nagisa Manabe, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer. “We continue to offer excellent domestic Flat Rate shipping with a price that doesn’t vary by destination.”

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will review the prices before they become effective on Jan. 26, 2014. Today’s Shipping Services price filing will be available on the PRC website at www.prc.gov.”

U.S. Harry Potter Films Stamps Designs

These are only “scratch” versions, but they should give stamp collectors and fans an idea of what the 20 stamps will be. As mentioned previously, each stamp is approximately 1.56″ x 0.89″ and the entire pane of four, plus selvage is about 4 inches square.

harrysheet1harrysheet2harrysheet3harrysheet4harrysheet5And here are the postmarks: hp_dcp hp_bw

The B&W or “hand cancel” postmark is 1.733 x 1.222″. The Digital Color Postmark is 2.398″ x .986″

hp_olderharry hp_hedwig hp_dumbledore hp_youngharry hp_hermione hp_voldemort

Latest Harry Potter Details

There are four subjects per sheet inside the 20-stamp booklets. Two stamps per page are vertical, two horizontal. Here’s what I’ve been told is the list of stamp subjects:

olydemoThe first pane is from the first film. The stamps show Harry receiving his acceptance to Hogwarts; Harry and Ron; Harry, Ron and Hermione; and Hermione.

The second pane shows Harry and some of the creatures in the stories, including Hedwig, his owl.

The subjects in the third are all Hogwarts instructors: Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall, and Hagrid. It appears the stamp shows Michael Gambon as Dumbledore, not Richard Harris, who died a few weeks before the release of the second film.

The fourth pane has a picture of Hermione, Harry and Ron; Ginny Weasley, Fred and George Weasley, and Luna Lovegood.

temp_harry1 And in the fifth, we’ll find pictures of Harry and Voldemort in battle (the former design has already been released publicly and is shown here), Draco Malfoy, and Bellatrix Lestrange. The latter strikes me as a (le)strange choice, because I don’t think she’s a major character. I would have picked Neville Longbottom for one of the stamps, or, if pressed for a female character, Molly Weasley or, even better if they wanted a female villain, Dolores Umbridge.

There is a red sealing wax seal in the blank space in the middle of each pane. There’s a picture of Hogwarts (castle) one another page of the booklet.

The Philatelic Passion Play


Every so often, something blows up in a stamp collecting organization of which I’m an official, and my wife asks, “You do this for fun?

It’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t even have to be in the room, doesn’t even have to know about the latest flak; I hear her voice in my head. “You do this for fun?

Oh, it happens in some of the music organizations in which I’m involved, too, but not as often. You’d think with all the pressure involved with performing, there would be more blowups there, but, no, I guess putting stamps away in albums or on envelopes is more stressful than hitting that high A, in tune, with everyone in the band listening to your solo.

It would be easy to blame it on the Internet: After all, any jerk with a computer and an Internet account can go on Facebook and say nasty, untrue things about you. Heck, you don’t even need your own computer and Internet: You can go to the public library and use their computers. But it’s been going on since long before the Internet.

More than 40 years ago, as a high school student, I sat stunned in a band parents meeting as the group’s president and vice president, a lawyer and a doctor, “pillars of the community,” screamed at each other until they were red in the face — and then kept going.

I don’t remember what the issue was, but it wasn’t very important. (In my story for the next day’s local paper, I brushed it off with “After a spirited discussion….”)

We live for our avocations.

About a decade ago, the American Philatelic Society engaged a public relations/advertising agency to promote both the hobby and the organization. It came up with the slogan “We feel your passion.” The agency workers were amazed at how strongly stamp collectors feel about things others consider relatively unimportant.

It’s not even just leadership issues: I’ve seen the passion stoked by plans to change an organization’s logo or whether the group should take PayPal.

I have a theory: For so many of us, our day-to-day lives are mundane, maybe even boring. Ah, but in our hobbies and avocations! There we are important, there we have an opportunity to make a difference, there we are somebody!

Plus, collecting stamps or playing music or raising funds for a high school trip is what we’d really rather be doing, not moving paper from one side of the desk to the other or sweeping out the bus aisle. Our hobbies are also part of our identity: “My son’s soccer coach” or “the lady’s auxiliary president,” rather than “this insurance agent I know.”

Most of us will work for 40 years, often in the same field. While there may be a progression within that profession, after awhile, the job becomes routine. The excitement of going to work wears off.

Most of us accept that. We get our vocational joy in our avocations.

“My day job? That’s just what I do for money. What I really care about, though, is…”

And when something goes wrong or, worse, not as right as it could, that passion turns to anger.

Maybe it’s worse in stamp collecting because so much of what we do has to be precise: The measurements of a perforation, the alignment of a stamp on a cover, the date on which a service was performed. Sometimes the so-called “flyspecks” really do matter.

We philatelists have to learn to lighten up. There are times I want to grab stamp collectors by their throats, shake them, and scream, “IT’S A HOBBY AND IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, DAMMIT! SO HAVE FUN OR ELSE”!

Then I stop and take a deep breath.

[Gettysburg] Address Not Found


Seven score and 10 years ago, the President of the United States gave a speech that lasted about two minutes. The featured speaker at the cemetery dedication went on for two hours.

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,” Abraham Lincoln said, but he was wrong: Today, the “Gettysburg Address” is considered one of the greatest in American history. It’s also quoted, and parodied, throughout our history and literature.

On the other hand, maybe Lincoln was thinking of the U.S. Postal Service. We have at least two stamp issues coming out this year on November 19th, the 150th anniversary of the speech, but none is for that event. Instead, we’re getting two crassly commercial issues: Harry Potter and Hanukkah.

Lincoln wasn’t Jewish, and couldn’t play Quidditch worth a darn, so I can’t see servicing Gettysburg Address Sesquicentennial covers with any of those stamps.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m looking forward to both of those issues, even though I know they’re pandering to specific non-philatelic audiences. Jews will buy the Hanukkah stamps because, well, they’re not Christmas stamps and some send out cards for this minor holiday because Christians send out cards for their holiday. (Has the U.S. Postal Service ever considered stamps for the Jewish High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the major holidays when Jews also send out cards? No, I didn’t think so.)

When I first head of the Harry Potter issue, in a blind listing in a stamp program chart in the Postal Bulletin, I thought, okay, the books spurred adolescents in this country to read voraciously. Since then, I’ve been told the stamps feature the movies, not the books, and I’m finding it harder to justify. At author J.K. Rowling’s insistence, nearly all the actors in the movies are British. The locations are British, too.

Then we were told the location for the first-day ceremony, and the light dawned: It’s in Orlando. No location within that city was mentioned, but “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort is there. What a coincidence!

Universal has already announced a major expansion of the Harry Potter attraction for some time in 2014. Although the USPS is rushing out the stamps on November 19th — a date apparently set by the Potter people — they won’t be universally available (sorry) until January, when there will be another big media push for the stamps. Another coincidence!

So what’s on November 19th? Just a wild guess, but a press release on the Universal Orlando Resort media website says the Hogwarts Express locomotive is now in place, and will carry patrons between different parts of the Harry Potter attraction. Perhaps November 19th is the day that train service begins.

However, that the Postal Service seems almost desperate to sell stamps isn’t the point of this essay. The stamp that it’s not issuing is: The Sesquicentennial of the “Gettysburg Address.”

Amid the 16 varieties of flag stamps, more than a dozen flower stamps, 12 construction stamps and the rest of this year’s bloated issue program, wasn’t there room for one more historical issue? I count six this year (Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Rosa Parks, Battle of Lake Erie, West Virginia Statehood, March on Washington), six if you throw in the Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp (it opened in 1913).

Unfortunately, there is precedent for a lack of respect for the “Gettysburg Address:” The only other stamp the U.S. has ever issued for the speech was in 1948, the 85thanniversary. That was a year in which even chickens got a stamp, so it was no big honor. There was no stamp for the centennial in 1963.

That year, and this year, we had stamps for the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point of the Civil War. But those stamps commemorate death and destruction. Why no stamps for great public speaking? Great statesmanship? Great leadership?

I hate to sound like one of those fuddy-duddies 16 years ago who began every complaint about stamps that weren’t issued with, “We have a stamp for Bugs Bunny, but not :” And I’m looking forward to the Hanukkah and Harry Potter stamps. I plan to service my Dragon Cards first day cover cards for both issues.

But I’m also going to service Dragon Cards for the Gettysburg Address. They just won’t be first day covers of a stamp commemorating the speech.