Scott English Named APS Executive Director

1763-Scott-English-newThe American Philatelic Society, the largest stamp collecting organization in the U.S., has chosen Scott English to be its executive director. He officially starts August 10th. The full APS press release is below.

According to his Linked In profile, Scott English is currently Chief of Staff to Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina. The S.C. governor he served as Chief of Staff was also Stanford. In between, he was Chief Operating Officer for the South Carolina Department of Education for exactly the same period that APS vice president Mick Zais was Secretary of Education in that state.

“I encouraged him to apply,” Zais told The Virtual Stamp Club. “I explained to him why it would be a good fit.”

Although English is not a philatelist himself, “he kind of knew [what the APS was] because I would disappear for a couple of weeks every summer for Americover and StampShow,” Zais added.

Zais chaired the search committee, but wasn’t involved in choosing English, he said. They were talking on the telephone one day, when Zais mentioned he was chairing the committee. English asked for more information, because he wanted to move closer to home and where his and his wife’s families live (Maryland). English also told Zais he wanted to get out of politics.

Zais says he told the other members of the search committee “up front that I knew him.”

There were initially 33 applicants for the executive director position. The professional search firm screened them, and narrowed the field down to 15. That smaller group was interviewed via FaceTime, and six candidates were referred to the search committee chaired by Zais. That panel interviewed the candidates using and brought two candidates to Bellefonte for in-person interviews and to meet the staff. —LdeV

[press release]

American Philatelic Society Announces
New Executive Director

1763-Scott-English-newBellefonte, PA — The American Philatelic Society (APS) announced today the hiring of Scott English as its new executive director. Scott has an extensive record of success leading large organizations with multiple constituencies, as well as working with volunteers and fundraising.

As the Chief of Staff to a former Governor of South Carolina, he oversaw operations and policy for 15 cabinet-level agencies, more than 200 boards and commissions, and the Executive Office of the State. His effectiveness in harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers and the generosity of donors was critical in this position.

As Chief Operating Officer for South Carolina’s Department of Education, he oversaw the operation of a staff of more than 800 providing oversight for 82 school districts, 1,250 schools, 52,000 teachers, and 720,000 students, while supervising the execution of a $4 billion annual budget.

APS President Steve Reinhard stated, “We are enormously pleased that a man of Scott’s experience and talent will be our new executive director. We expect he will make major contributions improving services to our 31,000 members as well as outreach to other philatelic organizations, both in the United States and abroad.

Scott commented, “It’s an honor to join the American Philatelic Society as Executive Director. This organization has a rich tradition, with a dedicated staff and members who share a great passion for stamp collecting. My first priority is meeting as many members as possible in the coming months and learning how the APS can best serve them. I also want to learn how the APS can effectively partner with other organizations with similar interests.” He added, “My family and I are looking forward to moving to Centre County. It is clearly a wonderful place to live. My wife and I will also be closer to our childhood homes and parents.”

Ken Martin, the previous Executive Director, has been offered the position of Chief Operating Officer. In this capacity the APS will continue to benefit from his tremendous experience in the APS and his extensive knowledge of the hobby.

Scott will begin work on August 10, 2015.

Battle of Britain (historical info) (UK 2015)

[press release]

  • A miniature sheet featuring six Special Stamps will be issued to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which was fought in the skies over southern England during the Second World War [more on the stamps]
  • The decisive air campaign would change the course of the War, and with it, the course of history
  • Royal Mail vans in a selection of locations close to RAF bases will carry an image of a stamp from the set
  • The anniversary will also be marked with a special postmark on all stamped UK mail between 16 and 18 June. It will read; ‘75th anniversary Battle of Britain’
  • The stamps will be on sale from 16 July 2015 at  and from 8,000 Post Office branches across the UK and by calling 03457 641 641
  • Some of the veterans shown on the stamps were given a preview 10 July. Photographs courtesy Royal Mail.

The Battle of Britain took place over the summer and autumn of 1940 and saw the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe contest the world’s first independent and decisive air campaign in the skies over southern England. The Battle of Britain would change the course of the Second World War – and with it, the course of history.

uk_battle_wellumsThe six stamps feature photographs from this period, showing some of the many aspects of the battle and the service personnel involved, including pilots, ground crew, observers and Operations Room staff.

The miniature sheet border features an image of Prime Minister Winston Churchill at a coastal defence position on 31 July 1940, alongside the famous quotation from his speech about the battle; ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

The Battle of Britain began in early July with German attacks on Channel convoys and ports. On 1 August, having probed Britain’s defences, Hitler ordered the rapid defeat of the RAF prior to the launch of an invasion, eventually set for 15 September. The Luftwaffe sought to overwhelm Fighter Command in the air and on the ground. The main targets were 11 Group’s airfields in the south and south-east, which were heavily bombed. The RAF’s fighter command had 715 serviceable aircraft, against the Luftwaffe’s 2550.

The RAF responded well, but the air raids intensified. Between 24 August and 6 September, 300 Hurricanes and Spitfires were lost and the airfields and communications network were severely damaged. Worryingly, 230 pilots were killed or wounded and there were insufficient replacements. uk_battle_farnesWith the pilots of 11 Group exhausted, reserves of aircraft low and Fighter Command seemingly on the verge of defeat, the Germans changed tactics.

Impatient to see the RAF beaten and angered by British raids on Berlin, Hitler ordered attacks on London. On 7 September, 300 German bombers, escorted by 600 fighters, raided the capital. The bombers caused serious damage and killed 400 civilians, but with the change of target, pressure was taken off 11 Group’s airfields, allowing the RAF to recover and regroup.

On 15 September, the Luftwaffe launched two massive raids on London, but both were fiercely repulsed by the RAF pilots, who shot down 60 enemy aircraft. This day is now commemorated as Battle of Britain Day. It was clear that the Luftwaffe could not defeat Fighter Command, and on 17 September 1940 Hitler postponed the invasion plan ‘indefinitely.uk_battle_kane2

The German raids on Britain continued, and the night ‘Blitz’, lasting into May 1941, would cause widespread destruction and over 40,000 deaths. Nevertheless, the Battle of Britain had been won by the RAF in the fighting over London in September 1940. Fighter Command’s decisive victory represented the first check to Hitler’s ambitions for world domination. It also ensured that Britain would survive as a rallying point and strategic base from which the invasion and eventual liberation of Europe could be launched.

uk_battle_pickeringRoyal Mail vans in a selection of locations close to RAF bases will feature a stamp from the set.

The anniversary will also be marked with a special postmark on all stamped UK mail between 16 and 18 June, reading ‘75th anniversary Battle of Britain’.

Andrew Hammond, Director, Stamps and Collectibles, Royal Mail said: “Our new stamps pay tribute to the men and women who helped protect Great Britain from the formidable threat of the Luftwaffe 75 years ago. It is fitting that these stamps will help us remember the debt that we will forever owe them.”

The stamps will be on sale from 16 July June 2015 at and from 8,000 Post Office branches across the UK, and by calling Royal Mail Tallents House on 03457 641 641uk_battle_group

Left to Right Top row Standing – Wing Commander T F Neil DFC AFC AE, Wing Commander PC Farnes DFM, Geoffrey Harris Augustus Wellum DFC.
Left to Right bottom row Sitting – Wing Commander T M Kane, Squadron Leader TG Pickering AE, Flying Officer K A Wilkinson AE.

Battle of Britain (stamp info) (UK 2015)

[press release]

The Battle of Britain
Issue Date: 16th July 2015 uk_battle_sheet2Reason and inspiration
This miniature sheet commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which was fought in the skies over southern England from July to late October 1940 and was a key turning point of the Second World War. The six stamps feature photographic imagery from this period, showing some of the many aspects of the battle and the people involved, including pilots, ground crew, observers and Operations Room staff. The miniature sheet border features an image of Prime Minister Winston Churchill at a coast defence position near Hartlepool on 31 July 1940, alongside his famous quotation about ‘the few’. [Additional historic information and photos here.]

Stamp Details

  • RAF fighter pilots rush to their Hurricanes after receiving the ‘scramble’ call to engage enemy aircraft.
  • Supermarine Spitfires of 610 Squadron, based at Biggin Hill, patrol the skies in close formation.
  • Armourer Fred Roberts re-arms a Supermarine Spitfire while the pilot, Sergeant Bernard Jennings, talks to his mechanic.
  • Recruits of the Auxiliary Territorial Service receive their first lesson in identifying enemy aircraft.
  • The Operations Room at Bentley Priory, the headquarters of Fighter Command, was part of a complex air defence system.
  • Fighter pilots of 32 Squadron relax between flying missions at RAF Hawkinge in Kent.

The miniature sheet border features an image of Prime Minister Winston Churchill at a coast defence position near Hartlepool on 31 July 1940, alongside his famous quotation about ‘the few’.

Miniature Sheet Price: £5.88 Code: MZ108

Miniature Sheet Technical Details

  • Number of stamps: six
  • Stamp Design: The Team
  • Miniature Sheet Design: Supple Studio
  • Acknowledgements: pilots and Hurricanes photo © William Vandivert/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images; Supermarine Spitfires photo © IWM CH741; Armourer photo © IWM CH1458; Auxiliary Territorial Service photo © Associated Press/Daily Mail/Rex Features; Operations Room photo © IWM C0018701; Squadron 32 photo © Fox Photos/Getty Images; Winston Churchill photo © IWM H 2628; Winston Churchill quotation reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown Ltd, London, on behalf of The Estate of Winston Churchill, copyright © Winston S Churchill
  • Miniature sheet size: 179mm x 74mm
  • Stamp Format: landscape
  • Stamp Size: 41mm x 30mm
  • Printer: International Security Printers
  • Print Process: lithography
  • Perforations: 14.5 x 14
  • Phosphor: bars as appropriate
  • Gum: PVA

Miniature Sheet First Day Cover uk_battle_fdcThe First Day Envelope, designed by The Team, features a photograph of Supermarine Spitfires in formation during the Battle of Britain.

uk_battle_fillercardThe filler card includes a brief overview of the Battle of Britain, written by Peter Devitt, Curator at the RAF Museum in London, alongside a photograph of pilots of 303 (Polish) Squadron, the Fighter Command’s most successful individual unit during the battle.

With Tallents House Postmark

Filler Card
Price: £7.53 (Inland) £6.28 (Overseas) Code: MF107

First Day Envelope Price: 30p Code: ME106

Presentation Pack
In the presentation pack, designed by The Team to recall the posters and publications of the era, RAF Museum Curator Peter Devitt offers a look at how the Battle of Britain unfolded and what it meant. The main narrative is complemented by a detailed timeline and an overview of each of the key British and enemy aircraft involved in the battle, accompanied by silhouettes of each plane. In addition, the pack explores the contribution of ‘the many’, not just ‘the few’, with sections on ground crew, intelligence officers, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the Air Transport Auxiliary recruits.
Price: £6.40 Code: AP405

Stamp Cards
The six special stamps and the complete miniature sheet are reproduced at postcard-size in this collectable set of stamp cards.
Price: £3.15 Code: AQ224

Coin Cover uk_battle_coincoverissue date 15th September 2015
The product code will be available on the system for pre-orders on 1st July 2015. Product can be ordered but will not be despatched until the issue date.

This coin cover, issued on Battle of Britain Day, includes a special 50p coin issued by the Royal Mint and a cancelled miniature sheet commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The insert focuses on the contribution of ‘the many’: among other topics, Historian James Holland describes the air defence system designed by Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, the role of the Bentley Priory (which served as headquarters of Fighter Command during the battle) and the key part that Royal Observer Corps played during the summer and autumn of 1940.

Designed by Supple Studio and richly illustrated with historic photographs as well as images from Bentley Priory Museum, the coin cover offers a fitting tribute to those who helped ensure that the Hitler’s plans to invade Britain had to be cancelled.

Coin Specifications

Diameter: 27.30mm
Weight: 8.0g
Alloy: cupro-nickel
Quality: Brilliant Uncirculated
Obverse design: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
Reverse design: Gary Breeze
Limited edition of 10,000
Price: £17.50 Code: AN120

Postmarks uk_battle_pmkTallents House Postmark
The Tallents House handstamp features a graphic image of the Supermarine Spitfire.

Alternative Postmark
The alternative location is London NW9, the home of the RAF Museum. The alternative handstamp includes a graphic image of the Hawker Hurricane. The design alludes to the story of Sergeant Raymond Holmes of 504 Squadron, who on 15 September 1940 took off from Hendon as part of an action to intercept a large formation of Dornier bombers over London. After seeing a Dornier that looked like it was about to bomb Buckingham Palace, Sergeant Holmes decided to ram it. He was forced to bale out of his damaged aircraft and landed by parachute in Hugh Street, where the colourful story continued. In 1994, shortly before Ray Holmes died, his Hurricane, which had crashed into the Ebury Bridge Road, was excavated on live television, and when that evening Holmes was handed the control column, he discovered it was still set to ‘fire’.

TALLENTS HOUSE Pictorial FD- 1519- TH
Alternative Pictorial FD – 1519- PL
Non Pictorial Non-pictorial FD – 1519- NP

First Day Facilities
Unstamped Royal Mail First Day Cover envelopes (price 30p) are available from main Post Offices and philatelic outlets approximately one week before the stamps go on sale.
Serviced (i.e. stamped and postmarked) Royal Mail First Day Cover is available by Mail Order from Royal Mail, Tallents House priced £7.53 (overseas £6.28). Orders for serviced First Day Covers have to reach Royal Mail by 16th July 2015. Customers may also send stamped envelopes on the day of issue to Royal Mail, Tallents House for the Tallents House, Edinburgh postmark. The address for Royal Mail is as follows:

Royal Mail
Tallents House
21 South Gyle Crescent
EH12 9PB

Customers who hand in or post stamped Royal Mail First Day Cover envelopes at main Post Offices® on the day of issue will receive the pictorial Waterloo, Liverpool first day postmark.

Alternatively, customers may send stamped envelopes to any of the Special Handstamp Centres for the pictorial or plain Waterloo, Liverpool postmark quoting the reference number of the postmark required.

Special Handstamp Centres:

The Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail,
St Stephens Street,

The Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail,
220 Penarth Road,
CF11 8TA

The Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail
Tallents House
21 South Gyle Crescent
EH12 9PB

The Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail,
Mount Pleasant
Farringdon Road

The Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail,
South Shields DO,
Keppell Street,
NE33 1AA

Canada Post Seeks Nickel Rate Hike

[press release]
Canada Post Proposes 2016 Postage Rates

can_mailboxquebecCanada Post is proposing to increase postage rates in 2016 as declining mail volumes continue to have a significant impact on its financial situation.

Canada Post proposes to increase the postage rate for Domestic LettermailTM items weighing 30 grams or less when purchased in a booklet, coil or pane to $0.90 from the current rate of $0.85. The price of a single stamp would remain $1.00. The rate change would take effect on January 11, 2016 and replace rates that will have been in effect for 21 months.

Lettermail volumes have been declining for almost a decade. In 2014, Canada Post delivered 1.4 billion fewer pieces of Domestic Lettermail than in the peak year of 2006. Some of the biggest declines have occurred in 2015, accelerating the erosion of Canada Post’s core business. As mail volumes fall, the number of addresses served also rises every year, affecting Canada Post’s cost of doing business.

The Corporation is taking every action necessary to secure postal service for all Canadians and to avoid becoming a drain on taxpayers. It is proposing these new postage rates to help achieve its long-standing mandate of remaining financially self-sufficient.

Canada Post estimates the average Canadian household purchases fewer than two stamps a month, while the typical small business purchases fewer than 250 stamps per year.

can_retailquebeccity2aCanadians can avoid the cost increase by purchasing PermanentTM stamps at the current rate of $0.85 in advance of the proposed rate changes coming into effect. Permanent or “P” stamps always retain their value and are valid postage regardless of when they were purchased.

Canada Post is also proposing to increase rates for other domestic Lettermail, U.S. and international Letter-post items and Domestic Registered MailTM.

The rate changes are one of several actions the Corporation is taking to achieve financial self-sufficiency. In December 2013, Canada Post announced its Five-point Action Plan to transform its business and preserve postal service for all Canadians. As part of the Plan, Canada Post introduced a new tiered pricing structure for Domestic Lettermail that provided discounts to customers who purchase stamps in booklets, coils or panes.

The current proposals were published July 11, 2015 in the Canada Gazette Part I.

Writer Alice Munro Honored (Canada 2015)

[press release]
Stamp celebrates Alice Munro, Nobel Prize-winning writer

can_munroeAlice Munro, the recognized master of the exquisitely honed short story and the first Canadian woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, is celebrated on a new stamp that pays homage to elements of her work.

The stamp incorporates a photograph of Munro that was taken by her daughter Sheila, a sample of the author’s handwriting from archival material, and vintage images of Wingham, Ont., the small town in which Munro was born. Many believe that Wingham inspired her fictional town of Jubilee, in which many of her stories are set. The stamp was designed by Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip of Toronto’s HM&E Design.

“Alice Munro is not only one of Canada’s most critically acclaimed writers but also one of the most popular,” says the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. “Her stories have garnered recognition worldwide and this tribute adds to her lifetime of honours.”

can_munroefdc“Our stamp program recognizes the achievements of Canadians,” says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “As fans of this prolific author know, Ms. Munro’s literary talent, wisdom and humanity, reflected in her stories over several decades, have earned her recognition that few writers in any language or country attain.”

Alice Munro’s early works found their way into Canadian literary journals and CBC Radio’s Anthology. Her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, was published in 1968. In the mid-1970s, her short stories began appearing regularly in The New Yorker, bringing her a broader, international audience. She has been awarded three Governor-General’s awards in 1968, 1978 and 1986, Giller prizes in 1998 and 2004, and the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in 2009.

When she was presented with her Nobel Prize in 2013, a representative of the Nobel Committee for Literature said, “Reading one of her texts is like watching a cat walk across a laid dinner table. … Alice Munro is often able to say more in 30 pages than an ordinary novelist is capable of in 300.”

The stamp’s release date of July 10 marks Munro’s birthday.

About the stamp
The pressure-sensitive stamp – printed by Colour Innovations Inc. on Tullis Russell paper using lithography in five colours – is available in booklets of 10 and measures 26 mm x 32 mm (vertical), with simulated perforations. The Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Wingham, Ont. To purchase philatelic products, please visit

  • ISSUE DATE: July 10, 2015
  • STAMP DESIGNER: Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip of Toronto’s HM&E
  • STAMP VALUE: Permanent™ (domestic)
  • DIMENSIONS: 26mm x 32mm

U.S. Scott Catalogue Update (July 2015)

4822b (49¢) Navy Medal of Honor, dated 2015
4823b (49¢) Army Medal of Honor, dated 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 10.00.01 AM4986 (49¢) Special Olympics World Games
4987 (49¢) Help Find Missing Children

4988 (49¢) Air Force Medal of Honor
a. Horiz. strip of 3, #4822b, 4823b, 4898

4989 (22¢) Emperor Penguins, serpentine die cut 10¾
4990 (22¢) Emperor Penguins coil stamp, serpentine die cut 11 vert.

4991 (35¢) Coastal Birds – Red knot, serpentine die cut 11¼x11
4992 (35¢) Coastal Birds – King eider, serpentine die cut 11¼x11
4993 (35¢) Coastal Birds – Spoonbill, serpentine die cut 11¼x11
4994 (35¢) Coastal Birds – Frigatebird, serpentine die cut 11¼x11
b. Block or vertical strip of 4, #4991-4994

4995 (35¢) Coastal Birds coil stamp – Spoonbill, serpentine die cut 9½ vert.
4996 (35¢) Coastal Birds coil stamp – Frigatebird, serpentine die cut 9½ vert.
4997 (35¢) Coastal Birds coil stamp – Red knot, serpentine die cut 9½ vert.
4998 (35¢) Coastal Birds coil stamp – King eider, serpentine die cut 9½ vert.
a. Horiz. strip of 4, #4995-4998

4999 (71¢) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
5000 (71¢) Wedding Cake
5001 (71¢) Flowers and “Yes, I Do”
5002 (71¢) Tulip and Heart
5003 (93¢) Flannery O’Connor

U692 (49¢) Help Find Missing Children stamped envelope

More Hotel Rooms for APS StampShow 2015

The APS has obtained three more “blocks” of rooms at discounted prices for those attending StampShow 2015 in Grand Rapids in August: [Holiday Inn information updated on July 2nd]

JW Marriott Grand Rapids
Group rate: American Philatelic Society: $169.00 plus tax – Rate valid through July 26th or until full
235 Louis St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 242-1500
· 4-min walk to Amway via Skywalk; 7-min walk to DeVos via Skywalk
· Parking special rate – $12/night (self or valet parking). Because of limited space, parking in the Hotel ramp is NOT guaranteed.
· 100% Smoke-Free. (Violators will be fined up to $250.00.)
· Wifi – FREE in for overnight guests

Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown
Group rate: “STP” $129.00 plus tax – Rate valid through August 3rd or until full
310 Pearl St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 235-7611
direct web link
· Across either Pearl Street Bridge or Gillett Pedestrian Bridge from Ford Museum; 5-min walk to Amway; 10-min walk to DeVos along Riverwalk
· FREE Parking
· FREE Wifi

Country Inn & Suites East Beltline – NOT within walking distance
StampShow rate: $159.00 plus tax
3251 Deposit Drive NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 942-7000
BY CAR: 4.68 miles (6 min. drive)
· FREE Parking
· FREE Wifih