Seven U.S. First Days At NYC 2016?

s_wss_sheetA February 28th press release from the U.S. international stamp show says, “Four of the seven USPS first day of issue releases scheduled to take place are depicted” in the newsletter of the same date: The previously announced Repeal of the Stamp Act, the two designs for World Stamp Show-NYC 2016, Planets and Pluto. That leaves three others that will be issued at the show, but no word on what those might be.

The newsletter goes on to say, “U.S. Postal Service first day ceremonies take place at 11 AM every day of the show (except Tuesday when a special stamp unveiling is planned).” The newsletter hints that one or more of the three unnamed issues may be postal stationery.

s_petsNo postal stationery for 2016 has been announced (other than the Priority Mail envelope which, actually, was never announced but just issued). According to The Virtual Stamp Club‘s 2016 U.S. Stamp Program, the 20-stamp Pets booklet is a possibility for a May issuance, because May is a National Pets Month.But the show doesn’t begin until May 28th.
Another possibility is the Shirley Temple stamp, because, as an adult, Shirley Temple Black served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, scratch_shirleytemplewhich is headquartered in New York City. However, this would be a stretch, because the stamp is part of the Legends of Hollywood series, all of which have been issued in Los Angeles.
Stay tuned. As soon as The Virtual Stamp Club finds out, we’ll post the information.

WSS-NY 2016 Newsletter 11 Released

February 28, 2016
For Immediate Release

Newsletter 11 Released

World Stamp Show-NY 2016 has issued its eleventh and final quarterly newsletter exactly three months before it opens its doors on Saturday, May 28. The exhibition runs for 8 days through June 4 at the Javits Center in New York City.

The newsletter is the organization’s largest with 12 pages of the latest details about the once-a-decade event. It may be downloaded directly from

As exhibition president Wade Saadi explains in his opening column, “World Stamp Show-NY 2016 will have something for every collector and in most cases, way more material than you can consume.”

Four of the seven USPS first day of issue releases scheduled to take place are depicted. News about the UN Postal Administration’s Peacekeeper issue with a preliminary image and 65th UNPA Anniversary personalized sheet ceremonies is also referenced. Show theme days and subjects are now set.

The hotel room rate discounts arranged by the show will end as of April 23 when the properties revert to full price. Attendees are asked to making reservations now to avoid disappointment. Maps of the show-sponsored hotels in New York and New Jersey are found at the end of the newsletter.

Preliminary exhibitor details are given for the first time. There are 4,118 frames among all competitive classes totaling 697 exhibits from 76 different countries.

The 128 attending societies and organizations manning booths and/or sponsoring meetings is believed to be a record number for any international exhibition. The complete schedule of meetings and events can be found online at It is updated regularly.

The dealer and postal administration listing is simply too large to include in the newsletter. The updated list can be viewed online at and, respectively. Collectors are encouraged to contact dealers directly before the show to express their interests.

Full show information is online at Send questions to and check out show social media site links.

Thomas M. Fortunato
Rochester, NY
Chairman, Marketing and Public Relations
World Stamp Show- NY 2016
Join us May 28-June 4, 2016
Javits Center, New York City

Royal Mail Heritage: Transport (UK 2016)

[press release]
Royal Mail Heritage: Transport
Issue Date: Wednesday 17th February 2016


  • 6 * 1st Class stamp set with carrier
  • First Day Cover
  • First Day Envelope (New Generic version)

The Royal Mail Heritage: Transport set of stamps reflects the movement of mail via methods of transport. The earliest method of transport for mail was by foot, but increased distance and a greater volume of letters led to the employment of horses. Even greater volumes of mail entailed the use of horse-drawn carts and then vans for road transport, as well as the early adoption of railways, while sailing ships carried the mail still farther, P&G-HT-Mail-Coachacross the globe. These have been the favoured forms of mail transport for much of the past five centuries.In the 19th century, inviting contractors to tender for mail routes proved very effective, and they provided the transport and drivers that operated to strict demands of time. The availability of fairly reliable second-hand vehicles following the First World War pushed forward the creation of state-owned fleets, while advances in air travel meant that letters and parcels could be delivered even faster. Today, mail continues to be carried throughout the day and night by land, sea and air.

PRODUCTS IN DETAIL Stamp Set with Carrier Card
Price: £3.78 Code: ZS042P&G-Transport-Carrier-Card

First Day Cover Inland (Tallents House Handstamp)
Price: £5.02 Code: ZF022P&G-Heritage-Transport-TH-FDC

First Day Cover Inland (Alternative Handstamp)
Price: £5.02 Code: ZF022
The alternative handstamp location Letters, Gavre has been chosen based on its name.P&G-Heritage-Transport-FDC

Filler Card
Price: 30p Code: ZE020P&G-Heritage-Transport-Filler-Card

Post & Go Stamps Royal Mail Heritage: Transport

  • Number of stamps: Six
  • Date of issue: 17th February 2016
  • Design: Howard Brown
  • Illustrations: Andrew Davidson
  • Acknowledgements: The Post boy illustration based on an image courtesy of The British Postal Museum and Archive.
    Carrier design Godfrey Design Words Julian Stray Acknowledgements all images © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016, courtesy of The British Postal Museum and Archive, except The Mail Arriving at Temple Bar photo © Guildhall Library & Art Gallery/Heritage Images/Getty Images Card design © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016
  • Printer: International Security Printers
  • Process: Gravure
  • Format: Landscape
  • Size: 56mm x 25mm
  • Perforations: Die-cut simulated
  • Phosphor: Bars as appropriate
  • Gum: Self-adhesive

P&G-HT-Post-Boy-stampAs overprinted by Post & Go machine: Post boy, 1640s. Post boys could be of almost any age and carried messages between relay points some 20 miles (32km) apart, the distance a horse could travel at speed before being replaced. Post boys kept to time and carried a horn, blown periodically, to warn of their approach.

P&G-HT-Mail-CoachAs overprinted by Post & Go machine: Mail coach, 1790s. The first mail coach ran between Bristol and London on 2 August 1784. At the time, coaches were among the swiftest vehicles on the road. The only postal employee on board was the heavily armed mail guard. The last London-based mail coach ran in April 1846.

P&G-HT-Falmouth-packet-shipAs overprinted by Post & Go machine: Falmouth packet ship, 1820s. The earliest packet ships were designed for speed rather than security and were subject to many hazards, including poor seas and the possibility of being attacked by pirates. Falmouth became an important port for ships sailing to the West Indies and the Mediterranean.

P&G-HT-Travelling-POAs overprinted by Post & Go machine: Travelling Post Office, 1890s . The first purpose-built Travelling Post Office (TPO), in which mail was sorted en route, ran on 20 January 1838. Many of the trains exchanged mail pouches without stopping via trackside bag exchange apparatus. The last exchange took place in 1971. Today, mail still travels in sealed train carriages.

P&G-HT-AirmailAs overprinted by Post & Go machine: Airmail, 1930s. The world’s first scheduled airmail service began on 9 September 1911. The use of airplanes for long-distance transport of mail increased significantly during the 1920s and 1930s. Originally intended for Imperial Airways’ European mail routes, HP 45 G-AAXE Hengist first flew on 8 December 1931.

P&G-HT-RM-Minivan-stampAs overprinted by Post & Go machine: Royal Mail Minivan, 1970s. Minivans were purchased in large numbers in the 1970s following the demise of the Morris Minor. They were ideal for smaller collection and delivery duties in towns, but low height and limited ground clearance made them less suitable for rural deliveries.

Post & Go stamps are available from self-service machines in main Post Offices. The first Post & Go stamps to feature pictorial designs were introduced in 2010. The Royal Mail Heritage: Transport set is the first in a series of Post & Go stamps to explore the transportation of mail, to be continued in 2017. For more information, please visit

  • Number of stamps six
  • Date of issue 17 February 2016
  • Design Howard Brown
  • Illustrations Andrew Davidson
  • Acknowledgements the post boy illustration based on an image courtesy of The British Postal Museum and Archive Printer International Security Printers Stamp designs © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016 Carrier design Godfrey Design Words Julian Stray Acknowledgements all images © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016, courtesy of The British Postal Museum and Archive, except The Mail Arriving at Temple Bar photo © Guildhall Library & Art Gallery/Heritage Images/Getty Images Card design © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016P&G-Transport-Carrier-Card

Further details about British postage stamps and philatelic facilities may be obtained from: Royal Mail, FREEPOST, Edinburgh EH12 9PE or visit our website: Royal Mail and the Cruciform are registered Trade Marks of Royal Mail Group Ltd © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.

To send any feedback on the design and content of this product, please email the following address:

Call for Volunteers at World Stamp Show-NY2016

wsslogoPreparations for World Stamp Show – New York 2016 are very advanced. This includes the recruitment of volunteers for the show. In total, about 500 volunteers will be required.

Volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are experts in their areas of philately, but most are intermediate or beginning collectors. Some are even non-collectors (typically spouses or other family members of collectors attending NY 2016).

But whatever your background, it is almost guaranteed that there is a volunteer position to match your talents and interests. These include Exhibit Mounters, Literature Room Librarians, Show Admission Specialists, Foreign Language Translators, and Information Booth Greeters. Overall, there are over 50 different types of volunteer positions.

Complete information on volunteering can be found on the WSS-NY2016 website, To sign-up, just click on the link to the Volunteer Application Form and fill in your name, contact info, any special skills or abilities you have, and what positions you would be interested in. Then hit the submit button. The NY 2016 Volunteer Committee will respond within a few days.

Questions or comments may be directed to the Volunteer Chairman at

Stamps Celebrate Royal Mail’s 500th Anniversary

[press release]

Royal Mail 500
Issue Date: 17th February 2016 rm500set
REASON & INSPIRATIONIn 2016, Royal Mail celebrates 500 years of operating a regular, organised postal service. We have marked this historic landmark by telling the story of how a formal postal network was established and expanded to ensure efficient movement of communications.


  • rm500packetStamps (3*1st & 3*1.52) separate sheets £6.45
  • Miniature Sheet (2*1st & 2*1.33) £3.92
  • FDC Stamps £8.22
  • FDE Stamps £0.30
  • FDC Miniature Sheet £5.18
  • FDE Miniature Sheet £0.30
  • Non Personalised Stamp FDC £8.22
  • Non Personalised Miniature sheet FDC £5.18
  • Presentation Pack £10.90
  • Stamp Cards (11 in set) £4.95

Please Note: the following products will be issued on 18th February 2016

  • Royal Mail 500 Prestige Stamp Book (inc. 1st Class Penny Red from 175th Anniv. Generic Sheet) £16.36
  • Royal Mail PSB FDC (inc. 1st Class Penny Red from 175th Anniv. Generic Sheet) £6.53
  • PSB FDE £0.30
  • 175th Anniversary of the Penny Red Generic Sheet £13.10
  • 175th Anniversary of the Penny Red Stamp book £3.78

Complementary products
RM500 miniature sheet with Stampex overprint in pack. Serially numbered limited edition of 7500. Only available at Stampex.

RM500 miniature sheet stamp card with Stampex overprint. Serially numbered Limited edition 3000. Only available at Stampex.

Stamp Set

  • 1st Class Sir Brian Tuke: Foreground Sir Brian Tuke, c.1527-8 or c.1532-34. Background Letter from Brian Tsuke to Cromwell (BPMA)
  • rm500pillar1st Class Packetship: ‘Mail Packet off Eastbourne’ Oil on canvas by Capt Victor Howes, RN. Image courtesy of the BPMA
  • 1st Class Penfold Pillar Box: Foreground Penfold Pillar Box (BPMA). Background Letter written by Anthony Trollope proposing pillar boxes in St Peter’s Port, Guernsey, 19 December 1851 (BPMA)
  • £1.52 Riverpost Girl: Image courtesy of the IWM
  • £1.52 Mailcoach: Foreground Mailcoach (BPMA). Background Letter from John Palmer re introduction of Mail Coaches in Portsmouth (BPMA)
  • £1.52 Medway Mail Centre: The recently opened £70 million mail centre which replaced four sites based in Kent. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

First Day Cover Inland (Tallents House Handstamp) rm500fdc

Price: £8.22 Code: AF402
The Tallents House handstamp features a map of the UK with the six great post roads highlighted.
First Day Cover Inland (Alternative Handstamp)
Price: £8.22 Code: AF402
The alternative handstamp features a quote from Brian Tuke (who was appointed to the role of Master of the Posts in 1516) and London WC1 has been chosen as it is the location of the British Postal Museum & Archive/The Postal Museum

First Day Envelope Price: 30p Code: AE358

Miniature Sheet FDC
rm500sheetfdcPrice: £3.92 Code: MZ114
First Day Cover Inland (Tallents House Handstamp)
Price: £5.18 Code: MF113
The Tallents House handstamp features a map of the UK with the six great post roads highlighted.

First Day Cover (Alternative Handstamp)
Price: £5.18 Code: MF113
rm500tukeThe alternative handstamp features a quote from Brian Tuke (who was appointed to the role of Master of the Posts in 1516) and London WC1 has been chosen as it is the location of the British Postal Museum & Archive/The Postal Museum

First Day Envelope Price: 30p Code: ME111

Whatever Happened to Mom’s Collection?

mom2000My mother, Sally de Vries, passed away on February 9, 2016, after a battle with cancer. She was two weeks short of her 89th birthday.

Both my parents were stamp collectors; my father was the more serious of the two. I never asked whether Mom collected before she met and married Dad. I do know her brother made a point of using the latest commemoratives on his law office mail, so there was at least some interesting in stamps elsewhere in the family.

Several years before she died, Mom gave me her stamp collection. It was nearly all mint U.S. plate blocks. Experienced collectors — whether their specialties include U.S. late 20th century or not — know that owners are lucky to get face value for such collections. A few issues are worth a premium, the rest, much, much less.

Mom told me to take care of her collection, because it was worth a lot of money. I said something noncommittal, and put away the collection. She also said that about a number of other collectibles she had. A few weeks before she died, she said my father’s violin was a valuable instrument and I should have it insured.

I pointed out that I had it on display in my office, but one of the last times Dad tried to play it, in the 1970s, the bridge broke off. That’s the piece that holds the strings away from the instrument’s body. Instead of taking it to a repair shop, he glued it back in place himself. The next time he took it out, it broke off again. As far as I know, he never tried to play it again. Unless it says “Stradivarius” inside, the baggage labels on the case from his trip away from the Holocaust are probably worth more than the violin inside.

Everything Mother had, though, was “valuable” and a collectible. Some may actually be so.

(I don’t think Dad’s collection, mostly used stamps from the Low Countries mounted in albums, is worth much either. I said “more serious,” not “serious.” But I mean to check one of these days.)

However, a year or so after she gave me her collection, I bought a discount postage lot. Those are mint U.S. stamps that are still valid for postage (every U.S. stamp since 1861) that dealers have gleaned from collections, and sold to mailers at a discount off face value. For my Dragon Cards FDC sales, I use a fair amount of discount postage. My “flats” (large envelopes) require extra postage, and certainly anything going outside the U.S. does.

Not only does discount postage save me money, but my customers and other collectors receiving mail from me appreciate the older stamps.

As I went through that discount postage lot, I realized that nearly every issue in it was in my mother’s collection, and vice versa. At some point, that was going to be the fate of Mom’s stamps, whether I sold it or my heirs did: Discount postage.

So I cut out the middleman, and the next time I needed more postage, I used Mom’s stamps. They made me happy, they made some of the people receiving my mail happy and, if the stamps were clipped off the mail for donation to stamp charities, they will make those collectors happy, too.

I never told Mom, though.

If she finds out now and gives me a tongue-lashing, it’ll be worth it.

World War I Black Unit (Canada 2016)

[press release]
Stamp honours Black Canadian unit in First World War
Battalion’s men volunteered and served in face of prejudice

can_wwiunitOTTAWA, Feb. 1, 2016 /CNW/ – With their country going to war in 1914, Black Canadians stepped forward to join the fight but many were turned away because of racial prejudice. By persevering, they finally won the right to serve overseas, with hundreds of them joining a new, predominantly black unit.

Today, 100 years after the No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed, Canada Post is honouring its determined soldiers on a new stamp that marks Black History Month.

The stamp uses archival photographs in the foreground to depict the faces of some members of the unit, who represent their comrades. Below, against a backdrop of tall conifers, members of a forestry crew move in silhouette, their tools on their shoulders. The men felled trees in a mountainous region of France, then milled the timbers into lumber that supported the walls of trenches, built encampments and repaired the railway lines and roads that supplied the front.

They worked 10 hours a day, six days a week, using hand tools. Living and working conditions were harsh. They endured some segregation: their sleeping quarters were separate from those of white soldiers, as was the hospital wing where they received medical treatment, but they ate meals with white comrades. While most never saw combat, some died from pneumonia or other diseases.

“The Battalion’s creation is a story of persistence in the face of adversity,” says The Honourable Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurements, responsible for Canada Post Corporation. “They helped to pave the way for later generations of Black men and women to enjoy equal status in our army, navy and air force.”

“Their determination to serve and their contribution to the war effort were an important step on the journey to racial equality in this country,” says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO, Canada Post. “We are proud to highlight this little-known aspect of Canadians’ participation in that epic conflict.”

When the First World War broke out in August 1914, military recruiting offices were flooded with men eager to serve in a war that many thought would be over by Christmas. But Black Canadians who tried to enlist needed permission from the local regiment’s commanding officer. It was rarely granted.

By 1916, Canada had been at war for two years and began to face a growing manpower shortage. Black Canadians had continued to pressure the government to allow them to serve. In response, the No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed to recruit Black Canadians from across the country. Hundreds joined up, primarily from Nova Scotia, but also many others from Ontario, New Brunswick, Western Canada, and Quebec, as well as more than 160 recruits from the United States. They sailed overseas in the spring of 1917.

All of its officers, including the colonel who commanded the unit, were white – except one. The Reverend William White, the son of former slaves from Virginia, was a distinguished graduate of Acadia University and an influential pastor who spoke out against segregation in Nova Scotia. As the unit’s chaplain, he was given the rank of Honorary Captain, becoming one of the Army’s very few Black officers.

About the stamp
can_wwiunitThe No. 2 Construction Battalion stamp measures 32 mm x 32 mm and uses lithography in six colours. Lowe-Martin has printed the stamps, which are available in booklets of 10. The booklet’s cover and a first day of issue special envelope feature the unit’s badge. The stamps were illustrated by Dennis Budgen, use a photograph from the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia and were designed by Lara Minja (Lime Design of Victoria). The Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Pictou, N.S., site of the Battalion’s first headquarters.

To purchase philatelic products, please visit

Wrong Rate Postcard?

Sure seems that way. The current postcard rate within the U.S. is 35 cents. Yet this picture postcard from my wife’s friend in Boston, from the Museum of Fine Arts, is clearly postmarked in January 2016 with a 21¢ stamp. (I’ve removed the address, but, trust me, it went through the mail.)wrongrate1

U.N. Scott Catalogue Numbers (February 2016)

United Nations – New York
1116 49¢ End Violence Against Children
1117 $1.20 End Violence Against Children
1118 $1.20 United Nations, 70th Anniv. + label
1119 49¢ United Nations, 70th Anniv. – General Assembly Hall
1120 49¢ United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Visitors Lobby
a. Pair, #1119-1120
1121 $1.20 United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Security Council
1122 $1.20 United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Woodrow Wilson Reading Room of Dag Hammarskjold Library
a. Pair, #1121-1122
1123 $1.20 General Assembly Hall souvenir sheet
1124 UNESCO, 70th Anniv. + label

United Nations – Geneva
604 1fr End Violence Against Children
605 1.40fr End Violence Against Children
606 Souvenirs of Geneva Sheet of 10 + 10 labels
a. 1.40fr Balcony above auditorium Seats + label
b. 1.40fr Flags + label
c. 1.40fr Spiral staircase + label
d. 1.40fr Stylized horned mammal + label
e. 1.40fr Painting of trees + label
f. 1.40fr Auditorium seats facing stage with dais + label
g. 1.40fr Side view of auditorium seats + label
h. 1.40fr United Nations emblem + label
i. 1.40fr Armillary sphere + label
j. 1.40fr Palais des Nations and flowers + label
607 1fr United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Visitors Lobby
608 1fr United Nations, 70th Anniv. – ECOSOC Chamber
a. Pair, #607-608
609 1.90fr United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Façade of Secretariat
610 1.90fr United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Chairs in ECOSOC Chamber
a. Pair, #609-610
611 1.40fr United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Visitors Lobby souvenir sheet

United Nations – Vienna
570 68c End Violence Against Children
571 80c End Violence Against Children
572 80c United Nations, 70th Anniv. – ECOSOC Chamber
573 80c United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Trusteeship Council
a. Pair, #572-573
574 €1.70 United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Visitors Lobby
575 €1.70 United Nations, 70th Anniv. – General Assembly Hall
a. Pair, #574-575
576 €1.70 United Nations, 70th Anniv. – Trusteeship Council souvenir sheet
577 80c United Nations, 70th Anniv. + label