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Thursday, November 30, 2006

County Stamp Center Offers Exciting New Cetacean Conservation Stamp

You won't want to miss this exciting new category at County Stamp Center, and it's on sale for the holidays! Issued by Monaco, it's the ACCOBAMS 1996-2006 Dolphins & Whale Conservation stamp. Click the post title to order this wonderful sheet of 6 stamps. Just enter coupon # MON2006 when you order to get the special price of only $12.41 and we'll even throw in free shipping! (A single stamp is also offered for only $2.07; just enter Accobams in the search feature on our website.)

ACCOBAMS is the acronym for the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area (click the link to visit their website). Signed on November 24, 1996, the agreement binds 20 European/Mediterranean countries in a long-term effort to conserve and study the dwindling cetacean population -- primarily dolphins and whales -- of the Mediterranean and Black seas. A strong advocate and financial supporter of the effort, the Principality of Monaco issued the ACCOBAMS stamp to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the agreement.

"Porpoises, dolphins and whales of many kinds abounded in the Black and Mediterranean seas when humans arrived and for millennia thereafter. Over the last few centuries and especially the 19th and 20th, however, the numbers and range of these aquatic mammals have dwindled as a result of human actions -- in some cases deliberate and in some cases accidental," according to the ACCOBAMS website.

ACCOBAMS works to conserve marine biodiversity in the Black and Mediterranean seas, reduce threats to cetaceans in those waters, and improve our knowledge of these animals. Appropriately, during the November meeting of the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS in Monaco, an unexpected guest arrived to express its support. To the delight of the participants, a young fin whale appeared in the arm of sea right in front of the auditorium!

County Stamp Center is honored to offer the first stamp issued in support of this important international effort to conserve whales and dolphins. Visit our website for more stamps featuring these beautiful creatures. Just use our unique search feature to find stamps by category, key word or Scott catalog number. Sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly e-mail bulletins alerting you to new issues like the ACCOBAMS stamp, special offers, sales and contests. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Amazing Emperor Penguins March to the Beat of Their Own Drum

With their funny gait, tuxedo coloring, and agile underwater acrobatics, penguins hold a special fascination for us landlubbers. The unusual sheetlet of six stamps from the French Antarctic (right) commemorates the Emperor Penguin, the tallest (nearly 3 feet) and heaviest (about 75 pounds) of all living penguin species. (Click the post title for more information and to order this interesting stamp issue.)

The Emperor Penguin is the only one that breeds during the brutal winter in Antarctica, according to an article on Wikipedia (click the link to read the article). Social animals, Emperors forage and nest in groups and have an average lifespan of 20 years, reaching maturity at 5 years. While they generally feed on krill and small fish found under the sea ice at depths of about 150 feet, Emperors are capable of diving to depths of 500 to 800 feet and staying underwater for 20 minutes at a time. Their typical swimming speed is 4 to 6 mph but they can achieve short bursts of up to 12 mph.

Last year the film March of the Penguins documented the amazing lengths to which Emperor Penguins go to procreate. Each March at the beginning of the Antarctic winter, mature Emperors embark on a 60-mile journey to their breeding grounds deep on the desolate ice sheet. Alternately walking with their peculiar wobbling gait and sliding over the ice propelled by feet and flippers, their numbers form a single file line from horizon to horizon as they approach the nesting site atop the thickest part of the ice sheet, far from predators.

Perhaps most amazing is that each penguin will make this long, brutal journey four times. After laying her egg, females take the long march back to the open sea to feed, returning to the nesting site about two months later to feed the chick. The males stay behind for the duration of the harsh winter to incubate the one-pound egg in a special brood pouch atop their feet. They huddle together by the hundreds during storms for warmth, rotating so that each has a turn in the warmer middle of the pack. Temperatures are typically a frigid -40 F. with fierce 120 mph winds. When the mother returns, the father marches back to the sea to feed, returning in a few weeks to help feed and care for the chick. His journey is not as long as the pack ice begins to melt as summer approaches, bringing the sea's edge miles closer to the nesting grounds. Once the chick has grown its feathers, the family marches back to the sea to feed for the rest of the summer. The delightful 5-stamp series pictured (above, left) features photographs of Emperor Penguin family life. Click the link to order this charming issue from the Ross Dependencies.

County Stamp Center is pleased to offer these and many other stamps commemorating penguins. Global warming is causing the shrinking of the polar ice sheets and the breeding grounds of cold-adapted penguins like the Emperors are at increasing risk. The unfortunate day may come when our only memories of these incredible birds are captured on film, in photographs and on stamps. Visit the County Stamp Center website to view our complete collection of penguin stamps. Just enter "penguin" in our unique search feature. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Majestic Deer Subject of Canada/Ireland Joint Issue

Deer season started today and hunters took to the woods in force, pitting themselves against the elements and each other in hopes of bagging one of hunting's most prized trophies. While I understand the necessity of culling the herds to maintain a healthy deer population, I prefer to do my hunting through a camera lens. The sight of these majestic animals is always thrilling. There is nothing so exciting as driving along in the early morning when the fog still drifts along the frosty ground and spying a doe grazing along the edge of a meadow. Her head jerks up warily, her ears twitch, her body tenses, poised for flight until you pass.

In the Rocky Mountains a few years ago, peering through binoculars, we watched in awe as a massive, well-pointed buck thrashed his antlers against a tree, scraping off the velvet in preparation for rutting season. Later during that trip we thrilled to the sight of elk herds thundering down the hill and across the road right in front of us. It was a small taste of what much of America must have been like only a century or two ago.

The majesty and beauty of that time is captured in a beautifully rendered series of wildlife stamps, the Biosphere Reserves, jointly issued by Canada and Ireland (click the post title to view the entire collection). County Stamp Center is pleased to offer this stunning collection, as well as many other beautifully drawn or photographed stamps that pay homage to our world's wildlife. Many of the stamps we offer honor various conservation or protection agencies. Visit our website to view hundreds of wildlife stamp issues and select your favorites to add to your collection. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

In Camelot There Reigned a Mighty King

Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? Captured in all its brutality on television, the assassination of the President on November 22, 1963 shocked the nation. It was such a defining moment in American history that most people vividly remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the tragic news.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy served as 35th President of the United States from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Narrowly beating Richard Nixon, he was one of the youngest presidents and only Roman Catholic to date. His years in office were marred by the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the early events of the Vietnam War, according to Wikipedia. But at the time, those were not the events that defined the Kennedy presidency. Kennedy brought a new hope, a vibrancy, a youthfulness to the White House that was quickly embraced by young Americans, the formidable leading edge of the Baby Boomer phenomenon. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," reverberated with young Americans. Kennedy became an icon for a new generation of Americans and American aspirations. He urged us to spread peace by teaching others to help themselves and we joined the Peace Corps. He reached for the stars and we gladly followed, eventually landing a man on the moon. He embraced Civil Rights and we marched with Dr. King.

With his beautiful wife Jackie at his side and two small children playing underfoot, new life and vigor effused the White House. The President seemed more like one of us, coping with the same family pressures we did as he played with his children in the Rose Garden. Under Jackie's guidance, the White House became a place where culture and intellect were celebrated. White House affairs included the world's great thinkers and entertainers.

The Kennedy White House was likened to Camelot where enlightenment and joy reigned for a few short years. Despite the brevity of his service and the paucity of political accomplishments, Kennedy represented an idealistic time in America's history and is considered by many to be one of the most influential people of the 20th Century. He touched the hearts and souls of a nation, infused our youth with a spirit of mission and zeal, and seemed to embody all the best that was America. As Adlai Stevenson said after Kennedy's assassination, "all of us...will bear the grief of his death until the day of ours."

County Stamp Center offers many stamps commemorating the life of President Kennedy. Among them is the beautiful stamp shown above, issued by the Central African Republic. (Click the post title to order.) Visit our website to view additional stamps that pay tribute to John F. Kennedy and his presidency. Use our unique search feature to find what you want by category, key word, or Scott catalog number. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Avoid the Crowds, Shop Online at County Stamp Center

Happy Thanksgiving from all your friends at County Stamp Center. At our house it's a good thing the fridge is packed with delicious leftovers because everyone is off to the malls. My spouse informed me that there will be no cooking until after the weekend sales end! If you can't pull it out of the fridge and pop it in the microwave, it's not being served in this house!

Since I don't particularly enjoy the endless circling for a parking space, the constant jabbing and jostling of mall mobs, the interminable waiting in line for cranky salespeople, I have elected to forgo the excitement of holiday shopping and stay home to keep the dog company. I plan to crank up the computer and take care of my holiday shopping from the comforting depths of my favorite armchair. The snacks are close at hand. The house is blissfully quiet. I can keep an eye on the football game. I may even succumb to a well-deserved nap! It's a tough job, but I think I'm equal to the task. I don't know about the dog, though; he's already in snooze mode!

If, like me, you prefer to do your holiday shopping in your slippers with a cup of coffee and a turkey sandwich at your elbow, surf on over to the County Stamp Center website. You'll find great stamps for everyone on your gift list and you'll love our prices. Check out our specials like this gorgeous British Indian Ocean birds definitive issued in 2004. This complete set of 12 mint stamps featuring tropical birds and sea birds in their natural habitats will thrill collectors. Pictured birds include egret, tern, booby and heron, each drawn with exquisite detail and richly colored. A November special, County Stamp Center offers this beautiful set at a special price of only $35.50, quite a savings over the 2007 Scott Catalogue value of $43.25 -- and shipping is free! Just click the post title to order for that special someone on your gift list.

Visit County Stamp center for all your philatelic needs. We have something for everyone on your list and we're only a click away! Happy shopping!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wild Turkey Surprise!

A few summers back the family took a trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We had been hiking along the Appalachian Trail in the midst of scrub and tall grass, the children running up ahead. Suddenly there was a flurry of brown feathers and a huge bird rose into the air. In an instant it was gone, hidden again in the brush. It was my first sighting of a wild turkey. Later as we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we saw two more, possibly a hen and a tom, scuffling in the underbrush along the road. Their feathers a mottled brown, the birds looked somewhat like giant pheasants and not at all like the domesticated turkeys that grace the Thanksgiving dinner table. We stopped and watched from the car while they pecked around at the ground near the top of a small hillock. The click of the camera shutter must have spooked them because they suddenly fled over the rise and were gone.

The wild turkey is indigenous to both North and Central America, where it was domesticated by the Mayans. Early European explorers to America incorrectly identified the turkey with the African Helmeted Guineafowl, also known as the turkey-cock for its importation to Central Europe through Turkey, hence the name. (Read the article on Wikipedia.)

The wild turkey -- pavo in Castilian Spanish -- is one of the native birds featured on the beautifully drawn 3-stamp commemorative from Bolivia shown above. (Click the post title to order.) County Stamp Center offers stamps for every interest at excellent prices. Visit our website to see what's new and check out our specials. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thank a Volunteer Today

Red Cross workers, Scout leaders, museum docents, Little League coaches ... Everyone knows a volunteer and their efforts make our world a nicer place. Today is National Family Volunteer Day and a good day to thank the volunteers that impact your life. Championed by the Points of Light Foundation, this year joined by the Walt Disney Co., the Saturday before Thanksgiving has been designated a day to strengthen family ties through community service.

Volunteering is an experience as rewarding for the giver as the recipient. Volunteers are the silent backbone supporting our schools, hospitals, zoos, museums, libraries, community centers -- all the institutions that form the backdrop of our lives. You'll find them teaching Cub Scouts how to build a campfire, serving dinner to the homeless, vaccinating children, teaching immigrants the basics of English, sheltering hurricane victims, leading tours at historical sites, fighting forest fires, greeting weary travelers at airports, and so much more.

To honor volunteers, Bulgaria has issued the joyous stamp pictured (click the post title to order). Visit County Stamp Center's website to find the perfect stamp to honor your volunteer -- maybe a World Cup stamp for the soccer coach, a Boy Scout stamp for the scout master, World Wildlife Fund stamps for the zoo docent. Use our unique search feature to find what you want by category, key word or Scott catalog number. From all of us here at County Stamp Center to all the volunteers out there -- THANK YOU!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mint Collections on Lindner Hingeless Pages Now Available at Huge Savings

We've just added an important new category for avid philatelists. You can now save up to 75% on worldwide mint collections mounted on Lindner hingeless pages when you order from County Stamp Center. Collections available include all mint European, Scandinavian and Middle East collections. (Click the post title to view the many collections available.) At County Stamp Center we offer these comprehensive collections at an incredible savings for a mere fraction of their Scott Catalogue value.

When you visit our website don't forget to enter County Stamp Center's November contest. Sign up and you could win a deluxe mint sheet album, a $67 value. The most luxurious mint sheet album available anywhere, this album features deluxe padding on a heavy-duty 3-ring binder and includes 20 heavyweight, crystal-clear, black-back, 2-sided plastic pages. Entering couldn't be easier. Just visit our contest page, enter your name and e-mail address, and wait to see if you're this month's winner. Contest deadline is midnight, Eastern time, on Thursday, November 30. If you don't win, you can still purchase this beautiful album from County Stamp Center. Visit our website to see our complete selection of albums and philatelic supplies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Unique Stamp Explodes with Glittering Swarovski Crystals

Exploding with glittering Swarovski crystals, this unique fireworks stamp is sure to elicit oohs and aahs from collectors. County Stamp Center's featured new item for November, this exquisite 2-stamp sheet is issued jointly by Austria and Hong Kong. Each sheet is sold in a folder with a certificate of authenticity verifying that the crystals attached to the stamps are actual Crystal Fabrics, an invention of the Austrian Swarovski company known the world over for its Swarovski crystals. This incredibly beautiful commemorative is available from County Stamp Center for only $14.25 with free shipping. Click the post title to order the Austrian issue. Click the link to order the joint Hong Kong issue available for only $20.73 with free shipping.

County Stamp Center is your first source for unique and interesting stamps. Visit our website today to peruse our vast offerings. While you're there, sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep abreast of special offerings and sales. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today Is a Day to Thank Our Veterans

Pin on a bright red poppy, today the United States celebrates Veterans' Day. There will be parades of soldiers marching in close formation, patriotic speeches will ring in the air, and wreaths will be laid at the foot of memorial obelisks.

On Veterans' Day we honor the men and women who have fought for freedom under our flag. The fight for freedom has taken them to the far corners of the world: Europe, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and now Iraq. They have fought with courage to champion the American ideals of freedom and democracy.

Today is a day to put aside politics and honor the men and women who have bravely served in our country's name. Stand tall and place your hand over your heart when the honor guard passes by at the parade today, the flag snapping in the breeze. Clap loudly and cheer when the vets walk by in the varied uniforms of different wars. Bow your head and say a prayer for those who died or are still missing. Walk up to a vet, shake his hand and say thank you. Today is a day to remember the men and women who have fought for America and thank our veterans for their courage, their sacrifice, and their service to our country.

County Stamp Center is grateful to our veterans. We are honored to carry stamps commemorating our veterans and the wars in which they fought. The 4-stamp sheetlet pictured was issued by Grenada to commemorate Operation Iraqi Freedom. (To see other stamps commemorating the war in Iraq, click the post title.) Visit our website to view other stamps honoring our veterans. Use our handy search feature to find stamps by category, key word or Scott catalog number. To all our veterans, County Stamp Center offers our heartfelt thanks.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On the Wings of War: Documentary on Warplanes Airs Tonight

From the first flimsy wooden planes of World War I to the sleek unmanned drones of today, the documentary Warplane chronicles the role of aviation in combat. The show airs at 9 p.m. (Eastern) tonight and next Wednesday, November 8 and 15, on your local PBS station. Narrated by actor Stacy Keach, this engrossing program features archival film, new footage of vintage planes in flight, and film of craftsmen re-creating the Wright brothers early planes from their original plans, reports Kathy Blumenstock of the Washington Post (click the link to read her entire review).
"The Wrights invented the plane in 1903, but only 11 years after Kitty Hawk, in the first months of World War I, airplanes not only shaped the war but triggered a series of cascading events," said senior Pentagon adviser and former Air Force historian Richard Hallion, who is interviewed in the program. "There was a profound military effect. With air reconnaissance, commanders realized very quickly they had to deny the skies to the enemy. War had become three-dimensional."

Ironically, and much to the Wright brothers early disappointment, the U.S. government expressed no interest in their invention. The Wrights had "always believed their plane would be valuable to the military," said John Morrow, an aviation historian at the University of Georgia, in the documentary. "They ended up dismantling it and putting it away until they had made enough contacts to go to Europe and fly."

Executive producer Jared Lipworth expressed awe at the many small inventions that over the past 100 years have dramatically changed the scope of combat aviation. His favorite, when aviators "went from shooting each other with shotguns as they went by, to using mounted machine guns that were synchronized by propeller." The 2-part documentary traces such early combat improvements, the invention of the jet engine, and the development of computer avionics, as well as the influence of aviation on other inventions, including radar.

Part of the delight of the program is its portrayal of the romantic element that accompanied the shift to aerial warfare. As Morrow explained during his interview, "There is this notion of the knights of the air, this culture of aviation that seizes people. It's been romanticized, how these young men, not yet out of their teens, flew these planes that are fragile and flimsy, topping speeds of 110 mph."

You can share in the history and romance of aircraft development through stamps. County Stamp Center offers a wide selection of commemorative stamps featuring military and other aircraft. Click the post title to order the the 4-stamp sheetlet pictured. Part of a 4-sheetlet set issued by Liberia to celebrate a century of aviation, this handsomely rendered Military Airpower sheetlet features pictures of the Wright brothers and four warplanes in flight. To view other aircraft stamps, use the handy search feature on our website. You can search by key word, category or Scott catalog number. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs and remember to tune in next Wednesday for Part 2 of the fascinating documentary Warplane.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Unique 'Fan' Stamp Issued by Singapore

If you favor unusual stamps, you'll want to add this novel 5-stamp commemorative to your collection. Issued by Singapore, the unique wedge shape of this stamp will make it stand out in any collection. Honoring the Singapore Chamber of Commerce, the stamps feature floral designs and drawings of well-known Singapore buildings. Together, the 5 stamps appear to mimic the blades of an elaborate Chinese fan.

County Stamp Center has many unusual stamps and first day covers available on our website. To purchase the pictured Singapore fan stamps, click the post title. At County Stamp Center you can find all kinds of stamps to suit every interest, whether you're an experienced collector or a novice starting your first collection. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hey there, Pilgrim

"Sorry don't get it done, Dude." John Wayne lived his life the same way he shot his 6-gun, straight and true. Epitomizing the iconic American hero, The Duke was America's favorite cowboy. An Academy Award winning actor, John Wayne began his film career in the silent movies of the 1920s, reigning as one of America's most popular movie stars from the 1940s through the 1970s. Most famous for his westerns and World War II epics, Wayne epitomized a certain kind of rugged individualistic masculinity that made ladies swoon and men line up to follow.

"I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved." Born Marion Morrison in 1907 to poor Scotch-Irish parents, Wayne's family moved from Iowa to Glendale, California in 1911. Neighbors "started calling him 'Big Duke' because he never went anywhere without his Airdale Terrier, who was Little Duke," according to Wikipedia. It was a moniker that stuck with him for life.

"I've always followed my father's advice," Wayne said during an interview. "He told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble."

Wayne attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship until a swimming injury forced him to quit the team and drop out for lack of funds. In exchange for football tickets, western star Tom Mix had gotten Wayne a job in the prop department of a local film studio for $35 a week. "Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much." In 1930 Wayne got his big break starring in The Big Trail, the first western sound motion picture. Director Raoul Walsh gave him the stage name "John Wayne" after Revolutionary War general "Mad Anthony" Wayne. Nine years later, his performance in Stagecoach made Wayne a major star. During his career, he played the male lead in an incredible 142 films.

"Line 'em up and head em north, Pilgrim." From 1928 through the early 1960s, Wayne appeared in more than 20 John Ford films -- mostly westerns and war films -- leading his fans to claim he'd been in more death scenes than any other actor. Some say he had more screen lives than a whole herd of cats!

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." A heavy smoker, Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964 but remained active onscreen, winning the 1969 Best Actor Oscar for his performance in True Grit. He played his final role in The Shootist in 1976. Wayne died of stomach cancer in 1979.

In 1975, nearing the end of his career, as Rooster Cogburn Wayne seemed to sum up his life: "Well, my tail feathers may droop a little, and my waddle show, but I can still out crow anything in the barn yard." Truer words were never spoken.

A truly unique tribute to an American icon, County Stamp Center is please to offer the John Wayne first day covers created in 2004. Featuring 5 colorful portraits of The Duke in some of his most famous roles, all cachets are individually hand drawn, hand painted, numbered and signed. The envelopes are handmade from 100% cotton paper. The stamp is part of the Legends of Hollywood series issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Click the post title to view and order all 5 of these exceptional first day covers honoring John Wayne. Visit the County Stamp Center website to view first day covers of other Hollywood legends.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Give Peace A Chance

Veteran's Day is next week when we remember the valiant men and women who have fought for our country. I wonder if there has ever been a year when war was not raging in some part of the world? Given mankind's violent nature and the perverse allure of political power, I doubt it. Our country's men and women may not have been bleeding on the battlefield, but I'm sure someone's children were. It is the hope of every generation that they spare their children the horrors of war, yet it is a hope never realized.

It is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit that the hope for peace perseveres. I suppose that is why I was so moved by the My Dream of Peace stamps issued by the United Nations. Beautifully colored, these children's drawings of the peace dove exude a sense of serenity and feeling of hope that lifts the spirit. County Stamp Center is proud to offer these charming drawings as either a commemorative 6-stamp set for $7.13 or an inscription block for $46.78. (Click the appropriate link to order.)

The yearning for peace is universal. Many countries have issued peace stamps and they are among some of the most beautiful and uplifting stamps produced. To view County Stamp Center's entire collection of peace stamps, click the post title. Or visit our website and type "peace" in the search feature. As long as we believe it possible, there is hope that our children may someday live in a world unified by peace.