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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Zimbabwe Commemorates Distinctive Native Rondavels

From the mists of Victoria Falls, nestled between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers in southern Africa lies Zimbabwe. Settled by the Bantu 2,000 years ago, it became the center of a vast Shona expire that stretched from the Kalahari Desert to the Indian Ocean. At its apex between the 11th and 15th centuries, the Munhumutapa Empire traded in gold, ivory and copper with the Arabs.

The Shona lived in round huts built of clay (daga) with thatched roofs. Villages were surrounded by thick grass or stick fences to protect from predators. The distinctive rondavels are still favored by natives and dot the modern countryside. County Stamp Center offers a number of uniquely illustrated stamps honoring the country of Zimbabwe. You can select from national heroes to picturesque train bridges to the charming native huts shown. (Click the post title to order.)

Visit the County Stamp Center website to browse our complete collection of stamps on every subject imaginable. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Check Out Our Newly Revised & Specially Priced US Classics

County Stamp Center offers some of the rarest, most sought-after early century US stamps at phenomenal prices. We have just revised our extraordinary selection of US Classics to include additional detail and multiple views. With new promotional pricing, you'll definitely want to take a look at our US Classics.

The Louisiana Purchase Expo mint set shown is just one of our US Classics offerings. The stamps were issued in conjunction with the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (also known as the St. Louis World's Fair) which celebrated the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson purchased approximately 828,00 square miles of territory from France, opening the west to American settlement and protecting vital Mississippi River shipping routes, as well as the port of New Orleans.

County Stamp Center offers a complete set of the 1904 expo issue, all 5 values extra fine grade and mint condition. Only one value is hinged, the others have never been hinged. We offer this exceptional issue for a fraction of its Scott catalog value. For additional views and to order, click the post title. Visit our website to take a look at our complete selection of US Classics, including the Battle of White Plains sheet, Columbian Expo singles and sets, Pan American Expo, and many more. Just click on US Classics in the Shop by Category drop-down box, or click the link.

When you visit County Stamp Center, you'll find our website easy to use. You'll appreciate our Quick Search feature whether you're looking for something in particular or just browsing. We offer you multiple ways to search: by category, keyword or Scott catalog number. It couldn't be easier! Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Battle of Trafalgar Signaled British Domination of the Seas

"England expects that every man will do his duty," signaled the flags at the start of the Battle of Trafalgar. On October 21, 1805, in the most significant naval battle of the Napoleonic Wars, Admiral Lord Nelson led the British fleet in the resounding defeat of an allied French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar on the southwestern coast of Spain.

Outnumbered and outgunned, Nelson led a fleet of 27 Royal Navy ships of the line in a daring attack on a combined French/Spanish fleet of 33 ships. Using unorthodox tactics, the British took 22 enemy vessels and lost none. The French never again attacked the British navy in force, and to this day French naval officers are not addressed as "sir."

Nelson's success reasserted Britain's unparallelled dominance of the seas, foiled Napoleon's plan to invade Britain, and established his own place as Britain's most revered naval hero. Mortally wounded by a musket ball in the heat of battle, Nelson died aboard his flagship the HMS Victory in the final hours of the battle.

County Stamp Center carries a wide variety of stamps issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the historic Battle of Trafalgar. The stamp pictured (click the post title to order) was issued by the Marshall Islands and depicts Nelson's flagship painted the distinctive black and yellow "Nelson Chequer." In preparation for the battle, Nelson ordered that the British ships be painted the unusual pattern to make them easy to distinguish from their opponents during battle, according to Wikipedia. You can find other stamps commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar by using our easy Quick Search feature (or click the link).

County Stamp Center offers a huge selection of stamps to suit every taste and interest; visit our website today. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Irreverent, ridiculous, always innovative, occasionally revolting, and sometimes downright silly, Monty Python redefined television comedy.

Starting as a wacky comedy sketch on British television, Monty Python became a cultural phenomenon spawning stage shows, films, albums, books, even a musical! Broadcast on the BBC from 1969 to 1974, the show pushed the boundaries of comedy -- and sometimes good taste -- using a stream-of-consciousness style that changed the face of sketch comedy. Linking a series of disparate sketches with surreal cartoons and graphics, the Pythons created an aura of irreverent chaos. The Python's bizarre brand of humor achieved cult status early on and continues to draw new audiences through the miracle of cable station reruns.

Do not adjust your set! The featured 6-stamp sheetlet depicts favorite scenes from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Click the post title for more information and to order. Whenever you're in need of a bit of silliness, visit the County Stamp Center website. Check out our Strange & Unusual category for stamps guaranteed to bring a smile. At County Stamp Center you'll find something for every taste and interest. Come to us for all your philatelic needs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Let It Snow!

In Arizona, there was snow on the desert cactus this week! It seems that after dawdling through an unusually warm December -- unless you live in Denver! -- winter has finally arrived with a bang!

Up until this week, weather forecasters were predicting this to be one of the warmest and driest winters on record. Of course, that was before blizzards dumped tons of snow across the country from the Rockies to the Atlantic. Now? Who knows? You might want to keep that snow blower gassed up!

With all the dire predictions of global warming, perhaps we should just curl up in front of a toasty fire and contemplate the beauty of snow while we still can. On one of its 2006 holiday stamps, the US Postal Service features stunning photographs of snow crystals. Taken by Kenneth Libbrecht, a physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, each photograph captures a unique crystalline formation.

Interestingly, snow crystals created in the laboratory are identical small hexagons. It is only in nature that each snowflake is a unique and complex crystal structure, no two alike. The snowflakes shown on the stamps were photographed in Michigan, Alaska and Ontario, Canada. Libbrecht used a digital camera attached to a specially designed microscope to capture the images. It must have been chilly work as the photographs had to be taken outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures so the crystals wouldn't melt. Click the post title for more information and to order.

If you like winter, County Stamp Center has a huge selection of stamps on winter sports and activities. Olympic winter sports stamps are particularly popular, and County Stamp Center carries issues from numerous Olympic venues. Visit our website to find stamps on your favorite winter activity. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Benjamin Franklin: Renaissance Man

One of our nation's founding fathers, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin was born 300 years ago on January 17, 1706. A true Renaissance man, Franklin was a leading author, politician, printer, scientist, philosopher, publisher, inventor, activist and diplomat--an American DaVinci.

George Washington may be the father of our country, but Benjamin Franklin is the father of American society. Well before the start of the Revolutionary War, he envisioned the united colonies. It was Franklin who spearheaded the effort to force the British Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act, setting the stage for the Revolutionary War. It was Franklin who secured the military and financial support of the French that spelled the turning point in the war. It was Franklin who, through his newspaper and activist writings, defined the goals and direction, the very heart and soul of the new American nation.

Reared in Boston, the 15th of 20 children, at the age of 12, Franklin was apprenticed to his brother James, a printer. At 17 he ran away to Philadelphia to seek his fortune. By the age of 24, he had set up his own printing house and began publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette, using it as a platform to advocate political reform and guide the formation of a new nation.

Though he had little formal schooling, Franklin possessed an avid curiosity and was a voracious reader. His experiments and inventions, particularly with electricity, helped define the science of physics. Epitomizing American entrepreneurial spirit, Franklin invented the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, the flexible catheter, swim fins, the glass harmonica and bifocals. He started the first public lending library, the first fire department, the first city hospital, the US postal service and was instrumental in the development of the University of Pennsylvania. (Read more about his life and accomplishments on Wikipedia.)

Franklin was a true self-made man, today often remembered for the pithy advice he dispensed in his famous Poor Richard's Almanack. He was the original author of many common sayings still in use today. The words may have been updated over the years, but the sentiment remains the same.

"Early to bed and early to rise,
makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
"A penny saved is two pence clear."
" God helps them that help themselves."
" A rotten apple spoils its companions."

Franklin lived a robust life, active until his death in 1790. His life is perhaps best summed up by his own quotation, "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of."

County Stamp Center offers several stamps commemorating Franklin and his many accomplishments. The stamp shown was issued by Liberia at the 2006 Washington DC Stamp Expo. Click the post title to order and to view additional stamps about Benjamin Franklin. Visit the County Stamp Center website for more stamps on the men who founded a nation and on America's early history. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic supplies.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Did You Miss Something?

Maybe you were on vacation trekking through the mountains of Vermont or became lost in the wilds of Las Vegas. Perhaps your computer contracted a fatal virus or you were the victim of some horrendous natural disaster and had to forage without electricity for weeks. Or maybe you just couldn't get your kids off MySpace or that hot new game site. Whatever the reason, it's possible you weren't able to check the County Stamp Center website at some point last year and missed finding the perfect stamp for your collection.

Don't worry! We're here to help. County Stamp Center has collected the hottest selling and most sought-after stamps of 2006 into a special category on our website: 2006 Best Sellers. It's easy to access. Just go to the County Stamp Center website and click on 2006 Best Sellers in either the Shop by Category or Stamp Search drop-down box -- or you can just click the link or post title. All the great stamps you may have missed in 2006 are there waiting for you.
  • Fabulously detailed paintings commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • Fascinating souvenir sheets celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Europa issue.
  • The unique sheetlet on ancient sun measurements pictured, depicting a breathtaking solar eclipse. (Click the link to order.)
  • A wonderful antique cars prestige booklet with great pictures of Fords, Fiats and more.
  • Colorful nature stamps featuring everything from exotic birds to cute kittens.
  • Stunning mural stamps of underwater coral gardens.
  • Silly cartoon illustrations featuring Bugs Bunny and his friends.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg! Peruse our 2006 Best Sellers. You'll find stamps on every subject imaginable. Don't miss this chance to discover the great stamps you missed in 2006. And remember, we sell display and mounting supplies too. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Next "Legends of Hollywood" Grace Golden Globes

The next generation of Hollywood legends swept across the stage last night at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Hollywood's first big awards party of the year, the Globes are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and herald the run up to the Oscars.

The casual atmosphere of the Globes makes it my favorite awards show. The glitz and glamour draw me in from first swish of designer gowns on the red carpet to the final tearful acceptance speech. For one golden night we mere mortals are allowed a seat at the table of the gods. From our armchair sidelines, we can gather with our friends from the big (and small) screen, laughing at their jokes, getting teary-eyed at the stuttering acceptance speeches, feeling just a bit embarrassed by their tears, and smiling at the unbridled exuberance as entire casts surge onto the stage, hugging and cheering behind their producers.

For one golden night the luminaries of Hollywood seem accessible, part of our fantasy family. We share their joy and wonder that people so polished and glib on the screen can in such an endearingly human way fumble and stumble over something so basic as "thank you." We enjoy their little inside jokes and jabs as if we were best friends, smiling at references to Leo, Jack and Clint.

Why do the denizens of Hollywood fascinate us so? Is it that through them we strive to better understand and experience life? In accepting the best drama award for Babel, producer/ director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu perhaps had the answer, "The power of cinema is unique, and at the end, emotion doesn't need translation. That's the beauty of it."

That power grants the stars of movies and television a certain immortality with a special few becoming legends that define an era. Will American Idol star and Hollywood ingenue Jennifer Hudson become the next Judy Garland? Winner of a best supporting actress award, she wowed audiences with her powerful voice in Dreamgirls. Will her rags to riches story eventually become the stuff of tinsel town legends? Perhaps one day, her face will grace a first day cover in the Hollywood Legends series available at County Stamp Center.

Luminaries like Judy Garland are immortalized in a series of four first day covers illustrated by award-winning illustrator Nirlay Kundu. Individually drawn, each envelope is handmade from 100% cotton paper. Sold in a set of four, each cachet is unique, featuring the star at various stages of her career, a portrait stamp, a defining quotation, and her signature. Click the post title for a detailed view of all four Judy Garland covers and to order. Greta Garbo, John Wayne, and a patriotic Mickey Mouse with President Ronald Reagan are among the other Legends of Hollywood covers issued to date. Visit the County Stamp Center website to view the entire series. Just enter Legends of Hollywood or Kundu in the quick search box. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"I Have A Dream!"

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

It was 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke those stirring words, delivered appropriately from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. More than a quarter of a million people had marched on Washington DC in support of civil rights. Dr. King electrified the crowd with his "I have a dream" speech, one of the most significant speeches in American history.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. galvanized the American civil rights movement with his eloquence, determination and commitment to peace. A preacher's son, King held a degree in sociology and a PhD in theology. In 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, King was a young pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott that heralded the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Lasting 382 days, the boycott ended when the US Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation on public transportation.

Dr. King successfully practiced nonviolent civil disobedience to effect change. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 to harness the political clout of black churches in support of civil rights, desegregation, labor rights and the right to vote. Dr. King led the drive for black equality that led to passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. On a dark day for our country, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King was the youngest man -- only 35 at the time -- to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1986 his contribution to American history was honored with the establishment of a US holiday, only the fourth Federal holiday to honor an individual (the others being George Washington, Christopher Columbus and Jesus Christ), according to Wikipedia.

County Stamp Center stands with the nation in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s commitment to peace and equality for all. In celebration of Dr. King's contributions to world peace, in 2005 Ghana issued the 3-stamp portrait sheetlet shown above. (Click the post title to order.) County Stamp Center carries numerous stamps commemorating revered leaders and historic events. Visit our website and use our unique quick search feature to instantly find what you're looking for. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Food! Glorious Food!

Going on a diet is at the top of the New Year Resolutions list for most American adults. Come New Year's Day, it's tradition to review the dietary sins of the previous month -- to lament indulging in your sister's peanut brittle, your aunt's double chocolate fudge, your neighbor's plate of calorie-dense cookies, that third helping of your mom's turkey (with ALL the trimmings), your dad's famous rum-spiked eggnog, your cousin's homemade pumpkin pie (a la mode, of course), pizza night with your nieces and nephews while you watched movies and played board games all night, the popcorn and soda when the pizza ran out, those wonderful little canapes washed down with loads of champagne to ring in the New Year. All this you promise to forgo and vow to live a clean and healthy life.

At the beginning of January we honestly believe we can satisfy our taste buds with the crunch of celery and carrot sticks. We religiously count our calories and pack an apple for lunch. We drag ourselves out of bed in the morning, tie up the laces on our Nikes and head for the gym. We pretend to crave the 3-ounce skinless chicken breast and 1 cup of green beans (no butter) that stares up from our dinner plate, the ghost of Christmas past. We cajole ourselves into believing it for a week or two, maybe three, in January; but by the Super Bowl all bets are off and it's "pass the guacamole!"

No matter where you are on the annual diet cycle -- still virtuous or already out -- these four delicious-looking stamps from Gibraltar will send your taste buds into a paroxysm of joy. A tribute to gastronomes everywhere, these mouth-watering photographs of European gourmet delights are enough to derail even the heartiest dieter. To order, click the post title.

County Stamp Center has food stamps from the sublime to silly. If gourmet European delicacies like those pictured above aren't your cup of tea, you might want to try the more unusual concoctions pictured in New Zealand's Hokitika Wildfood series. Sheep's testicles, worms and possum are the featured ingredients in such culinary delights as curried worm burger patties and possum pate! If that's not enough to throw you off your diet, I don't know what is! Bon appetit from County Stamp Center! Visit the County Stamp Center website for all your philatelic needs.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Harry Potter Fans Stand Up and Cheer! Today Is Snape's Birthday!

Today is the birthday of that powerful and gifted wizard, Severus Snape. Both despised and adored by readers of the popular Harry Potter series, Snape is the villainous Hogwarts professor who teaches and dabbles in the Dark Arts. Is he evil or good? A traitor or double agent? We won't know until the next installment from author J.K. Rowling hits the shelves.

Hints about the seventh and, sad to say, last Harry Potter novel are beginning to trickle out. Excitement is already mounting and the book isn't even finished! It's a bit early to see a pint-sized line curling around the bookstore, but speculation is running rampant among my nieces and nephews -- and their parents. Harry's magical appeal isn't limited to small fry! It's a good thing the films lag behind the books by a year or two so we're guaranteed several more years of wizardly derring-do from the denizens at Hogwarts.

If there's a Harry Potter fan in your family, County Stamp Center has the perfect way to wait out those dreary days until the next film hits the theaters in July. ("That's forever away," laments my niece.) County Stamp Center's collections are a great way to introduce the magic of stamp collecting to the young Muggles in your family. Our Harry Potter worldwide collection features 26 stamps depicting illustrations and scenes from the movies Prisoner of Azkaban, Chamber of Secrets and the Sorcerer's Stone. All the major characters are featured, along with the most famous scenes from each movie and special illustrations. All stamps are mounted in a new Lindner 16-page (8 double-sided pages) stock book. The retail value of this collection is over $45, but you can get it at County Stamp Center, already mounted in a premium stock book, for only $25. Click the post title to order.

County Stamp Center offers many great stamp collections from Disney to Salvador Dali to the Penny Black 150th Anniversary. We have both historic and modern collections from various countries including Iran, Israel, Turkey, Japan, Yugoslavia and Brazil. We also offer comprehensive collections expertly mounted on Lindner pages at an incredible savings over the Scott catalog price. Visit our website and in our stamp search feature click on collections or collections on Lindner pages to take a look at these wonderful offerings. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

In 1942 Pan Am Conquered the World

On this date in 1942, Pan American Airways made history when the first commercial aircraft to complete an around-the-world trip landed in New York City. The world has seemed a little smaller ever since.

Founded as a seaplane service operating out of Key West, Florida, Pam Am was the United States' principal international airline from the 1930s until its collapse in 1991, according to Wikipedia. (Click the link to read Pan Am's fascinating history from early mail carrier to global behemoth.) Responsible for many of the innovations that defined international airlines, Pan Am was the first to make widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems.

Celebrate this aeronautic achievement and other American advances in aviation with this stunning 2005 souvenir sheet issued by the United States. This beautiful sheetlet features 2 sets of 10 stamps, each depicting a different aircraft in dramatic detail. Click the post title to order.

County Stamp Center offers stamps on aircraft of every kind, from commercial beauties to fierce military fighters, from early Wright brothers' prototypes to sleek modern jets. Whatever the era or type of aircraft, you can find a stamp for it on the County Stamp Center website. Just plug your topic into our handy search feature and sit back and enjoy perusing our vast collections. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stamps Capture Thrill of Extreme Sports

Many of us tend to spend the winter in hibernation mode -- curled up on the couch under a pile of blankets, remote in hand, snacks at the ready, waiting for the spring thaw! There are those hardy souls though who thrill to the sight of snow, who inhale deep gulps of icy air with vigor as they go careening down snow-laden slopes at ungodly speeds balanced precariously on two thin sticks of fiberglass, or whatever miracle substance they make skis out of these days.

A winter couch potato myself, I spend my winter, heart in throat, vicariously thrilling to every dangerous leap and turn as these winter daredevils speed down my television screen, secure in the knowledge that any broken legs won't be mine. I love extreme sports, as long as I'm a spectator. I applaud those rugged individuals who charge down mountains on slim boards or plunge through water-churned canyons on flimsy rubber rafts or hurtle out of airplanes with a mere square of fabric tacked to their backs. In my imagination I'm right behind them, charging and churning along on a rush of adrenaline. In reality I'm safely at the other end of the remote, gasping in dismay as they take yet another death-defying leap into the unknown!

What better way to capture the virtual thrill of extreme sports than in stamps. New Zealand, where a surprising number of the populace tend to be participants not observers of such sports, has issued a marvelous prestige booklet on extreme sports. Breath-taking photographs capture every heart-pounding moment. You can practically feel the spray on your face in the whitewater rafting stamp shown above! Each stamp in the booklet features an electrifying photograph of a different extreme sport. Click the post title to order.
County Stamp Center offers hundreds of stamps on every sport imaginable from baseball to tennis and everything in between. Just use the handy search feature on our website to search by key word, category or Scott catalog number. Check out our other stamps on extreme sports and come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy Mew Year?!

Yesterday being the first day of the new year, I opened my new calendar to see what January has in store. Did you know that today, January 2, is Happy Mew Year for Cats Day? It's a holiday I don't think even Hallmark is aware of! A quick search of the internet, while inconclusive, indicates an association with pet societies, elementary school bulletin boards, and the ubiquitous t-shirt. Can a proliferation of greeting cards be far behind?

No matter. A cat lover myself, I gathered the fuzzy gang together for a catnip celebration. If catnip is involved, my cats are always ready to party!

You might prefer to commemorate the day with this stunning World Wildlife Fund deluxe sheet featuring three complete sets of the endangered reed cat. The beautifully drawn center label portrays the reed cat crouched on a mountain ledge in the midst of flying hawks. Charming close up and full body portraits of the cat in its natural habitat surround the center portrait and the beautifully illustrated margin features additional poses.

The reed cat is a jungle cat that prowls India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It thrives in forests, woodlands, scrubby grasslands and reed beds, hence its name. It often lines its dens with reeds to provide camouflage for its young. Agile hunters, reed cats live on hares, frogs, reptiles, insects, fish and small mammals. They'll jump into a river to catch fish and have been known to jump 6 feet into the air to capture birds flying overhead! Not your average pussy cat, reed cats don't meow, they bark! To learn more about reed cats, click the link.

Issued by Tadzikistan, the WWF Reed Cat Sheet is available at County Stamp Center at the special price of only $11.11. Click the post title for a close-up view and to order. Visit our website to view our full collection of cat stamps -- wild and domestic. Just enter "cats" in our Quick Search feature. At County Stamp Center you'll find cat stamps from cute and cuddly to fierce and predatory -- and no shedding!