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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Year of the Pig a Good Omen for Stamp Collectors

Children born in the Chinese Year of the Pig are thought to be happy and honest. To have a child in the Year of the Pig is considered a favorable omen in Chinese culture where the twelfth sign of the Earthly Branches, the Pig, is associated with fertility and virility.

The Chinese Year of the Pig has generated of whole host of commemorative stamps -- from the comic to the sublime. The People's Republic of China recently issued this colorful, comic souvenir booklet. It's available at County Stamp Center for just $2.66. Click the post title to order.

In Chinese culture there are five types of pigs, named after the five Chinese elements: metal, water, wood, fire and earth. On our website you'll find Year of the Pig stamps of every stripe and color. There are cartoon pigs, gingham pigs, rainbow pigs, fanciful pigs, realistic pigs, charming pigs, wild pigs, and ethereal stylized pigs. To portray the porkers, stamp artists have used block prints, silk screens, photographs, paintings, drawings, wood cuts, even gold foil. There is such great variety, you'll want to collect them all. Click here to view our complete collection of Year of the Pig stamps.

For the latest stamp issues, visit the County Stamp Center website. Come to us for all your philatelic needs. We carry quality collecting supplies as well as thousands of fascinating stamps.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

The King's Guitars Take Center Stage on New Stamp Issue

A founding father of rock and roll, Elvis Presley was one of the most influential and best-selling musicians of all time. Dubbed The King of Rock and Roll, Presley made 33 movies, set phenomenal records for concert attendance, boosted television ratings and sent record sales through the roof.

Presley received his first guitar, a $12.75 birthday gift, in 1946. When the family moved from Mississippi to a Memphis, Tennessee apartment, he practiced in the basement laundry room and played in a five-piece band with other tenants.

One resident, Johnny Burnette, recalled: "Wherever Elvis went he'd have his guitar slung across his back ... He used to go down to the fire station and sing to the boys there ... He'd go in to one of the cafes or bars ... Then some folks would say: 'Let's hear you sing, boy.'"

His later years may have been colored by excess and controversy, but at his core Elvis Presley was always that boy plucking away at his guitar and singing with his friends.

This stunning Elvis Presley commemorative shows The King with some of his favorite guitars, as well as the breathtaking guitar gallery at his Graceland home. Recently issued by the Polynesian island of Niue, this souvenir sheet is available at County Stamp Center for only $7.67. Click the post title to order.

You'll find stamps commemorating many of your favorite entertainers at County Stamp Center. Just visit our website and use our Quick Search feature to find what you're looking for. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bald Eagle Soars Out of Extinction

Peering through binoculars into the distance, we found the eagle's nest. It was in the middle of a blue heron rookery, one of dozens of massive twig nests perched high in the branches of a grove of swamp-washed trees. Built of sturdier stuff than the heron nests, it had a heavier, more constructed look to it. And it was bigger, like a large, shallow dish made of thick branches.

We could see a bird perched on the side of the nest but it seemed too small to be an eagle and it's head was brown, not the snowy white of the adult bald eagle. For one brief magical moment it spread and flapped its wings -- its wingspan was massive! Then it slowly folded its wings and settled back down into the nest again. We had seen a baby bald eagle. Apparently the snowy cap doesn't grow in until the bird matures in its second year. For us it was an amazing moment during our visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeastern Ohio.

The status of America's bald eagle has been steadily improving. When the US Fish and Wildlife Service began monitoring eagles in 1974, there were 791 pairs nationwide. Today there are 9,789 recorded pairs, a real comeback for a species in danger of extinction. This beautiful stamp issued by Liberia as part of a Wildlife Atlas of the World series shows the majestic bald eagle in all its glory. Click the post title to order from County Stamp Center.

Visit the County Stamp Center website to view the complete Wildlife Atlas of the World Series. You'll be delighted by these beautifully drawn pictures of the world's most majestic beasts in their native habitats. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wear Your Milk Mustache With Pride! It's National Dairy Month!

In honor of National Dairy Month, today we honor the cow. Without cows there would be no cold creamy ice cream cones, no thick delicious milk shakes, no after school milk and cookies, and no milk mustaches!

There are 1.4 billion head of cattle in the world today. With 400 million cows, India, where cows are revered, hosts the largest cattle population in the world. There are twice as many cows in Africa (200 million) as there are in the US (100 million). Brazil and China each have about 150 million head of cattle, but there are only about 130 million in all of Europe.

In the US, 90% of the dairy cows are Holsteins, but other breeds can be found on dairy farms, including Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Jersey and Milking Shorthorn. The largest producers of milk in the world are India (91,940 tonnes) and the US (80, 265). That's a lot of ice cream!

The gentle brown-eyed cow is one of the featured barnyard animals in this delightful 2004 souvenir sheet from France; click the post title to order. You'll find a wide variety of stamps at County Stamp Center. Check out our website to see what's new. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Is Here!

Ahhhhh. Summer. Every summer we would visit my grandmother in her cottage on the lake. I remember splashing in the cool lake water, wriggling my toes into the soft silty mud, squinting against the hot glare of the sun, the startling brush of an errant fish swimming past my legs -- idyllic days!

A delightful series of stamps issued by Sweden, Summer by the Lake captures all the memories of a visit to the lake -- picnics, fishing, swimming, boating, cavorting with the family dog. Click the post title to view the entire series and to order.

You'll find a large collection of summer-themed stamps at County Stamp Center. Visit our website and use our unique Quick Search feature to find exactly what you're looking for. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Stamps Celebrate 100 Years of Scouting

The worldwide scouting movement celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and the philatelic community is taking notice. Many countries have issued stamps showcasing scouting activities both worldwide and in their own countries.

Recently issued by Switzerland, this uniquely-shaped "tent" stamp recalls one of the best parts of scouting -- overnight campouts (click the post title to order). If you've ever been a scout, you must remember the fun of snuggling into a toasty sleeping bag after a long day of hiking. The smell of wood smoke and burning marshmallows permeates the air as scouts bed down for the night. Flashlights flicker on canvas walls as they huddle together, whispering ghost stores in the dark. Giggles are abruptly choked off as the scoutmaster crunches by giving the "lights out" warning.

Recall your days of scouting fun with stamps. County Stamp Center has a wide selection of scouting stamps. Visit our website and use our unique Quick Search feature to view our complete collection. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Penguins Are Centerpiece of Antarctic Tableau

In honor of Father's Day we pay homage to Emperor penguins, one of nature's most dedicated dads. Making their home in one of nature's bleakest, most forbidding climates, they brave raging storms in the dead of Antarctic winter to incubate a single egg and hatch a fuzzy chick. Pictured in the detail at left, Antarctica's famous penguins are the centerpiece of a marvelous tableau souvenir sheet recently issued by Japan. Only $14.72 at County Stamp Center, the full sheet is shown below (click the post title to order).

Commemorating Japan's 80th year of Antarctic research, this charming tableau depicts the hearty native inhabitants and wide range of research activities that take place on Earth's most inhospitable continent. On average, Antarctica is the coldest, driest, windiest continent with the highest average elevation of all the continents. With negligible rainfall, Antarctica's interior is technically the world's biggest desert.

In this barren landscape only cold-adapted plants and animals survive, including penguins, seals, mosses, lichens, algae -- and a flourishing international scientific community. While Antarctica has no permanent residents, it is home to nearly 4000 scientists in summer and 1000 in winter.

Fortunately, you don't have to brave icy, gale-force winds to experience the wonders of Antarctica. County Stamp Center carries a wide variety of stamps on the scientific endeavors, animal inhabitants and history of the ice continent. Visit our website and use our handy Quick Search feature to find what you're looking for. Visit County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs. And Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fly the Flag With Pride! It's Flag Day!

Today is Flag Day, a day to proudly fly the American flag in all it's glory. The American flag has gone through 26 permutations since the first red, white and blue was marched into battle by the colonists during the Revolution.

Issued in 2000 to commemorate America's bicentennial, this stamp set shows 20 different versions of Old Glory that have flown over our country. Click the post title to order from County Stamp Center, and visit our website to view other stamps honoring our flag.

It didn't take long for the fledgling country to settle on a flag design. The first flag, the Grand Union Flag, which flew from December 1775 to June 1777, featured a Union Jack where the stars now appear and 13 alternating red and white stripes, one for each colony. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which forever set the pattern of the United States' flag:

"Resolved, That the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

A popular story credits Betsy Ross with sewing the circular arrangement of 13 stars on the country's first official flag from a sketch drawn by George Washington. As the number of states grew, so did the number of stars, necessitating revisions to the arrangement of stars in the union (the blue square). New flags debuted on the first July 4 following admission of a new state. The 48-star flag was in use the longest, from 1912 to 1959. The current 50-star flag has flown over our country since July 4, 1960, following Hawaii's admittance to statehood.

We at County Stamp Center urge you to fly your flag today and honor all that it stands for.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Vampire" Moths Put the Bite on Summer

Colorful butterflies and moths flitting about the garden are one of summer's joys. Not so if you live in Finland. Vampire moths have invaded the usually chilly country, sinking their "fangs" into unsuspecting nature-lovers.

The steadily warming climate has changed the migration path of a species of moth that feeds on human blood, driving it north into Scandinavia. There have been nearly 200 signings of calyptra thalictri, the skin-piercing blood-sucker. The unusual behavior was first documented in Russia last summer. Only male moths suck blood, but both males and females can use their wicked "fangs" to pierce fruit and suck tears from large animals like elk and cows.

An unsettling thought, particularly given the beauty of butterflies and moths. Who knew some of them had a little "bite" underneath that glamorous facade! Fortunately, you have nothing to fear from the colorful African butterfly stamps shown. Issued by St. Thomas, the lovely 9-stamp sheetlet will make a delightful addition to any collection. Click the post title to order from County Stamp Center, and visit our website for all your philatelic needs.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

CHOMP! Prehistoric Creatures Add Bite to Stamp Collecting

CHOMP! You can practically feel the powerful jaws clamping shut with a resounding snap. The prehistoric crocodile practically leaps off the page of this recently issued souvenir sheet from Peru. Click the post title to order.

Twenty million years ago, Purussaurus roamed the South American Amazon. The prehistoric crocodile's existence is know only by the massive skull fossils found in Peru. The monster croc's head was five feet long, from the back of its teeth-filled jaw to the tip of its truncated snout. One of the largest crocodile known to have existed, the giant caiman was 37 writhing feet of tail-thrashing caiman and is thought to have weighed more than 6 tons, just a tad less than the fearsome t.rex.

If you're looking for stamps of prehistoric creatures, you can find hundreds of them at County Stamp Center. Use our easy Quick Search feature to find what you're looking for by keyword. Just type in prehistoric, fossils, dinosaur, etc. to view pages of fascinating stamps. Visit the County Stamp Center website for all your philatelic needs.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Heroic Sacrifices Remembered in D-Day Stamps

On June 6, 1944, allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to turn the tide of World War II. "We weren't prepared for the chaos and all the disasters," said Medal of Honor recipient Walter Ehlers at a memorial service held this week at the cliff side cemetery above the now calm beaches where the bloody assault took place 63 years ago.

Looking out over row after endless row of prim white crosses, Ehlers, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, French defense minister Herve Morin, veterans and survivors solemnly remembered the 9,387 war dead who lost their lives in the amphibious assault and subsequent operations. The invasion force battled entrenched German gun emplacements "so that this nation, this continent and this world could one day know the tidings of peace," Gates said. "For the French, it was the beginning of the advance of freedom," Morin said.

Sierra Leone is one of many countries that issued commemorative stamps to mark the 60th anniversary of World War II's most famous battle. The D-Day souvenir sheetlet of 8 shown above was issued in 2005 and is one of a series issued by Sierra Leone. Click the link to order. You'll find this and dozens of other D-Day and World War II commemorative stamps at County Stamp Center. Just click the post title to view our complete selection. Visit our website for all your philatelic needs.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cartography Stamps Captivate Collectors

Spain has just issued two captivating cartography stamps. Fascinating in their detail, the stamps are engrossing studies of the fine art of mapmaking. Click the post title for details and to order.

Now made by computers with unassailable accuracy, maps used to be drawn by hand using pen and paper. Maps were drawn well before words were put to paper. The earliest know map, a wall painting in the ancient Turkish city of Catal Huyuk, is nearly 8,000 years old.

Early mapmakers were flagrant plagiarizers, generally copying material from colleagues without noting the source. Given the difficulty of physically verifying distances and features, errors were often republished for years, even decades, before being discovered (probably by some very irritated and frustrated traveller who had been sent miles out of his way by some errant mapmaker)! The first maps were more works of art than precise recordings of topography. Drawn with brushes and inks on parchment, mapmakers added fanciful embellishments to indicate features or unknowns. Dragons might straddle mountains and fierce sea creatures inhabit the oceans.

County Stamp Center has a wealth of interesting and unusual stamps. Visit our website to explore our vast collections. We sell quality collecting supplies too. Come to County Stamp Center for all your philatelic needs.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Long ago in a galaxy far away . . .

There's talk of opening a spaceport in my hometown. Of course, it won't be operational for years, possibly decades -- after all, they have to figure out how to build a passenger rocket ship first -- but that there is even talk of building a commercial spaceports is exciting. I am envious of the super rich who can afford to pay millions to travel in a Russian space craft for the chance to view the stars from the space station. I can hardly wait for Virgin Airlines to open its first space route and "fly me to the moon!"

Space truly is mankind's "final frontier" and the explorer in each of us longs to see what's out there. For those of us who grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars, space is a vast undiscovered country luring us with its siren song. Until technology catches up with desire, we'll have to be satisfied with viewing the wonders of space from afar.

This stunning six-value commemorative features some amazing telescopic views of the universe's wonders. Recently issued by Great Britain, the self-adhesive set is available from County Stamp Center for $10.10. This is only one of many amazing stamps you'll find at County Stamp Center that commemorates space. Click the link to view our complete space listings. No matter what your interest, you'll find it at County Stamp Center. Visit our website for all your philatelic needs.

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