Learn about stamp collecting, be first to know about new rare stamp collections on the market, and stay apprised of stamp specials and collections from the County Stamp Center. We buy stamp collections, see us first!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Getting Kids Started Collecting Stamps

Kids love collecting things. Some kids collect matchbox cars, some dolls, some rocks, I know of one who has even collected tuber bands! Kids simply love to collect things. Why not help them collect something that is fun, can grow with them into a lifelong hobby and love, and may even increase in value. That something is STAMPS! It is very easy to get the children that you know started and involved. It can be an excellent hobby that long distance grandparents can share with kids of all ages. Here are just a couple ideas to help you to get started.

First, decide together what you want to collect. Do they want to collect stamps from a certain country, stamps on a certain topic like collie dog stamps, maybe even stamps featuring a cartoon character like Mickey Mouse? Chose something to collect that they will like.

Second, help them with the supplies. There is something that kids just love about a collection and that is the tools to help look at it or to help it grow. I recommend that you purchase for them, stamp tongs, a catalog book with lots of stamp photos, and a stock collection book as well as some extra glassine envelopes. Then start them off with 10 stamps or so on their topic.

Third, keep it going. Make time to send them stamps to add to their collection on a regular basis. On our website, we have all the new issues and a super search engine that you can use to search the new issues and special items we have so that if your child or grandchild is collecting kitten stamps, you can send them links via email and let them choose which ones you will buy and have shipped direct to their door.

Four, share the excitement. Sometimes a long distance grandparent has a hard time knowing what to talk about with a grandchild that they do not see frequently. What a great ice breaker to call and say did you get the new kitten stamps that I sent to you? Are you ready to choose some more? Have you put them in your stock book? Do you want me to come over and help you get them organized?

Stamp collecting is really great fun for kids, parents, and grandparents. Why don't you take some time and invest it in helping the children that you know learn a hobby that may just catch their imagination for years to come, but it all depends on you and your involvement. Go ahead, now's the time to get started!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stamp Collecting Tools To Have On Hand

Even novice stamp collectors should use good stamp handling practices. Here are a few that you may want to consider incorporating into your routine when you work with your stamps.

Stamp Tongs. These special stamp tools look similar to tweezers but don't have any sharp edges and are created to be able to handle stamps without damaging them. The reason we recommend stamp tongs is that you will not transfer body oil or chemicals from your hands to your stamps. Using tongs keeps your stamps clean, keeps them from being creased or additionally damaged by rough handling. Stamp tongs should be thin enough to pick up a stamp from a flat surface yet large enough for your hand to operate properly. Stamp tongs come in many sizes. Please don't use tweezers to fulfil this function as stamp tongs will have a rounded edge and will keep stamps from becoming scratched by a tweeser's possibly sharp edge.

Stamp Catalogs. Consider purchasing one to be able to easily identify your stamps. There are several great catalogs in the market. We like the Scott catalogue for its in-depth review. Many stamp stores and dealers will list stamps by their Scott catalogue number.

Magnifying Glass. To really be able to see the detail of any stamp you need a quality magnifying glass. Many types of magnifying glasses are available. You can sometimes even find them at eyeglass stores. Pocket folding varieties are easy to store with your collection.

Perforataion Gauge. This is a large plastic piece that allows you the ability to line up your stamp and measure the perforations. Often the only way to tell the difference between two seemingly identical issues is with a perforation gauge in hand.

Watermark Detection Fluid. You may want to consider purchasing a bottle of this special chemical to reveal hidden watermarks to identify a stamp's real value. A watermarked stamp should become visible once it has come into contact with watermark fluid. If you are still unable to see the watermark, try holding the stamp up to the light using your tongs of course.

A Drying Book. This is an excellent item to have. It allows you to layout your stamps flat after you have soaked them to remove them from an envelope or other item.

Stamp Stock Book. Consider investing a few dollars in a stock book that provides a temporary storage place for your stamps until you move them into a catalog or collection. This is great if you are not exactly sure what you want to collect yet or have a very wide variety of interests.

Glassine Envelopes. Use these special somewhat clear envelopes for stamp storage. These evelopes are made of a special paper that keeps stamps from sticking to them. It feels almost like waxed paper, but is not the same thing. You will usually want a separate envelope for each stamp as humidity can cause stamps to stick together.

Stamp Hinges. You may want to use stamp hinges, small adhesive corners to use to apply your stamps into catalogs or albums.

Stamp Mounts. Are the preferred way to install stamps into albums and preferred over hinges. Mounts are adhesive free and a great way to protect valuable stamps.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Finland Issues New Stamps

This just in, Finland is set to issue eight new stamps. They are so new we don't have them yet, but will let you know when they are available.

Finland is know for their unique and beautiful stamps and now they will be releasing a series of selections on raspberries, butterflies, the Finnish Olympic Committee, building art, and antique design styles.

The berry collection featuring raspberries will be available in a sheet of ten values, a first day cover and a berry stamp booklet. The butterfly collection will feature native Finnish butterflies that are sure to catch your eye. The Finnish Olympic Committee established in 1907 will be celebrating its 100th year and will have a special anniversary stamp grouping created. Finally unique stamps featuring building art and antique design styles featuring the designs of Leiviskä will be showcased in a 20 value sheet.

We are excited about these new offerings and will keep you posted as to when we have them available for purchase. Please click our blog post title to read more about these new issue stamps and to click in to the Finnish website to see the actual stamps.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

We're Buying Collections

If you are looking to sell your stamp collection, we are buying! We make it easy to sell your collection. Just click our blog post title to find out how to contact us to start the process. We'll respond right away to find out what you have to sell and make arrangements to quote you a purchase price.

The County Stamp Center is an international stamp firm. We sell locally, nationally, and globally. We have a strong connection with other international dealers, sophisticated individual buyers, and specialized European stamp dealers. We have bought and sold stamp collections in the tens of thousands of dollars, no collection is too big or too small.

With a wide range of resources to contact to sell a specialized collection and the global reach of our clientele base, we are the right choice to consider when you have decided to divest your collection, have inherited a collection that you would like to sell, and even if you are looking to buy a collection.

As part of the process, we will provide a thorough review of your stamp collection and offer a price proposal. Arrangements are made to review the collection securely either in person or by certified shipping means. You are under no obligation to sell when you ask us for a proposal.

You may be surprised to find out that there is quite a bit of trade internationally in a wide variety of stamps. Sometimes we know of individuals or dealers who are looking for a particular stamp to complete their collection and sometimes dealers are looking for unique or investment opportunities. You may very well have the stamp that they are actively seeking!

It all starts with a phone call or email. So visit our contact page today http://www.stampcenter.com/contact_us.php and get started with your stamp collection evaluation.

The County Stamp Center is a top quality, reputable, international collection stamp dealer and stamp dealer in new issue stamps.

Friday, August 24, 2007

How to Dry Stamps Correctly

Stamps received in mixtures or collected from mail will be attached to envelopes. Before displaying, stamps must be soaked off the backing paper and dried. Last time we talked about safely removing stamps from envelopes by soaking (see our August 22, 2007 post). We left you with a soggy bowl of rinsed stamps. Time to dry them out!

Basically, stamps are dried by layering the wet stamps between sheets of paper and adding weight on top to press them flat. Here's how to do it:

  • To cut drying time, first lay the wet stamps on a layer of paper towels. The towels will absorb excess moisture before the stamps are laid on the drying medium. You can, of course, lay your stamps directly onto the drying medium; drying will simply take a bit longer.
  • Always lay your stamps face down. Wet stamps tend to curl toward their face. Laying them face down will help prevent curling while you're arranging your stamps on the drying medium.
  • Collectors use everything from old newspapers to last year's phone book to dry stamps. However, white blotters (the kind photographers use) work best because they don't cause smudging or offset from printing inks. You can also purchase stamp-drying books which are simply bound blotter sheets.
    Caution: Do not use patterned desk blotters as the pattern will be pressed into the stamp during drying, damaging the stamp's value.
  • Carefully arrange the stamps on the drying medium (remember, face down) so that they do not touch and are 1/2 inch or so apart.
  • If drying on loose blotter sheets, leave each layer separated and open to the air to promote additional drying before stacking and pressing. If using a book, start at the back of the book and work forward to keep stamps from sliding on the page as you add additional layers. (If using phone books or newspapers, you will need several pages between layers to absorb moisture.)
  • Carefully and neatly stack layers on top of each other. Don't worry about stamps that are fairly dry. Even stamps that look a bit wrinkled will dry flat. Do make sure stamps are not curled, creased or bent. If they are, a second or two back in the water bowl will allow you to lay them flat.
  • Don't stack too many layers together or they may warp or buckle even when weighted. Better to have several piles than risk damaging your stamps.
  • Place a heavy weight on top of the layers to press the stamps flat. Large, heavy books work well. A smooth, flat object will ensure that stamps dry evenly and flat. Some collectors use bricks, glass blocks or cinder blocks.

Drying time will depend on temperature and humidity. Stamps may dry in a couple of hours on a sunny Santa Fe patio but take as long as a week in rainy Seattle.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How to Soak Off Stamps Safely

To remove stamps from envelopes, you have to soak them off. Improper removal can damage and even destroy a stamp. Soaking dissolves the adhesive on the back of the stamp so it can be safely removed from the envelope. Soaking is a skill best practiced on the ordinary stamps that arrive with your household mail. Practice your soaking skills on a few stamps at a time until you perfect your technique. Soon you'll be able to soak off a whole sinkful of stamps without worry.

  • Start with a medium-size bowl and fill it about 3/4 full with cool or lukewarm water. Cold water will dissolve stamp adhesive, but progress will be painfully slow. Hot water will turn the stamps pulpy, making them overly fragile and easy to damage. Hot water may also cause cancellations, particularly reds and magentas, to bleed.
  • Caution: Don't soak stamps on colored paper such as red or green Christmas envelopes. The paper can bleed, discoloring all the stamps in the soak batch.
  • Be patient. In 10 to 15 minutes, the stamps will start to float free. Avoid trying to hurry things along by tugging at stamps that have partially separated from the paper. Wet stamps are fragile and easily damaged. Tugging at them can cause the image to crack or tear.
  • As the stamps start to float free, pick the bits of backing out of the bowl. Feel the backs of the stamps. If they feel slick, some adhesive remains. While it is still in the water, you can gently rub the stamp between your fingers to hasten dissolution of the adhesive. Be careful not to rub too hard or you may damage the stamp. Some adhesives take longer to dissolve than others.
  • Drain the water from the bowl and refill with lukewarm water to rinse the stamps.

Tomorrow: How to dry stamps.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Getting Your Feet Wet as a Stamp Collector

Starter kits are a good way to get your feet wet as a stamp collector. Reasonably priced, kits contain the essentials: an assortment of 100 to 200 mixed stamps, a basic album, a pair of tongs, a perforation gauge, a magnifying glass, hinges and an information booklet. While you can buy these items individually in better quality, starter kits provide perfectly adequate equipment for the beginner. For a minimal investment you can try the hobby on for size. As your interest and expertise grow, you may choose to invest in more expensive tools and supplies.

The best way to learn is by doing, goes the old adage. This is certainly true of stamp collecting. You'll learn a lot about stamps by handling them, inspecting details with a magnifying glass, looking them up in catalogs, mounting them, etc. That's one of the advantages of starter kits. You want to learn, practice and master handling, soaking and mounting techniques on low-value stamps to avoid making a painfully expensive mistake as your hobby grows.

Purchasing mixtures and packets of stamps are the most economical way of obtaining a wide variety of stamps.

  • Mixtures. Mixtures are cheaper than packets. Both contain an assortment of stamps but mixtures include a fair number of duplicates, hence their lower price. Mixtures are sold by weight: ounce, pound or kilogram.

    There are two types of mixtures: on paper and off paper. The off paper are more expensive but come ready to mount. If you buy an on paper mixture, you'll get more stamps, but you'll have to soak them off yourself.

    You can get general worldwide mixtures that contain a wide variety of definitives (the type of stamps found on your daily mail). Or you can purchase mixtures specializing in a single country or type, such as high values (stamps costing $1 and more) or pictorials.

  • Packets. Packets contain all different stamps with no duplicates. Off paper and ready to mount, packets range from general worldwide stamps to specific topics, such as 200 stamps from Italy or 300 dog stamps.

    Packets are sold by count from 10 stamps to as many as 50,000. Small packets of under 500 stamps contain mostly common stamps and, therefore, are less expensive. Because each stamp in a packet must be different, larger packets will contain a larger number of better or more valuable items.

Several packets or a pound of mixtures will provide you with one or two thousand stamps, more than enough to get started.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Where to Find Stamps

If you're just getting started in stamp collecting, the first place to look for stamps is on your mail. Your mail carrier will deliver new stamps daily. Ask family, friends and neighbors to save their envelopes for you. (It's best to ask for the entire envelope so the stamp can be removed without damaging it.) You'll find a wealth of U.S. stamps in your local mail.

If you'd like to collect foreign stamps, ask a local travel agent to save their envelopes for you. If you're more interested in old stamps, check your attic and basement for old correspondence. Ask your grandparents to give you stamps from correspondence they've saved over the years. Flea markets and estate sales are also fertile hunting grounds.

The post office is a great place to buy new stamps in mint condition. Check the USPS website for new issues and interesting facts about new stamps. Local dealers sell inexpensive mixed packets of stamps for beginners and usually have a box of miscellaneous stamps at the counter you can look through. These used to be called penny stamps because they cost a penny; now you'll pay 2 to 5 cents which is still a bargain.

Stamp clubs are a great place to learn more about stamps and stamp collecting. Experienced members are eager to share their knowledge with new hobbyists. Most clubs allow members to bring in stamps to trade and sell. Local stamp dealers or your public library will usually have information about when and where clubs meet. More experienced collectors may choose to join a national philatelic society which often offer stamps to members.

Stamp shows attract hobbyists of all kinds and are a marvelous place for beginners to learn more about stamps and experience the hobby's incredible range. You can view exhibits of extraordinary and rare stamps. You can talk to fellow collectors and dealers. You can comparison shop. Going to a stamp show is like being a kid in a candy store -- everywhere you turn there's something new and delectable to catch your eye.

Dealers also abound on the internet. Some specialize in certain stamp types or time periods but most offer a broad range of general categories. For instance, County Stamp Center offers stamps of all kinds, on all subject matters, from all over the world and at considerable savings. But we are also one of a limited number of international dealers who handle new issue foreign postage stamps. Click the post title to visit our website. Sign up for our free newsletter to receive email notifications of special offers and monthly new issues like the Tintin cartoon stamps shown below.

The cartoon adventures of Tintin are captured in this delightful cartoon sheet just issued by Belgium. Drawn by the Belgium artist Herge, the pen name of Georges Remi (1907-1983), the comic book Adventures of Tintin chronicled the exploits of a young reporter and his faithful dog Snowy in which they always managed to extricate themselves from peril and save the day. The vintage cover art and a photograph of the artist with his work are featured on the 25 stamps. Priced at only $26.82 at County Stamp Center with free shipping, click here to order.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Getting Started in Stamp Collecting

More than 22 million Americans collect stamps. It's a fascinating hobby populated by people with inquiring minds. Stamp collectors enjoy finding out everything they can about the stamps they possess: where it came from, when it was made, what distinguishes it from other stamps, what is its place in history, what makes its subject significant enough to put on a stamp?

You don't need much in the way of supplies or specialized equipment to become a stamp collector. It's an easily accessible hobby no matter what your age, interest level or income. These are the basic supplies you need to get started:
  • Stamp tongs. A pair of stamp tongs is the collector's most basic tool. They allow you to handle your stamps with more dexterity than fingers can provide. Tongs also prevent damage to stamps from handling, preventing moisture, oils or dirt on your fingers from adhering to the stamps. You can purchase stamp tongs online or at your local stamp dealer for a few dollars. They look like long, blunt-end tweezers, but they have a specially designed smooth, rounded tip that won't harm stamps. Don't use your bathroom tweezers; the tips have sharp edges and gripping grooves that can easily damage stamps. In stamp collecting, condition is a key element in maintaining a stamp's value.

  • Magnifying glass. Stamps are tiny and some of their more interesting features can only be seen when magnified. Choose a magnifying glass with a power of at least 10.

  • Album. You need something to keep your stamps in. Albums protect your stamps, help you organize them, and allow you to view them easily. Many albums show printed illustrations of the stamps as an aid to organization and focus on a particular type, country or time period. Loose-leaf albums allow the easy insertion of supplement pages. Generally stamps are attached to pages with special mounts, called hinges (see below). Advanced collectors may use hingeless albums that have pre-installed plastic mounts you just slip the stamp into. Albums printed on acid-free or archival paper will better preserve your collection. Albums printed on one side of the page are more desirable than two-sided pages. If you decide on two-sided pages, purchase inexpensive glassine sheets to put between the pages to keep stamps from catching on each other.
    Warning: Don't ever house your collection in self-adhesive (even low-tack) or wax-back albums. The adhesives will eventually permeate your stamps and ruin them.

  • Mounts. Stamp hinges are used to attach (mount) stamps to the pages of your album. Hinges are pieces of glassine with a light gum on one side. One side of the hinge is attached to the stamp, the other to the book. Minimum moisture is used to allow easy removal of the stamp. Hinges are perfect for low cost and used stamps, but mint condition stamps should only be mounted with plastic mounts which do not damage the adhesive. Plastic mounts are small sleeves into which stamps are placed. They come in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate any stamp.
    Warning: Never lick or paste the stamps directly on the page or use double-sized or scotch tape to attach stamps. You will permanently damage your stamps and will not be able to remove them from the page. Remember, condition = value in stamp collecting.
  • Glassine envelopes. Glassine is a special type of non-stick paper used to store stamps. (If you've bought loose stamps at the post office, they may have given them to you in a glassine envelope.) Glassine envelopes are inexpensive, come in a variety of sizes and prevent damage to your stamps until you have time to add them to your stamp album.
    Warning: Wax paper from your kitchen should not be used as a substitute for glassine. The wax will eventually permeate the stamps and ruin them.

As you become more involved in stamp collecting, you may want to acquire additional tools such as a perforation gauge and a watermark detector, but they are not essential for the beginner. Stamp supplies can be found at your local stamp shop, online and in some book and hobby stores which often carry beginner supplies. County Stamp Center offers a variety of supplies for beginning and experienced collectors.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Joy of Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting is a social hobby. It provides pleasure to the collector and brings people of like interests together. Collectors who meet online, at a stamp show or through a local club often form lifelong friendships. The world of stamps is a common denominator that brings together the old and the young, the experienced collector and the novice hobbyist, the boardroom CEO and the long-haul trucker. Stamp collecting cuts across socio-economic, racial and cultural boundaries. The joy of collecting, the sharing of knowledge and technique, the opportunity to learn may make for some strange bedfellows, but it forms the common bond that binds collectors.

There is room in stamp collecting for the collector of rare historic specialty stamps and the child who likes cats and dogs. There is no one way to collect stamps. There's a sign at my local library that advises: Don't apologize for your taste in books. That's good advice for stamp collectors too. All that is required of the stamp collector is that he find pleasure in collecting the particular type or category of stamp he chooses. You can collect stamps of a certain country, continent or region; historic figures; trains, planes or automobiles; endangered species; sports or Olympics; Americana, pop culture and Disney; rock stars, athletes or cartoon characters; world events or Hollywood fantasy; everything from tiny insects to gargantuan dinosaurs; shaped stamps; unusual rarities; new stamps, old stamps and everything in between! There are no requirements. Collect what moves you, what you are passionate about. Stamp collecting is an exercise in love.

Stamp collecting can be an expensive hobby but it doesn't have to be. You can get started with a minimum of inexpensive supplies. You can collect expensive stamps or this week's offering at the post office. You can collect new stamps in mint condition or used stamps friends save from their letters. As a hobby, stamp collecting is what you make it and will be different for every collector. Next week we're going to talk about getting started in stamp collecting. If you're an experienced collector, please feel free to add your comments to our posts. That's part of the joy of collecting, sharing experiences and tips with those just starting out. Together let's welcome a new generation into the community of stamp collectors.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Introducing Extended Albania Stamp Listings

County Stamp Center has just added extensive new listings for Albania issued between 1925 and 1989. Covering a wide range of popular topics, the stamps feature colorful folk costumes, dance and art as well as ancient through modern history. Communist Party and revolutionary stamps are prominent, reflecting Albania's 50-year history as a communist state. Click here to view the complete listing of 338 philatelic products from Albania.

Located in the Balkans of Southeastern Europe between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, the Republic of Albania has often been swept along in the path of invading empires. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans have all left their mark -- and ruins. Albania was first settled in the Stone Age, its favorable climate and geographic location drawing Paleolithic man. Marauding armies later used it as an outpost as they moved through Europe expanding their empires. In 1200 BC Albania was settled by the Illyrians who brought culture and civilization to the western Balkans. Descendants of Neolithic man, their kingdom of Illyria followed much of the border of modern Albania.

It was during its years under Turkish rule as part of the Ottoman Empire, that most Albanians converted to Islam. The Turks were routed from Albanian soil during the second Balkan War, and in 1925 President Ahmet Zagu crowned himself King Zog I. His family's reign was short-lived when the Germans overran Albania early in World War II. The communists gained control of the country after the war. It was not until the 1996 general elections that communism was definitively defeated.

County Stamp Center is one of a select international group of foreign stamp new issuers. We carry a most extensive collection of foreign stamps. Visit our website to view our comprehensive collections. County Stamp Center puts the stamp world at your fingertips.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How It All Began: A Very Brief History of Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting started as a childish pursuit that quickly caught the eye of adults. Britain issued the first postage stamp, the Penny Black, in 1840. It wasn't long before children and teens were collecting the novel colorful bits of paper.

Those children carried their fascination for stamps into their adult years, giving rise to a host of businesses dedicated to helping them pursue their hobby. Founded in 1856, Stanley Gibbons, Ltd. in London, England is the oldest continuously-operated business devoted to selling postage stamps and supplies. The first stamp albums were printed and sold in 1880 as the hobby spread around the world. Collectors began to study postage stamps and publish research papers on their production, design, plate flaws, etc. The study and collection of postage stamps is called philately.

In the 1920s, stamp collecting gained increasing appeal as an investment as the value of early stamps in good condition began to rise. Sales of these stamps for astronomical prices caught the imagination of the public. Recognizing the potential value of collecting stamps and hoping to strike philatelic gold, American collectors in the 1930s started stockpiling mint copies of US stamps. Their dreams of quick profit never materialized and today mint condition stamps from that era are still plentiful and available at near face value.

Though less popular today than in its heyday, stamp collecting draws an estimated 25 million hobbyists in the US alone and more than 200 million collectors worldwide. Millions of dollars worth of stamps and supplies are sold annually. There are 4,000 stamp shows and exhibitions in the US alone every year. Large international exhibits can attract in excess of 100,000 visitors a day.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Catch a Falling Star and Put It in Your Stamp Book

Next weekend it may look like the stars are falling when the Perseids put on their dazzling annual light display. My family was fortunate enough to catch the show one summer while on a camping trip to the Adirondacks. For hours we watched as one shooting star after another streaked across the sky. It was an amazing sight.

The Perseids meteor showers, so named because they appear to originate from the constellation Perseus, occur every year at this time. They become visible when Earth passes through the debris cloud of the Swift-Tuttle comet.

It only looks like the meteors are falling from the sky. Actually, Earth is plowing through the cloud of dust and rock, gravity pulling particles into our atmosphere. As they strike the atmosphere at speeds of more than 130,000 mph, the bits of rock burn up, leaving the spectacular trails we call shooting stars. Take a drive out into the country next weekend. The best viewing time will be between midnight August 12 and dawn August 13.

This amazing stamp from Australia makes it possible to capture a bit of falling star. A special 2006 issue, Australia's Mail from a Different World circle stamp features actual meteorite particles in its design. Examined by the prestigious Vienna Natural History Museum, the meteorite used is a 19 kg stone meteorite composed of the mineral olivine and identified as a H-chondrite meteorite.

The meteorite is believed to have originated in the Asteroid Belt that orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. The portion of the meteorite not used in the production of the stamp series is on display at the museum. For more detailed information and to order, click the post title.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

That's One Hot Doggie!

The dog days of summer are officially here. My neighbors recently adopted a handsome one-year-old Alaskan Malamute. Bred for cold weather, Storm is finding life in the hot, humid city a bit of a trial, especially when you sport a dense fur coat.

All playful puppy chasing squirrels around the yard in the cool mornings, by afternoon Storm sprawls across the porch, looking for all the world like a melted puddle of fuzz. As the day drips along, his tongue gets longer and longer until I'm sure he's going to trip over it on his way to the water dish. He lives for air conditioning! Like my teenager, Storm doesn't perk up until the sun goes down.

The catchphrase the dog days of summer dates back to the ancient Romans. They associated hot weather with Sirius, the dog star, which orbits close to the sun at this time of year. The dog pictured in our featured stamp looks like he's run a little too close the sun himself! He and his much perkier friends (they must have stayed inside in the air conditioning) grace this charming 2007 souvenir sheet from Guyana. Click the post title to order from County Stamp Center.

County Stamp Center puts the stamp world at your fingertips. Visit our website for all your philatelic needs.