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Friday, November 30, 2007

Stamps for Democracy, A Great Cause

In a world of electronic banking, stamps are not always needed. Do you have extra unused postage stamps lying around the house? Are you willing to donate them to a worthwhile cause?

There are many charities that are helping our military troops in various locations throughout the world. There is certainly one new one worth taking a special interest in. Nancy Crescenzo, from Newtown Township, PA is collecting stamps for families who have soldiers serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. Her goal is to collect 10,000 unused stamps.

Many United States military families must decide if they will be able to send letters to their beloved soldiers or send in their required monthly payments to creditors. A simple stamp does not seem like much, but each 41 cent sticker could help someone communicate with their loved one who is serving our country.

Originally Nancy Crescenzo wanted to send stamps to soldiers overseas, but quickly learned that postage stamps are not necessary for soldiers in combat areas. Under The Supply Our Troops Act of 2005, soldiers are able to mail letters home, to the United States for free. She has since formed "Stamps for Democracy". It appears that her organization is the only one of its kind that is collecting stamps for our soldiers.

Each stamp that is donated will be distributed to various organizations that regularly send care packages to our soldiers.

If you are interested in donating stamps to this worthwhile cause, you may send them to: Nancy Crescenzo, 8 Bridal Rose Court, Newtown, PA 18940. For more information, e-mail her at citizens-for-one-voice@comcast.net.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The World's First Postage Stamp On Display

Click into the Tehran Times by clicking our blog post title to see an image of the world's first adhesive post stamp that has just been put on display in Tehran.

This important stamp belongs to the personal collection of Mehran Eshraqi and was purchased at an auction about ten years ago.

The Penny Black, the world’s first official adhesive postage stamp, was issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain on May 1, 1840. It features a picture of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).

Other items on display are: the first Iranian postage stamp which was issued during the reign of Nasser ad-Din Shah (1831-1896) and stamps depicting the Jangal (Forest) Movement, a movement founded by Mirza Kuchak Khan, an early twentieth century revolutionary.

Mr. Eshraqi has said that he is getting ready to put many of his stamps in his personal collection on sale and the proceeds will be used to benefit orphan children in Rasht.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

101 Dalmatian Pelicans!

If you’re a fan of marine life, you’re most certainly familiar with the Dalmatian pelican. These large birds grow to be an average of 63-71 inches, with the males typically being larger than the females. With their silvery-white shaggy or curly crest and brown-black wingtips, these birds are quite beautiful.

The pelican is bred from southeastern Europe to China. In the wintertime, they are distributed from the Balkans through southeast China. Typically, they can be found in rivers, in lakes, throughout deltas, and in estuaries where there isn’t a large population of humans to bother them and disrupt their natural peace. Pelicans breed on islands or amidst high-growing vegetation.

They are quiet the aggressive creature when antagonized. If the male or female feel threatened, they will normally respond in the form of bill clattering and gaping. This is especially true if the pelican feels that its nest is being threatened.

The Dalmatian Pelican and the human race haven’t been known to get along very well. The bill of the pelican is a prized trophy of those who hunt them, and hunting them isn’t a crime due to their mass consumption of fish that local human populations harvest for profit. As well, they are known to be disturbed easily by tourists, and, because of this, they are seen as a threat to said tourists.

Capture these lone beauties the safe way, with these commemorative Albanian stamps from 1961. This may be the closest you’ll ever get to one! Purchase your set here.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Barbados (1939-2001) Extended Listings

You'll want to check out our website for the newest listings on Barbados. This new edition to our website provides fabulous nature views, animals, Caribbean culture, sea life and much more. The image to the right of butterflies is just one example of the beautiful stamps in this extended listing.
Each month we try to feature something new on the home page of our website to draw your attention to new features. If you missed one from last month, just visit our home page at http://www.stampcenter.com/ and click the drop down at the top left which says please select just underneath the heading of shop by category. This will show you the recent additional extended listings that we had added to our store.
Why you are at our website, don't forget to enter our contest to win a $25 gift certificate that you can give or keep.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stamp Collecting Software Comes of Age

Stamp collectors lament of days gone by when you handled every stamp with care and catalogued each entry by hand. Now there is powerful, user-friendly software to do the work for you. It also builds in much functionality to assist you with cataloging, buying, and selling. This is a compilation of various software titles. This review is not an implied endorsement of any of the products listed. We leave it to you to do your own comparisons, and perhaps share comments about what you liked or didn't like about software packages you've used.

Hobbysoft publish four programs for stamp collectors: Stamp Keeper Deluxe, Stamp Keeper, Stamp Keeper for Plate Number Coils, and Stamp World. They allow you to easily each issue, evaluate your collection, create standard and custom reports, and automatically create a want list.

SOFT PRO has a family of software products for stamp collectors. Their EZ STAMP http://www.ezstamp.com/ uses licensed Scott numbers and includes images from stamp issues from 148 countries. On the same weblink, you can check out companion products for increased functionality for stamp collecting and cataloging: AlbumGen, EZ Image, and The Washington / Franklin Identifier ( WFID). They help you evaluate your collectibles, grade and catalog them. They also have software for easy FTP and dragging and dropping images. Here is a great resource for stamp collecting topics and resources: http://www.stamplink.com/

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Add a Blaze to Your Stamp Collection

It must take a lot to strap on all that gear, jump onto the speeding truck that could lead to your potential death, and then charge into a roaring fire, with only hope to will yourself to search for those lost, frightened souls. This is the daily job of the firefighters of the world, who are, quite possibly, the bravest people on Earth. To take on that kind of self sacrifice is, at once, the most noble, and the most dangerous thing anyone could do. While the average Joe sits at his kitchen table in the morning, grunting over a cold cup of coffee and marveling at a glance at an article in the paper about seven people saved from a house fire, these men and women live these stories and live them proudly, without any hesitation. With the dangers and threats that come with society in our day and age, there could not be enough of these courageous individuals.

Despite the great works these brave people do to serve our communities, unfortunately, their faces often fade away with the smoke. Take the initiative to give some more-than-earned recognition to the heroes of society, to the supermen and wonder women of our time. Let them shine on your letters, and let them not be forgotten. Purchase your set of firefighting saviors, today.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Do You Have a Phony Amongst You?

You can trust your stamp collection… Can’t you? Actually, if you were to look through your collection right now, the chances of finding a fake are pretty high. These fakes, or weed stamps, have been the bane of many a stamp collector’s existence, and they are continued to be produced, to this day. So, you might want to take your collection to a professioal; you might be in for a big surprise!

There are a couple of possible reasons for the deception. Scam artists make a reproduction of a high-priced stamp to make a grand profit, which does happen often enough; this is referred to as a "philatelic forgery." As well, some forgeries are created to defraud the government or postal administration. These are called postal forgeries, or counterfeit stamps, and tend to show up on envelopes or packages. These can be found, even to this day.

One would wonder, why would someone collect fake stamps? Not always is a counterfeit stamp a bad thing, in a collector’s eyes. Some collect these fake stamps as an interesting addition to their collections, and some actually collect them entirely as an interesting concept for a collection. But, if you aren’t collecting them on purpose, and you hate surprises, then you should probably get your collection looked at. You may just have a fake among your stamps.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Winter Wonderland

What celebrator of Christmas doesn’t light up at the thought the holidays coming? With just the single mention of the joyous day, our eyes suddenly light up at the twinkle of the green, red, and white lights, icing decorative patterns of swirls around the rooftops and windows of all the houses. The smell of sweet, icy smoke is pouring from every chimney. You see fathers and sons, bundled up in their winter coats and boots and gloves and scarves and hats, chopping wood for the fireplace, their breath dancing in the air, above their work. Inside of every kitchen, there are all sorts of holiday goodies baking in the oven—sugar cookies, gingerbread men, cinnamon apple turnovers, pumpkin pies, roasted turkeys, sweet potatoes—almost anything you could imagine. Christmas records play as mothers and daughters snuggle together by the fire, drinking hot cocoa and cider, reading “The Night Before Christmas,” and eagerly awaiting bedtime, when they’re to close their eyes and wait for Santa Claus and his reindeer to come clip-clopping on the rooftop. The anticipation of a present-filled Christmas morning is the magical tranquilizer for children, and it only works on Christmas Eve, and requires only a warm, cozy bed, a goodnight kiss, and a big plate of milk and cookies for Santa. Oh, Christmas, how we dream of you so.

Spread the joy of the holiday season to everyone you know with our French “Meilleurs Voeux” (Best Wishes) Winter Holidays collection. These self-adhesive stamps feature joyous little penguins, reindeer, snowmen, and polar bears, all enjoying the fun of a winter wonderland. You can get them here, and start mailing out your Christmas cards, beginning with your letter to Mr. Claus!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Prehistoric Wonders

There’s no denying that there’s something astonishing about the idea of the gigantic lizards who once roamed the earth, millions of years ago, whose disappearance is as mysterious as the quandary of how they appeared in the first place. Some see them portrayed as blood-thirsty and tyrannical monsters; some still manage to think of them as the absolutely fascinating plastic relics of our childhood play. In any case, the recognition of these prehistoric conundrums is anything but extinct; dinosaurs are relentlessly studied and shared with humans of all ages, shapes, and sizes through museum exhibits, music, books, children’s toys, and even stamps.

The word “dinosaur” is derived from the Greek “deinos,” which translates to “terrible” or “fearsome,” and “saura,” which means “lizard” or “reptile.” Dinosaurs came about this planet approximately 230 million years ago until their abrupt extinction about 65 million years ago. In this time period, numerous different types of these creatures occupied the land, the water, and even the air. They scaled everywhere from colossal giants to little lizards that could fit in the palm of your hand, all of which fought to survive the great hunt for sustenance. No one knows for sure how or why the dinosaurs vanished, only to be doomed to exist under the earth as mind-boggling bones, for the rest of time.

Capture a glimpse of these prehistoric wonders with our eight-piece commemorative stamp set, and bring back to life the mysterious creatures that can only live on through our studies and our imaginations.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Taking Care of Your Collection: Stamp Soaking

It’s very important to soak stamps before putting them into your collection. Soaking stamps will get rid of all of the adhesive that could, over time, cause damage to the stamp.

First, just like you’re doing laundry, sort your stamps by color. By the same principle as sorting laundry, you wouldn’t want to wash the darks and the lights together, and you won’t want to soak your dark stamps and light stamps together. Separate those that are printed on colored paper from those that are printed on white. Also, check each stamp to make sure that there is no excess ink (be it writing or postal lettering). This ink could run through the water and ruin all of your stamps. You will also want to make sure that you separate those stamps with self-adhesive backings from those with regular backings, as the self-adhesive stamps take longer to soak.

Start by putting about ten to twenty stamps (it’s usually wise to begin with the whites) in a small bowl of lukewarm water. Occasionally, GENTLY run your fingers along the stamps to help the separation. At the end of about ten minutes, the stamps should have completely detached from their adhesive backings. Touch each one against the side of the bowl, to drain them, and then set them out to dry on a paper towel. As the stamps dry, if the edges curl, don’t worry. After they’ve dried, completely, press them in a heavy book, such as a phone book, and they should flatten out, nicely. The darker-papered stamps will take longer to soak because you’ll need to soak them in cool water (which slows down the process of dissolving gums and dyes), and you’ll also be soaking less stamps, at a time, in more water.

Don’t peel off the adhesive backings of the stamps, unless it is absolutely necessary. Just take your time. Remember, patience is a virtue; your stamps are precious, and they need to be treated gingerly!

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Taking Care of Your Collection: Keep it Cool

Proper climate, in terms of moisture in the air, is an extremely important factor in the matter of preserving the priceless gems of your stamp collection. It’s best to keep your collection in an air conditioned room. Moisture in the air can ruin your stamps. Make certain that the room is not humid; humidity in the air will cause the ink in the stamps to fade away. Humidity can also encourage molds and fungi to grow among your stamps, causing them to deteriorate very rapidly.

One thing you can do in order to keep the moisture in the air from harming your stamps is to place a sheet of dye-free paper on top of your stamps. This will soak up any excess humidity from the air before it can get to the stamps.

Make sure you keep your stamps in a cool, dry place. This is one of the main things that you can do to keep your stamps looking and feeling like new.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Taking Care of Your Collection: Watch the Sun!

Do you love your stamps? Do you take them out and look at them everyday? You can’t see them in the dark, though, so what do you do? You probably bring them towards the light of the day because nothing lets the ink shine quite like all natural sunlight, and you’re just enjoying your priceless collection. Nothing harmful in that, right? Wrong! You are causing your stamp collection to, quite literally, fade away. It’s not your fault because you didn’t know any better, but you really need to heed the following advice.

Light can be so harmful to your paper based stamp collection, especially UV light, which, without your knowledge, is damaging it little by little, each time you have it out. Even just the casual sunlight through your room’s window is slowly, but surely, fading the ink on your stamp collection. UV concentrated light bulbs are especially harmful to the stamps due to its intense focus of UV light. These light bulbs are used to test authenticity of stamps when being priced, so a little now and then, wouldn’t do damage. Just avoid displaying your collection without proper protective covering.

It would be quite boring to own a stamp collection, if you couldn’t even look at it. It’s fine to do so, but realize that ink fades over time, if you are not careful. So, treat your stamps like the delicate flowers they are, and don’t give them too much sun.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Famous Stamp Collectors: Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Karpov, former chess champion of the world, has to think of strategic steps to take down his chess foe, until he’s collected all the other pieces from his opponent. His patience and precise actions aren’t limited to chess, but extend to other aspects of his life, especially stamp collecting.

Anatoly Karpov was born in Zlataoust in South Ural, where the popular hobby of the local schoolboys was to collect pins. Karpov, himself, had quite the collection; ranging from sports, Olympic, and chess pins. His original dream was to become a pilot or an officer for the Red Army of Russia, which is the reason his stamp collection started. His first stamp was a U.S.S.R. stamp that commemorated forty years of the Red Army, and showed a pilot, tank commander, and infantry officer all together.

Karpov’s interest in stamps from the U.S.S.R and old Russia was limited because they just weren’t enough to get him into philately. It was the fauna stamps of the British Empire that really peaked his fancy, so he began collecting. Now, he collects mostly chess and Olympic Games stamps from all over with the advise of other people from other countries. Karpov uses philately as a means to communicate to many different types of people throughout the world, and believes that stamp collecting shouldn’t be an individualist hobby.

Still, Karpov collects rare stamps and continues to fill up his books. It’s this vigor, which he uses to pursue stamp collecting that gains him the victory on the chess board.

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