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Stamp Collectors Corner

Updated: 2008-01-07T13:35:43.447-05:00


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In continuation from Friday’s post….

Healthcare is free to the island’s residents. They are limited to services by only one South African doctor and five nurses. IBM and Beacon Equity Partners have set up a Web system with the University of Pittsburg Medical Center. This system provides the resident doctor with long distance tele-medical help with instant consultations available in other countries. If an island resident is seriously injured, signals are sent to fishing boats so that residents can be transported to Cape Town, South Africa.

The islands economy is based on fishing and farming to provide the islanders with their food. Islanders also appreciate the sales of their lobsters (crawfish) to outside countries. It is not uncommon for islanders to have two occupations. You may find them working for local government and in the lobster factory. Another source of income for the island is their sales of postage stamps and coins, especially to philatelists and collectors around the globe. Often times, post office staff will board cruise liners to enable passengers, who would otherwise not be able to come ashore, the opportunity to purchase the sought-after stamps from the island.

If you are interested in purchasing 14 interesting and colorful stamps from Tristan de Cunha, visit These beautiful stamps are the 1960 Sealife Definitives featuring whale, lobster, fish and shark.

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Tristan de Cunha is a group of very remote islands located in the Atlantic Ocean between South American and South Africa. They are considered the most remote group of islands in the world. These islands are currently an overseas territory of Great Britain. They are part of the British Crown Colony of St Helena. The territory consists of a main island, Tristan de Cunha, and 3 remote uninhabited islands; Gough Island, Inaccessible Island and Nightingale Island.

Tristan de Cunha is an active volcanic mountain. In 1961, the island was evacuated because of eruptions. The local lobster (crawfish) factory was destroyed, but rebuilt soon afterwards. Crawfish is one of the main sources of revenues for the island. They have exclusively been exported to Japan and the United States. Currently, there is less demand in the U.S. and the Tristan de Cunha economy is suffering as a result.

There is no airport on the islands and therefore it is difficult to transport to the outside world. Fishing boats from South Africa service the island on a regular basis. Television arrived on the island in 2001. There is only one channel available; The British Armed Services Broadcast. The resulting education on the island is poor. Children are allowed to leave school at 15 years of age.

Currently there are only 275 residents on the island. All residents are descendants of the original settlers. There are only seven surviving family names living on the island today; Glass, Swain, Green, Rogers, Hagan, Repetto and Lavarello. Patterson was the last name added in 1986, bringing the total to only 8 families inhabiting this remote island. Only a few expatriate members and their families may live on the island at a time. They are only allowed to live there for a short period of time (from a week to a couple of months). Priests, doctors and dentists fall into this category.

Check back on Monday for the conclusion to this post.

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Gibraltar is well known for their wonderful commemorative stamps. The Princess Diana stamp is a welcome find to both Royal watchers and curious stamp collectors alike.

Gibraltar is a small British overseas territory that is located near the southern most tip of the Iberian Peninsula, which is overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. It shares a border with Spain on its north side. The population is a mere 27,495, but this territory is considered to be the most densely populated area in the world today.

Princess Diana (of Great Britain) was born on July 1, 1961 in Norfolk, England. She was married to Prince Charles, the first in line to be the King of England, on July 29, 1981. She bore two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry who are both heirs to the throne in England.

Princess Diana lived a tumultuous life in her Royal role. She died a tragic death on August 31, 1997 while in a car with boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed. Her death still sparks controversy today. She served many charities in her short life. Those of particular interest for her were ridding the world of landmines and her AIDS charity work.

These Gibraltar stamps feature 4 lovely photos of the beautiful Princess Diana. If you are interested in purchasing these exquisite stamps, with the beloved Princess Diana, visit for more information.

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Paddington bear was created almost half a century ago by the English writer, Michael Bond. On Christmas Eve, in 1956, Mr. Bond was shopping in a London store when he saw a lone teddy bear on the store shelf. He felt sorry for it, so he brought it home as a present for his wife Brenda. He named the bear Paddington, because he lived near the Paddington Station in London.

Once home, he began to write stories of the little bear’s adventures. Within the first 10 days, he had penned enough stories for a book. Originally his writings were not directed towards children, but he did write about things that he liked reading about when he was young. His first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published on October 13, 1958. Currently, there have been over 30 million Paddington books sold worldwide, in thirty languages.

The Paddington Bear has been involved in a number of charity projects over the years. He has worked with UNICEF in the USA and the American Red Cross. He is very well known in the United Kingdom for his works with Action Medical Research.

In January, 2006, England released a new Paddington Bear stamp. Stamps featured are self adhesive and come in a sheetlet of 20. These stamps celebrate the universal appeal of illustrated children’s literature. If you are interested in purchasing these adorable stamps visit for more information.

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Thailand has a stamp issued of their beloved Princess Galyani. The Princess was born in London, England on May 6, 1923. She is currently 84 years old. She is the eldest sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).

She is a known world traveler who has keen interests in education and music. She has produced books and videos of the countries that she has visited. One of her prime focuses has been educating the Thai public on the culture and history of other countries. Thai television stations have aired her adventures before and during her travels to various lands.

She is the president and honorary president of many charitable organizations in Thailand. Some of her favorites are the Princess Mother’s Charity Fund, The Autistic Foundation of Thailand and the Cardiac Children’s Foundation.

In 1944, the Princess married a commoner and lost her Royal title. After her divorce, she worked tirelessly for the Thai people. In 1950, her Royal title was restored by HM the King as a reward for her hard work.

With education being her main passion, she has penned many books on history, philosophy and ancient ceremonies. The Princess has presided over many charity functions. She has particular interests in classical music and the arts.

Currently the Princesses health is deteriorating. She was admitted into the hospital in June of 2007. There it was discovered that she has stomach Cancer. In the past few weeks, other health complications have erupted. She is currently receiving treatments for blood clots to the brain. The Thai people are still hoping for a full recovery for their beloved Princess.

If you would like to purchase this individual stamp commemorating Princess Galyani, please visit for more information.

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In continuation from Monday’s post on global warming.

Growing a garden can help the environment as well. It will help with soil erosion and also reduce some types of air pollution. People should reduce their daily driving whenever possible. Bike riding or walking is not only great exercise, but it will help reduce the carbon dioxide in the environment. Plant a tree. The world’s forests are being depleted at an alarming rate. We all need the trees precious oxygen to survive. Water conservation is essential. Be sure to watch for leaks around your home. Make sure that your toilet is the 1.6 gallon flush toilet. Consider changing your washing machine to an “Energy Star” appliance. Not only will you use less water, you will use less electricity, thereby costing you less money in the long run.

It is believed that even if the current greenhouse gases are stabilized, the world will continue to see the effects of warmer temperatures and higher sea levels for another millennium. The damage is already done, but it is important for everyone to contribute to the preservation, restoration and improvement of our natural environment.

The United Nations is depicting the environmental issue – Save the Forests in beautiful stamps. The in-demand stamps represent Vienna, Geneva and New York. The beautiful forest greenery and fall foliage is shown on these stamps. Visit if you would like to purchase this complete sheet of stamps.

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Global warming is the increase of the average temperature of the ocean and Earth’s near surface air and its projected continuation. It is a topic well discussed in the news today. Scientists in major industrialized countries believe that global warming is due to the continuous release of greenhouse gases into the environment.
There is ongoing political and public debate on what changes need to happen to reduce the problems for our environment.

Going Green is not only a concept, but something that we must all do in order to preserve our plant for future generations. One way that you can help is to cut down on the use of energy. Every time you use your appliances, lights, heating systems or take a ride in the car, you are using vital energy sources. By reducing your consumption, power companies will be able to reduce their carbon dioxide output that is contributing to the greenhouse gas problem.

There are some simple things that you can do within your own household that will help the environment. By changing a standard light bulb with a compact florescent one, you will get more light for less money and thereby save energy. Recycling cans, plastic and paper is a great way of helping the environment. Keeping these useful items out of the landfills is essential in reducing methane gases.

Please check back on Wednesday for Part II of II.

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(image) A debate arises when trying to figure out which country came up with the first Christmas stamp. There is a Canadian stamp that says "XMAS 1898". One would think that this is the first, but researchers have found that it was actually made to mark the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Postage Rate on Christmas Day. The stamp is not Christmas themed. Instead it boasts a map It has been reported that this stamp was to be released on November 9th to honor the Prince of Wales. Queen Victoria's obvious annoyance with the stamp prompted the quick thinking of Mr. Mulock who quickly noted that it was instead made for "The Prince Of Peace".

In 1937, two stamps were issued by Austria that were billed as "Christmas Greeting Stamps". However; neither of these stamps bore a Christmas theme. One stamp was of a zodiac sign and one stamp was a rose. Brazil issued four semi-postal stamps in 1939. Semi postal stamps are stamps that are sold above the stamp value to raise money for a cause. These stamps were definitely Christmas themed, but they were not expressly made for the Christmas holiday.

In 1941, Hungary also issued a semi postal stamp, but these stamps additional fees were meant to pay for the "soldiers' Christmas" and should not be considered Christmas stamps.

It is widely believed that the first actual Christmas stamp was made by Hungry in 1943. It depicted a Nativity scene and it was expressly sold as a Christmas stamp.

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Say goodbye to the Year of the Pig, welcome the Year of the Rat! On January 26, 2008, the Hong Kong Post will be releasing a new stamp sheetlet set entitled the “Year of the Rat”.

This stamp set is issued in celebration of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. There are four stamps in the set. This is the ninth issue of the third Lunar New Year series. The rat’s personality is captured in each stamp with a beautiful background embellished with silver foliage. It features genuine 22K and 24 K gold as well as 99.9% silver. This exciting special edition will make a wonderful addition to your collection.

In Western cultures, the rat is considered a bottom-dwelling carrier of disease. It is not well liked by most. In Eastern culture, the rat is revered for its quick wits and clever skills. Rats are considered a symbol of wealth and good luck to all that encounter them.

People born in the Year of the Rat (1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984 and 1996) are considered to be hard workers who can achieve their goals, acquire possessions, and most likely are perfectionists. They are usually successful and have big ambitions. Rat people can be easily angered and are known for their thriftiness. They are also known for their charm and attention from the opposite sex.

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The small country, San Marino is a landlocked enclave, completely surrounded by Italy in the Apennine Mountains. It is a democratic multiparty republic. Their total population is approximately 25,000 residents. Their principal economic revenues are from tourism, electronics, banking, farming and light manufacturing. Like all other countries, the government makes most of its revenue from taxes and customs. However, San Marino is known for selling their coins and postage stamps to collectors around the globe.

According to the United States Department of State, San Marino has taken measures to assure the public of their intentions of fairness and equality to all citizens and visitors to their county. This tiny country is fighting discrimination with the issue of a new stamp.

This beautiful stamp has a picture of a female which stands to represent the Republic of San Marino. On her head you will find the three towers with the three feathers. There are oak and laurel leaves on her clothing. You will find the woman holding a scale with a nude woman and a nude man on either side. This signifies the principle of equality between women and men. This stamp depicts that women and men are equal in all aspects of work, law, skin color, disability, religious choices and sexual preference.

San Marino is a member of the Small European Postal Administration Cooperation. Members must have a small market of more than 50% of its philatelic customers living outside of their respective country in order to maintain membership.

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In November, England released 2 sets of first and second class Christmas stamps to the public. One set consists of two images of the Madonna and Child and the other set has six different angels. The problem is, not many people know that the traditional Christian stamps, the Madonna and Child, even exist.

As soon as the stamps went into circulation, complaints began to arise that the post offices were not advertising or promoting the new Christian stamp. Some places in England report that they had to ask for the Madonna and Child stamp by name, even as the angels were being offered up constantly to customers. Some customers believe that not promoting the Christian stamps were part of a plot to end the Christian Christmas stamp by erroneously proving that there is simply no public demand for them. There was no real explanation as to why there were tens of millions of Madonna and Child stamps printed while there were hundreds of millions of the secular-themed stamps.

The Post Office is trying to end the confusion and stop accusations that are being made as to why they have not put much effort into promoting their Christian stamps this year. In the past, the Royal Mail alternated Christian stamps and secular themed Christmas stamps every other year. This year, the stamp was supposed to be Christian based. It was announced this week that it was always the plan to run both stamps at Christmas this year. According to the Royal Mail, 2007 has served as the trial run for issuing both types of stamps from this year forward. Their spokesman denied that they are now bowing to public complaints and pressure by saying that "this was always the plan for these stamps".

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On December 5, 2007, it was announced by Postmaster General, John Potter, that there will be a new Frank Sinatra stamp released sometime in the spring of 2008. He will be honored posthumously to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.

John Potter called Old Blue Eyes “an extraordinary entertainer whose life and work left an indelible impression on American culture.” He has won several Grammy awards, an Oscar and been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, by President Reagan. He was a wonderful entertainer and certainly one of America’s top artists. Sinatra toured internationally and was known for being part of the Rat Pack.

The stamp will most likely be released in May or June. The Postal Governing Board may be raising their price of first class stamps, so they are waiting until later to announce the price on the stamp. It is believed to be either 41 cents or 42 cents. If stamp costs are raised, they want this new stamp to bear the new price so that it does not have a short shelf life at post offices.
This is not the first time that Mr. Sinatra has been honored by the Postal Service. In 2002, in Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey, the US Postal Service paid respects to Mr. Sinatra and renamed their post office after him.

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Now that you have soaked your stamp, try to peel the stamp off from one corner only. If it does not come free easily, place it back in the water for further soaking. If you soak the stamp to long, it could cause the paper to become soggy and weak and you will easily damage the stamp. The key is, don’t leave the stamps alone. Keep a close eye on the stamps to ensure their safety.

Once the stamps are off paper, you can gently rub any remaining adhesive off of the stamp and then give it a final washing in clean water. Experience will teach you how long a particular stamp will need to be soaked so that you will not damage it.

Once the stamps are out of the water, place them on a dry white paper towel in a single layer. You can dry them on newspaper, but do not use any colored newspaper as the ink will transfer onto the stamps and stain them. Use another dry paper towel to blot out the excess water from the tops of the stamps. It is recommended that you buy a stamp drying book so that the stamps will dry flat. These can be purchased very inexpensively. They have plastic like pages that stamps cannot stick to. Load the stamps from the back of the book forward with all stamps facing up. After you are done loading the stamps into the drying book; place heavy books on top so that the stamps will dry flat.

Have patience. With practice this task will become easier and before you know it, you will have a great collection in the works!

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Once you have sorted your stamps, soak them in small batches of about 10 stamps, but take careful notice and watch for ink color running. You will find that the paper backing that is red, such as can be found in greeting cards, will run the fastest. It is rare that the actual stamp ink will run, but sometimes the cancellation ink will run if it is from a rubber stamp.

It is wise to soak these particular types of stamps individually so that you can insure that no color bleeding occurs and that no other stamps are affected. If the colored paper color is running, remove the stamp immediately and change the water so that the color does not transfer onto your stamp. If a stamp has a rubber stamp cancellation mark, it should not be submerged in water. Instead, it should float on the water, face up.

Soaking time for stamps will vary greatly. Some stamps can take as little as one minute to dislodge, while others can take as long as 2 hours before they are ready to separate. It all depends on the type of adhesive that is used. Beginners should not use tongs initially as it is easy to damage the delicate stamps. Instead you should use your fingers to dislodge the stamps from their paper.

Check back on Monday for the conclusion to this series.

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Removing Stamps From Paper and Drying Stamps… Part I of III

For those who are new to collecting stamps, you might wonder how you can remove the stamps from the paper envelope. It is often a tricky endeavor, but with patience and practice, you will be able to accomplish this task.

Firstly, always resist the urge to try to take a stamp off paper by pulling at it, even if it looks like it will come off easily. Stamps should be trimmed first. Be careful not to cut the perforation off of the stamps as this will reduce its value.

Once you have trimmed the stamps, you can begin the process of removing them from their paper backing. You should soak the stamps in clean water that is about the temperature of your body. Many people have made the mistake of soaking the stamps in warm or hot water. Even though it is faster, doing so could easily damage the cancellation ink or the delicate stamp itself. This may also cause the ink in the paper backing to run. Be sure to use a good amount of water. Your goal in soaking the stamps is not only to dislodge them from the paper; but also to remove any residual adhesive from the stamp. You may need to change the water often so that there is not as much glue floating around.

Just as you sort your personal laundry, do the same with stamp sorting. Put like colors together. You should group colored paper backing stamps together as well as stamps that have the rubber stamp ink together.

Check back on Friday for Part II of this series.

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Stamp collecting is currently one of the most popular hobbies. It is estimated that in the United States there are over 20 million people collecting stamps. Originally stamp collecting began as a child’s hobby dating back as far as 1860. It is now common for adults and children to collect stamps. The expense of this hobby will vary, depending on what your personal preferences are. There are several ways for you to begin your collection. Ask friends and family members to save stamps for you. Many beginners decide on one particular type of stamp that they want to collect. It is wise to not limit yourself in the beginning. You might find unknown types that will spark your interest once you begin collecting. Beginners should start off being a general collector.

For those of you who are just starting your collection, you can find stamps in bulk sold at stamp shows. At shows, you will also be able to find stamps, sold on paper, that are usually sold by the pound. On paper stamps are stamps that have been cut off from envelopes in the mail. These are called Kiloware. At times, stamp collectors can also find economical worldwide stamps located on Ebay. These are often sold on paper. Beginners should check out their local hobby shops where you will find stamps that are sold in bulk quantities for consumers.

No equipment is needed in order to be a stamp collector. Many collectors decide to have a few essential items for their use. A magnifying glass would be helpful for viewing the details of the stamp, a stock book for storing the stamps; and stamp tongs with rounded tips to help prevent damage to the stamps.

Check out our supplies first before you shop anywhere else. Visit (

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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

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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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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.

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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 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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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 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:

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(image) 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.

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(image) 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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(image) 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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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.