Despite my growing collection of collections, I am forced to admit that I cannot have ALL OF THE THINGS! One of those collections I don't collect is color First Day of Issue cancellations. There are a number of goodies one can acquire to commemorate the release of a stamp: the stamp(s) itself, promotional material for the stamp, and First Day of Issue cancellations available in black or, recently, in "digital color." Digital color cancellations began in 2005 and cost a little more to procure than the regular black ink issue. This feature provides artists with another opportunity to celebrate the subject of the stamp. I enjoyed this recent article from the U.S.P.S. stamps blog which talks with some digital color cancellation designers about their work. Do you collect color cancellations? Do you collect cancellations at all?
It's that time to start planning your holiday postmarks! There are numerous quaintly-named cities which will accept your holiday cards and letters for remailing. All you need to do is place your properly stamped letters into a box or envelope and mail them to that particular city care of the Postmaster. Addresses can be found readily online. One of the more popular ones is for North Pole, Alaska:
North Pole Holiday Cancellation Postmaster 4141 Postmark Dr Anchorage AK 99530-9998
The deadline for specialty postmarked cards is the 10th of December for holiday delivery. Best get to writing!
We've told you before about the fun practice of sending your valentines to a Postmaster in order to get a neat cancellation mark from a place like Loveland, CO or Valentine, NE. But what if you can't stand that lovey-dovey, hearts and flowers stuff? Never fear, there are postmarks for you too! Postal News Blog listed some great anti-Valentine's cities. To obtain the town's postmark, address your valentine, affix a First-Class Mail postage stamp and put it into a larger envelope, also with postage (probably $0.66), and address it to VALENTINE’S DAY POSTMARK, POSTMASTER, and then add any of the addresses below.
For those of you on top of things with your cards all ready to mail, you
could consider sending your cards to a Postmaster of one of the
following cities for a fun name on your cancellations. Enclose stamped
cards or letters addressed to yourself or others and put them into
another envelope or box labeled to "Christmas Re-Mailing" and pick from
the list below:
Every so often, I get a lovely letter, note or newsletter from Bill & Kathy at the Olathe Poste. Their correspondence is instantly recognizable because the Olathe Poste uses a Mailer's Permit Postmark to be allowed to cancel their own mail. They design special cancellations for holidays, birthdays, and other commemorative occasions. Bill encourages all mail-fun loving people to send covers (that's "envelopes" for those of you who don't speak Stamp Collector) to him to collect these unique and fun marks.
He asks that you include a note with which postmarks you want, and he'll even try to accomodate specific date requests. If you design or add mail art to your covers, make sure to leave an empty space of at least three and a half inches to the left of the postage stamp. You should also affix your stamps about a quarter inch from the top and right edge of your envelope. This will allow for the best cancellation for your collection. That's it. Just pack up your covers inside another envelope (or box) with your note (and nice thank you to Bill & Kathy) and ship it to them with ample time for them to remail your items. Fun, right? Plus, they have a brand new design ready for Halloween that will only be cancelled on the 31st of October.
Other special cancellation dates for the holiday season are:
November 12 - November 21 Thanksgiving, Pilgrim couple and Turkey CDS
November 26 - December 31 Happy Holiday's Dove of Peace
December 01 - December 31 Christmas season postmarks
December 17 - December 24 Santa & Reindeer
You can see examples of the Olathe Poste's cancellations on their website, which is also my source for blank stamp paper and rubber stamps and other mail goodies. There's even a coupon code good through the end of the month. For 10% off of any rubber stamp, pre-inked stamp, self-inking stamp or greeting cards, enter the code: MAIL4PHUN7DC at checkout. I'm off to shop and send a thank you and Halloween postmark request.
Send more mail,
P.S. The mailing address for the Olathe Poste is P.O. Box 707, Olathe, CO, 81425, USA
P.P.S. International mailers can play too; you'll just have to enclose the appropriate amount of International Response Coupons with your cover requests.
Back in June, I received a random postcard from my friend Marguerite. It was just your run-of-the-mill postcard, albeit vintage, but it had a curious extra stamp and postmark on the front. The stamp claimed to be from Philosateleia. "What can this be?," I wondered, and went of to the web to investigate.
Turns out that Philosateleia is a treasure trove of stamp collecting fun for (mostly) free! There are customizable, printable stamp collection pages, exhibits on stamps and the Philosateleian Post, a local post with its own stamps. This wonderment is the work of one Mr. Kevin Blackston, a philatelist in Florida. He offers a variety of different stamps and services. There is a Standard Service on Monday-Friday which carries letters to USPS collection points, but he also has a Bicycle Service which runs on Sundays. Of course, what I'm really interested in are his stamps.
From the website: Since its inception in 2004, Philosateleian Post has maintained a commemorative stamp program, issuing one to three new stamps each year. These stamps are made available to the public, and new issues are announced in advance so that collectors may obtain first day cover service.
For a complimentary mint single of the current issue, or to receive first day cover service for an upcoming issue or other standard mail or bicycle mail service, send a S.A.S.E. and your request to:
Kevin Blackston Philosateleian Post P.O. Box 57622 Jacksonville F.L. 32241-7622 United States of America
I've sent Mr. Blackston an honorary membership. Please, if you do engage his services, let him know you are a member and always say thank you! I have, thus far, received nothing but glowing reports of L.W.A. member conduct and do not want to marr our immaculate record.
There is awesome mail stuff hiding everywhere. I wouldn't know even a quarter of the cool postal facts and things that I post about here without the help of our members. For example, did you know that the Oregon Zoo has the last functional mail train in the U.S.? I didn't, but our member and friend Sugene of the Valentine's giveaway did and she sent me this great picture of it.
Until the late 1970s, most mail in the United States was carried on trains. While in transit, mail was canceled on these trains using rubber stamps denoting the railroad.
In 1961, the Washington Park and Zoo Railway became one of the first recreation railroads to have its own cancellation stamp. With the demise of the Railway Post Office, the zoo railway is the last operating United States railroad with its own authorized railway postal cancellation to continuously offer mail service.
Mail deposited in mail boxes on the zoo grounds or on the locomotives is hand-canceled with the Washington Park and Zoo Railway stamp. It has become quite a collector's item. Mail comes in from and goes out to all parts of the globe.
In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form. Prepare your pen and paper, moisten your tongue, and get ready to write more letters!
May 28th (Thursday)
Chicago, IL Letter Social
Uncle Art Gallery 7-9pm 1359 N Maplewood Ave
Join us and our typewriters to write some letters together. We will have mail art supplies, stationery, and a few of our old-fangled typing machines available for your use. Free!
May 30th (Saturday)
Chicago, IL OBSCURA DAY 2015
L.W.A. Clubhouse Several time slots available
Enjoy exclusive access to the Letter Writers Alliance Club House in celebration of Obscura Day. You'll see the inner sanctum of operations for the letter writing organization and have an opportunity to write letters and postcards using vintage typewriters.
Your ticket includes free supplies and typewriter time. Donovan, the Letter Writers Alliance typewriter expert, will be on hand to answer questions, troubleshoot cranky machines and make pithy comments. Come join us and type a letter or two!
Tickets: $5 Purchase options available soon!
June 6th (Saturday)
Chicago, IL Postcard Party
606 Opening Celebration, 10am-6pm
Humboldt Blvd between Cortland & Wabansia
Write some postcards and explore the new Bloomingdale Trail with us. Free!
June 7th (Sunday)
Chicago, IL Mix & Mailology
L.W.A. Clubhouse 3:30-5pm
Old Fashions and Wax Seals, two old-timey things we love. Learn the secrets of mixing an excellent Old Fashion and making the perfect wax impression on your envelopes. We will also have other wax-like experiments for your mail art pleasure. Our solutions, both alcoholic and artistic, will surprise you. All materials, including liquid forms, will be provided.
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July 12th (Sunday)
World-Wide L.W.A. Book Club
Join Kathy, Donovan, and a special guest Margaret Haas (of Paper Pastries) via live video while we discuss Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. Discussion and further info can be found on the Goodreads book group page. Event Page
The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. These two ladies manage every aspect of the Alliance, from design, to packing orders, to maintaining the website. The L.W.A. is a labor of love and we are happy you have joined us in sharing a love for letters.