Armenia's First Stamps: Mount Ararat and the Tri-color

Independent Armenia's first stamp was printed in 1992. (Photo 8) In 1991 a competition was announced for the stamp design in which 100 individuals submitted some 400 entries. The theme of the first stamp had already been selected - Mount Ararat and the Tri-color flag. Graphic designer Harutyun Samuelyan was the author of that first stamp.
Mr. Samuelyan states that, "That stamp was my first attempt at such a design. Sixteen years later I still believe it's one of my best stamps, even though I see some shortcomings in it. If I were to draw it now, I'd make Ararat taller, as it appears in the winter months with more snow on its peaks.

In the sixteen years since he's designed more than 100 stamps. The artist confesses that designing stamps is one of his best-loved pastimes. He continues to submit new sketches to the HayPost committee responsible for new stamp design.

"The only difference, he says, is that back then I'd use pencil or water colors and now I use the computer. After the printing of the first stamp the Minister for Communication and Transport decreed the creation of the firm "Namakanish Ltd" (Namakanish is the word for stamp in Armenian). It has been involved in stamp preparation and circulation since 1992.

Harutyun Samuelyan is the head artist in "Namakanish". He relates that it wasn't right that most of the stamps printed lately were his creations. He confesses that this resulted from the fact that it's been difficult to get young artists interested in stamp design due to the low honorarium involved; about $5 per stamp.

He notes that stamps designed during Armenia's period of independence are of much higher quality, both aesthetically and informatively, than stamps of the Czarist and Soviet eras and that the themes represented are more diverse and expansive.

Stamps are a lucrative business

In November 2006, management authority of HayPost was ceded to the "HayPost Trust Management Ltd" firm. During the years 1992 to 2006 "Stamp Ltd." issued some 300 stamps. Today, however, HayPost has decided that these stamps cannot be used as postage but only for collecting purposes.

This decision was not accidental. Starting in 2003 relations between "Namakanish" and HayPost had soured due to the fact that the printing and issuing of stamps had become big business. "Namakanish" would print a stamp and sell it to HayPost for 80 drams per piece. HayPost, in turn, would put the stamp into circulation for 100 drams, thus making a 20-dram profit. This situation lasted for some time since the brother of the director of "Namakanish" was a Parliamentary Deputy with influential connections.

Hans Boon, Director General of HayPost Trust Management, during an April 27, 2007 interview he gave to the newspaper Delevoy Express described the situation thusly, "While HayPost was the one providing mail service, it was Namakanish that was raking in the profits.

There were other reasons for the disagreements as well. Given that it had sole issuance rights, Namakanish would often sell stamps in bulk overseas. While not prohibited, it reached such extreme levels that stamp collectors abroad would get their hands on Armenian stamps before local collectors. Also, stamp sales overseas were quite profitable. Stamps with a face value of 150-500 drams were being sold for 1-3 Euros.

One of the people we interviewed familiar with the workings of Namakanish said that the firm had entered into an exclusive arrangement with a buyer named Barsumian in London. According to the agreement Namakanish would sell this person Armenian stamps and couldn't sell stamps to anyone else for a period of six months in order for Barsumian to recoup his initial investment.

All this resulted in the scarcity of stamps for postage in Armenia. Lara Tcholakian, Deputy Director General for International Relations Manager at HayPost Trust, told us that, "We had a scarcity of stamps in 2006. Thus, we were obliged to employ bar codes in order to somehow verify the sale of stamps."

Hans Bon states that, "Even though stamps were being printed in large quantities only a tiny amount would reach HayPost. The monies realized from stamp sales didn't cover the expenses of the mail services provided."

HayPost could no longer tolerate this set-up and refused to circulate stamps issued by Namakanish. During 2006 Namakanish had printed up some 51 various stamps that would wind up not being publicly circulated. As it turned out, Namakanish and HayPost could never iron-out their differences to at least circulate the already printed stamps. The Ministry of Communications remained neutral in the matter.

Stamp collector Yuri Kupalyan laments that; "In the end it was Armenian philately that suffered from this war over money by these two departments. In the 2006 print run were four stamps dedicated to the victories achieved by six of our chess masters. The stamps have never been put into circulation and thus these events have never been duly recorded in stamp form."

The 2006 stamp run remains in limbo. In order to recoup the money spent to print these stamps the Ministry of Communications and Transport decreed that they be put on sale.

Yuri Kupalyan argues that, "This approach doesn't serve the interests of stamp collectors. Stamps are issued to be used as postage and are later collected by aficionados. What collector would buy a stamp that hasn't been used as postage?"

In 2007, after lengthy debate, the Armenian government granted the sole right for stamp printing and circulation to HayPost.

Throughout the world it's accepted practice to print and circulate artistic miniatures that resemble stamps. However, these items aren't considered true stamps. Other than the word "Hayastan" (Armenia) on legitimate stamps there is little else besides the word "post" in Armenian and English.

Lara Tcholakian states that, "We are now establishing links with agents that sell stamps overseas. Through them we will be selling Armenian stamps at just a bit more than face value. The agents will compete with each other and thus the prices Armenian stamps will not increase to the extent that people loose interest in collecting them. Presently, we don't really know how many stamps are being sold overseas since we're new to the game and haven't yet done the research. In 2008, however, we foresee selling 15% of our stamps abroad."

But it's still not clear how many varieties of stamps will be issued in 2008 and what their themes will be. The Stamp Committee over at HayPost has presented their stamp designs for the current year to the Ministry of Communications and is awaiting an answer. In any event, these stamps should have already been printed.

It's commonly accepted throughout the world for collectors to know at least one year in advance regarding upcoming stamp issuances. Collectors in Armenia can only guess regarding the future. Lara Tcholakian assures us that in the coming years the authorization process for stamp issuance will be corrected and that information regarding upcoming stamps will be published in advance as well.

HayPost issued 27 stamps, ranging in value from 50-350 drams, for circulation in 2007 and 1 2006 that was a joint Armenian-Russian venture. The "Yevroba" stamp issued by HayPost was judged to be the finest stamp, from among those of 50 postal operators, at the 2007 European stamp competition. The "EUROPA" stamp is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Scout Movement.

It's next to impossible to say to what degree Armenian stamps are cherished by collectors or how well known they are since oftentimes stamps are collected not according to the country of origin but by thematic content. Thus, postal agencies tend to print stamps according to themes: nature, culture, sports, cuisine, etc. Even stamp series are issued, for example Armenian churches or universities. Most competitions however are won by collections that are comprised of stamps from individual countries.

Lara Tcholakian agrees that, "In terms of the business end, thematic stamp runs are the most advantageous since you'd probably only find a handful of people in the world interested in a stamp say dedicated to Nemrut Baghdasaryan, the father of photo-journalism in Armenia, or to the 150th anniversary of the birth of troubadour Gusan Sheram." According to HayPost figures only 1% of stamps sold in Armenia are bought for collection purposes. Overseas, this figure is closer to 15%.

She adds that, "We are studying the market to see what types of stamps are of most interest in the world. This doesn't mean that we'll be neglecting famous or worthy individuals in the eyes of Armenia. No, we'll print stamps dealing with these people as well."

Collector Yuri Kupalyan says, "My fear is that we'll soon be seeing only trees and flowers on our stamps and that the faces of important people will be forgotten. Yes, business is business, but through stamps we can introduce the world to our country and noteworthy sons and daughters. This aspect must not be overlooked."

Any one can suggest a theme for a stamp. Before finalizing its stamp program for the coming year, HayPost makes the rounds of various state and private departments for proposals for stamp themes. The HayPost stamp committee then reviews these proposals and the chosen themes are in turn submitted to the appropriate committee at the Ministry of Communications and Transport. Once the themes are chosen, the work of the artists and designers begins. Armenian stamps are printed in Holland.

Postal Department's tribute to Bollywood

Mumbai: She remains the heartthrob of an entire generation of Indian men and now the achingly beautiful Madhubala has been captured for posterity.
Madhubala is among the few leading lights of Indian cinema to be immortalised on a postage stamp. Here's a look at how the Indian film industry is stamped forever in the Indian mindset.
Her beauty once lit up the silver screen and now she's left her mark indelibly in the minds of the Indian public.
Madhubala is only the second actress after Nargis to be honoured with a postage stamp.
The postal department has in the past has issued stamps to commemorate the stalwarts of the Indian film industry, from filmmakers like Dadasaheb Phalke, Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, to actors like Gemini Ganesan, and singers like Mukesh and Mohammed Rafi.
But getting a stamp is not as easy as posting a letter. The postal department usually releases commemorative stamps to mark the birth centenary or death anniversaries, and any citizen or relative of the subject can propose the issue of the stamp.
In 2007, after consistent efforts by director Bimal Roy's family, the late filmmaker was honoured with a postage stamp on his 44th death anniversary.
But fame doesn't always dazzle the department of posts. Going by the guidelines, it cannot issue more than 25 per cent of stamps in a year based on famous personalities.
In the past year itself, Ritwik Ghatak, SD Burman and Mehboob khan were posthumously honoured with commemorative stamps. In the era of e-mail and SMS, this comes as a quaint tribute to the magic of cinema.


The Vice President of India Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari released a commemorative postage stamp and the first day cover on noted Urdu poet Asrar-Ul-Haq ‘Majaaz’ at a function here today. He presented one set each of these to Mrs. Hamida Saleem, sister of Majaaz and to the Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University respectively.

Addressing on the occasion the Vice President said that every youth of his age might have surely read and recited the lyrics of Majaaz and people in the every part of the world do recite his lyrics. He was a revolutionary poet and his writings have influence of Saaz and revolution. He had an impact on an entire generation of people and his lyrics were full of romance and revolution. The Vice President lauded the effort of Department of Posts to honour Majaaz by bringing out a commemorative postage stamp as well as the first day cover on him.

In his address, the Minister of State for Communication and IT Dr. Shakeel Ahmed said that it is the fundamental responsibility of Department of Posts to honor illustrious personalities of the country and very soon more such commemorative postage stamps will be released.

Mrs. Hamida Saleem, sister of Majaaz in her speech threw light on some interesting aspects of Majaaz personality. Noted film lyricist Shri Javed Akhter, who is nephew of Majaaz, also shared his experiences.

Smt. Gursharan Kaur, wife of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Smt. Mohsina Kidwai, MP and former Union Minister, Smt. Shabana Azmi, former MP, Mr. I.M.G. Khan, Secretary (Posts), Mrs. K. Noorjeharn, Member (Operations & Marketing), Postal Services Board graced the occasion. A good gathering of eminent literary personalities, academicians, poets and other dignitaries is expected during the stamp release function. SK/BS


The Error World: An Affair with Stamps by Simon Garfield

Simon Garfield is best known for his three-volume anthology of the private diaries that were kept for the Mass Observation project during and after the second world war, recording the minutiae of ordinary people's daily lives. In The Error World, he has produced a similar account of an "ordinary" life, his own, made unusual by his obsession with stamp collecting.

He began collecting by replying to the adverts in the back of boys' magazines for stamps "on approval", which meant that you didn't have to pay for them as long as you agreed to buy more. The free stamps would duly arrive, heavily postmarked, sometimes fairly tatty and torn, and virtually worthless. But by using the complimentary plastic tweezers and magnifying glass that came with them, you might just be able to discern the exotic names of the countries they bore.

There were still plenty of stamps in circulation from the old colonies in those days, and albums were called things such as the Windsor, the Strand, the New Imperial, and there were specialist stamp shops in the heart of London with names such as Bridger & Kay, WELea and, of course, Stanley Gibbons. Commemorative stamps changed significantly over the years as well. They used to be all Trafalgar and fighter planes and royalty and wild flowers (issued in 1967, "designed by the RevWKeble Martin, the author of The Concise British Flora in Colour"), whereas now they celebrate Wembley stadium, the abolition of slavery, and Harry Potter. And as Garfield notes, collectors today are invited to nominate the subjects they would like to see commemorated, from a carefully chosen list including Legendary Football Managers, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The address to write to is "The Data Solutions Centre, Manton Wood Enterprise Park, Worksop".

When Garfield's father died prematurely, letters of condolence arrived from all over the world with some extremely collectable stamps on them. "Inevitably, the best ones arrived from furthest away. Switzerland, France, Israel, Canada, the United States and Africa, all stamped." It was "the biggest haul I ever had". But it didn't take the young Garfield long to realise that there were far too many stamps in the world to collect, so he began to specialise in "errors" - stamps that had accidentally been produced when "the printing machine had run out of ink, or a paper fold had caused the colour to be printed on the gummed side". He could reel off all the great mistakes, including "the 1961 European Postal Conference 2d missing orange" and "the 1962 National Productivity Year 3d and 1s 3d both missing light blue (the Queen's head)".

He lost interest in stamp collecting around the age of 20, which seems quite late, although it was for the usual reasons: the hobby suddenly seemed to belong to childhood, and there were other things to concentrate on. What is odd is that he returned to stamp-collecting again when he was in his early forties. "I once had ISAs and Tessas," but now it was all hugely expensive errors again, on which he began to spend more and more, storing his album secretively in the base of a built-in wardrobe in his office.

Only later would he connect this revived hobby with the gradual decline and then break-up of his marriage, and a subconscious longing for the simple pleasures of his boyhood. This delicately perceptive bit of self-analysis gives the book an added poignancy. He even took his stamp album along to his marriage-guidance counsellor. His interests and his wife's had diverged markedly over the nearly 20 years they had been together and "she was not interested in used postage". His new girlfriend wasn't that keen either, but then "I'm not sure that I could ever be attracted to any woman who was". He told the counsellor that he intended to sell all his errors, and she observed that "their sale (the selling of my mistakes) might signify a new start for me".

He did try to give up his increasingly expensive hobby, and at one point was on the verge of buying a Jaguar instead. In the end, however, he admitted defeat and went back to his lasting obsession, finding solace in putting these tiny bits of paper in order. And, unlike other forms of collecting, buying, consuming and hoarding, Garfield points out that "the nature of stamp collecting is partly non-consumerist, as we safeguard artefacts that previously would have been used up and thrown away, but in the 21st century collecting ultimately always means buying things".

THE ERROR WORLD An Affair with Stamps by Simon Garfield
Faber £14.99 pp247


World's First CD-ROM Stamps Help Fund Bhutan's Infrastructure

World's First CD-ROM Stamps Help Fund Bhutan's Infrastructure

For four decades, Bhutan has used the technology of the day in a series of postage stamp "firsts" -- to tell Bhutan's history, provide a virtual visit to its mystical land, and even tell some of the history of the world. These stamps helped to fund Bhutan's national treasury and economic development, including roads, hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure. Bhutan was the first country in the world to release talking stamps that played on phonograph, silk stamps, steel stamps, scented stamps, sculptural stamps, and many others.

The latest in the series of postage stamp "firsts" by Bhutan are mini CD-ROM stamps that fit into exquisitely decorated self-adhesive envelopes. When affixed to a larger envelope, the CD stamp actually can be used as postage. Bhutan plans to continue its environmental, cultural and economic sustainability with the sale of these computer-age stamps, which are the world's first to feature documentaries of a country. The stamps are developed by Creative Products International of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Bhutan's new CD-ROM stamps can be used as postage, added to a collection, or displayed in a frame. Bhutan's new CD-ROM stamps are available now at Additional information is at

Rachelle Pachtman


Postal Dept. stamps yesteryear star Madhubala

Mumbai: She is one of the few actresses whose smile continues to light up the screen and whose beauty has transcended generations.
Now, it's not just the film industry which is giving Madhubala her due. In recognition of her contribution to the Hindi film industry, the Indian Postal Department has released a postage stamp dedicated to her.
Bollywood actor, Sonali Kulkarni says, "Her simplicity, her beauty, her grace — they are all brilliant. I love her style of lip syncing and the way she sings songs on screen. My eternal favourite is Acha ji main haari.
Radio Personality, Ameen Sayani says, "There couldn't be a single young man in those days who couldn't fall in love with Madhubala."
Adds actor and filmmaker, Manoj Kumar, "Ek sadi main ek Madhubala hoti hai. Hum kushkismat hain ki humne Madhubala ko dekha, unse baat ki. ("There is only one Madhubala in one era. I am lucky that I have had the good fortune of meeting her and talking to her.")
Madhubala is the second actress after Nargis Dutt to receive this honour, albeit posthumously. Many however feel that this gesture took time in coming.
Madhubala's sister, Madhur Bushan says, "It could have come at her death anniversary or day, but nonetheless we are very happy in the family."
Adds Ameen Sayani, "It does not matter when she was honoured, for Madhubala's face will always be stamped in our hearts."
In the times of fast come fast go, actors barely manage to create an impression. Despite all the years gone by Madhubala is one of those few actresses who continues to entrance the viewer. And the postage stamps are just another way of immortalising her.

Kids' contest to design postage stamps

Howick and Botany Times

IT'S that time of the year for creative kids wanting to get their images sent around the country and world on stamps this Christmas.

The NZ Post design a stamp competition is now open, to school students aged five to 12.
Works from three lucky winners will grace the 50c, $2 and $2.50 stamps, all of which can be used to post mail overseas at Christmas. The children's designed stamps will complement the traditional Christmas range.

It'll be the third year NZ Post will have run the competition. The three category winners will each receive $1000, while $3000 goes to their school.

NZ Post stamps general manager Ivor Masters says this year's competition theme is a Kiwi Christmas.

"We're asking children to really let their imagination run wild, but at the same time to think about what might look good on a stamp. Since stamps are small, children need to keep their designs simple and use bright, strong colours."

Entry forms and tips on what makes a good stamp image can be downloaded from Entries close on May 9 and the stamps will be available for sale from October 3.

Entries can be sent to: FreePost Design A Stamp, PO Box 38707, Wellington Mail Centre, Lower Hutt 5045.

Postal stamp in honour of Madhubala

MUMBAI: India Post has paid tribute to legendary actor Madhubala, perhaps the most beautiful and attractive woman in the history of Bollywood, by releasing a postage stamp in her memory.

Often referred to as the 'Venus of the Indian screen', Madhubala had an angelic beauty coupled with oomph, which set her apart from her contemporaries.

Honouring the contribution of the sensuous actress to Indian cinema, India Post, released the stamp at a glitzy event here last evening.

Unveiling the stamp, veteran actor Manoj Kumar said Madhubala was "the face of the century".

"There can be only one Madhubala in one century. I'm extremely lucky that I had the pleasure of working with her. I'm happy and want to thank the department for their initiative," he said.

"I'm extremely happy at the initiative of India Post. They have paid tribute to her beauty who was renowned for her beauty. I have no words to express my happiness," added Madhubhushan, Madhubala's sister.

The act of issuing postage stamps in memory of film personalities dates back to 1971, when the postage department issued a stamp to mark the birth centenary of Dadasaheb Phalke, touted as the father of Indian cinema.

A research of almost two years by the Philatelic Advisory Committee at the Department of Posts goes behind the release of such stamps.

Madhubala is only the second Indian actress after Nargis to have a postage stamp released in her honour.

Mumtaz Jahan Begum Dehlavi alias Madhubala was born on February 14, 1933 in a poor family of Pathan Muslims. She was the fifth of eleven children. Her father, Ataullah Khan, migrated from Delhi to Mumbai in search of better prospects.

A holy Muslim man is said to have predicted that young Mumtaz would attain fame and fortune, but at the cost of unhappy life and an early death. Those words came true.

Mumtaz made her debut in films in 1942 in the film Basant as an eight-year-old chilled artiste. So impressed was the film's producer, Devika Rani, with her performance that she was rechristened Madhubala.

She died on February 23, 1969 from a heart-related problem.

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New stamps celebrate NI

The scenic delights of Northern Ireland are featured on a new set of stamps launched by Royal Mail.

The `Celebrating Northern Ireland` set features two 1st Class stamps with images of the Giant`s Causeway and Carrickfergus Castle.

There are also two 78p long-format stamps with stunning images of Belfast`s Queen`s Bridge and the Thanksgiving Beacon and a new illustration of St Patrick by artist Clare Melinsky.

General Manager of Royal Mail in Northern Ireland, Michael Kennedy, said the set of stamps was the third in a series of collectable miniature stamp sheets which were being issued in celebration of each of the UK regions.

Each set features a patron saint surrounded by well known and loved landmarks, he said.

He added:"Royal Mail hopes that this special set of stamps will help promote Northern Ireland around the world.

"Although they are small, we think these miniature works of art will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland, whether people use them to send greetings to friends and relatives around the world or buy them as collectable mementoes."

Artist Clare Melinsky said: "Being asked to design a new stamp is a great honour. A stamp is a very small piece of paper but carries a lot of significance.

"My image is very much a personal interpretation of the saint, because the mists of time have obscured what we know of him."

Forever Stamp a hot item with prices set to rise again

Sunday, March 9, 2008 10:10 PM CDT

Sales of the U.S. Postal Service's Forever Stamp are expected to pick up as savvy consumers try and beat a scheduled increase in the cost to mail a first-class letter.

The price of a first-class mail stamp will increase to 42 cents May 12, up a penny from the 41-cent price now.

Despite the increased cost to mail a first-class letter, USPS spokeswoman Valerie Hughes said the service that will be provided by the 42 cents remains a bargain.

"I do think most Americans think there is a lot of value in paying just 42 cents to mail a letter anywhere in the country," she said.

"You can't even buy a candy bar or a pack of gum at that price."

Hughes said there is always some grumbling when the cost of a stamp goes up, but since the postal service is not taxpayer-supported, the increase is necessary.

"All of our revenue comes from the sale of our products and services. Sometimes we have to increase our prices because our costs are also going up," she said. "Look at the price of gas. We have one of the largest vehicle fleets in the nation. You can imagine what the price of gas is doing to us."

Hughes said the postal service hopes a new product, the Forever Stamp, will help ease the transition to the new price.

In post offices now, the stamp costs 41 cents and can be used after the scheduled increase on May 12 as well as after any other future increases. Forever Stamps will also be available after the May increase, but will be sold at the higher price.

"Consumers can continue to use the Forever Stamps they purchased for 41 cents even after this price change and any future price changes,"

Makanda Postmaster Laura Depolo said in a press release, "The postal service developed the Forever Stamp for consumers to ease through the transition during price changes."

Not everyone is concerned about the coming higher stamp price.

"Everything else is going up," Marion resident Eddie Smith said. "Why not the price of a stamp? It won't bother me too much. I hardly ever use stamps anyway. I pay most of my bills online." / 927-5633


Iran: First-Class Stamp Honors Militant

Published: March 11, 2008
The face of a Hezbollah commander who was killed in Syria last month will be on a new postage stamp, the official IRNA news agency reported. The commander, Imad Mugniyah was suspected of killing hundreds of Americans in suicide bombings in Lebanon in the 1980s, hijacking a T.WA. airliner in 1985 and planning attacks on the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish cultural center in Argentina that killed more than 100 people.

Queen and Country stamps

A campaign is underway for Royal Mail to publish a series of commemorative stamps featuring British soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq, including Burghfield's Paul Donnachie.
They died for our country - they deserve our appreciation. So say the parents of a soldier from Burghfield who died in Iraq last year.

Paul Donnachie was killed on 29 April 2007 by small arms fire during a routine patrol in Basra.

Now his dad James is one of a number of people calling for commemorative stamps of the service personnel who have been killed on active duty.

He says: "Paul and his friends, they're great guys are willing to do anything for anyone. But it's these types of youngsters who are the ones that get forgotten, get overshadowed."
"This work is particularly important and meaningful for me as it is a collaboration with the families of the deceased."
Artist Steve McQueen
James Donnachie is not alone. According to a survey by charity The Art Fund, 66 per cent of people in the South East think that not enough is being done to recognise the sacrifice made by UK troops who have lost their lives in Iraq.

The charity is supporting official war artist, Steve McQueen, in his call for Royal Mail to issue the commemorative postage stamps he has created in his work Queen and Country, each dedicated to a member of the armed forces who has lost their life in Iraq.

David Barrie, director of The Art Fund, says: "Through the everyday postage stamp Steve McQueen has found a deceptively simple but very moving way to express our complex feelings about war."

Steve McQueen says: "This work is particularly important and meaningful for me as it is a collaboration with the families of the deceased and potentially with the whole nation."


Historical bridges on new stamps

KUALA LUMPUR: Stamps showcasing historical bridges will be sold at all Post Malaysia offices nationwide from today.
The stamps, each measuring 50mm by 30mm, feature the Merdeka Bridge in Kedah (30 sen), Victoria Bridge in Perak (50 sen), Kota Bridge in Selangor (50 sen) and Sg Segamat Bridge in Johor (RM1).
The first-day cover at 30 sen each, comes with a pamphlet with a short historical account of each bridge. The set, complete with four designs, costs RM2.60.
The folder for the stamps, limited to 1,000 copies, will be sold for RM5.50 each at selected post offices.
"Bridges play a significant role in connecting people and places. It also connects the development of society and civilisation," Pos Malaysia Bhd managing director and group chief executive officer Datuk Idrose Mohamed said in a statement.
PosNiaga Philately senior manager Wong Lai Kim added that all the bridges chosen were built before the country's independence except for the Kota Bridge which was destroyed in 1941 during World War II and rebuilt in 1958.
Stamp enthusiasts are encouraged to open a standing order deposit account to receive their stamps and other philatelic products through the mail without the hassle of queuing at the post office.
A minimum deposit of RM50 will be charged when opening an account.
Members will continue to receive stamps as long as there is sufficient balance in their account.
For further information log on to or visit the nearest post office.


Postage stamps recycled for use by hobbyists

I have enjoyed pen-palling for several years now and I swap Friendship Books with many of my pen pals. I've seen little ads in these booklets from people saying that they collect used and unused postage stamps for certain charities. What, if anything, do these charities do with the stamps? I mean, I can't see them making any money off of them, especially if they've been used already. Any ideas?
— K.M., Medford
In the world of philately — stamp collecting — relatively few stamps have real value. But to fill the demands of the average collector, who might be filling out series or sets of common canceled stamps, the big dealers need to constantly replenish their supplies.
It's a long-standing, but not overly lucrative, way for nonprofits to earn cash for their group by collecting stamps and sending them off to a clearinghouse where they are soaked and resold to dealers, collectors, etc.
Some groups distribute the stamps to wounded veterans or other patients so they can start their own collections and pass the lonely hours in the hospital.
Commemorative stamps, issued in honor of an important event, person, or subject, are far more collectible than "definitives," those American-flag or Liberty Bell stamps sold in huge quantities. Whether to collect canceled or mint stamps is a personal choice.
Stamp collecting may be akin to watching paint dry to some, but to others, it's a fascinating way to pass the time. Here are some fun stamp facts, courtesy the American Philatelic Society (
  • Bhutan, an Asian nation in the Himalayan Mountains, issued a group of postage stamps that were actually phonograph records in 1973.
  • In 1879 Liege, Belgium, employed 37 cats to carry bundles of letters to villages.
  • In 1969 during the Apollo 11 moon flight, the astronauts took with them a die of a postage stamp which they pulled an impression of when they touched down on the moon, creating the moon's first postage stamp.
Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


New stamp honors UI professor, inventor Bardeen

By Greg Kline
John Bardeen never ran for six touchdowns against Michigan.
Then again, Red Grange never won two Nobel Prizes nor invented anything like the transistor, the linchpin of the modern electronic age.

Which is why the late UI physics professor will join the Illini football legend Thursday as the latest person with local connections to end up on a commemorative stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. Grange was honored in 2003.

"It's the first time any of us have been involved in this type of event," Urbana Postmaster Kathleen Burr said. "It's very exciting to be able to recognize someone who has contributed so much, to the world actually, and it happened right here in our community."

That makes the first day the Bardeen stamp will go on sale an occasion for local postal officials, stamp aficionados and UI officials alike.

"It's not every day that the United States Postal Service issues a stamp in honor of somebody in your community," said Louise Toft of the Champaign-Urbana Stamp Club.

A U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating the late UI physics Prof. John Bardeen, inventor of the transistor and a two-time Nobel Prize winner. By The News-Gazette
The stamp will be officially issued at the Postage Stamp Mega-Event, a "World Series of Philately" (that is, stamp collecting) starting Thursday in New York's Madison Square Garden, sponsored by the Postal Service, the American Stamp Dealers Association and the America Philatelic Society.

But its "first day of sale" will be marked at 12:15 p.m. Thursday in Room 144 of Loomis Lab, at the corner of Green Street and Goodwin Avenue, where the UI Physics Department is housed.

Local and UI officials will attend the ceremony, which is sponsored by the stamp club, the Urbana Post Office and the physics department, along with members of Mr. Bardeen's family. Burr is to cancel the first commemorative stamp and present it to Mr. Bardeen's son William, a noted physicist in his own right.

The stamp club has commissioned a special commemorative envelope, done by local artist Jason Pankoke, and the Urbana Post Office will cancel Bardeen stamps on the envelopes with a special first-day ink cancellation stamp.

The Bardeen stamp is one of four being issued in a distinguished American Scientists series. The other honorees include chemist Linus Pauling, another multi-Nobel winner, astronomer Edwin Hubble, after whom the space telescope is named, and biochemist Gerty Cori, who explained how the body uses starch from sugar as fuel.

Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis (and her eyes) and the art of Walt Disney also are getting commemorative stamp treatment from the postal service this year, among other subjects.
Bardeen, who died in 1991, developed the transistor with Walter Brattain and William Shockley at Bell Labs prior to joining the UI faculty in 1951. They won the Nobel Prize in 1956 for the invention, which enabled miniaturized radios, personal computers, cell phones and a host of other devices.

While at the UI, Bardeen and UI researchers Leon Cooper and John Schrieffer developed their BCS Theory explaining superconductivity, a state in which electricity flows without resistance, which won the Nobel in 1972.

The UI scientist was named one of the "100 Most Influential Americans of the Century" by Life magazine in 1990.

Dale Van Harlingen, the head of the UI Physics Department, noted that May 23 will mark the centennial of Mr. Bardeen's birth, another thing making the issuance of the commemorative stamp special.

For people who can't attend the ceremony Thursday, the stamps, envelopes and cancellations will be available by mail through the Champaign-Urbana Stamp Club, P.O. Box 6615, Champaign, IL, 61826-6615. The price is $3 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope size 10 or larger.


Iraq's historic stamps

Freddy Khalastchy, a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London, who has built up the world's finest collection of the stamps of Iraq, was born and brought up in Baghdad during the late 1950s and experienced at first-hand the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein.

In order to appreciate the stamps of Iraq it is necessary to understand a little of the history of that country. During the First World War British and Indian troops occupied Basra on November 22, 1914, to protect the oil pipeline from Persia. These troops advanced up the Euphrates and Tigris and after a hard-fought campaign captured Baghdad on March 11, 1917. Turkish postage stamps were overprinted: "Baghdad In British Occupation".

Under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey renounced its sovereignty over Iraq, formerly Mesopotamia. In April 1920 the Allied Supreme Council, meeting in San Remo, Italy, assigned Britain the mandate, under the League of Nations, for Iraq and Palestine. British personnel were employed in key positions throughout Iraq, including Posts and Telegraphs. The MEF (Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force) Field Post Office ceased to exist as a separate administration with effect from May 1, 1919, when all existing field post offices and their personnel were assigned to the Iraq Civil Post Office.

A member of a Jewish family, Mr Khalastchy vividly remembers his childhood in Baghdad. He said: "The Government issued various restrictions on the Jews and from 1963 till 1971 no Jews were allowed to leave the country. After the 1967 war with Israel all phone lines belonging to Jews were cut off. Jewish employees were kicked out of their jobs and a number of Jews were imprisoned. During those times, we relied on our non-Jewish friends and neighbours to help us, which they did with genuine care.

"When Saddam took power in 1968 the situation worsened. Between 1969 and 1971, 25 Jews were hanged (some in public squares) for allegedly being spies for Israel and the West. Another 25 Jews (one being 15 years old and a classmate of mine) were murdered in their homes or just disappeared from the streets. It became evident that the future for Jews in Iraq would be bleak; my parents had to find a way to leave. Between 1970 and 1971 the majority of the Jews started fleeing over the border to Iran. By 1971, because of world pressure, the Government allowed the Jews to leave. My brother, aged 10, and I, aged 16, left Iraq in 1973 for London. My parents joined us two years later. Luckily, they brought the stamp collection with them when they came to England."

Mr Khalastchy started collecting stamps at the age of 10. He now collects mainly stamps from 1917, the first year that stamps for Iraq proper were issued. (Ottoman stamps were used before that.)

He comments: "The more I find out, the more I want to know. I especially love finding out the trail of owners pertaining to each stamp. The early stamps of Iraq up to July 14, 1958, when King Faisal II was killed and a republic was proclaimed, were beautifully designed and printed in splendid colours. The beautifully engraved first postage stamps of Iraq, printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co Ltd, issued in May 1923 are among the great classic stamps of the 20th century."

— Freddy Khalastchy is showing "The Stamps of Iraq", (588 album pages shown in 52 frames) to the Royal Philatelic Society London, from 1pm to 6pm on Thursday, March 13. The meeting is open to Fellows, members and guests. For information contact the Honorary Secretary, the Royal Philatelic Society London, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY. Telephone: 020-7486 1044.

New stamp issue marks Beijing Olympics

A three-stamp set commemorating the Beijing Olympics will be issued by the Philatelic Bureau of MaltaPost today.

The stamps, which have been designed by Darren Duncan, have face values respectively of €0.05/2c, € 0.12/5c and €1.57/67c.

The stamps are 44.0mm x 31.0mm in size, with a perforation of 13.9 x 14.0 (comb). The stamps have been offset printed by Printex Limited on Maltese Crosses watermarked paper, and will be available in sheets of 10.

Sixteen days of intense competition will follow the grand opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 8, as 10,700 elite athletes from around the world compete for the 302 gold medals on offer in 28 different sports.

The events will be held in a total of 37 venues, of which 31 are competition venues in Beijing. One World One Dream has been selected as the slogan for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, reflecting the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit: Unity,

Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. It expresses the common wishes of people everywhere, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future for mankind.
Team Malta members at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are expected to participate in athletics, judo, shooting and swimming. The Games, ending on August 24, will be followed by the XIII Paralympic Games to be held at the same Olympic venues, between September 6 and 17.

This Olympics set is available in First Day Cover format, mint or cancelled, and as a Souvenir Folder and Presentation Pack.

The stamps can be obtained from all MaltaPost branches in Malta and Gozo, from the MaltaPost Mobile Unit, and from the Philatelic Bureau at 305, Triq Ħal Qormi, Marsa ( tel. 2596 1720, e-mail ). Additional information on this and past and forthcoming issues is available on


Legends of American Science Now on U.S. Postage Stamps

Written by Imperial Valley News
Thursday, 06 March 2008
Washington, DC - The U.S. Postal Service acknowledges the contributions of some of the most impressive scientific achievements of the 20th century with the issuance of its second series of American Scientists stamps.

The stamps will be dedicated during a ceremony today at noon at Madison Square Garden's WaMu Theater.

The four scientists appearing on the stamps are:
Theoretical physicist John Bardeen (1908-1991) co-invented the transistor, which was arguably the most important invention of the 20th century. Bardeen also collaborated on the first fundamental explanation of superconductivity at low temperatures, a theory that has had a profound impact on many fields of physics. He remains the only person ever awarded two Nobel Prizes in physics.

Biochemist Gerty Cori (1896-1957), in collaboration with her husband, Carl, made important discoveries — including a new derivative of glucose — that elucidated the steps of carbohydrate metabolism and became the basis for our knowledge of how cells use food and convert it into energy. Their work also contributed to the understanding and treatment of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

Astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) played a pivotal role in deciphering the vast and complex nature of the universe. His meticulous studies of spiral nebulae proved the existence of galaxies other than our own Milky Way, paving the way for a revolutionary new understanding that the cosmos contains myriad separate galaxies, or "island universes."

Structural chemist Linus Pauling (1901-1994) determined the nature of the chemical bond linking atoms into molecules. He routinely crossed disciplinary boundaries throughout his career and made significant contributions in several diverse fields. His pioneering work on protein structure was critical in establishing the field of molecular biology and his studies of hemoglobin led to many findings, including the classification of sickle cell anemia as a molecular disease.

"We are here to honor four extraordinary individuals who pushed back the frontiers of knowledge on behalf of all of mankind," said James Miller III, member, Board of Governors, U.S. Postal Service. Miller will officially dedicate the stamp at the ceremony, which will be attended by family members of the honored scientists.

Joining Miller will be Eric Jackson, president, American Stamp Dealers Association; and for the Postal Service Marie Therese Dominguez, vice president, Government Relations, and David Failor, executive director, Stamp Services.

William Bardeen, son of physicist John Bardeen, one of the stamp's honorees, said, "This is a high honor for my father and my family. We appreciate the Postal Service's recognition of my father and the important role science has played in making America great."
"If my mother were alive today, she would think this recognition was wonderful and one of the best things that could have happened to her," said Tom Cori, son of biochemist Gerty Cori.

"The whole family is delighted with this honor," said Linda Pauling Kamb, daughter of structural chemist Linus Pauling. "It is especially significant that he is being recognized for his work in molecular biology and his discovery that the sickle cell anemia disease is a molecular disease."

For each stamp, artist Victor Stabin of Jim Thorpe, PA, with the assistance of art director Carl Herrman of Carlsbad, CA, created a collage featuring a painted portrait of each scientist combined with diagrams or photographic representations associated with their major contributions.

The first series of American Scientists stamps was issued in 2005 and featured geneticist Barbara McClintock, thermodynamicist Josiah Willard Gibbs, mathematician John von Neumann and physicist Richard Feynman.

The American Scientists stamps will be available for purchase in Post Offices, on and by calling 800-STAMP-24 starting Thursday, March 6.


Qatar Post will try to form Arab philately union: official

Q-Post chairman Ali Mohamed al-Ali has said the Arab Postal Stamps Exhibition was the first exercise of its kind, hosted by Q-Post under the aegis of the Arab League.

He said this while addressing the delegates at the end of the stamps exhibition recently.
He said earlier Q-Post had hosted only the GCC and local level exhibitions.

He said Q-Post would take the initiatives to constitute an Arab philately union. “There is enormous interest for philately among enthusiasts in this part of the world,” he said.

The exhibition was organised by Q-Post in association with Qatar Philately Numismatic Club.

Clubs and postal corporations from 17 Arab States participated in the five-day event.
The chairman also reminded that Q-Post was in the race for bidding for the World Postal Congress in 2012.

He thanked Arab League secretary general Amr Musa and GCC secretary general Abdulrahman al-Attiyah for the co-operation.

He later gave away awards to representatives of participating clubs and postal corporations.
Answering another question, the chairman indicated that with the implementation of some new SDR (universal postal currency) guidelines, it would be pretty tough for many corporations all over the world.

The corporations have to explore new ways to boost their revenues. “For instance, sending mails and receiving mails to and from a number of countries would become more expensive.

He said on the basis of the country’s income, Qatar has been classified as group 1 by Universal Postal Union (UPU), along with United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. So there are chances that mails received and sent from the country becoming more expensive.


Door knockers on set of stamps

The habbata (door knocker), a relatively small and insignificant item of furniture, though there are elaborate examples of it, has been chosen to feature on a set of four stamps.

The stamps, with face values of e0.26 (Lm0.11c), e0.51 (Lm0.22c), e0.63 (Lm0.27c) and e1.77 (Lm0.76), are 44.0mm x 31.0mm in size, with a perforation of 13.9mm x 14.0mm (comb). The stamps are offset printed on Maltese Crosses watermarked paper by Printex Limited of Qormi, and are available in sheets of 10.

The habbata entered architectural history many years ago as a matter of necessity. However it has survived the mechanical and electric doorbell to become part of our street embellishment .

Available in numerous motifs, shapes and sizes it often reflects the personality and taste of the house owner. Buildings throughout the Maltese Islands can boast of some exceptionally fine examples which qualify as veritable works of art.

Perhaps the most traditional motif in the Islands is that in the shape of a dolphin. These are still manufactured in significant quantities and are much in demand.

The four examples chosen by the artist for this issue are to be found on the doors of the Ministry of Finance in South Street, Valletta (e0.26) the Museum of Fine Arts, also in South Street (e0.51); the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations in Melita Street, Valletta (e0.63); and the Museum of Archaeology in Republic Street, Valletta (e1.77).

These stamps are available as First Day Covers, in mint or cancelled format, and as Souvenir Folders and Presentation Packs. The stamps will be on sale from Wednesday at all MaltaPost postal branches in Malta and Gozo, the MaltaPost Mobile Unit, and the Philatelic Bureau (tel. 2596-1740, email Additional information on this and other issues is available on the MaltaPost website

Philately Extends Life:

By Armand Rousso
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Philately belongs to every person who has ever mailed a letter or admired a beautifully crafted postage stamp. I entered the world of stamp collecting as a young boy at the age of twelve, and several decades later my passion burns as bright as ever. The purpose of this article is to describe the reasons why philately should live, grow and expand throughout the world. This message is for those who have not yet experienced the passions of the art of stamp collecting, and to showcase the intellectual and practical benefits of this wonderful activity. Everyone is welcome into the world of philately, and there are no barriers to entry.

Philately is the perfect word for stamp lovers. Philately was created in 1864 from two words "Philein" meaning "To Love" and "Ateliea" meaning Tax Exemption. Loving stamps is in fact a way of living in a cultural world constantly in motion and with expanding boundaries. Philately is also a way to learn more about the outside world and ourselves, and "as we learn, we also grow," said Alessandra Coderoni the author's wife and philteliste as well.

To the children I would answer that stamps can teach history, geography and culture in an entertaining way. Philately can also stimulate the brain, exercise the memory and improve concentration and focus. These beautiful tiny vignettes can transport collectors into the world's largest museum where they can discover historical events, lives of famous people and secrets of the arts.

Stamps will teach children the importance of details and research. They are also a catalyst to create great friendships that can last a lifetime. For a child to discover the charm of a stamp and learn his country's fascinating history is a great experience, and the knowledge gained stays with them throughout adulthood.

To the adults I would suggest that philately can work exceptionally well as a diversion when confronted with the stresses of our professional life. With philately, one can build a historical and financial asset that can appreciate in value over the years. Philately can stimulate creativity, especially concerning vacation places which may otherwise seem to lack interest or excitement.

For the elderly, when the time of retirement approaches there is often an emptiness that philately can fulfill. Philately also provides a way to keep abreast of current events, as well as friends and a reason to socialize, allowing us to keep in touch with the world. To be passionate with something new can be converted to positive energy which strengthens the soul and builds resistance against physical diseases, melancholy or depression.
I shall conclude with the words of two lovers of philately, the first man, compels great admiration because of the dimensions of his work, and thus I refer to the words of Arthur Maury in the conclusion of his text "To Collectors" (Arthur Maury, Timbres-postes album du collectioneur Published by Maison Arthur Maury, 1904) "Care, Patience and Perseverance".

As the second lover of philately, your humble author passionately believes "Philately Extends Life".

To contact Armand Rousso:


Stamp honours U of A's 100th birthday

Published: Tuesday, March 04
EDMONTON - The University of Alberta's 100th birthday is the subject of a new postage stamp being unveiled this week by Canada Post.

Done in the school's traditional green and gold colours, the stamp features a stylized depiction of the cupola on top of the dentistry-pharmacy centre, one of the U of A's oldest and most architecturally lauded buildings.

The design was chosen by a Canada Post advisory group in collaboration with school administrators and stamp artist Susan Mavor of Vancouver.

Rare stamp collection donated to Astan-e Qods Museum

TEHRAN -- A collection of rare historical postage stamps was donated by collector Mashallah Ebadi to the Astan-e Qods Museum in Mashhad last week.
The donation comprises over 1,000 stamps from 33 countries including France, England, Germany, Japan, Hungary, Turkey, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The oldest Iranian postage stamp in the assortment was issued in 1894 in the reign of Qajar king Nasser ad-Din Shah (1831-1896) and the oldest foreign stamp is an Austrian one issued in 1908.

The album also contains a stamp which was printed during the reign of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830–1916) of the Hapsburg dynasty.

A special stamp issued to mark the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Romanov dynasty (1613-1917) in Russia is also amongst the items donated.