Sunday, December 19, 2010

Space: Another Stamp Frontier

French science fiction writer Jules Vernes imagined space travel more than a century before it was achieved. Five decades ago the only space traveling taking place was between the United States and Russia (then the Soviet Union), both countries producing stamps documenting their enormous achievements. Five decades later more countries like France, Japan and now China are routinely sending satellites, probes and people into orbit. Expect to see more stamps produced in the coming years adding to the small but growing topical collection of space stamps.

It is exciting to see more additions being added every year as more and more stamp-producing entities (even ones whom do not have a space program) take advantage of new technology and craft digital imaging onto their stamp products. This positive trend will continue to increase the topical inventory of space stamps and build a sub-category of stamping into a major force for collectors worldwide.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stamp Collecting as a Form of Therapy

We know fine art and writing can be used as a form of therapy to help the sick heal faster. But stamp collecting? I am convinced stamp collecting can also be used in this manner. The organization "Stamps for the Wounded" uses stamps to help wounded soldiers heal faster in hospitals. I have read numerous articles of parents using stamps to help their handicapped or autistic children gain a greater focus on finding their place in the world.

KNS gets emails from single parents using stamp collecting as a bridge to reconnect with children traumatized by the hurt of divorce. What better way to use stamps than as a healing instruments to help people put down their pain and find a surer path to peace.

Here is what we have learned from emails, communication and research:

* Stamps give people time to heal by concentrating on something more worthy than their pain

* Stamps provide new knowledge to victims about the beautiful world that surrounds them

* Stamps are tangible devices a patient can feel, touch, place, arrange and rearrange

* Stamps give people with no control a firm sense they have control after all

* Stamps provide entertainment through pursuit of their meaning and country of origin

Like most past times stamp collecting holds intrinsic value beyond the mere academic or entertainment tangents. There is an emotional, dare I say, psychological benefit from collecting colourful mementos from distant foreign lands. The mystery of collecting is a type of medicine to the ailing souls desperately in need of urgent intervention. Something must shake these scattered pieces back to a recognizable face. And I believe stamp collecting used as a form of therapy points the way back home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: J is for Japan & K is for Korea

J P A - Junior Philatelists of America.

Jet press - Another term for offset printing of stamps.

Joint issue - When a similar stamp design is issued by more than one country on the same day.

Joint line - A line formed by ink that accumulates between two printing plates.

Journal stamps - Stamps used specifically for prepaying postage on journals, newspapers, magazines, etc.

Jubilee - Stamp issues that feature a special (usually 25- year increment) anniversaries.

Judenpost - Ghetto stamps issued for the use of Jews interned in concentration camps.

Jumbo stamps - See Boardwalk Margins.

Jury - Judges at a stamp show.

Keytype - A basic stamp design used for the issues of two or more postal authorities which include captions of respective countries, denominations, etc.

Killer - Any obliterating postmark that’s used to cancel a stamp.

Killer bars - Horizontal lines used for stamp cancellations.

Kiloware - Collections (often sold by the kilo) made up of a variety of postally used stamps that are mounted on envelope corner paper.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Topical But Not Typical: Thematic Stamp Collecting

Topical stamp collecting has been a past time for decades. Topicals are stamps with a consistent theme like trains, birds, sea life, etc. Though I do not partake in this type of collecting I respect its existence and its hard-won pursuit.

Beginners need to pay heed to the fact that such collecting is difficult because are you automatically limiting yourself to the field (or theme) in question. I've know topical collectors spending 6 months to get 1 stamp of a certain theme.

Intellectually it's not hard to appreciate the excitement of searching for a particular sub-set of stamps out there in the world and placing them in your ever-growing collection. I praise these collectors for their patience if not persistence in obtaining their objects of desire.

Topicals are often the most beautiful, artistic, colorful and valuable of stamps produced by countries around the world. Some countries create them solely for profit on the open collecting marketplace. Some purists mock their presence as somehow "reducing" the quality of collecting as a whole but this opinion is more stamp purist nonsense. Stamps are stamps. Collect what you will and learn what limitations or liabilties along the way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stamps and Repressive Regimes: When Seeing is Not Always Believing

Today North Korea attacked South Korea killing a number of soldiers and civilians via an unprovoked volley of artillery fire.

Repressive regimes are multi-taskers, they are capable of torturing their citizens, murdering their enemies and often producing beautiful stamps. We can, and should, lend a critical eye on their stampworks which are usually propaganda symbols and messages meant to bolster their credibility. They always fail.

In fact these failures make wonderful stamps and excellent lessons to teach new generations of the power of stamps even in the hands of wicked governments and evil men. While I would never support repressive notions I do recognize stamps are stamps and thus should be collected, studied, spoken about and displayed for all to see. This is how we learn.

If we accept stamps as artifacts of history we are also forced to accept the good and the bad and must reject, with a clothespin on our nose, the calls for destroying stamps from repressive regimes in revenge for their crimes against humanity. We have courts to deal with illegality. We, as a people, must deal with history.

Today North Korea attacked South Korea. Better stamps, maybe, but cruel hearts bound to be weighed in heaven and in earth.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stamp Stories: The First Tea Party

You been hearing alot of about Tea Party this and Tea Party that these days but few seem to recall the first Tea Party involved American colonists sneaking onto a British cargo ship in the Boston Harbor disguised as Indians and promptly tossing crates of Tea into the waters below to protest the unjust Tea Tax Law.

I share these stamp stories because of the primary reasons KNS exists is to help create more fond memories between kids and their parents and between kids and their favorite stamps. The Boston Tea Party stamp block of 1973 was my first block in my stamp album. It was also the first stamp/s I used a "jacket" on. We used to call them "jackets" but they are the protective mounts with clear plastic to seal a stamp from environmental conditions and thus preserve its unique quality and value.

While stamps in their full scope are more than historical milestones; they cannot escape being placed in the event the stamp was originally issued to commemorate. And neither can I separate my memories of events surrounding the acquistion of various special stamps. The remember the trips to get them. The stories around them. The shows that spoke about them. The tales from other collectors.

In our modern era some will have you convinced this is corny stuff worthy of coke glasses and acne medicine. That stamp collecting is supposedly confined to the sheltered fearful types who toil in the lonely dark staring at colorful slips of paper. Just remember this, the fools who hurl these charges are the same fools who devote hours to mindless violent video games with nothing to show for their expense of time and money. Usually these folks are equally addicted to profane and sex-charged cartoons and motion pictures who spew a diet of everything out there is primitive and backward if it doesn't involve cursing, shooting, fornicating or killing.

So I guess I'll stay corny. And so will my children. We will enjoy stamps and the unique memories they create. KNS is here to help you create a few more.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thoughts About Starting a Stamp Club: Part 2

Where should I meet? It always best to meet at a neutral location such as a community center, library, recreation room, church area, etc. The only folks that seem to handle stamp clubs from the home is the homeschool people. Perhaps they have more practice with home events than most, but I highly recommend for most to meet somewhere more public.

Should I name my club? You can but it is not necessary or important unless the club is geared to a certain facet of stamp collecting like airmail or Spain, etc.

Do I need to be an expert on stamps? No. We can provide a great deal of information to help prepare a stamp club teacher or director. You simply need a monthly agenda. "Ok, class, this month we will examine the stamps of Italy and England.

What should my lesson plan or agenda look like? That is up to you. One important tip: teach to your supplies. You don't want to announce a month of stamps that have flowers on them and have few or no stamps with flowers. Choosing topical subjects can be limiting and sometimes self-defeating since it traps you into an area you might not be able to provide for the class. Review your supplies and build a lesson plan on what you have and not what you dream to have.

What should my class size be? I am not interested in limiting anyone from anything related to stamp collecting but sadly the smaller the class size the easier it is to maintain. Usually less than a dozen is best---not just for supply reasons but for time constraints. There will be lots of questions. You need the time to answer them.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: I is For Italy

Idem - Means that a later stamp issue has the same characteristics as a previous issue.

Illustrated Covers - A cachet which has words and an illustration.

Imperforate - An absence of perforations or rouletting between a pane’s individual stamps.

Impression - Any printing that is embossed or stamped.

Imprimatur - The first sheets of stamps produced from an approved plate.

Imprint Block - A block from part of a sheet where the printer's name or imprint appears on the margin.

Inclusions - Substances included while making paper used in stamp production.

India paper - A thin, tough opaque printing paper typically used for striking die proofs.

Indicium - The imprint made by a postage meter or found on postal stationery.

Inland mail stamps - Stamps intended specifically for domestic use.

Inscription - Any letters, words and numbers appearing in a stamp’s design.

Intaglio - Italian for "in recess.'' The stamp’s image is produced by the recessed portion of a printing plate.

Invert - Refers to any part of a design is inverted in relation to the remaining design.

Interleaves - Tissue used between stamp album pages to prevent stamp contact.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Lucky Few: Brick & Mortar Stamp Stores

I grew up going to an actual stamp store. I used to walk up a hill every Saturday morning. The old guy who owned the store opened up at 8am and closed at Noon for the rest of the day. I had my Scott Catalog numbers written down and purchased the stamps right off the list. He always threw in a couple of stamps for free.

I went there for years until he died and the store closed down. I miss that old guy and I miss the live experience of shopping at a stamp store. There aren't very many of the those stores out there anymore. If you find one and it stocks what you need---then consider yourself lucky. Before I moved across the country I was fortunate to find one and I didn't care if its prices were higher than the internet especially when you factor shipping and the time you have to wait before you can get a certain task complete. It's worth it to shop there if nearby.

I'm not knocking the Internet stamp supply stores they often have better prices but then again they should be since there is very little overhead. In many many instances if it weren't for the Internet one would have to travel hundreds of miles just to get to a store. Where I live I literally have to go to another State just to reach a store. Quite frankly, with a full time job, 2 kids and a marriage, I don't have the time to spare to make such a journey. Heck who does?

I get emails from people who enjoy the live experience of stamping via stamp shows or flea markets---ironically most still don't have a stamp store in their community. Please understand the point of this article is not to promote stamp stores as a super great experience you cannot live without. More times than not it has been a wonderful experience and I enjoy including it fondly in my stamp memories. But I recognize stamp stores cannot always compete well with mail order/internet stores. What you do with your money is your business so I don't judge anyone on where they purchase their stamps or supplies.

Yet if you live close by a stamp store, go check it out. The people there often have decades of experience and usually enjoy speaking about the Hobby of Kings. It's a journey worth taking.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thoughts About Starting a Stamp Club

We need more stamp clubs for beginners. There are plenty of stamp clubs out there for lifelong collectors that sub-categorize stamps down to "new zealand stamps of animals with cancellation marks." God bless these collectors and clubs but their singular passion excludes nearly the entire planet.

We need more stamp clubs for beginners. And guess what the folks whom sponsor these clubs need not to be experts on stamps. Ironically, most stamp clubs for beginners are started by stamp beginners. This is only fitting because everyone learns something new and the class do not have to be subjected to cookie-cutter lessons on stamp history.

I am always inspired by new stamp clubs simply due to the fact that most take on a unique angle on how to present stamps, how to speak out what stamps mean to them or how their students might explore what stamps could mean to them. These open-minded approaches are essential to keep stamp collecting alive and well in the 21st century. Where it is written that stamp collecting is supposed to contain dry speeches about ancient slips of colouful paper promising to cure insomina if not frighten kids into the digital arms of video games.

Here are some of the approaches I have noted across the world:

Cultural: class focuses on a certain language or country of origin

Historical: class studies various historical figures

Topical: class collects stamps on animals, fish, nature, etc.

Philatelic: class groups world countries and learns about each group

Here are some of the instruments or techniques used by new stamp clubs:

Projection: instructor places an interesting stamp in a projector and displays to entire class

Digital: instructor saves certain stamp images and enlarges them on a computer screen

Foreign Identification: Using translation lists, a class can learn how to identify world stamps

Soaking & Pressing: Donated stamps on paper are soaked by students, removed from paper, dried and pressed in books for collecting, trading or classroom presentation

Here are some useful tips:

Try and get the parents involved, if they are not willing to be supportive, it's truly hard to get kids to stick with stamps compared to all the other so-called exciting distractions out there

Don't get complicated. One stamp can have 15 different angles of discussion or interest. Pick one. Have fun. Move on.

Whenever possible keep the class size smaller rather than larger: Not more than 10 if possible. Remember your students will have geniune questions. Even 5 questions from 10 students is a time management killer. Time is important because most kids have attention span issues.

If you don't know an answer, jot down the question, research it later and make it a cool annoucement during next class. Don't waste time guessing or making stuff up. Kids can Google too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stamp Purism And Other Silly Obstacles

Yes, folks there is a such thing as stamp purism. It's enough of a task to raise stamp collecting out of near nerdhood before you have to then tackle some fanatic to wants to make stamps into antiseptic relics needing to be forever enshrined in a book. This person actually criticizes anyone who does anything different with stamps.

Too bad, bub, stamps are history and can be presented on a matted board in a museum, stamps are art, and can be used to make art projects. Stamps can be religious and have religious symbols on them and be used in religious ritual ceremonies. (I know of a guy who puts stamps of saints on a cross he made and hangs it in his living room.)

Any fair position for a stamp lover should involve making sure the stamp isn't being destroyed but being used to uplift a theme, cause, person, history, art, etc. Otherwise you just need to calm down and be happy people are still valuing stamps as objects of interest-----regardless of the interest.

Face it, for every kid picking up a stamp versus a video game, there are 10 whom never even come into contact with stamps on a daily basis. The advent of email and electronic billing hasn't killed stamps but it has reduced the average person's dependency of buying and using stamps.

Now and again I hear from people who are venturing to creating their own stamps clubs or pushing for their schools to start a stamp club. Most of these inquires or complaints do not stem from a lack of a stamp club in their community but from opposing the present club because of a myriad of silly obstacles that now infect even stamp clubs.

Let's talk about those, well because, I'm not afraid to speak openly about anything of substance. I object to political correctness in all it's forms. You can always spot political correctness because it defies common sense. That's the only rule you need to define it. Stamp clubs are formed to introduce stamps to children with the hopes that they will learn and eventually appreciate of stamps and maybe stamp collecting. The adult clubs often have a precise agenda like airmail stamps or Great Britain, etc.

This year alone I have heard of a club that refused to display stamps from Israel until stamps from the State of Palestine are created. (The Authority of Palestine issues stamps regularly) The instructor claims this is to present "balance" to the class. This is a silly obstacle that robs children of a stamp experience because their instructor suddenly forgot she was in a stamp club and not jumping on a soap box. Plus her notions and actions are plain stupid. There are Palestine stamps out there; not hard to get by any stretch of imagination or budget. "Balance" is in her dreams, stamps are stamps. Teach what they are made of, what they are about, where they come from and let the history teacher sort out the rest if you can too timid to go further. I question this woman's balance.

Stamps can historically and culturally inform a child about the world he/she is getting a slight peek into, but they are not objects to be used to divide or hurt people. I have heard at least 5 instances where stamps clubs unofficially discouraged girls from attending the class. One of the reasons why there are so few elderly women stamp collectors is because this was a common open practice for the past 100 years. Stamps were supposed to be for boys and dolls are for girls. There are a few exceptions naturally but if you went to an adult stamp club these days I promise you nearly everyone in there is a guy.

I grew up in the 70's, half my community was girls, and I do not remember a single girl collecting stamps. Never one in the club I went to while growing up. With deep respect I have to say, not everything our grandfather's taught us was right. On this point, keeping out girls from stamp collecting was shortsighted and dumb. Women live at least 20 years longer than we do. Not a bad idea to get them involved if you want to keep stamp collecting alive for the 22nd century.

Apparently, similar to sports outings, parents can mess things up when they are attempting to live through their children's current experience. It should never be that way with stamps, heck, if anything this should be an exciting time, there are stamps like Soviet Union, East Germany, etc, but these countries thankfully don't exist and those people are free to figure out their lives for themselves. We should apply that lesson to kids and stamps.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Foreign Stamp Identification and Classification

What Foreign Actually Means:

We've had a few inquires from parents on what "foreign" means in stamp collecting. A few of the inquiries were concerned about the "potential" negative nuance to the term. Please let us be very clear. We are stamp people and not concerned with politics by any stretch of the definition.

This is how "foreign" works in stamp collecting. If you are from India, all stamps other than India are considered foreign. Since I am from the United States, all the world's stamps accept US are considered foreign. It is truly that simple. Any offense perceived is just that: perceived.

As you delve into stamp collecting you will learn exactly what we are saying and realize these terms are merely part of the language of stamp collecting.

Foreign Stamp Identification (Basic)

Foreign stamp identification on a very basic level is essential to assist a collector in categorizing his/her stamps. Basic level refers to simple translations that help you understand what country you are encountering without going deeply into formal translation. A perfect example is: Norge which is Norway and once you know that you never forget it. Simple but essential.

KNS---Easy Foreign Stamp Translator

Azorbaycan -------------------------------Azores

Shqipervise ------------------------------Albania

RSA --------------------------------------Republic of South Africa

bbAFPNR ----------------------------------Bulgaria

Republika Hrvatska -----------------------Croatia

DPRK -------------------------------------Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
------------------------------------------(North Korea)

DDR --------------------------------------East Germany

Espana -----------------------------------Spain

Hellevita --------------------------------Switzerland

Hellas -----------------------------------Greece

Jugoslavia -------------------------------Yugoslavia

Macav ------------------------------------Macao

Magyar Posta -----------------------------Hungary

Nippon -----------------------------------Japan

Osterreich -------------------------------Austria

The above list is a basic one meant to help out new stamp collectors. It is not the whole list nor should it be considered anything other than a good solid example of basic stamp translation.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Kids Need Stamps Approaches 4th Year in Operation

This organization continues to provide free stamp starter kits to all whom ask. Please observe the following recap of various happenings in the recent past.

We continue to branch out internationally and have added Oman and Israel as contacts to spread the good news about stamp collecting. This club is also a regular donor to Stamps for the Wounded, an organization that provides stamps and supplies for your wounded soldiers while recovering in the hospital.

Thanks so much for the emails, but we are still low on comments, I think because most find it easier to make their comments via email. With permission I have begun to paste those comments on the blog site (without names unless otherwise directed.) This the best method I discovered for others to notice what we are doing and get inspired to help their kids collect stamps too.

Basic Rules:

We really don't have many but very strict about the few we keep:

1. All stamp starter kits are free (no charge)

2. We do not accept donations of any kind, any time.

3. We do not allow contact with children. This club is solely about parents helping their kids collect stamps. We are in contact only with adults. No exceptions.

See. Very easy. Everything's free. We dont want anything from you but a nice email back telling us how the kids are getting into stamps. And kids being safe on the internet.

Stamp Clubs:

KNS is loosely sponsoring clubs throughout the US and some foreign destinations. At the moment it is a more loose association due to the infrequent schedule of clubs but we welcome a structured club with a firm schedule and a positive agenda. Inquires? Happy to hear them.

Please keep up the excellent work out there. Every week I hear from parents and teachers who are devoting their time to helping kids collect stamps. I keep my mind open as well, recently an art instructor requested a packet of stamps to use in an art project. I agree with his assessment, if we are also also stamps can be art, then why not allow them to be used in art projects. Who says they have to be collected or placed in books to appreciate it. They can also be used to enhance art projects.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stamp Collecting and Child Safety on the Internet

Sadly, I don't remember a week in the past couple of years when a news report hasn't discovered another child being victimized by an internet pervert. Part of the reason for this uptick in internet child-exploitation is due to parental neglect. Parents must supervise their children while on the internet. The Internet is not the new "boob tube" to babysit your kids while you play bridge or poker with the neighbors. KNS has always taken this subject seriously both in practice and philosophy. We have a strict zero tolerance contact with children. If the request is not made by an adult it is not honored---period. No exceptions. No excuses. Never.

From time to time we get some negative feedback from legal guardians, parents, uncles, grandmothers and the occasional teacher about this policy. But understand this, zero tolerance to us literally means zero tolerance. We are not trying to impress anyone, owe no advertisers any compromise and laugh at political correct nonsense. This whole venture of providing free stamp kits to parents to encourage them to get involved with their children's lives through stamp collecting is on Our Dime and Our Time. We don't charge anyone for anything. We don't sell anyone's name or address for anyone's silly mailing list. We don't even keep our own mailing list of the hundreds of parents making free stamp kit requests.

You would think in this day and age---parents could be grateful that someone out there gives a darn about protecting children and sincerely wanting them to grow up with a rich experience of history, science, geography, culture and the joy of delving into a hobby. Yet I still get rude emails from parents too "busy" to make the requests or stay involved with their children. Some have even asked us to mentor their children through the stamp hobby process. The whole point of this site folks is for YOU to learn how to interact with YOUR kids through a fun and exciting hobby that is provided to you and the child/children for FREE.

I'm sorry to say but this is why children become vulnerable to all sorts of negative stuff out there because their parents are too busy passing the buck to someone else, the school system, the church, other family members, malls, etc. As ususal some of my longer pieces on the blog sound strident and turn off a few people here or there, but too bad, I will always speak my mind, especially when I know I am right on target with this one. I already had a responsible parent email back that she started putting a tigher rein on her kid's internet usage and suddenly their grades started improving. It was her belief, like alot of parents, that unrestricted use of a computer, is a good and educational excercise, when in fact, it was and is often used for goofy communiques with pals or dark chats with weird dangerous people---neither productive exercises that improve grades.

The following is a recap of KNS child safety on he internet policy:

KIDS NEED STAMPS adheres to a strict policy of adult contact where it regards the communication and mailing of stamp-related materials. Our subtitle: “Helping Parents Help Kids Collect Stamps” is not a slogan but a serious philosophy aimed at encouraging authority figures to get involved in their children’s lives in a more meaningful manner than merely purchasing a video game and plugging their offspring in its side port.

“When we say strict we really mean strict. Last year I had to turn down nearly the entire Boy Scout troop because their parents simply made each child email the site rather than doing it themselves. They all got the “see your parents” reply. KNS got a few less-than-civil parental emails back. Everybody got their stamps….and a lesson."

Within that context KNS recognizes the Internet is an excellent tool to spread the good news about stamps as an education hobby while realizing it is also a dangerous weapon in the hands of disturbed individuals. KNS strongly advises all parents to supervise their children’s use of the Internet. Just recently it was reported that child-sex predators were using Facebook as a recruiting too. We need to stay vigilant.

“This is not a soapbox. I supervise my kids on the Internet. Please do the same.’

KNS as a matter of policy and in full agreement with the FBI’s Parent’s Guide to the Internet does not maintain contact with anyone under the age of 18 years of age. If a child makes contact with our site or email address, we quickly reply to educate the child of the need for their parents to make the appropriate stamp kit request. That is our only contact! Any further emails are ignored until an adult or legal guardian enters the equation. We direct you to the useful FBI guide in PDF for any other useful child safety tips.

“Our philosophy is simple: stay involved in your child’s world. Stamp collecting aided by 21st century technology is a greatly enhanced experience, yet still offers the same education, wonder and insights as 100 years ago. Share the joy of discovery with them. You’ll be a better parent for staying connected.”

We also support the CyberAngels unique program that spells out in a contract the responsibilities of children using the Internet. Children agree to the parental rules and sign an Internet Safety Contract.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: H is For Honduras

Hair Lines - Fine scratches from a printing plate.

Hand Made Cover - Folding a sheet of paper to create an envelope.

Handstamp - Cancellation or overprint applied manually to a cover or stamp.

Hatching - Close, fine lines for shading a stamp design.

Highway Post Office (HPO) - Portable mail-sorting equipment for mail in transit on highways.

Hinge - Piece of glassine or parchment paper used for mounting stamps on album pages.

Historical Cover - Postmarked and cacheted for a historical event.

Hub - A postmark’s circular part that includes place, date, zip code, etc.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creating Your Own Stockbooks

Consult this chart. It will help you make some selections on purchasing Vario pages from Ebay or wherever you canfnd them. These pages will help you make the perfect stockbook to display and protect stamps. Often you can buy a pack of 5 vario pages (2 sides make 10 pages) for under $7 and buy a 3 ring binder at the local store for a $1. Good chance you can creat your own stockbook from under $10. Most decent stockbooks are over $20 a piece. I create my own stockbooks. I like to create my own because stockbooks are pricey and often stuck in one size which doesn't hold well for a full variety of stamps in any given collection. In time you can purchase a variety of sizes and create different stockbook types or just mix them up.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: G is For Guatemala

Global Priority Mail (GPM): A category of international mail that provides fast service at attractive rates to 27 countries.

Grill: A pattern of small, square pyramids in parallel rows impressed or embossed on the stamp to break paper fibers, allowing cancellation ink to soak in and preventing washing and reuse.

Gum: The coating of glue on the back of an unused stamp.

The narrow space between stamps in the sheet permitting perforation. [see Perforation]

Gutter Margin
The blank margins dividing a sheet of stamps into panes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Monthly Report: Reaching The World

KNS continues to reach all corners of the planet. Stamp Collecting is not a past time for old timers but rather a serious hobby with millions of devoted followers around the globe. We have added kind souls from Israel, Oman, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England and the Phillipines.

We have also outfitted a few public school classes, in the US and UK, to get those kids started in the right direction. Keep us the emails and many thanks for the wonderful comments and continued support.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

KNS: Statement of Purpose

KNS exists solely to lend a hand to parents interested in helping their children collect stamps. We provide free stamp starter-kits and plenty of stamp information attachments that can be saved and printed out. The knowledge provided allows adults and children a means to learn about the world, identify foreign stamps and even discover the unique terminology exclusively assigned to the world of stamps.

This statement of purpose is necessary because KNS inhabits a peculiar niche that serves children through their adult parents, guardians, teachers, family members, etc. We are not suitable for everyone nor do we want to be a catch-all for everything about stamps.
Our main purpose is to foster a better line of communication between parents and their children through stamp collecting. Since we also love stamps we broadened the definition to include stamp clubs, boy & girl scouts, cub scouts, classes in public schools and community centers.

If your situation does not fit our purpose find another organization that better suits your needs. KNS does not have a commercial agenda. We do not solicit or accept donations of any kind. Everything KNS provides is entirely free. All we ask is two things in return:

Use the stamps to help the kids learn more about themselves, their parents and the world.

Leave a comment on the Kids Need Stamps blog site:

If we sponsor your club all we ask is the following;

Use the stamps and information provided to serve the kids.

Do not exclude kids based on race, gender, background or ability.

Create a general lesson plan

Meet at least once a month, preferably twice a month

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: F is for Finland

Face Value: The monetary value or denomination of a stamp.

Fake: A genuine stamp that has been altered in some way to make it more attractive to collectors. It may be repaired, reperfed or regummed to resemble a more valuable variety.

First Day Cover (FDC): An envelope with a new stamp and cancellation showing the date the stamp was issued.

First Day Ceremony Program: A program given to those who attend first day of issue stamp ceremonies. It contains the actual stamp affixed and postmarked, a list of participants, and information on the stamp subject.

First-Class Mail: A class of mail including letters, postcards and postal cards, all matter wholly or partially in writing or typewriting, and all matter sealed or otherwise closed against inspection.

Foreign Entry: When original transfers are erased incompletely from a plate, they can appear with new transfers of a different design which are subsequently entered on the plate.

Franks: Written, hand-stamped, or imprinted markings on the face of the cover indicating that it is carriedfree of postage. Franking is usually limited to official government correspondence.

Freak: An abnormal variety of stamps occurring because of paper fold, over-inking, perforation shift, etc., as opposed to a continually appearing variety or a major error.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stamp Stories: The Marshall Plan

I like the idea of sharing personal stamp stories with the world-at-large. In 1970, I was 5 years old and my father formally started me with my first stamp book and the very first stamp that caught my attention was the 20ct George C Marshall stamp. (I put up a block image for effect!)

My son has been helping me with stamps for a few years now and he is fasting approaching 5 years old in a few short months. I already have an album and thousands of stamps from around the world. But the U.S. Commemoratives starter stamps are best for this special occasion.

Once I saw that stamp that was it for me. I wanted to collect more, understand more, go to stamp shows and find out what was going on out there in the stamp world. Fortunately I lived in New Jersey at the time so going to New York stamp locations and even the United Nations was an easy car trip but still an exciting adventure.

KNS continue to provide free stamp info attachments and continues to mail out free starter-kits to help parents help kids collect stamps. Make a request. We will be there for you. Don't let the television or a video game babysit your child. Be there for him/her. Be with him/her using stamps as a grand tool to learn about themselves, about you and the great world around all of us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: E is For El Salvador

Earliest known use (EKU) - The cover or piece that documents the earliest date on which a stamp or postal stationery item is known to be used.

Early Impression - A stamp printed during the beginning run of a press that usually has a very sharp image.

E F O - Errors, Freaks and Oddities.

Embossing - The process of giving relief to paper by pressing it with a die.

Encased postage stamp - A stamp inserted into a small, transparent, coin-size case originally used as legal coins during coin shortages.

Entire - An intact piece of postal stationery, in contrast to a cutout of the imprinted stamp.

Error - A major mistake in the production of a stamp or postal stationery item such as imperforates, missing or incorrect colors, and design image errors.

Essay - The artwork of a proposed design for a stamp.

Etiquette - A gummed label applied to an envelope to designate a specific mail service.

Examiner’s Mark - A mark indicating examination by censors.

Expertization - The examination of a stamp or cover by an acknowledged expert to determine if it is genuine.

Exploded - A stamp booklet that has been separated into its various components, usually for purposes of display.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: D is For Dominica

Definitives: Regular issues of postage stamps, usually sold over long periods of time. They tend to be fairly small and printed in large quantities often more than once.

Denomination: The postage value appearing on a stamp, such as 5 cents.

Deputy Postmaster General (DPMG): A member of the Board of Governors, jointly appointed by the Postmaster General and the Board of Governors.

Die Cut: Scoring of self-adhesive stamps that allows a stamp to be separated from the liner.

Directory Markings: Postal markings that indicate a failed delivery attempt, stating reasons such as "No Such Number" or "Address Unknown."

Double Transfer: The condition on a printing plate that shows evidence of a duplication of all or part of the design.

Dry Printing: Begun as an experiment in 1953, this type of printing results in a whiter paper, a higher sheen on the surface, a thicker and stiffer feel and designs that stand out more clearly than on more standard "wet" printings.

Duplicates: Extra copies of stamps that can be sold or traded. Duplicates should be examined carefully for color and perforation variations.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: C is for Cyprus

C.T.O. - Cancelled to order.

Cachet - Special handstamp (often a 'rubber stamp'), manuscript note, adhesive label or printed design borne by a postal item and confirming unusually a particular route or an interesting usage; e.g. a first flight on a particular route.

Cancel, Cancellation - [1] A handstamp or mark used across a postage stamp as an obliterator to render it invalid for further postal use. It may be a pen marking or even the removal of a small piece of the stamp.[2] The marks place by postal authorities which may indicate date, rate, route, or place of the mailing. Similar term to Postmark.Cancelled to order - A postage stamp bearing a cancel (invariably neat), but never postally used. Provided as a service by some postal administrations. Stamps so cancelled are not always distinguishable from postally used.

Cary, John - (b. d.) In 1798 John Cary produced his survey containing a list, of the " Distance of English & Welsh Post Towns from London & quot; along all the principal roads in the country resulting in a resumption of mileage stamps in 1801.

CAT - (Abbrev.) Catalogue value (unless there is no possibility of doubt, the publisher should be named).

CDS - (Abbrev.) Circular date stamp cancel.Census Marks - See Dumb Cancellations.Centered - In a perfectly perforated sheet of postage stamps, each stamp has the same size of margin on each side; in describing a valuable stamp it is desirable to comment on the centring by stating the stamp is 'perfectly centred' or 'centred to bottom', 'centred to top' etc. 'Centred to bottom' means the top margin is larger than the bottom one. The term is not applicable to imperf stamps.

Chalk paper - Describes postage stamps printed on specially treated paper to receive a good printing impression and to resist the removal of cancellations.

Charity stamp - (i) An adhesive label, not intended for postage use, issued in support of a charity. (ii) A postage stamp bearing a surcharge which, usually after deductions for overheads, is donated by the postal authority to a charity featured in the design of the stamp.

Charge Marks - Before 1840 black figures (either manuscript or stamped) were used for unpaid letters to be settled by the recipient, and red figures were used for paid letters. In the provinces, handstamped figures were occasionally used.

Cinderella - A stamplike label that is not a postage stamp. Cinderellas include seals and bogus issues, as well as revenue stamps, local post issues and other similar items.

Classic - An early issue, often with a connotation of rarity, although classic stamps are not necessarily rare. A particularly scarce recent item may be referred to as a modern classic.

Cleaning (stamps) - Soiled or stained stamps are sometimes cleaned with chemicals or by erasing. The cleaning is usually done to improve the appearance of a stamp. A cleaned stamp can also mean one from which a cancellation has been removed, making a used stamp appear unused.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: B Is For Belarus

KNS's ----Stamp Alphabet Series will pick a country for each letter of the alphabet as well as some terms and definitions useful to stamp collectors.

Backprint: Printing on the reverse of a stamp. Some countries have printed advertising or messages on the backs of stamps.

Backstamp: A postmark applied to mail by the receiving post office or by a post office handling the piece while it is in transit. Backstamps are usually on the back of a cover, but they can be on the front

Bank Mixture: A high-quality mixture of stamps. It generally represents clippings from the correspondence of banks and other businesses with extensive overseas business, and thus includes a relatively high proportion of foreign stamps of high face value. See also Mission Mixture.

Bantams: The nickname of the South African definitive series of 1942-43. Wartime economy measures required stamps of small size to conserve paper.

Batonne: A wove or laid paper with watermark-like lines deliberately added in the papermaking process and intended as a guide for handwriting.

Bicolored Stamps: Stamps printed in two colors.Bilingual: Refers to stamps inscribed in two languages. Most Canadian stamps include both English and French text. South African stamps are sometimes in both English and Afrikaans.

Bisect: A stamp cut or perforated into two parts, each half representing half the face value of the original stamp. Officially authorized bisects have often been used during temporary shortages of commonly used denominations. Unauthorized bisects appear frequently on mail from some countries in some periods. Bisects are usually collected on full cover with the stamp tied by a cancel. At times, some countries have permitted trisects or quadrisects.

Bishop Mark: The earliest postmark, introduced by Henry Bishop in England circa 1661. A Bishop Mark was used to indicate the month and day that a letter was received by a post office. It encouraged prompt delivery by letter carriers.Black Jack: The nickname of the United States 2? black Andrew Jackson stamp, issued between 1863 and 1875.

Blind Perforation: Perforations that have been only lightly impressed by the perforating pins, leaving the paper intact, but cut or with a faint impression. Some stamps that appear to be imperforate really are not if they have blind perfs. Stamps with blind perfs are minor varieties carrying little, if any, price premium over normally perforated copies.

Block: A unit of four or more unsevered stamps, including at least two stamps both vertically and horizontally. Most commonly a block refers to a block of four, or a block of stamps two high and two wide.

Bluenose: The nickname for the Canadian 50? issue of 1929, picturing the schooner Bluenose, Canada.

Bogus: A completely fictitious stamp-like label, created solely for sale to collectors. Bogus issues include labels for non-existent countries, non-existent values appended to regularly issued sets and issues for nations or entities without postal systems.

Bond Paper: A security paper of high quality, used to a limited extent in early stamp printing. Originally, bond was made from rags. The modern paper used for first-day covers is usually a bond quality paper.

Booklet: A unit of one or more small panes or blocks (known as booklet panes) glued, stitched or stapled together between thin card covers to form a convenient unit for mailers to purchase and carry. The first officially issued booklet was produced by Luxembourg in 1895.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Want Stamps To Live Forever

We're told a million things a day to do in order to make this world a better place. We should stop smoking, end global warming, be kind to animals and eat vegetables.

I say we should pay attention to our children. Spend time with them. Don't throw them to the wolves of wide-screen television. Take them on a walk. Do a funny dance with them. Read them a book. Sing them a song. And spend hours examining exciting international stamps.

I have many joyous memories of stamps. I would go the New York and buy them with my Grandfather. Later in the evening I would sort them out with my Father. Later in the weekend my Uncle would stop by with a envelope full of stamps on paper he got from the travel agency.

I'm not very fond of the technology. I suspect for all the life-extending properties it proudly proclaims----it takes something spiritual from us, keeps us apart from human contact. What's the point of living another 12 years if you are alone and afraid.

That is why I want stamps to live on forever. In our lives. On our pages. In our very dreams. As an ivibrant part of education and freedom to think beyond a limiting machine. Stamps are art. Stamps are history and more important stamps are alive with the sound of children's voices being heard by their loves ones and not drowned out by the witless wonders of technology.

I want stamps to live forever. Help me make that happen. Introduce your kids to stamps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stamp Alphabet Series: A is For Albania

KNS's ----Stamp Alphabet Series will pick a country for each letter of the alphabet as well as some terms and definitions useful to stamp collectors.

Adhesive: A word generally referring to a stamp. An adhesive is a label affixed to an article to prepay postal fees, in contrast to a design printed directly on an article, as with postal stationery. An adhesive can also refer to a registration label or other label added to a cover.

Aerophilately: A specialized area of collecting concentrating on stamps or covers carried by air.

Airmail: The carriage of mail by air. The first regular airmail service began in 1870, when mail was carried from Paris, France, then besieged by German forces, over enemy lines by balloon. The first airmail stamp was issued by Italy in 1917.

Album: Albums are binders, usually with pages, for the mounting and display of stamps and covers. Albums come in many sizes, styles and themes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome New Year, Welcome Ukraine to the Family

Welcome, Ukraine to the family of Kids Need Stamps. Thanks very much to a wonderful young person whom took it upon herself to translate our welcome letter and foreign stamp translation list into Ukrainian. A big favor to a part of the world where stamps are just becoming a part of their newfound cultural indendepence and political freedom. Great job and thanks again.

2009 was a widely successful year in that KNS continued to reach out and contact Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Stamp Clubs and International Parents with stamp attachments and stamp kits to start everyone in the right direction. And as always totally free of charge. We continue to make new friends in Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Ukraine.

KNS is marking its 3rd year in operation and continues to regularly assist Stamps for the Wounded (to honor our returning wounded veterans) and will build upon contacts to regularly supply a number of hospital programs for long-term sick children.

My family sincerely thanks you for your wonderful emails, heartfelt blog comments and overall support in this most important endeavor in helping parents help kids collect stamps.