Issue #9
April 16, 2015
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Important Updates
Famous Quotes:

"There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths" Robert E. Lee, prior to the Confederate surrender at Appomatox Court House (9 April 9, 1865, the official end of the Civil War)
Happenings of the USPS

The following stamps have been issued in rapid succession since we last issued our last newsletter:
  1. MAYA ANGELOU- Issued 7 April, 2015.  Washington D.C. (noted poet and author, 1928-1964).  Stamp issued in panes of 12 stamps (USPS item no. 427605).  One design - a beautiful representation of Maya.  Available at local post offices or from the USPS store
  2. Civil War 1865- Issued 9 April 2015.  Appomattox, VA.  Forever stamp ($0.49) issued in panes of 12 stamps (USPS item no. 589304).  Two designs- Five Forks and Appomattox.  
  3. Gifts of Friendship- Issued 10 April, 2015.  Washington D.C. Joint issue with Japan forever stamps issued in panes of 12 forever stamps (USPS no. 589804).  Four designs - two designs each by American and Japanese artists.
Examples of all three of the stamps are illustrated below in our ongoing column "Rebirth of Philately"
Amateur Radio on Stamps
In issue 9 we want to introduce a new topic - Amateur Radio as depicted on postage stamps.

The recent TROMELIN DX-pedition (FT4TA) was commemorated by a special souvenir sheet issued by LA POSTE (the USPS of France).  The sheet honors the first radio communication between Tromelin (an island in the French Antarctic Region) and Paris, France in 1954.  The souvenir sheet was one of the major supporters of the FT4TA DX-pedition.

We have limited supply of these souvenir sheets available as well as other corresponding issues of the French Antarctic Region issued by LA POSTE for the occasion.  We have these sheets and stamp issues.  Contact us.

This is an interesting means of supporting major DX-peditions.  Back in 1992 we began offering the topic.  Amateur Radio stamps attached is a copy of our March 1992 price list.  We have contacted our major supplier of postage to search AMATEUR RADIO on stamps.  We hope to be able to supply these Amateurs again.  If interested, please contact us.

Rebirth of Philately (Hobby of Stamp Collecting)
In this month's column, we will introduce a method of obtaining postally used self-adhesive stamps from the paper backing of envelopes to which the stamps are attached.  The examples below illustrate some of the cancelled stamps that we have successfully removed from the backings.

First example:

Stamps from panes of MAYA ANGELOU and Civil War 1865.  These are shown in cancelled excellent condition mounted in Scott strips.

Example 2:

The second example shows the four designs of the GIFTS OF FRIENDSHIP issue in the same cancelled condition.

After a quite a bit of research we arrived at the solution to the problem.  We looked at all readily available (VOC compliant) solvents from various alcohols through ketones and other various adhesive cutters.

We finally tried 100 percent mineral spirits and the problem was solved.  A quick dip in this solvent and almost immediately releases the stamps from the paper envelope backing.  A gentle swipe with a solvent moistened facial tissue on the reverse side of the stamp issue removes any residual adhesive and leaves the back smooth.

The solvent of choice here was THIN-X (clean air solvent - the odorless paint thinner) a product of the Savogran Company - Norwood, MA 02062-0130 (1-800-225-9872).  This product is used mainly to thin odorless specialty paints.

After the stamps are separated from the backing, the excess spirits can be blotted using an absorbent paper towel and air dried (drying time is about half an hour).

The solvent should be used in a ventilated area and latex gloves are recommended.  Spillage can be cleaned up with soapy water.  The solvent is flammable and should be treated as such.  There are other commercially available adhesive removers available such as: Goo-gone (the Homax Group, Inc.), Un-du ( Products, Inc.).  We can supply quantities of these if needed.

If you are a bit hesitant about this procedure we can supply you with cancelled stamps such as shown in the examples in mounts or outside of mounts for your collection.  Let us know the issues of interest to you.  Just contact us.

In upcoming issues of our newsletter we will explore other services and products that we can offer to collectors, veterans, and beginners.
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