Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs (WFSC)
Across the Fence Post Newsletter
1998 Shaughnessy Takes On... columns

         This page includes Shaughnessy Takes On... columns from the 1998 issues of Across the Fence Post.

January issue


By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County Philatelic Society

My takes (prelim, of course) on the 1998 U.S. Postal Service program:

We're not out of the moods in January, the Year of the Tiger and the Postal Service's continuing series of "New Yearlings." I wonder if any Nike swoosh will be micro-printed on this stamp?

Alpine Skiing: Does this mean there's a winter game somewhere in the world this season? Can snowtroarders now demand their own stamp?

Starting with the first two decades, Celebrate the Century postal paper will occupy much of the 1998 (and beyond) USPS stamp program. The Panama Canal, the "Big Ditch" (and one needs to pronounce this very care-fully), will be honored once again. This time, however, there will be a small sign reading "Yankee Went Home" on one of the locks.

If we can't have Beanie Babies on stamps, let's go for teddy bears. Unfortunately these are not out of the Victoria Secrets catalog, darn!

Since most of us can't afford the early U.S. postal issues, our good friends at the Postal Service are reprinting those of the 19th century. We had repros of the first two stamps (as part of the Pacific 97 fiasco), the Columbians were redone for AMERIPEX, and now the Trans-Misses are going to be brought back in two colors. How can they go wrong with these beautifully engraved gems'? Every collector will buy two sets, one to fill in upfront album spaces and the second set for current almost-to-the-back-of-the-book issues. Dare we wait for inverted Jennies and Zepps?

The Organ and Tissue Donation issue: 1'd like to be an organ donor, but do they accept pianos?

We've had just about all types of music performers/composers on stamps except for gospel and maybe disco, hip-hop, gangsta, and whatever is current. Let's quit with the Gospel Singers issue while we're ahead.

Four hundred years of American an on one sheet! Eat your hearts out, Ganzes - a couple that spent years acquiring modern art at modest prices. After they passed on, it went at auction for millions of dollars. Every collector will now have the opportunity to be in the "400" for the price of a sheet of stamps! I would have hoped that the USPS had learned from the engraved French art stamps that litho printing of artwork produces a bland product - not that it makes much difference on the Rothko.

Alex Calder must have friends at the USPS as he rates five stamps! Will the first-day of issue be in Mobile, AL?

Golly, sexual orientation will be honored as well: 'Klondvke Gold Rush and Pink Rose stamps. Does Jesse Helms know about these' Since Hitchcock "cameo portrayed" himself in each of his movies, wouldn't it be neat to have him micro printed on his Legends of Hollywood stamp'!

And while on Hollywood, the Bugs Bunny watch goes on with another Warner Bros. cartoon character in '98. I taught I saw a puddv tat ... I hope 1 am mistaken' •

February issue No column this issue

March issue No column this issue

April issue No column this issue

May/June issue No column this issue

.July/August issue No column this issue

September issue


By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

It's a shame that the U.S. Postal Service didn't hook up with the Disney group instead of Warner Bros. If they had, we could have figured out why it is so Dopey and so Goofy.

It was Dopey to confine the sale of the Cheez-Wiz stamp to only the Badger State so that only 16 million had to be printed. Well, the hidden badger jumped out and bit the U.S. Postal Service folks in the vicinity of Kenosha County making Azeezaly Jaffer change his mind, go back to press and distribute this stamp nationwide. While I have no quarrel with the farm image design, somehow it is an echo of the 1968 Illinois sesquicentennial issue. That one was better. Six cents bought the stamp and first-class service. At more than five times the price is the service that much better?

Not Dopey, but Goofy, is the flip-flop on the Tweety & Sylvester special die-cut panes. The USPS notified late ordure’s that the pane (with a print order of a half million) was sold out less than a month after release. However, upon further review, they are issuing another 150,000. What's wrong with that? If you were one of the purchasers of the initial 500,000 panes, you stood to make an instant profit - up to $15 in the aftermarket for a $3.20 purchase as noted in the philatelic press. But now with the additional panes available, the price will go south. Methinks there's a lot of dealers out there with a more than adequate supply of T & S panes.

"Readers digest very little." The little mag that could, however, made fortunes for Lila and DeWitt Wallace, founders of the publication and philanthropists in their own right. The stamp honoring this couple is a gem. As stamp collectors, each of us starts out with phila but quickly tail off. Oh to be a Philadelphia philatelic philanthropist!

I'm impressed with the Flowering Trees pane issued in March. They're printed as well as any except that one can erase the color portions of these stamps with an ordinary eraser. As noted in Linn's, this erasure carries over to the Bugs Bunny issue as well. Don't try this at home on your 1847 Washington and Franklin stamps.

"Attitude derriere" is not the motto of the USPS. Rather, it's the pose of a ballerina in a forthcoming September issue. The USPS bills this issue as "the most beautiful stamp of 1998." Let's hold off until we see if it's erasable. Probably the two most important forthcoming issues are the Breast Cancer Research (first semi postal) and the Organ and Tissue Donation stamps. As to the former, the USPS notes that 70 percent of the net proceeds will be given to the National Institutes of Health while the Department of Defense gets 30 percent. I thought the USPS was going to keep some for delivering the mail. Maybe it's the new math. As for organ donations, do they accept pianos? The Berlin Airlift issue commemorates one of the most amazing feats of modern times, a logistical nightmare. Yet, our boys - and they were boys - were up to the task and beat the Russians but at the cost of 79 lives and millions of dollars. Just remember that each time you lick one of these stamps and place it in position on your important mail. •

October  issue No column this issue

November issue


By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County Philatelic Society

My takes on current philatelic phollies:

New Postmaster General Henderson is quoted as predicting the end to the Postal Service monopoly. Excuse me; isn't there a Monopoly stamp in the 1930's Celebrate the Century issue?

Has anyone else noted that the non-denominated Green Bicycle coil stamp is sexually explicit'? I read it as "Presorded Sexual Transmitted Disease," which could happen if you hang out at bicycle (handle) bars.

The year is 2006 and the next international stamp exhibition will be in Washington. DC. If you attend, be sure to include the ongoing impeachment hearings as part of the city tour. So what if Clinton left office in the year 2000?

Wearing the white hats are the August brothers. Sam and Leo, who left the American Philatelic Society the tidy sum of $100,000 in their wills for the purpose of promoting our hobby. While a nice piece of change, it pales when compared to the $7 and $8 MILLION that Azeezaly Jafter (top USPS official) is using to promote the Celebrate the Century postal paper. No wonder our postal rates need to be raised.

Our new H-rate flat stamp just would not make it in jolly ol' England where the cockneys are noted for dropping their "h's. " They will, no doubt, see these on incoming mail as the USPS has authorized the H-rate stamp for use on international mail. Only 18 more for the complete set. Wonder what value the "Z" will denote?

As kids we prided ourselves by being able to spell "Mississippi" correctly. Thus, it was interesting to read about the 1948 3-cent Mississippi Territory issue that was put in an auction. The stamp depicts the Mississippi seal with the misspelling "Missisippi." Imagine someone bidding $300 upon being told that it was a genuine error and supposedly a unique copy that postal authorities were trying to buy back or confiscate. Unique? just one of more than 122 million with a current catalog value of 15-censt Where can I sell my stash of three-centers.

A new position at the USPS is that of plastic surgeon altering the facial features of Mariko Crane, who posed for the original photo used as a basis for the American Ballet stamp. Let's see this is the third Crane stamp in the past four years.

OK, all you of Irish heritage, this spud's for you! The USPS has promised to issue a commemorative to mark the Irish Potato Famine. Did you want fries with that'

December issue No column this issue

Latest update: June 14, 2005 

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