Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs (WFSC)
Across the Fence Post Newsletter
2003 Shaughnessy Takes On... columns

         This page includes Shaughnessy Takes On... columns from the 2003 issues of Across the Fence Post.

January issue

By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

 New Zealand collectors get Lord of the Rings stamps while we USAers get a dime clock, a penny lamp and the wisdom of a dollar. (Linn’s, Dec. 9, 2002) Meanwhile, the Royal Mail (the UK’s version of USPS) is offering one lucky purchaser a chance to win a million pounds with their stamp booklet of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers while we USAers get to recycle the leftovers of our Holiday issues. The Royal Mail contest is good only for those residing in the United Kingdom. Irish need not apply.
Linn’s annual U.S. Stamp Popularity Poll opens for voting, by mail or on-line, where one selects from a record 243 issues. My votes will go to Longleaf Pine Forest for best design, Winter Sports edging out Masters of Photography as worst design, with the Heroes of 2001 as most important, and Andy Warhol as least necessary. My special kudos to Greetings, Teddy Bears, Snowmen and Neuter & Spay. No winners (or losers) in the definitive or postal stationery crowd--bland for the most part.
Get your genuine USPS goof. The 37-cent EID stamp didn’t roll over to year 2002 as they still have the 2001 date. The USPS fessed up;
Mary Cassat would be pleased that the USPS has selected four of her paintings to be used on a booklet pane of 20 as “commems for the masses” as the USPS puts it. Does this include the early mass at six A.M.?
SPM? Is it Spam? No, just a squeezed St. Pierre and Miquelon, which took up too much space on their stamps. Their electronic version is ESPM, of course.
We all grumble about the cost of stamps whether buying them or mailing or for our collections, but the USPS really grumbles when it comes to the cost of printing them. Engraving costs made the 2001 Pan-Am Invert sheet the most expensive at $61.83 per thousand! The least expensive 2001 issue? The Snoopy Stamp, and why not, the cost was Peanuts, just $3.33 a thousand.
I note that Heidi Klum, supermodel, Victoria Secret and Grenada spokesperson at the APS StampShow in Atlantic City NJ last August, filed for divorce from her hairdresser husband in November. What are the odds that she met a well heeled collector at the show, was smitten with his mint, unhinged attitude and was fascinated by how he mounted his collections.
Oh yes, Grenada issued a s/s with six Heidi Klum stamps for the occasion. Sure beats the Uganda Dogs pane issued the previous year

February issue No column this issue

March issue

  By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

Welcome to year 4701 (but who’s counting?), The Year of the Ram. The USPS is counting, January 15th was the day they issued the latest in the lunisolar series for the Chinese New Year. As with all the previous issues in this series, it is the paper sculpture/cut-out design by Clarence Lee, unusual since many USPS continuing series have different designers/artwork, etc. I suspect that all of the Dodge truck dealers in the country will buy and use these stamps on their business correspondence. Hit it!
Coming in year 4704, or better known to us as 2006, will be the 10th International Philatelic Exhibition, this time in our nation’s capitol. Somehow, a “fantasy design” for the de rigueur souvenir sheet appeared on the Washington 2006 web site featuring the four high values of the 1922 definitive series in different colors in a bland, ho-hum design. Let’s hope this one NEVER gets beyond the fantasy page.
Next time you’re at your local post office purchasing stamps, you might want to ask, “Oh, almost forgot. I’ll have a dozen of those potassium iodide pills that the Postal Service purchased recently.” Unfortunately, these pills are ONLY for the USPS employees, which are only to be used in case of a nuclear attack. If such happens--God forbid!--I doubt if any postal employees, customers, or even the building will be around. China has issued its first scented stamps, a series called “Fresh Flowers.” When the postal patron is asked if he or she wants the scented ones, the answer will be, “Of course, I want it sent. I’m not a collector.” And then there are all us USA collectors who have on occasion remarked when certain stamps were issued, “That stamp design STINKS!”
Remember the Smith Brothers cough drops that featured the bearded pair on the box? They were named “Trade” and “Mark” and this is brought up as we learn that the phrase “first class mail” is also a trademark, registered and owned by the USPS of all corporations. Only problem as I see it is, that postal patrons sometimes get less than first class service. Does the USPS also own “PPS, Pretty Poor Service”?
When you contribute enough you get the very best” might be Hallmark Cards new slogan as they were the ones who printed and furnished the White House Bushes their one million Christmas cards. They also contributed $110,000 to the Republican Party. Nary a one of these cards was franked with a commemorative stamp. With the GOP popping for the postage, one might have thought they would have used the Heroes semi-postal as the stamp of choice. Another missed opportunity.

April issue No column this issue

May/June issue

By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

The lively discussion whether a special stamp or souvenir sheet should be issued by the USPS to commemorate the Columbia crew.
Hampered by the “ten year rule” it seemed unlikely that such a stamp could be issued, however we know that many, too many, postal administrations will have Columbia Shuttle stamps, sheets & other postal paper ready for collectors by the time you read this. Why not our USPS?
Joint issues with Israel and India would seem like a great idea, reproduce the Columbia patch as the stamp in the midst of a souvenir sheet surrounded by the names of the seven astronauts in the selvedge.
What about all those astronauts who previously perished? 17 of them, they certainly deserve philatelic recognition by this country as well.
Would any such stamp/sheet be a commemorative or another semi-postal (with the surcharge funds going to NASA perhaps).
Funds certainly need not go to the USPS (which had a BILLION dollar profit last year) and have plans to milk collectors with the new joint US Mint State Quarters/Greeting Stamp promotion. How do they do this? Let me count the ways: Five state quarters - circulated quality - and five corresponding Greetings stamps with a “certificate of authenticity” with sell for $ 29.99.
Baseball card-size 50 state quarters/greeting stamps, consisting of one state quarter and corresponding state stamp in a set of the five from a given year are $27.99. Wait, there are the COMPLETE sets (upon the completion of the state quarters minting in year 2008) will be available for $ 299.90 with the card set at $ 279.90. Interestingly these are PLUS postage, who knows what that rate will be at that time?
A chuckle from a story in February 3, 2003 issue of Linn’s in their ‘Stamp Market Tips’ - United States Submarines expected to rise - I sure hope they come up for air. Just watch out for Japanese boats when surfacing.
In April, our Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society will host their annual “Kids Kollect” a hands on seminar on sorting, soaking, mounting stamps for area youngsters. If readers have stamps & other philatelic material that they wish to contribute send them to LCPS Secretary, 6834 West Monticello Ct., Gurnee, IL 60031-4036. Your support for this will be greatly appreciated.

.July/August issue No column this issue

September issue

By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

Did you realize that the recent Sea Coast coil stamps have wavy line die cuts all around? In keeping with the nautical theme, of course.

So Azeezaly Jaffer is the ASDA "Man of the Year" for "his extraordinary efforts in promoting stamp collecting." Remember when he was the "MANIAC of the Year" by pushing philatelic postal paper & products over the top? He's back again pushing postal geegaws and doodads. The latest is selling framed art reproductions of stamps with Iowa based ArtSelect. Turns out his wife, Tammy, works for this firm. Any conflict of interest? According to Jaffer, no. Also NO to all the artists who did the original art. No compensation for them as Jaffer is quoted in Linn's "(we have ... no intention of sharing the profits with the artists." This is a Man of the Year'? ASDA, try again.

The USPS will issue more Reptile & Amphibian stamps in the near future. For those who are queasy with snakes, salamanders and lizards let's hope these are self-adhesive. Not finger licking good. There is a frog and a turtle as well. Wonder if you kiss the frog's reverse what will happen?

At the recent APS Stamp show they surely issued a bunch of stamps - three of them honoring Ralph Bunche, former Undersecretary General of the UN, and issued by the UNPA. He looks pretty good for 100. Also the first day for ANOTHER Mary Cassatt stamp, actually four more in what the ' USPS calls a "convertible booklet" - maybe the top comes down, and in a quantity of 778 million, enough for everyone on the planet, well, not quite but more than we possibly need. Tell me, do these stamps remind you of the stamps issued by the Sand Dune countries?

Mr. Zip, he of Zoning Improvement Plan, recently turned 40 (as if we needed another reason to feel old). The USPS took him off stamp selvages in 1983 and put him into semi-retirement; however, the USPS folks tell us that there will be a new looks Mr. Zip in the coming months. Reality Zipper?

Remember when critics of USPS issued semi-postals foretold that once the first one was issued more would surely come. Right on! Now the USPS is to issue a Domestic Violence stamp as a semi with a design that looks the part. While the thought is great the messenger is not. Certainly hope that a "Foreign Violence" stamp is not in the works.

The United Nations certainly has taken lumps this past year and now their entire stamp archive was sold and then resold in just three weeks. The latest owner is putting these items up for auction. I wonder how many our State Department will bid on.

October  issue No column this issue

November issue

By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

The always tentative & incomplete tease of USPS philatelic paper to be issued next year (2004) indicates that the USPS is making a monkey out of stamp collectors by starting with the Year of the Monkey stamp thus continuing and concluding this interesting series of cut paper art on stamps.
Children will love the depiction of The Cat in the Hat on the Dr. Seuss 100th birthday issue in which this cat shares with the Grinch while other Seuss characters frolic on the selvage. What’s not to like for this one?
We know that since Spencer Tracy will be 2004’s Hollywood Legend issue that maybe in 2014 or thereabouts Kate Hepburn will join him in stamp heaven. No shortage now of cinema characters to choose from - Bob Hope, Bette Davis, Shirley Temple (no hurry lady), … oh my, did I open a can of worms with this? An Arnold Schwarzennegger stamp in the future?
The Owens-Corning Corporation will be franking their mail come Spring 2004 when our USPS issues the Henry Mancini commemorative.
”Miss Caruthers, take that Pitney-Bowes out of service and start applying the Mancini stamp to all our outgoing mail. Certainly it is going to take longer, however “Think Pink” and note our Panther on the stamp’s left side.”
Meanwhile the Mars Corporation, maker of Mars & other candy bars is miffed that there was no stamp issued on August 27th when the red planet was the closest to earth in some thousands of years. Wonder if they still frank their flats with the Mars Lander mini sheet.
Greg Berger, designer of the upcoming DC stamp should have used AC instead. What did he not portray in the design? A classic example of trying to put a dollar stamp into a 37c package. That city is the seat of our government, so is this stamp design.
Continuing to honor known Communists will be a stamp for Paul Robson, the great Negro singer/actor/activist. He’ll go right next to my Frida Kahlo stamp.
For us WW2 vets probably one of the year’s most important issues will be the National World War II Memorial Stamp with the unknown hidden image. Would it be Willie & Joe of Mauldin’s creation? Let’s not have a hidden general or admiral, those have been on stamps forever.
Since there will be 78 issues, and counting, my comments will continue in future columns. When you add these up over the years eyes glaze over at the quantities and costs. This was brought home during one of our LCPS meetings when member Bill Schultz graphed the number and costs of USA commemoratives since 1890. He will e-post interested readers these charts, which are eye openers, at jeemy@sprynet.com
For now our club members are using discounted price commens for postage.

December issue

By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

  While Elvis may have left the building there is his echo in the new Martin Johnson Heade “Magnolia” stamp (next in the American Treasures series this year). The full name of Heade’s painting is “Giant Magnolias on Blue Velvet Cloth c. 1890.” Echoes of all those paintings of Elvis on velvet sold by the waysides and at garage sales.
We stamp collectors need to learn new languages. Check out these titles: Cirrus radiatus, Cirrostratus fibratus, Cirrocumulus undulatus, Cumulonimbus mammatus, Cumulonimbus incus, Altocumulus stratiformis, Altostratus translucidus, Altocumulus undulatus, Altocumulus castellanus, Altocumulus enticularis, Stratocumulus undulatus, Stratus opacus, Cumulus humillis, Cumulus congestus, Cumulonimbus with tornado. They are all cloud formations that will be on a 15-sheet issue. Buying this sheet will support your local weatherperson. Way to go, Weather Channel.
Slated for release in September at the Smithsonian in conjunction with a new exhibit, Art of the American Indians are more new words to learn as stamps depict: Mimbres bowl, Kutenai parfleche, Tlingit sculptures, Winnebago bag, Seminole doll, Mississippian effigy, Acoma pot, Navaho weaving, Seneca carving, and Luiseno basket. How?
Who is Margaret La Farge Osborn? She being the subject matter of a sculpture by Isamu Noguchi which will be one of five stamps honoring him. Maggie came from a family whose members were equally talented in visual and literary fields Her grandfather was the painter John La Farge; her father, C. Grant LaFarge, the initial architect for the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine; and her brothers were Christopher La Farge, an architect who was better known as poet and novelist, and Oliver La Farge, an archaeologist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for his first novel, Laughing Boy. Now you know her genealogy here’s her history:
After the end of World War I she married William Osborn. The Osborn family was, among many things, responsible for the creation of the Museum of Natural History, in New York. Bill was Director of Research and Development for the Phelps Dodge Corporation. In the 1930s Peggy became a writer and published one novel. She actively championed liberal causes and befriended young artists such as Arshile Gorky, Reuben Nakian, Bucky and Noguchi. She would remain their friends for many years. Bucky, in 1936, also became an assistant to Bill Osborn at Phelps Dodge. It was while working on Research and Development for Bill, and at his urging, that he developed the Dymaxion Prefabricated Bathroom, stamped from two sheets of copper, for which he holds patent 2,220,482
The “Bucky” is R.Buckminster Fuller, who will have his own stamp in 2004.
Could the Wedding Stamps be the first of a series? Estrangement, then Divorce and finally Remarriage?
And the U.S. Air Force Academy issue. Will it have the male cadets chasing after female cadets as subject matter?

Latest update: June 14, 2005

URL:   http://www.WFSCstamps.org/wfsc_atfp_atfp_shaugh_2003.shtml