About a month ago, I marked 15 years of earning a living from stamp collecting. How best to describe my job? I leave that to former Linn’s senior editor Rick Miller, who once remarked that writing about stamps was like getting paid to eat ice cream.
March 15, 1999, was my first day on the job as a member of the Linn’s editorial staff. Since that time, I’ve honed my craft as a writer, learned from some of the greatest collectors of this generation and, best of all, forged myriad friendships that will last a lifetime.
Mentioning all these philatelic connections would vastly exceed the confines of this column.
So allow me to describe one such friendship, which began about 12 years ago.
This is a friendship that spans an ocean, because Arne lives in Denmark and I live in Ohio. Sometime in 2002, as I recall, Arne contacted Linn’s with a question concerning a United States definitive stamp. I was tasked with providing an answer.
Out of that initial contact blossomed a regular correspondence that continues to this day, via e-mail and, of course, traditional mail.
In the early days of our friendship, we focused on our individual stamp-hobby pursuits. Arne, I learned, collects used U.S. stamps with passion and zeal.
To assist him with that, I began sending batches of stamps clipped from business reply envelopes; an exercise that keeps stamps in albums, where they belong, and out of landfills.
He, in turn, discovered my interest in stamps from Scandinavia, particularly those engraved by the renowned Czeslaw Slania.
And he soon learned that my collecting instincts as a postal historian gravitate toward the unusual and seldom seen, such as postally used souvenir sheets.
Illustrated here is an envelope Arne mailed to me May 19, 2004. It is franked with a Danish souvenir sheet commemorating the 300th anniversary of Frederiksberg Palace (Scott 1278a).
In his letter, Arne told me that the 19 kroner in postage exactly paid the rate for a letter weighing between 50 grams and 100 grams mailed outside Europe.
Two years later, in May 2006, we met for the first time at the Washington 2006 international stamp exhibition in Washington, D.C. Among the many memories I have of that show, the ones I treasure the most are those of the dinner we enjoyed one evening at a local restaurant.
There’s nothing quite like breaking bread (and drinking good beer) over stimulating conversation to forge bonds that remain long after the food is consumed and the good-byes are said.
Just the other day, I was going through some covers and began organizing the various letters and parcels I’ve received from Arne over the years.
Perhaps it’s time they had an album of their own.
Thanks, Arne, for your friendship, philatelic and otherwise. Here’s to many more years of hobby camaraderie.
And thanks, too, to all of my philatelic friends, near and far. You’ve made the journey thus far immensely rewarding.
August 01, 2015 07:37 PMIt didn’t take long for the doom-and-gloomers to weigh in with their prognostications following the July 24 announcement from the American Philatelic Society that it hired former political aide Scott English to be the next executive director of the nation’s largest stamp club. Read More ›
July 30, 2015 08:04 PMIn the Editor’s Insights columns in the July 20 Linn’s Stamp News monthly and the Aug. 10 weekly Linn’s, I mentioned Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board without giving too much detail. Linn’s goal is to engage its audience both in print and online and to grow this audience. The role of the newly formed Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board is to assist us achieving these goals by keeping us focused on the needs of our audience and helping us adapt to today’s market. Read More ›
July 30, 2015 09:01 AMAs in previous years, Rarities Week, the series of sales conducted June 22-26 by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, included several name sales as well as an assortment of notable items from around the world. The week kicked off with something of a do-over: a sizable assortment of better United States stamps and covers that had appeared in four previous sales, but whose winning bidder then failed to pay for them. Read More ›
July 23, 2015 04:35 PMThe Tieton, Wash., post office is a simple 1935 cement block building with a slat wood facade. Townsfolk in the agricultural community of 1,200 in central Washington believe the post office could become a landmark, if only the United States Postal Service would allow them to cover the front with a stamp-like mosaic. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s senior editor Denise McCarty discusses the hiring of a new executive director of the American Philatelic Society, the new Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board and the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz discusses the largest souvenir card produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The card is one of three issued to honor the centenary of San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke discusses Canada’s recently recalled $1.20 Dinosaur Provincial Park stamps featuring inaccurately described Hoodoo rock formations.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the discovery of another pane of the intentionally created upright variety of the $2 Jenny Invert stamp.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.