US Stamps

Linn's website improvements bring faster reporting of the stamp news

Feb 7, 2014, 3 AM

This Irish stamp for the Irish Citizen Army was abruptly withdrawn from sale on the first day of issue, Jan. 23.

Early in the morning of Jan. 27, I received an e-mail from a dealer in Ireland announcing that An Post, the Irish postal service, had abruptly withdrawn from sale its new stamp commemorating the Irish Citizen Army.

The sudden move was precipitated by confusion over whether or not the man shown prominently in the foreground of the stamp design was Irish Citizen Army cofounder Capt. Jack White.

According to the dealer, the withdrawal occurred just minutes after the issue went on sale Jan. 23.

He was fortunate to acquire a single pane of 15 of the e0.60 (60¢) stamp, which he offered for sale.

As I read the announcement at home, it struck me that Linn’s should not wait until the next print edition of the paper to announce this sudden move on the part of An Post.

So I forwarded the dealer’s e-mail to Linn’s managing editor Donna Houseman, asking that a story be written for posting on the website

In due course, the article was written by Linn’s senior editor Denise McCarty and went live on Jan. 28. Links to the article also were posted on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.

A version of McCarty’s report then appeared in the Feb. 17 Linn’s. The digital edition of that issue was available to subscribers Feb. 3.

Before the Internet revolution, Linn’s readers would not have received this news until the print edition hit their mailbox — about a week before the actual cover date, in many cases.

Now we can get the news out more rapidly, which is a very positive development after years of being scooped by other websites catering to stamp collectors.

Later this year, Linn’s will have a new digital content management system that will allow Linn’s editors to post news stories in real time. Eventually, outside columnists and contributors also will be allowed to contribute content in this manner.

Some recent changes in digital workflow processes have moved us closer to this ideal, but we aren’t quite there yet.

When we do arrive, I think you will find to be much more lively and engaging.

Having the capability to post news daily, almost as it happens, will encourage more readers to visit more regularly, to see what’s new.

Bringing in more visits to the website is essential for attracting dealers, auction houses and others to advertise on, knowing that such ads will be seen by hundreds or thousands of people each day.

FIP embraces modern stamp collecting

While perusing the International Federation of Philately website at, I was pleased to see that a new class of exhibiting titled “Modern Philately” has been approved for FIP exhibitions.

According to the guidelines posted on the website, qualifying Modern Philately exhibits “must contain philatelic material issued by postal authorities within approximately the last 20 years.” The time period specified is about 1991 to the present.

The FIP established this new exhibit class “to demonstrate to Postal Administrations that there is an extensive body of philatelists who collect and study the material issued by them in the past 20 years, i.e., approximately 1991 to the present.”

It will be interesting to see how displays of modern stamps and postal history fare in the often rarefied world of international exhibiting, where classic material has reigned supreme for decades.