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Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1980: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1980: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Olympics stamps and the boycott.

International politics intruded upon the philatelic world on March 11, 1980, when the U.S. Postal Service halted sales of the summer Olympics commemorative stamps and stationery, in support of President Jimmy Carter's call for a boycott of the Moscow games, to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Collectors complained and speculators scrambled for supplies, despite the large number of stamps, postcards, and aerograms already in circulation. Sales were unexpectedly resumed on August 4, after the conclusion of the Moscow games, as a tribute to American Olympians and the late Jesse Owens.

Liechtenstein followed the U.S. lead and withdrew its stamps before issuance. However, the flood of special stamps marking the Olympics made sports the year's most popular theme for worldwide 'omnibus' issues.

International and commercial developments.

Other themes of 'omnibus' issues included the 75th anniversary of Rotary International, the 80th birthday of Queen Mother Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, and the 'London 1980' international philatelic exhibition.

That ten-day event in May drew 102,000 visitors, and it was acclaimed as the largest and finest show in philatelic history. Over a thousand dealers and other professionals attended the exhibition, and special sales brought high prices, including $126,500 for a perfect unused copy of the 12p. black Canada of 1851.

A far higher price for a single stamp was recorded in New York on April 5, when an anonymous investor paid $850,000 for the fabled British Guiana 1 cent magenta. Ten years earlier, vendors Irwin and Jean Weinberg of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., had acquired it for $280,000.

U.S. developments.

New issue philately in the United States was characterized by innovations and controversy. A $3 booklet of 15¢ stamps depicting historic American windmills was released in a new size, smaller than the conventional regular issue, but larger than the experimental Indian Head Cent stamp of 1978.

To celebrate National Letter Writing Week, six different designs were issued in a unique sheet layout of 60. Each of three 'pairs' consisted of stamps of two different sizes, se tenant vertically. Because a plate block required 36 stamps, collectors complained vociferously about government exploitation of the hobby.

Just before the first day of issue for a stamp honoring W. C. Fields, the Postal Service was informed that use of the entertainer's name and likeness required payment of a royalty fee to his estate. A token payment of $2,000 was then made in what was the first instance of its kind.

Many of the other personalities honored in 1980 were women, including Dolley Madison, Frances Perkins, Emily Bissell, Edith Wharton, Helen Keller, and Anne Sullivan. Among the men who were honored were Philip Mazzei, an Italian-born patriot of the 18th century; General Bernardo de Galvez, a Spanish participant in the Revolutionary War; and Benjamin Banneker, a free-born black scientist and mathematician of the same period. At President Carter's request, a special stamp honoring the American labor movement was issued on Labor Day.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1981: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1981: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Commercial and international developments.

Demand for investment-grade philatelic material dropped dramatically during the year because of high interest rates and adverse tax legislation. However, occasional record prices for isolated individual issues were still established. A European collector reportedly paid $1 million for the coveted 'blue boy' cover, sent from Alexandria, Va., to Richmond in 1846. The cover's 5-cent stamp is a provisional issue; that is, it antedates the first U.S.-issued stamps of 1847.

The dominant topic for collector stamps was the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Folklore themes for the annual Europa stamps and commemorations of the International Year of Disabled Persons rounded out the omnibus issues.

U.S. developments.

A turbulent year for the U.S. Postal Service was reflected in sweeping changes in U.S. stamps. Much-debated rate increases—to 18 cents for domestic first-class mail as of March 22 and to 20 cents as of November 1—caused a flurry of emissions, with stopgap, nondenominated 'B' and 'C' stamps issued to ensure adequacy of supply when the changes took effect. These eagle designs were similar to the 'A' stamps issued under similar circumstances in 1978.

With a changing rate structure causing many denominations to become obsolete, the Postal Service decided to replace the old definitive series with several new ones. The Great Americans series, planned for sheet format, includes new faces for the postal gallery: Sequoyah, the Cherokee scholar and linguist; Rachel Carson, the conservationist author; Dr. Charles Drew, the black scientist who pioneered blood plasma preservation procedures; and George Mason, a lesser-known Founding Father. The Transportation series, designed for coil stamp format, will include depictions of a surrey, an electric auto, a mail wagon, and a bicycle. The Flag group has unique but unified design versions for sheet, coil, and booklet stamps, with themes drawn from 'America the Beautiful.'

Among special commemorative subjects were civil rights leader Whitney M. Young, Jr., poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, business educator Joseph Wharton, and golfers Babe Zaharias and Bobby Jones. A joint Irish-American issue honored James Hoban, architect of the White House.

An eight-design set issued se tenant recognized space achievements related to the flight of the space shuttle. Revolutionary War battles at Yorktown and the Virginia Capes were noted with singles. Among subjects of social significance were the 100th anniversary of the American Red Cross, thrift associations, wildlife habitats, antialcoholism campaigns, and the International Year of Disabled Persons. Fine art was recognized with the Frederic Remington sculpture Coming Through the Rye. The first U.S. postal paper with braille was issued in embossed envelope format.

A major modification in traditional five-digit sheet plate number markings was introduced with the Everett Dirksen commemorative. The new system established a plate block as consisting of four stamps regardless of the number of inks or presses used, except where four or more designs appear in a pane. Each color plate or cylinder used initially in the production process is designated by the numeral '1,' and all numerals are grouped in the selvage adjacent to a single stamp. Whenever a plate or cylinder is replaced, the '1' is changed to '2,' and so forth, each numeral appearing in the appropriate color.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1982: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1982: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

U.S. developments.

Despite expressed collector displeasure with the deluge of new U.S. stamps, the U.S. Postal Service issued almost 90 in 1982. The state birds and flowers sheet accounted for 50 of these. Opposition arose from different quarters to the new stamps honoring, respectively, St. Francis of Assisi and the historic Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I.; critics argued that these subjects violated the principle of separation of church and state. New to the postal commemorative gallery were black professional baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson; thespians Ethel, John, and Lionel Barrymore; Civil War surgeon Dr. Mary Walker; and author Horatio Alger. Four se tenant designs on an energy theme publicized the Knoxville, Tenn., world's fair. The United States and the Netherlands simultaneously issued commemoratives marking the bicentennial of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Stable postal rates limited the number of new regular series stamps, with only Dr. Ralph Bunche, Dr. Robert A. Millikan, Igor Stravinsky, and Sioux chieftain Crazy Horse added to the Great Americans series in 1982. The long-delayed Consumer Education coil was issued in English only, with the controversial Spanish version abandoned.

Congressional studies on ending the Postal Service monopoly on letter mail were punctuated by the emergence of two private systems that issued 'stamps' to cover their fees. Western Airlines, calling its service a 'postal assistance program,' inaugurated overnight delivery of first-class mail for $1 plus U.S. postage. In Utah, React Postal Services grouped mail of small-volume customers to take advantage of government discounts for presorted first-class matter and sold its 'stamps' for 6¼ percent less than the statutory 20-cent rate.

Commercial philately.

Market activity in U.S. stamps in the second quarter of 1982 dropped to 84.4 on Linn's Stamp News Trendex graph from a high of 100 for the fourth quarter of 1981; the greatest weakness was in relatively plentiful items that had been pushed to artificially high levels by investor demand in the late 1970's. Occasional record-setting prices were still obtained at auction for exceptional stamps: at a single sale session, U.S. 15-cent 1869 pictorial and 24-cent 1918 airmail inverts sold for $180,000 each (plus a 10 percent buyer's premium).

The leading American cataloging firm, Scott Publishing Company, restructured its guidelines to keep its present 'standard' catalogs manageable in size and affordable for collectors. Changes included publication of a listing of new issues as a monthly supplement to the catalog, distribution of the catalogs by trade publishers to achieve wider circulation, and a new monthly journal aimed at mass newsstand sales.

International developments.

Worldwide postal commemorations noted the centenary of the death of naturalist Charles Darwin, the 75th anniversary of the Scouting movement, the 21st birthday of the Princess of Wales, and the quadrennial World Cup soccer competition. Canada unexpectedly issued an extra-long-format stamp to mark the 'patriation' of its constitution from Britain (that is, the transfer to Canada of the power of amendment). A special Canadian souvenir sheet commemorated the first international stamp festival for world-class youth collections, held in Toronto in the summer of 1982.

The British-Argentine conflict over the Falkland Islands resulted in special Argentine postmarks and stamps—some of questionable status—and semipostal issues from the colony itself, carrying a one-pound surtax used to finance reconstruction from war damage.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1983: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1983: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

U.S. developments.

American philately soared into space on August 30 as the space shuttle Challenger carried into orbit 260,000 covers bearing the new $9.35 express mail stamp. After returning to earth, the covers were sold in souvenir folders by the U.S. Postal Service for $15.35 each. The stamp, which shows the head of a bald eagle against a NASA photo of the moon, is the largest U.S. stamp ever issued in both denomination and size (3.28 square inches).

For the first time the Postal Service added maximum cards to its philatelic stock. These pictorial postcards, long popular in Europe, feature art related to or reproducing the original design used for a stamp. The new U.S. cards related to the four se tenant (mixed design and/or denomination) sets that publicized the 1984 Olympic Games.

Other se tenant groups featured inventors Philo Farnsworth, Edwin Armstrong, Nikola Tesla, and Charles Steinmetz in one unit and hot-air ballooning in another, which consisted of oversized horizontal and vertical designs. Added to the American Bicentennial series was a single that marked the 1783 signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War. The centennials of the federal Civil Service, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Metropolitan Opera also rated singles. Joint U.S.-European issues of common design commemorated the tricentennial of German migration to the United States and the bicentennial of a commercial treaty with Sweden.

Personalities honored in the Great American series were Thomas Gallaudet, educator of the deaf; Pearl Buck, novelist; Henry Clay and Carl Schurz, statesmen; and Dorothea Dix, social worker. Scott Joplin appeared in the Black Heritage, Nathaniel Hawthorne in the Literary Arts, and Babe Ruth in the American Sports series. The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's birth was also commemorated despite a revival of the controversy stirred by 1982 religious-subject stamps.

Reaching back into the late 19th century for a precedent, the Postal Service designed special stamps to be used on an experimental basis by federal departments in an effort to monitor more accurately the actual cost of their mail. The stamps will replace the current 'penalty' imprinted envelopes, which require no stamps. The first agencies to begin using the stamps were the Department of Agriculture and the Air Force.

Commercial philately suffered heavy losses of investment values, resulting from the general economic recession as well as from the shock generated by the sale on December 13, 1982, of the 'Princeton' block of four U.S. 24-cent airmail inverts. The block sold for $175,000 (plus a 10 percent buyer's premium), $325,000 less than its investor-owner paid in 1979.

The international scene.

Palau, the westernmost part of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific, became the first of four such political entities to be granted postal independence. In anticipation of achieving a 'Compact of Free Association' status with the United States, it issued its own stamps under the name of Republic of Palau on March 10.

Omnibus commemorations, in which many nations use similar designs or symbols, marked World Communications Year and the bicentennial of manned flight. Within the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Day was noted by all the members with a series of four stamps each. Of these, 20,000 sets were donated to the Commonwealth Secretariat for sale in a fund-raising plan.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1984: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1984: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Olympic Commemoratives.

Postal products related to the 1984 Olympic Games monopolized the philatelic world's attention, as most participating countries released special promotional issues. The Soviet bloc, however, extended its boycott of the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles to stamp issuing. In the United States, distinctive postmarks were used at all points on the route of the torch relay to Los Angeles; 33 stamps keyed to specific Olympic events were issued.

Controversial Series.

Relinquishing responsibility for their postal paper by contracting with private consulting firms, several small Caribbean and Pacific island nations, including St. Vincent and Tuvalu, subdivided themselves into even smaller stamp-issuing components and began releasing what may eventually total 1,400 different stamps. A number of subjects — famous locomotives, for example, though these nations have no railways — were quite incongruous. The leading English catalog publisher, Stanley Gibbons, decided to withhold recognition of the stamps' legitimacy, but the Scott and Minkus catalogs in the United States accorded them regular status.

Vending Machine Postage.

A possible threat to the future of conventional printed postage stamps received a significant boost when Britain began testing electronic vending label devices under the trade name 'Frama.' Introduced in 1976 in Switzerland, the inexpensive labels, which may be printed in any denomination desired, have since spread on a limited basis to most of Western Europe, Japan, Cuba, and Singapore.

Binational Issues.

Canada marked the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier's first voyage to North America with a stamp printed in France, while the latter nation reciprocated with its own commemorative in the same design. Canada and the United States simultaneously issued stamps commemorating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, using two different designs by the same Ontario artist.

The United States and Ireland issued nearly identical commemoratives for the centennial of the Irish-American tenor John McCormack's birth. As with the St. Lawrence commemorative, each postal administration sold the other's issue and serviced special first day covers.

Other U.S. Issues.

Another new face in the U.S. postal gallery was Junior Achievement founder Horace Moses. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., appeared in the Performing Arts, Carter Woodson in the Black Heritage, Jim Thorpe and Roberto Clemente in the American Sports, and Herman Melville in the Literary Arts series. Added to the Great American series were the industrial engineer Lillian Gilbreth, U.S. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, and literacy crusader Dr. Frank C. Laubach.

A quarter century of Alaskan and Hawaiian statehood was also celebrated, along with the 50th anniversary of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Credit Union Act, the National Archives, and 'duck stamps' for conserving wetlands.

Children's art chosen through contests was used for the contemporary Christmas and 'Family Unity' stamps, while anthropomorphic characters Smokey the Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog promoted forest-fire and crime prevention, respectively. A last-minute addition to the regularly planned issues was a single to honor Hispanic-Americans.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1985: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1985: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

U.S. Issues.

Because of the February 17, 1985, increases in postage rates for most major U.S. mail classifications—including a hike to 22 cents for domestic first-class mail—philatelists were flooded with 42 collectible items of stamps and postal stationery in a 90-day period from late January through April. The deluge began with the release of nondenominated 'D'-design regular stamps. (Similar 'A', 'B,' and 'C' stamps had been issued in 1978 and 1981 to ensure an adequate supply when rate increases went into effect.) In addition, the Transportation series of coil stamps was augmented by nine new denominations to conform to complex rates for bulk third-class mailings; the nostalgic engraved designs included depictions of antique automobiles and a school bus. Added to the Great Americans series—in small-format, one-color intaglio—were several military and civilian figures: Admiral Chester Nimitz; General Henry Knox, of Revolutionary War fame; West Point superintendents Sylvanus Thayer and Alden Partridge; columnist Walter Lippmann; novelist Sinclair Lewis; 18th-century statesman Abraham Baldwin; and world federalist Grenville Clark.

A new flag-over-Capitol design appeared both as a small sheet stamp and, for the first time ever, in a double-width version for booklets. Also issued in booklet form were five designs featuring American mollusks. Most innovative of the new regulars were the multicolor 21.1-cent, 18-cent, and 17.5-cent coils issued for large mailers of first-class mail and users of the new nine digit zip code ('Zip + 4'). The new $10.75 express mail stamp surpassed the 1983 version as the costliest U.S. regular ever.

Among special issues was the Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi Statue of Liberty design, the first ever to be generated by computer imaging. Composer Jerome Kern was added to the Performing Arts series and educator Mary McLeod Bethune to the Black Heritage series. Also honored were Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams, and Junipero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan who founded missions in California during the 18th century. Tributes to the military, begun with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial issue late in 1984, continued with stamps honoring the veterans of the Korean war and of World War I. A publicity issue picturing a 1-cent stamp current in 1886 anticipated the 1986 Chicago international philatelic exhibition, known as AMERIPEX.

Postal Service Activities.

The Postal Service supported several philatelic activities in 1985: a Youths Exhibiting Stamps competition, leading up to AMERIPEX; its Benjamin Franklin stamp clubs; and a bimonthly journal for teenagers, entitled Stamp Action. These programs, however, seemed jeopardized after severe financial pressures caused the Postal Service to reduce significantly its promotion of philatelic sales and to cancel a scheduled 14-cent Season's Greetings stamp.

Commercial Developments.

Events in commercial and investment philately were highlighted by the sale, in late 1984, of Scott Collectibles, Ltd., producers of the standard catalogs used in the United States since 1867, to Amos Press of Sidney, Ohio, publishers of Linn's Stamp News. According to Linn's U.S. Stamp Market Index, the composite average rose steadily for the first half of 1985 but was down 5 percent from the same period in 1984.

International Commemorations.

Among anniversaries and events commemorated around the world in 1985 were the bicentennial of American naturalist John James Audubon's birth, the 85th birthday of Britain's Queen Mother Elizabeth, the European Music Year as proclaimed by the Council of Europe, and the United Nations International Youth Year.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1986: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1986: Stamps And Stamp Collecting

Ameripex 86.

The largest stamp show ever held in North America dominated the year's philatelic developments. Ameripex 86, officially designated a world's fair by the U.S. Department of Commerce, ran from May 22 to June 1 in Chicago, drawing a record attendance of more than 150,000 (excluding military and postal personnel), as well as 10,000 schoolchildren.

The U.S. Postal Service provided the show a $500,000 grant and furnished 80,000 square feet of exhibit and sales space. More than 100 nations and their sales agencies were represented at the show, and 30 of them issued complimentary stamps. The only discordant note was the opening-day withdrawal of the People's Republic of China because Taiwan was among the participants.

To publicize Ameripex and honor the centennials of the American Philatelic Society and the Smithsonian Institution's National Philatelic Collection, USPS issued its first-ever commemorative stamp booklet, the covers of which were valid as admission tickets to the show. The USPS booklet was released simultaneously with a Swedish booklet that promoted the Stockholmia '86 international philatelic exhibition. Swedish and American artists collaborated on the two booklets, which included a common stamp design.

USPS also issued pictorial Ameripex and stamp collecting postal cards, and the United Nations held special first-day ceremonies in Chicago, where it issued six stamps on the theme 'Philately — The International Hobby.' Also released at the exhibition was the U.S. series of four miniature sheets of nine stamps, picturing 35 deceased presidents and the White House. These were followed later in the year by 35 pictorial cancellations, one from each president's birthplace.

Other reciprocal postal commemorations included the simultaneously issued U.S. and Italian postal cards honoring Italian-American Revolutionary War patriot Francis Vigo and U.S. and French single adhesives marking the Statue of Liberty centennial.

New Issues.

Two new designs — a dogsled and a star route truck — were added to USPS's collector-popular Transportation series of coil stamps. New to the Great Americans series were authors Jack London and Margaret Mitchell, Supreme Court justice Hugo Black, orator William Jennings Bryan, feminist lawyer Belva Ann Lockwood, clergyman/benefactor John Harvard, physician Paul Dudley White, Father Edward Flanagan of Boys Town, and Dr. Bernard Revel of Yeshiva University.

Other new faces in the U.S. postal gallery were abolitionist Sojourner Truth, musician Duke Ellington, writer T. S. Eliot, and five polar explorers, including Matthew Henson, a black companion of Robert E. Peary. Sesquicentennials of the Republic of Texas and of Arkansas statehood were also honored, while se-tenant blocks of four designs each depicted Navajo art and woodcarvings from the Index of American Design at the Smithsonian.

Worldwide, the 60th birthday of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the nuptials of her son Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson prompted the issue of commemoratives by 36 countries now or formerly associated with the Commonwealth of Nations. The World Cup soccer tournament in Mexico and the return of Halley's Comet were also marked with multination issues. 'Freedom stamps' of the de facto governments established by the anti-Soviet guerrillas in Afghanistan and the Unita guerrillas in Angola were merchandised worldwide by direct mail to raise funds and influence public opinion.




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