Philatelists revel in NM event

Two customers peruse the many philatelic collectibles with Albuquerque, NM, P&DC General Clerk Lori Aldrich and Main Office Retail Associate Cecilia Padilla.

Two customers peruse the many philatelic collectibles with Albuquerque, NM, P&DC General Clerk Lori Aldrich and Main Office Retail Associate Cecilia Padilla.

Philatelists across New Mexico and beyond converged recently at the 11th annual New Mexico Philatelic Exhibition. Held at the Meadowlark Senior Center in Rio Rancho, the event showcased numerous stamp collection displays, tables packed with fun activities for children to spark their interest in stamp collecting, and a special postmark to commemorate the exhibition.

This year’s theme for the show was the National Parks Forever Stamp sheet which includes the Bandelier National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, both located in New Mexico.

The robust turnout not only delighted visitors, it also generated more than $2,000 in revenue for the Postal Service.

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Son thanks North Bend team on behalf of deceased mother

North Bend, NE, Retail Associates Cindy Madsen and Michelle Hoyt with Postmaster Sherry Carmichael

North Bend, NE, Retail Associates Cindy Madsen and Michelle Hoyt with Postmaster Sherry Carmichael

When a long-time postal customer recently passed away, her son wrote a letter to North Bend, NE, Post Office employees expressing his thanks for providing exceptional service that spanned 50 years. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

“As you no doubt know, my mother Mildred Emanuel recently passed away. She had mentioned to me how you went out of your way to help her pick up her mail. I wanted to express my gratitude for all the many kindnesses you and others in your office had extended to her.

I started writing letters to my mother 50 years ago this fall when I went off to school. For the past several years, I’ve tried to write to her weekly, each letter with a different stamp design. After two years she asked, ‘Where do you get all those different stamps?’ I wrote back, ‘Stamps by Mail.’

Please give my compliments to all in your office, and if it were possible, to all the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service for the reliable service you provided (and at bargain rates!). My mother was the type of person who didn’t want flowers or knickknacks or other things for gifts. What do you give to someone who wants nothing? Answer: a handwritten letter – always a welcomed gift for a loved one who has everything. Thank you for making that possible 52 weeks a year for over 50 years.

Sincerely, Eric”

Postmaster gives students the gift of knowledge

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Students at the Geraldine High School in Geraldine, MT, typically study subjects such as math, history, and English in a given day. On one special day earlier this month, they had the chance to learn more about a skill that will help them communicate with the world.

Lita Buck is the Postmaster of the Geraldine Post Office. She recently visited students at the high school to educate them about the mail, including the details of preparing and sending mail.

“I explained to them the importance of properly addressing an envelope and what happens to it if it does not have a return address on it and cannot be delivered to the addressee, and that proper postage is also important,” said Buck. “I also informed them that if they wanted a certain stamp on their announcements, that they should let me know ASAP so I could get them ordered, and reminded them that they will need stamps for thank you cards also.”

In addition to the valuable information she provided, Buck also brought handouts and other material for students to peruse.

The information-rich session was an eye-opening experience for the young minds in attendance and will give them the knowledge they need for a lifetime of mailing.

A Hearty Helping of Holiday Shipping and Stamps

Left: USPS Consumer Advocate John Budzynski. Right: Sycamore, OH, Postmaster Earl Musick poses with the Peanuts Gang (thanks to the USPS Augmented Reality App, available for Android and iPhones).

Left: USPS Consumer Advocate John Budzynski. Right: Sycamore, OH, Postmaster Earl Musick poses with the Peanuts Gang (thanks to the USPS Augmented Reality App, available for Android and iPhones).

The holidays are here, and so is another edition of Your Postal Podcast, filled with tips for
customers mailing gifts and greetings, along with special remembrances of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Online now at YourPostalPodcast.com, you’ll hear from USPS Consumer Advocate John Budzynski on how the Postal Service is helping customers make shopping and shipping a whole lot easier this holiday season.

Next, you’ll meet the Postmaster of Sycamore, OH, who has a very personal connection with the new “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Forever Stamps.

Both the audio and transcript versions of this holiday edition, along with an archive of previous shows, are available at YourPostalPodcast.com.

Time is Running Out for Spider-Man Supplies

Spider Man postage

Time is running out to pick up your Spider-Man First-Class Forever stamps and Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes.

Promotion of this popular icon, which began April 1, will come to an end on May 31. Fans of the iconic hero can still pick up postage stamps with his likeness emblazoned boldly across them at USPS Self-Service Kiosks. While visiting the local Post Office, be sure to pick up free Priority Mail packaging with Spider-Man’s image for your mailing needs. To find a USPS kiosk near you, click here.

To order a Spider-Man-themed Priority Mail Flat Rate box, click on one or more of the items below:

–        Spider-Man Priority Mail Flat Rate Box Variety Pack

–        Spider-Man Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box

–        Spider-Man Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box – 1

–        Spider-Man Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box – 2

Spiderman boxes 2

Digital Currency and Postage Stamps

Digital Currency and Postage Stamps

Once considered a science fiction fantasy, digital currency has been a reality for more than 10 years. While its popularity hasn’t risen to the level of mainstream acceptance, its expanding role in monetary transactions is becoming an increasingly visible highlight in the media.

Introduced in 2009, bitcoin is one of the more popular digital currencies circulating across the Internet. Similar to more traditional currencies, bitcoins can be used to purchase an increasing number of goods and services as more vendors accept them for payment. Each bitcoin transaction is maintained in a master file of all transactions, logging current and previous ownership. Though ease of use and growing acceptance makes bitcoins a current currency alternative, its volatile value brings into question its future buying power.

In the month of December 2013, bitcoins had a high of $1,200 per bitcoin and a low of $550. The plunge is largely related to the news that the Chinese government is taking an aggressive stand against it, banning its use at merchants as well as conversion into its currency. If one were depending on its value to make a transaction only to see that value plunge prior to the transaction, the prices of goods and services could swing wildly from one day to the next.

Recently, however, the popular game maker Zynga reported that it will be begin accepting bitcoins as a form of payment. The news sent the value of bitcoins once again atop the $1,000 mark. Overstock.com also has plans to accept bitcoins for payment later on this year.

With bitcoins becoming more of an accepted form of currency with each passing year, do you think the Postal Service should consider accepting this type of payment for its services?

Immortalizing Film Popularity in Stamps

Immortalizing film popularity

Many movies around the world have been immortalized in special stamp editions. Designed to give film fans the opportunity to collect a piece of cinematic history, these intriguing items celebrate and chronicle some of the most memorable motion pictures of all time.

Recently, New Zealand Post announced that it will add to the collection of famous films on stamps. This latest issue includes a series of stamps based on the move The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Six individual stamps comprise the collection featuring popular characters from the movie including Bilbo Baggins, Gollum, Gandalf, Thorin, Oakenshield, Radagast, and Elrond. The stamp collection is accompanied by a coin collection comprised of legal tender, silver, and gold varieties featuring scenes from the movie.

Both a stamp and coin collection are also currently available from the yet to be released second movie in The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug.

Do you think precious metal coin collections offered for sale along side a related stamp release will generate enough interest to enhance revenue?

Transforming Beyond the Perf

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Hello all, Benny here.

I’ve talked about the website beyondtheperf.com many times before, and it’s one of my favorite locations to learn more about the latest stamp issues. Last week, the site changed its address, and it’s now located at uspsstamps.com.

Whenever someone moves, a Change of Address form should always be filled out to make sure the mail follows a person to the new location. When a website changes its address, the same is also true. Beyondtheperf did just that, and those who still have the old site bookmarked can continue clicking on the link to get to the new site. I’m probably going to change my bookmark to the new site when I finish telling you about it though. I don’t really know what happens to old site addresses when they move on, and I’m not about to lose my link to the best stamp information in town. 

The new site still has the same detailed information on stamp issues that I like, but will also include information on other USPS collectibles, a stamp timeline, and a blog on a variety of USPS topics covering everything from animals to arts and literature to the holidays.

I see great expansion potential for this site going forward, and I hope you’ll join me in checking out what it has to offer.

Have a good weekend everybody!

Benny

Postage Pricing

Pricing

Recently, USPS announced potential price changes for 2014. Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Letters (1 oz.) — 3-cent increase to 49 cents
  • Letters additional ounces — 1-cent increase to 21 cents
  • Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15
  • Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents

The changes, which would go into effect in January 2014, are intended to generate $2 billion in incremental annual revenue for the Postal Service.

The Postal Service isn’t alone in adjusting its pricing. Last week, Post Danmark announced it was raising First-Class prices by 12.5 percent and Standard Mail by 8.3 percent. During that same week, France’s La Post also announced it would be increasing prices, with its retail letter costs rising by 5 percent. Both changes take effect in January 2014.

As the digital revolution continues to apply a greater amount of downward pressure on letter mail volume each year, it will also have a positive impact on parcel shipping due to Internet-based consumer shopping. While the shipping business is projected to increase substantially in the foreseeable future, its impact is not likely to entirely compensate for the continued decline in letter mail revenue.

Besides future price increases, what other opportunities do you think USPS should explore to increase revenue?

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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