Monthly Archives: February 2011

Stamps You Don’t Remember, Part 3

A little less than 30 years ago, the Savings & Loan business was fine.  #1911 was issued in May 0f 1981 to commemorate 150 years of S&Ls.  This stamp isn’t particularly handsome or creative.  It depicts a toy bank in the shape of a bank building.  Of course, a lot of what we think about S&Ls has changed since then.

S&Ls had done big business since the end of World War II.  The industry was so strong that interest rate wars erupted between S&L’s causing Congress to enact limits on savings rates in 1966 which ultimately contributed to the S&L crisis of the late 1980s. The resulting bailout was around $87 billion, just barely exceeding what the US Government paid for just AIG in 2008.

 

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Stamps You Don’t Remember, Part 2.

Yeah, the pap test. Thanks for mentioning that.

#1754 is another stamp that you probably don’t remember.  When I saw this stamp, I thought it might have made more sense to say something about women’s health or the like.  Do we need to reference the pap test specifically if the Dr. Papanicolaou’s name is also on the stamp?

I think everyone agrees that early detection of cervical cancer is important.  I still wouldn’t want to put this stamp on a letter to my mom.

Other than the pap test reference, this stamp is a superb pencil drawing of Dr. Papanicolaou and his microscope.  I love the typeface and the scrolled name at the bottom, as well as the clean white background.

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Bonus: Google Takes Philatelic Cue

Google’s Doodles are always a neat thing to behold.  Today’s Doodle appears to take a

Google Doodle for February 14, 2011

Google Doodle for February 14, 2011

philatelic design cue from #1475, the first Love stamp issued 1973. Once could argue that it’s designed after the famous Love sculpture in Philadelphia by Robert Indiana, but the inclusion of green and blue and the border around the logotype looks more to me like the stamp.

The first Love stamp issued in 1973

What I didn’t realize is that there are LOVE sculptures in more than a dozen cities around the globe.

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Stamps You Don’t Remember, Part 1.

Um...what?

I am working on the 1960’s and 1970’s in my collection and seeing a few stamps that just aren’t featured prominently anywhere.  Why?  Well, some of them are a little embarrassing.  They are culturally outdated or commemorate something that, while important, just isn’t polite conversation.

I’d like to start this series with a doozy.  “Retarded” isn’t a word many people use today.  It’s considered insensitive, but there was a time when it was a serious term used by doctors as well as everyday people to describe the mentally challenged.

#1549 was issued in 1974 as a 10¢ definitive.  It bears the slogan “Retarded Children Can Be Helped,” which leaves us wondering a little if the artist or designer knew anything other than the basic fact that “retarded” children should not be ignored and hidden.  That was probably progressive enough for 1974, but imagine hearing that from a co-worker or friend these days!

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Partial Privatization vs Shutdown vs Autonomy

I’ve long believed that shutting down US Postal Service in favor of private options is a horrible idea.  I’m a laissez faire socialist at best, but for historical reasons, the Postal Service is hugely important.  I’m also not a big fan of the idea of privatization of the Postal Service, which just feels like ‘shutdown’ in a cheap tux.  It’s only a matter of time before the US Postal Service is even worse off under that model.  But the partial privatization idea proposed in Bryant Fong’s editorial at The Pioneer, one of Whitman College‘s student publications, makes a lot of sense.

For my mind, I think the US Postal Service would do better as a government owned corporation like Amtrak.  Sure, there are challenges involved with any kind of organizational change, especially going from government entity to for-profit corporation, but perhaps this would permit the USPS to operate more efficiently and effectively.  Either way, there are tough choices ahead for the USPS.  Sure, the volume of mail is much lower; most people mention that, but I think there are other more costly issues like pensioning the aging postal employees.  Think of the last time you were in a post office.  Did you see anyone under the age of 45 behind the counter?

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