The Rail Philatelist January 2001 Newsletter
Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:
Happy New Year! I hope Santa was as good to you as he was to me - I received a magnetic sign for my Previa, a zip drive for the computer I'm planning to buy, three good train books and some clothes to keep me from getting too far out of fashion. I also got so many orders I didn't get them all handled. I would have set a quarterly mail order sales record if I had taken the time to work up the orders and new issues over the holidays. So, a big THANK YOU for your continued strong support. And since nary a soul mentioned my newsletter name change, it obviously is a non-issue compared with getting them mailed out in time. Unfortunately, my Holiday mentality and the addition of many new items which take time to identify and type up (including over 200 more Danish Parcel stamps) slowed my progress considerably. I hope the wait was worth it - at least the postal rate increase didn't impact this mailing. Speaking of which...
POSTAL RATE INCREASE: The postal rate increase in effect January 7, 2001 has some good news but mostly bad news. The good news is that while the First Class rate increases to 34c for the first ounce, additional ounces cost only 21c, down from 22c. Thus, I'll be able to mail my monthly 2 ounce missives for the same 55c as now and may even save a penny or two on most order shipments. The bad news is that all other services, most of which I use regularly, will increase significantly: Priority Mail from $3.20 to $3.50 or $3.95, Certified Mail from $1.40 to $1.90, Insured Mail to $2.00 & more and significant increases to foreign destinations as well. I'll probably have to pass these increases on to those on behalf of whom I incur the charges. We'll see how it plays out.
MAIL BID SALE: Although there weren't as many bidders as I had hoped for, preliminary results indicate my first Mail Bid Sale will be a success with all lots selling, most for more than the minimum bid. That in spite of "Mail Bid Sale" going up in the smoke of a steam loco - the icon on my web page! Thanks to all of you who helped make the sale a success. Happy hunting in Sale #2!
SCOTT STAMP MONTHLY "2000 IN REVIEW": The January 2001 SCOTT STAMP MONTHLY Editor's Forum by Peter Martin lists his top 10 news items for 2000. They are as follows:
1. "INTERNET CHANGES STAMP MARKET" - He mentions the successes of eBay and the new APS online Stamp Store while pointing out that many dealers and collectors are giving up shows in favor of the Internet. I've got to get busy there!
2. "STAMP SHOW DECLINE CONTINUES" - While I've presented my views before, Mr. Martin says "A number of shows are bordering on collapse. At least six of the 33 APS World Series of Philately shows could not entice at least 25 dealers to participate. Attendance reached new lows at a number of these shows. Show organizers are faced with increasing costs ... Volunteers also seem harder to find." Not what any of us want to hear.
3. "USPS POLICIES" - Aside from the financial problems affecting Mega shows and the rate hikes outlined above, most of the other USPS policies mentioned didn't affect or interest me.
4. "APS MOVES FORWARD" - Mostly discussed the proposed move of APS to the match factory in Bellefonte, PA. I hope it works out for us all.
5. "PHILATELIC INNOVATION" - Praises personalized postage & Swiss embroidered stamp.
6. "WORLD STAMP EXPO 2000" - "was a huge flop." Nuff said!
7. "A MIXED STAMP MARKET" - Mr. Martin notes the dichotomy between the record auction prices and the "soft spots in the middle and lower end of the spectrum".
8. "STAMP SLABBING, COMPUTER-PRODUCED POSTAGE ARE FAILURES" - Good riddance as far as I am concerned!
9. "SCOTT HAS IMPACT" - Patting themselves on the back, I think.
10. "FAKE STAMPS ABOUND" - I have some of these in my price lists and this month's ARRIVAL TRACK. Angola and some former Russian Republics have issued "stamps" of dubious authenticity, not sanctioned by the Universal Postal Union. They may more properly be classified as Cinderellas rather than stamps, but if it shows a train, I list it for completeness. I'm not the judge - you, the collector make the decisions as to what to include in your collection and what to exclude.
Incidentally, Michael Laurence's editorial in the January 1, 2001 LINN'S STAMP NEWS discussed almost the identical subjects in similar terms. I guess that confirms them.
SOMETIMES I CAN FEEL MY HEAD SWELL: I'm not one to print testimonials (this is my first), particularly since I haven't been at my best the past few months, getting way behind, letting some things slide, and not tending to business as well as I should have. But several recent compliments warmed my heart so I want to share a couple of them in the hopes it will inspire me to live up to them. Robert Greby wrote "Thanks so much for my receipt of my 1st stamp order, complete satisfaction as anticipated. I find your personal newsletters interesting & refreshing. As well, a fine compliment of service. With what's been already said, excellent stock listings, reasonable prices & good mail order service - why would a train stamp enthusiast as myself want to do business anywhere else?..." Why indeed! One admirer emailed me regarding my writings, simply "I like your style!" but Michael Laurence, Editor/Publisher of LINN'S STAMP NEWS really made my day. I've been sending him copies of my newsletter while I serially published his "Tiffany" speech but sent him a red dot on the November mailing to which he replied "I've read your newsletters with great interest. Your enthusiasm is infectious and your personal tales most compelling. If you can see fit to maintaining a non-railroading freeloader on your mailing list, I'd love to keep receiving the letter. Reading specialty publications such as yours helps me keep in touch with the byways of our hobby. Yours has the additional virtue of being well-written and fun to read." How could I drop him after that! My New Years resolutions for 2001 are to do all in my power to live up to the high standards deserving of such compliments. Be sure to let me know when I come up short!
RAIL THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: "We just couldn't get the train on the tracks. We'd make one or two big plays, and then we'd get derailed again." Chris Weinke, Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, describing his team's 13-2 loss to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. I find it fascinating that railroad analogies permeate conversation in all aspects of our society. I assume that is a reflection of their historical importance. Then again, maybe Chris is just a railfan like us!
RAIL FACTS AND FEATS: The highest station is Condor, Bolivia at 15,705 ft on the meter-gauge Rio Mulato - to - Potosi line.
STAMP OF THE MONTH: The 100th anniversary of the Danish State Railways was commemorated with two sets of three stamps in 1947. Scott #301-3 contain clear, sharp, no frills designs while the parcel stamps (Jensen #64-6) celebrate similar themes with more ornate designs. Together, they form a fitting tribute to this important event.May all your signals be green,
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