This file was last updated on October 7, 1996.
AL'S NEWS & NOTES
ON RAILWAY PHILATELY
Volume 1 Number 1 October 1, 1996
Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:
Several customers have suggested that I publish a monthly newsletter to keep in better contact, so here is my first edition. My annual pricelist was growing beyond the 56 pages published in 1995 and the task of updating it became more daunting as each new stamp issue was received. At the same time I started to create my Web Page and found I needed to use smaller files, so I created single letter lists. Then it occurred to me that if I published two letter lists each month I could create a complete new list each year as before (I know there are 26 letters but W and X are so slight they'll be combined with V and Y). Thus my lists will be continuously updated and I'll have something new to offer you each month. And if I'm sending out price lists each month, why not a newsletter also since I would need some type of cover letter anyway. The time requirements for this project may prove more than I can handle with my show schedule and other commitments, but I'm jumping in with both feet and a lot of enthusiasm. This first issue is going out to about 500 collectors and onto my Web Page.
CASEY JONES RAILROAD UNIT OF ATA. If you aren't already a member, you should be! THE DISPATCHER edited by Oliver Atchison (now there's a railroad name!) is chock full of useful information and well worth the annual dues - my newsletter won't give him any competition. Published bi-monthly with eight pages (some in color) it's crammed with news, comments, new issue lists, photos and special interest features. To receive a sample copy, contact Oliver C. Atchison, Casey Jones Railroad Unit of ATA, P.O. Box 31631, San Francisco, CA 94131. Rumor has it that the CJRRU is even planning to have a formal meeting at PACIFIC '97. Join now and share in the fun and fellowship.
ATA HANDBOOK #130 RAILWAYS OF THE WORLD ON STAMPS by the late Howard Burkhalter is a MUST HAVE for all train and trolley stamp enthusiasts. Florence and Norm Wright did an outstanding job re-formatting, typing, editing and preparing the 266-page manuscript with illustrations for publication as did all who assisted in the compilation of the information. My copy is already getting dog-earred from constant use over the past two months and I've only found a couple minor glitches. Thanks for a job well done - we've been waiting a long time for this book and it was worth the wait! If you don't have your copy already, I have them in stock at $16.00 postpaid in the U.S. Norm and his dedicated team are already working on updates and the subject listings. Incidentally, almost everyone on the team is a long-time friend and customer subscribing to my new issue service. Thanks guys!
INTERNET - Those of you with access to the INTERNET, please check out my Web Page at http://www.collectors-mall.com/trp/trp.htm . In addition to a 32 page exhibit on various aspects of Railway Philately, it contains price lists for countries A-J on this date (more coming later), new issues, event covers, Freedom Train covers, stock certificates, Disney train stamps, Thomas the Tank Engine stamps, train magazines, monthly specials and who knows what else by the time you read this. I've received favorable comments from many of you (and some orders too) but I'd like to hear from all of you - let me know how I can make my Web Page more user friendly.
SHOWS - The best part about doing shows is meeting old friends and making new ones. I really enjoy talking with other collectors who are as enthusiastic about these little bits of paper and railroad history as I am. In fact, I consider myself an evangelist - I go to stamp shows to tout the glories of railway philately and I go to train shows to promote the joys of stamp and cover collecting. I'll be home in Colorado Springs for SOCOPEX on Oct. 5-6, in Seattle, WA for the Great American Train Show Oct. 26-7, and in Denver for another GATS Nov. 2-3, then off to California for three GATS in San Diego, San Bernardino and Pleasanton. I hope to meet you somewhere along the way. This is me (standing) and a customer at the 1996 NMRA Convention.
BIOGRAPHY People always ask how I became The Rail Philatelist so now you'll know "the rest of the story". When I finished my Ph.D in Physics in 1975, I found I had some time on my hands and needed another intellectual pursuit. I had always been a "train nut", so I sold the German collection I'd put together in high school and started collecting train stamps. Like Topsy, it just grew on me. After retiring from the Air Force in 1982, I went to the Roger Koerber auction of the Sterling Foote railway stamp collection. I couldn't afford all the lots I wanted, but I did manage to buy the major bulk lots. These included both a single and a block of 4 for most of the train stamps up to the late 60's. I only needed the singles for my collection, so I registered my trade name and typed up a pricelist on the Heathkit computer I had built (my wife Sue still uses it for her kindergarten newsletters!). With ads in Linns, Stamp Collector, Model Railroader, Trains, etc. I was now a part time stamp dealer. My job with a defense contractor offered the opportunity to travel and attend shows around the country but it didn't allow me the time to get my accumulated treasures organized and tend to business. After a couple of seminal events in my life (getting three sons through college, having both parents die of cancer within three months), I re-evaluated what was important to me. So on my 50th birthday in 1990, I resigned my high paying job for the joys of self-employment and I've enjoyed life to the fullest every day since. I still haven't figured out how to make money at this game but I enjoy the challenges - the rest will come if the good Lord's willing.
PHILATELIST People at train shows stop to ask me what it means and how to pronounce it. I'm always happy for the chance to explain. Then I caution them not to say philanthropist since I'm not "giving it away" or philanderer since I'm not just "playing around". Make both my wife and my accountant happy by ordering from the enclosed price lists. Make me happy too by sending me your comments and suggestions. Til next time, stay on track.
THE RAIL PHILATELIST
P.O. Box 25505
Colorado Springs, CO 80936
1-800-807-RAIL access code RR