The U.S. Postal Service prints more than 20 billion stamps a year, the vast majority of which are perfect. However, tiny errors can make even humble 1-cent stamps
worth many times more to collectors (or philatelists, if you're feeling formal). The most famous of these is perhaps the Inverted Jenny
, which features a biplane flying upside down. Only 100 of the misprinted 24-cent airmail stamps issued in 1918 were found, and one can fetch nearly a million dollars
at auction, or even appear in a Florida ballot box
(that one was fake). [more inside]
posted by Etrigan
on Oct 7, 2013 -
The USPS issued new stamps
commemorating four American dancers, including Isadora Duncan, for Dance Day last week. A group of Duncan dancers gave an impromptu performance
at Dupont Circle In DC in honor of the event. The 135 anniversary of Duncan's birth and the 85th anniversary of her death are both being commemorated this year. Although Isadora has been called the Mother of Modern Dance, she is often remembered for her unconventional life and death
as much as her art. [more inside]
posted by Isadorady
on Aug 13, 2012 -
Florida's Barefoot Mailmen
traveled 68-mile routes between Palm Beach and Miami in the late 1800s. Walking 40 miles (barefoot) and rowing 28 miles over the course of three days each way, these letter carriers
brought efficiency to a postal route that previously required that "a letter from Palm Beach to Miami begin its trip at the lighthouse community of Jupiter, 22 miles north, then by an Indian River steamboat to the rail head at Titusville. By train it continued to New York's port and from there by steamer to Havana. From Cuba, a trading schooner took the letter to Miami. It took a voyage of 3,000 miles and a period of six weeks to two months for a letter to arrive in Miami." Ed Hamilton
, who disappeared in the course of duty (and whose mysterious death may have been engineered by moving his rowboat out of reach in alligator-infested waters), is honored with a bronze statue
in Hillsboro Beach.
posted by occhiblu
on Mar 14, 2007 -
When you really, really
want your email to arrive at its destination: now you gotta pay postage
. Another brilliant, forward-looking idea for monetizing-the-InternetTM
from the wizards at AOL and Yahoo.
posted by digaman
on Feb 4, 2006 -
Portable Zip Codes
"Every year millions of Americans are on the go: People who must relocate for work or other reasons. Those people may have been quite attached to their original homes or an adopted town or city of residence. For them this innovative measure will serve as an umbilical cord to the place they love best."
posted by cmicali
on Apr 2, 2004 -
Postal ID Plan
A government report urges the U.S. Postal Service to create "smart stamps" to track the identity of people who send mail. [more inside]
posted by Irontom
on Aug 13, 2003 -
Interview with Jim Gray, head of Microsoft's Bay Area Research Center.
"Clear your schedule, because once you've started reading this interview, you won't be able to put it down until you've finished it. Who would ever, in this time of the greatest interconnectivity in human history, go back to shipping bytes around via snail mail as a preferred means of data transfer?
(Really, just what type of throughput does the USPS offer?) Jim Gray would do it, that's who. And we're not just talking about Zip disks, no sir; we're talking about shipping entire hard drives, or even complete computer systems, packed full of disks."
posted by mooncrow
on Jul 11, 2003 -
So that's why the economy is so bad.
The USPS is looking for $65 million dollars worth of white mail postal tubs. If you work in an office or deal with a mailroom, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The penalty for not coughing them up? 3 years imprisonment and a $1000 fine. (I read it on the side of one of the boxes I have by my desk).
posted by gwong
on Dec 10, 2002 -
YES! You can help save the US Postal Service!
With the USPS raising rates every month, it seems, and continuing to run with a $2 billion deficit, it's beginning to look like this quasi-public agency is going to lose the battle to those other overnight delivery companies. But since there are some people who can't afford the luxury of email or the high prices of FedEx, there must be something the common man can do to help keep Ben Franklin's baby afloat. There is!
via Pigs & Fishes
posted by crunchland
on May 17, 2001 -
By testing the limits
of what the USPS will actually deliver, scientists at the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) have answered an age-old question: "How patient is the US Postal Service when it comes to unwrapped packages?" (via Useless Pages
posted by samsara
on Mar 16, 2001 -