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Build a precious collection.

Take a look at the Black Heritage series of U.S. postage stamps This is a list of postage stamps that are especially notable in some way.

The best-known stamps:
  • Treskilling Yellow (Sweden)
  • Penny Black (Britain)
  • Blue Penny (Mauritius)
  • Inverted Jenny (U.S.

Even if you're not a philatelist (pronounced fee-late-tul-ist, a.k.a. stamp collector), you probably already know that El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, popularly known as Malcolm X Malcolm X, 1925–65, militant black leader in the United States, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, b. Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb. He was introduced to the Black Muslims while serving a prison term and became a Muslim minister upon his release in 1952. , got his own stamp earlier this year. It was actually the 22nd stamp in the Black Heritage series. But not all stamps featuring African Americans are in the Black Heritage series. And the famous faces featured in the Black Heritage series aren't the only ones worth collecting.

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Monica Hand, a media relations representative who works for the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  Postal Service postal service, arrangements made by a government for the transmission of letters, packages, and periodicals, and for related services. Early courier systems for government use were organized in the Persian Empire under Cyrus, in the Roman Empire, and in medieval  in Washington, D.C., "The Black Heritage series began February 1,1978, with Harriet Tubman." The very first postage stamp postage stamp, government stamp affixed to mail to indicate payment of postage. The term includes stamps printed or embossed on postcards and envelopes as well as the adhesive labels.  ever to feature an African American was the Booker T. Washington stamp, which was issued on April 7,1940. It was part of the Famous Americans/Educators series. Some other series that have featured African Americans and/or their achievements include the Legends of American Music series, which featured John Coltrane “Coltrane” redirects here. For other uses, see Coltrane (disambiguation).

John William Coltrane (September 23 1926 – July 17 1967), nicknamed Trane, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.
; the Performing Arts series, which featured Duke Ellington; and the Holiday Celebration series, which featured the Kwanzaa stamp. Nearly 100 different stamps have been printed that have some relevance to African Americans.

The success of a stamp is not consumer driven. As a matter of fact, the "success" of any commemorative (collectible) series is relative. According to Hand, who has been a spokesperson for the Black Heritage series since 1992, "Different consumer groups drive the interest in different stamps. For example, in the Black Heritage series, Omega Psi Phi Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) is a national fraternity, and was the first black national fraternal organization to be founded at a historically black college. Omega Psi Phi was founded on November 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  fraternity was a prominent supporter of the Ernest E. Just stamp, and various aviator organizations were strong advocates of the Bessie Coleman stamp."

There's much more to stamp collecting than what meets the envelope. If you've got your eye on a particular stamp, remember that commemorative stamps are only available from your local post office for about a year after they are first printed. After that, you'll need to specially order them. Also, if you are buying from private stamp dealers, stamps in "new" or "mint" condition sell for a higher price than used stamps. And if you want an added twist, consider collecting first issues. These postmarked stamps, also available from stamp dealers, are displayed on an envelope featuring specially designed artwork. Today's enthusiasts can collect postage stamps as well as the host of things that are affiliated with them.

Why should you consider this pastime? "Collecting stamps is a good way to learn black history," says Clarence McKnight, director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Ebony Society of Philatelic phi·lat·e·ly  
The collection and study of postage stamps, postmarks, and related materials; stamp collecting.

[French philatélie : Greek phil-, philo-, philo- + Greek
 Events Reflections (ESPER). This nonprofit organization Nonprofit Organization

An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.

Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools.
 is the only one of its kind for African Americans. It hosts lectures, publishes a bimonthly bi·month·ly  
1. Happening every two months.

2. Happening twice a month; semimonthly.

1. Once every two months.

2. Twice a month; semimonthly.

n. pl.
 newsletter, maintains an information-packed Website ( and provides an avenue into the world of African American stamp collectors. "Our newsletter, Reflections, is not only a good source of information for African Americans interested in stamps, it also provides a vehicle for networking and stamp trading," McKnight adds.

In the fall or early winter of every year, the United States Postal Service announces a new stamp or series internally. But you'll have to wait until the year 2000 to find out what will follow the Malcolm X stamp. For general advice, check out the USA Philatelic: The Official Source for Stamp Enthusiasts. The guide is printed three times a year by the United States Postal Service and is another good source of information for consumers interested in stamps.

Consumers can order the current stamp from the Black Heritage series or any other series by calling 800-STAMP-24. For telephone orders, there is a $3 shipping and handling charge that is added to the price of the stamp. A framed collector's edition of the first 20 Black Heritage stamps to be issued is also available for $125 plus $1 shipping and handling. To obtain stamps issued more than a year ago, contact a stamp dealer in your area.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
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Title Annotation:commemorative postage stamps honoring African Americans
Author:Stokely, Sonja Brown
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 1999
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