Postal History Symposium & Aerophilately registration

Registration is now open for the 8th Postal History Symposium & Aerophilately 2014, to be held in Bellefonte, Pa., Sept. 12-14, 2014. Advance registration is free and encouraged. Don’t forget to purchase tickets for the American Air Mail Society dinner on Friday, Sept. 12 and the Postal History Symposium & Aerophilately banquet on Saturday, Sept. 13.

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Development of Transoceanic Air Mail Service: Last Call for Papers

This week is the last week to submit a paper proposal for the 8th Postal History Symposium; the deadline is May 1. The theme for this symposium is “Development of Transoceanic Air Mail Service.” Read the full call for papers and submission instructions on the symposium web page.

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New books to the APRL, April 2014

APRL acquisitions, March 16-April 15, 2014. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAger, Donald R. Parrots, macaws & quetzals: a Christopher Columbus Philatelic Society publication ([n.l.]: Christopher Columbus Philatelic Society, 2014): 7 p.: col. ill.; 28 cm. [Shelved with the journal Discovery]

Baker, Vernon E. The professional rare stamp hunter’s guide book: an encyclopedia of the rare stamps of the world (Elyria, Ohio: Vernon E. Baker, 1939):84 p.; 23 cm. [in process 000047118]

Benanti, Carol. Experience the wonder of collecting world stamps (Brentwood, Tennessee:Dalmatian Press,1996): 48 p.: col. ill.; 23 cm [in process 000047087]

Bowers, Peter M. Flying the Boeing Model 80 (U.S.A: Museum of Flight, 1984): [ca. 135] p.: ill.; 21 x 28 cm. [in process 000047086]

» Continue reading “New books to the APRL, April 2014″

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Historical currency exchange rates & values online

This post was written by Fred Baumann, APRL Library Assistant.

Scott 1578 Banking & Commerce 10c

Recently an APS member who is now in Cyprus asked the American Philatelic Research Library for documentation on historical rates of currency exchange. His request inspired us to take a look at the various tools that are available today on the Internet to help collectors looking to determine the value of the dollar (the pound, the franc, the euro and more) over time. Most are very simple to use, although some are more sophisticated and detailed than others. Many have very short ranges, extending back only a few decades, whereas one from Great Britain’s National Archives covers the value of the British pound over the past 745 years!

For a broad array of foreign currencies from 1990 to last month, see OANDA’s Historical Exchange Rates.

Historical Currency Conversions allows you to “convert the historical buying power of American and British currencies into current dollars” including 19th century dates by year.

The Inflation Calculator “adjusts any given amount of money for inflation, according to the Consumer Price Index, from 1800 to 2013.”

From the National Archives of the United Kingdom, the Currency Converter shows the value of British pounds from 1270 (when the Eighth Crusade took place) to 1970 in relatively modern (2005) pounds.

Lawrence H. Officer’s Dollar-Pound Exchange Rate From 1791 on MeasuringWorth gives the exchange rate for any year or group of years.

Wikipedia provides Tables of historical exchange rates to the United States dollar since 1840.

Finally, for those with a desire to drill deeper,  see Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount – 1774 to Present.

If you need more specific information for a different currency, keep on searching. You’re likely to find what you’re looking for.

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Mauveine dye discovered on British postage stamp

Historische Farbstoffsammlung DSC00350Chemical & Engineering News reports that mauveine, a synthetic purple dye serendipitously invented by William H. Perkin and no longer commercially available, was used to color a 6d postage stamp in Great Britain from 1867-1880. The original research was conducted by Portuguese chemist João Ségio Sixas de Melo and published in Chemistry: A European Journal.

Thanks to Allen Hoffman for sending a clipping of the article for our archives.

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Free resources for National Library Week, April 13-19

Celebrate National Library Week by doing some research!

Oxford University Press is providing free access to online resources in the U.S. for the week of April 13-19. The resources include Oxford Reference, Grove Art Online, American National Biography, the Oxford English Dictionary, and more.

ProQuest is providing free access to several popular databases, including ProQuest Obituaries and more.

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APRL gets second book scanning station

Book Scanner

The new book scanner in operation

Three years ago, APRL scanning services got a major boost with the installation of a book scanning station purchased by the Mighty Buck Club. This allowed us to reduce the price for our scanning service, provide a scanning station for library visitors at no charge, and digitize books and journals.

The book scanner has been so popular that there is often a wait to use it. Thanks to a grant from the David T. Beals III Charitable Trust, we have purchased a second book scanner for the library.

Book Scanner

Options on the new scanning interface

The new scanner is similar to the first scanner, but has faster hardware and an enhanced interface. We have upgraded the first scanner to this new interface, too.

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New books in the APRL, March 2014

APRL acquisitions, February 16-March 15, 2014. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverBassil, Semaan. An introduction to French postal history in Tripoli (1852-1914): in the age of steamships, French influence in the Levant, and the decline of the Ottoman Empire (Beirut [Lebanon]: Lebanese British Friends of the National Museum, 2013): 179 p.: ill. maps; 31 cm. [G7474 .T7 B321i 2013]

Carter, Paul T. Universal machine postmarks ([United Kingdom]: British Postmark Society, 2013-2014): 3 v.: ill., tables; 28 cm. [Shelved with the journal British Postmark Society Journal]

Catalogo dei francobolli d’Italia e dei paesi italiani (Roma: ”Sassone Editrice” S.r.l., [1992]): 2 v. (1078 p.): ill. (chiefly col.); 24 cm. [G6710 .A1 C359 1992c]

Catalogo dei francobolli d’Italia e dei paesi italiani / (Roma: ”Sassone” S.r.l., 2003, c2002): 1 v. in 2 (1475 p.): ill. (many col.), map; 24 cm. [G6710 .A1 C359 2003sp]

Catalogo dei francobolli d’Italia e dei paesi italiani :: Antichi stati, Regno, Repubblica, Trieste, San Marino, Vaticano, S.M.O.M. / (Roma: ”Sassone Editrice” S.r.l., 1985, c1984): 876 p.: ill. (chiefly col.); 24 cm. [G6710 .A1 C359 1985c]

» Continue reading “New books in the APRL, March 2014″

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The future of libraries

book scanner

A book scanner is one of the APRL’s most frequently-used resources, and a second scanner will soon be available for patrons, staff, and volunteers to use.

In an age when libraries are often considered dinosaurs – rendered obsolete by the rise of digital information – it might seem incongruous to build a new library. Yet, in many communities, libraries are busier than ever and library building and renovation projects are going full steam ahead.

A study of public library engagement in America conducted by Pew Research found that technology users are also library users (Turns out most engaged library users are also biggest tech users, PBS NEWSHOUR). The full report is available from the Pew Research Internet Project.

Meanwhile, the Boston Public Library, the “oldest public urban library in the country,” is undertaking a massive renovation project to make its main library more inviting (Breaking Out of the Library Mold, in Boston and Beyond, New York Times). The renovation will preserve access to traditional library resources while providing space for new technologies and activities.

The new APRL

Architect’s rendering of the new library space.

Philatelic libraries are increasingly using print and digital resources side by side to get the best information possible. Recently the Smithsonian Libraries digitized a John Tiffany manuscript, and have made it available for anyone to help with the transcription that will eventually make the 19th-century document fully searchable online. The Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library in Denver is producing a series of online videos. The Postal History Foundation has indexed its journal, The Heliograph, using the online Philatelic Union Catalog. The APRL has many digital projects in the works, including a growing collection of online exhibits, digital finding aids helping researchers discover and navigate unique archival collections, and an upcoming map digitization project. The new APRL space currently in progress will provide space for protecting and accessing our valuable print collections as well as space for digitization projects and for library users to scan a variety of formats and plug in their own devices.

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Canadian Stamp Collection to go on display

The Canadian Stamp Collection is a new permanent exhibit opening March 28, 2014 at the Canadian Museum of History. The exhibit will highlight the stories behind some of the 500,000 stamps in the Museum’s philatelic collection.

Read more about the Canadian Stamp Collection exhibit on the Museum’s website.

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