Society News

  1. Bellinghausen & The Ransom of NWF

    Centered in this block is the Ding Darling design, with 2 geese landing

    When I was a young man, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the great seal collectors of a generation now past. Charles Bellinghausen was one of them. I first met him with my dad, John Denune, Sr. at Ray Mosbaugh's home in Joplin, MO. Bellinghausen came down from Wichita to be there. A year of so later dad and I made the trek to Bellinghausen's home in Wichita. Charles had a large collection and inventory of US and worldwide TB seals as well as other funds, and a fabulous collection of Catholic seals and was the primary author of the Catholic section of the All Fund Catalog.

    Crime is nothing new in America, and stamp collectors can be targets of it. In 1969 when Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes, of Kent State fame, commuted the life sentence of notorious gangster Yonnie Licavoli, he joined the Columbus Philatelic Club. A subject of "Gang Busters" radio show of the 1930's Licavoli engaged in a war with a rival gang in Toledo, and was convicted of conspiracy to murder in 1934. Though he served his time, no one knows if Yonnie and his men were involved in a string of stamp burglaries, but afterward, the CPC quit publishing its membership list.

    Charles Bellinghausen was the victim of a seal burglary. Most criminals make mistakes, like going thru a window when the back door is unlocked. Faced with Charles house full of seals, they had no idea what to steal. One item taken from the home was a carton of National Wildlife Federation seals. NWF seals were first issued in 1938 to promote wildlife conservation and to raise funds for charity. NWF sheets contain many varieties of large colorful seals and were designed by leading artists. One of 17 different designs issued in 1938 was by J. N. "Ding" Darling, an editorial cartoonist and conservation activist. Darling had previously used this design on the first US duck stamp in 1934, and his design also appeared in 1984 on a US postage stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Waterfowl Preservation Act.

    So, after the thief attempted to sell the stolen carton of NWF to every stamp dealer in the area, they contacted Charles, and asked him what he would pay to get them back. Charles, not a man given to offensive language, had a few choice words, which included, "You can keep them, I don't want them.". Unable to cash in their ill gotten gain, and knowing the carton could incriminate them, the "not so smart" thief was in a dilemma. Charles reported that the lost carton mysteriously re-appeared on his front step, which eventually became part of dad's inventory of NWF seals.

  2. Caprario Wins Awards for 1908 Christmas Seal Exhibit

    Louis Caprario, our Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society Treasurer breaks new ground with his single frame, 16 page exhibit.

    The 1908 Christmas Seal - The First National Issue, was just given the Best in Show Award in the Single Frame Competition at Philatelic Show 2019 held in Boxborough, MA, an APS World Series of Philately qualifying show.  It had earned a large gold award and was presented with the CS&CSS Exhibit Award as well.  

    The Single Frame Best in Show Award, and Multi-frame Open Competition Grand Award and Reserve Grand Award, were presented at the culmination of the Show Banquet. 

    Lou goes on, "I am overwhelmingly pleased to have garnered this award, but it also signals a breakthrough in Christmas Seal exhibiting in general.  The exhibit will next be entered into the Single Frame Champion of Champions competition sponsored the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors at Ameristamp Expo in St. Louis next March."

    Download the entire exhibit, below.


    PDF icon 1908 Christmas Seal Exhibit4.pdf
  3. Scott Specialized Updating Christmas Seal Section

    1979 Canadian Lookalike Christmas Seal Design Experiment 1979 Snowflake Christmas Seal Design Experiment 1979 from '42 Dale Nichols Christmas Seal Design Experiment 1979 National "Kid Art" Christmas Seal Sheet 2018 US Christmas Seal issued by the American Lung Association

    Forty years ago, in 1979 Scott's Specialized Catalogue of US Postage Stamps decided to quit listing Christmas Seals. Their reason was stated in a paragraph at the end of the section; essentially, that there was no longer a single national issue. In 1979 a class of test seals began, known as design experiments, which have continued ever since. In 1980 a '79 design experiment was planned to be used, but due to a prior commitment, the Children's art images were instead used. Since 1981 the national US Christmas Seal was selected from a previous year design experiment, so from the beginning collectors could tell the difference from these tests and the national issue.

    In 2013 James Kloetzel, the editor of Scott's Specialized Catalogue approached CS&CSS members John Denune Jr & Sr at the APS show in Milwaukee. From time to time, it pays to remind the philatelic community that the Christmas Seal hobby is alive and well. The CS&CSS had a society booth there, and were overjoyed when asked to help. The first thing we changed was the wording of that paragraph, stating that collectors familiar with these seals could easily recognize the national issues from the design experiments.

    Jim suggested we add some tied ons, earliest known useages, and errors. With the help of George Painter, dad and I sent them a "Christmas list" of changes every year. At the top of everyone's list was bringing their Christmas Seal section up to date. In early 2019, George sent Scott's a letter making strong points for all the unused suggestions over the last 5 years, which included adding 1911 type 4, 1911 type 5, 1913 type 4 and of course, bringing their section up to date.

    I'm overjoyed to report that Scott's Catalogue adopted each and every one of the suggestions, so even though Green's Catalog of US Christmas Seals remains the Bible of Christmas Seal collecting, this is the year to buy a copy of Scott's Specialized Catalogue of US Postage Stamps. Their 2020 edition increases the Christmas Seal section more than any past edition, including when Christmas Seals were first added in 1935.

    Scotts/Green's Catalog Number Cross Reference 1980 to date:


    PDF icon Scotts greens cross reference of Numbers 1980-2018a.pdf
  4. Unlisted 1968? Italian TB Seal

    Unlisted Italian National TB Seal

    Most Italian TB seals are dated in Roman numerals. This is not. Any information on this seal would be appreciated. email your webmaster,

    I'm guessing this was issued between 1968 and 1974 because Italian TB seals used a bold red border in the margin those years. A fine red border was used from 1949 thru 1956. This seal is overprinted 100 Lira, up from 10 Lira. most overprints were done the next year. 10 Lira was used from 1949 thru 1967

  5. 1950's & 1960's Chinese Tuberculosis Posters

    I came across these beautiful images of Chinese TB posters online. Many Communist governments, including China, put a halt to fundraising seals. However in China, it is clear that education and treatment continued.


    The use of fundraising seals was a big factor in the early exponential growth of the war against TB in America. Small donations allowed everyone to be part of the "Crusade of the Double Barred Cross", the international symbol of the fight against TB. The DB Cross was the coat of arms of Godfrey of Bouillon, first Crusader King of Jerusalem. Note that in the last poster the man is holding a glowing DB Cross which is resisting the TB germs.


    Today in America, It is disconcerting that fundraising seals are on the decline. Many old seal issuing societies are focusing on high dollar corporate donations and government grants. Some have discontinued their long running series of seals all together.

  6. Cartoonists lend talent to Christmas Seals

    2001-2 Ray Billingsley’s Kwanzaa American Lung Assn Southeast FL 1955 Li'l Abner Poster by Al Capp, for National Tuberculosis Assn 1958 Bill Zaboly's Popeye advert for Christmas Seals, autographed proof

    Cartoonists have lent their talents to Christmas Seals many times over the years. The most recent I know of is (Green's #2001-T12) Ray Billingsley's Kwanzaa issue of Southeast Florida, American Lung Association. This seal was used in 2001-2 and was the first and only (so far) instance of an ALA Kwanzza seal. Also, this is the only instance of a cartoonist's work being featured on a Christmas Seal. Four designs, self-adhesive, straight die cut. Featuring Billingsley’s comic strip character, “Curtis”. In 1955 The National Tuberculosis Association had Al Capp create a Li'l Abner Christmas Seal poster. In 1958 The National Tuberculosis Association had Bela P. Zaboly, aka Bill Zaboly create a Popeye Christmas Seal Advertisement. Illustrated here is an autographed proof.

    PDF icon 1930's-40's Christmas Seal Comics.pdf
  7. Smithsonian National Postal Museum Event a Huge Success

    John Hotchner at Smithsonian National Postal Museum 1934 stage 4 tieds Matthew A. White, PhD, Director of Education and Visitor Services Smithsonian National Postal Museum (Washington DC) receiving Christmas Seal Collection from CS&CSS member Lloyd Thrower John Denune, Sr. & Lloyd Thrower

    Everyone had a great time at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum Holiday event, and it looks as though we be invited back next year. Hot cocoa and cookies were served to the public. A Smithsonian booth passed out free Christmas Postage stamps. The Christmas Philatelic Club was also in attendance. Next year the Smithsonian plans to expand into other Christmas related hobbies, maybe Christmas postcards, maybe Santa Claus could be there or children could write letters to Santa.

    The Postal Museum education department graciously accepted our gift of a complete* Christmas Seal collection, which was put together by friends and members of the CS&CSS. We are shooting for the stars; news releases were sent to UPI, API, and The Washington Post. Keep your fingers crossed. Not since 1933 has the CS&CSS given a collection like this to such an imminent reciepant, then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    The CS&CSS filled nine 16 page frames with rare varieties of Christmas Seals from the collections of John Hotchner, and Lloyd Thrower, who were there to share them with the public. Our booth displayed literature, information from our website and passed out free Christmas Seals, as well as CS&CSS pamphlets. After lunch we were discussing rare tied ons. I (John Denune, Jr.) shared that I knew a collector who is searching for a 1933 long coat variety tied on, but the odds of finding that are like finding a 1934 stage 4 tied on. To my utter surprise, John Hotchner produced two 1934 stage 4 tied ons. John's collection of 1933, 1934 and 1935 tied ons contains hundreds of pieces.

    To top it off, Lloyd and his lovely wife invited us to their restored mid century modern home, decorated in the period for dinner.

  8. Early Poster Stamp Journals

    Poster Stamps, Aurora, IL. Poster Stamps, Texas National Poster Stamp Society Radio & Music Poster Stamps Dick Green US Christmas Seal List Published in 1925 10-1925 Early Dick Green Listing of US Christmas Seals, page 2 1933 Italian Air Race Poster Stamp Set Poster Stamps, Maine #1-8 Poster Stamps, Maine #9-16 Poster Stamps, Maine #17-24

    Poster Stamps became popular in the US around 1912, and appeared earlier in Europe. Most were issued for advertising products, and promoting events. Attached is the first US poster stamp journal, the Poster Stamp Bulletin's first five issues, July through November, 1915. At the time the only exclusive poster stamp publication in America. This club of collectors was promoted in Boy's Companion Magazine, which reported in January 1916 that the Poster Stamp Bulletin had been discontinued. Pioneer Christmas Seal dealer, A. W. Dunning was the vice president of this club.

    The October 1925 German poster stamp journal, Die Gelegenheitsmarke, published Dick Green's US Christmas Seal listings (pages 29-30). It is clear that Green is just getting started in his knowledge of Christmas Seals, as he lists a 1908 type 2 coil in error; this seal was from a booklet pane. The high price of 1907 was before a quantity was discovered in 1933. In this same German journal, don't miss the article in English on pages 5-6.

    From May 1941 through October 1941, the Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society shared a news letter with the Poster Stamp Collectors of America. For more about Poster Stamps see, News 10-30-2017

    Check out The Poster Stamp Collectors Club,

    PDF icon 1915 Poster Stamp Bulletin.pdf PDF icon German Posterstamp Journal 10-25.pdf PDF icon Boy's Companion Magazine, Poster Stamp Bulletin.pdf
  9. CS&CSS invited to Smithsonian Postal Museum Event December 1st-2nd, 2018

    Smithsonian Postal Museum

    Last week The Board of the CS&CSS received an email from the Smithsonian Postal Museum, inviting us to participate in a holiday themed event. We were overjoyed. The Christmas Season puts our hobby in the spotlight. Two CS&CSS members (John Hotchner, and Lloyd Thrower) volunteered to attend, along with our President, John Denune, Jr. The Museum is providing two frames for display, and a table, where we plan to display even more Christmas Seals, literature, etc. We will bring some of our collections, and were asked to speak on our hobby.

    In 2016 the CS&CSS came up with an idea to get publicity; a Christmas Seal Collection for a Dignitary. This event seems like a great opportunity to donate this collection to a Museum official, or the Smithsonian Postal Museum itself. Not since 1933 has the CS&CSS put together a collection like this. Then, a gift for one of the most famous stamp collectors of the time, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    We collect year round, but the media is always hungry for stories about Christmas at Christmas time. I hope this gets picked up by the Associated Press. Call me a dreamer, but if I shoot for the stars, maybe I'll hit the moon. Our goal is to increase awareness of our hobby and the important work of the American Lung Association. With the help of CS&CSS members and non members, notably Laura Bell-Rivera who provided the foundation, this collection contains 1907 to date, singles, pairs, blocks and sheets, as required, and was mounted into a new album.

    A separate collection of full sheets of Christmas Seals from 1931 to date has also been included, as well as the flag ship of CS&CSS literature, Green's Catalog, part 1, US National Christmas Seals, the Bible of US Christmas Seal collecting; a printed copy as well as the computer CD edition.