I just picked up a couple more sheets of stamps at the post office (pics from U.S.P.S.’s Postal Store).
The merchant marine stamps provide a wonderful feel of maritime adventure to my envelopes:
And I just love the “Owney the Postal Dog” stamp.
The back of the Owney stamps sheet has the following story:
During the late 1880s, a dog, likely a terrier mix, appeared in the Post Office in Albany, New York, where clerks took a liking to him and named him Owney. Fond of riding in postal wagons, Owney followed mailbags onto trains, where Railway Mail Service employees considered him their good-luck charm. As Owney traveled the country, clerks affixed medals and tags to his collar to document his travels, and Postmaster General John Wanamaker gave him a special dog-sized jacket to help him display them all. Owney later toured the world by steamer and became an icon of American postal lore. His adventures highlight the historical importance of the Railway Mail Service, and today he enjoys a place of honor at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.
What a great story! Urban Hounds has a post on Owney with pictures of him on the train, in his fancy vest with medals, and of his display (yes, it’s him in all his taxidermy glory) at the National Postal Museum.