collecting zip blocks
If you're looking for something a little different to collect, why not consider Zip Blocks or even Zip Singles? The USPS has been using the margins of panes to remind us to use the zip code since 1964. The Mr. Zip logo has undergone a number of style changes over the years and provides a small challenge in finding each of the different designs used. Here are a few. How many of these have you seen? I suppose the newer 'text only' designs serve their purpose, but I would prefer to see the smiling face of Mr. Zip instead.
The new five-digit Zoning Improvement Plan introduced July 1, 1963 was a hard sell to the American public. To encourage postal customers to use the new ZIP codes, the USPS tried everything. The always smiling Mr. Zip was one of many efforts made by the Post Office to spread the word. The first Mr. Zip appeared in the sheet selvage of the 5¢ Sam Houston stamp (catalog #1242) issued 1/10/64. It was used sporadically up until the non-denominated 'G' stamp issues of December 1994.
There is an abundance of material available within this specialty area. Stamps promoting Zip Code along with tons of USPS advertising posters, brochures, and cancels are hiding everywhere. What might you find to create an interesting specialty album about Zip Codes?
As with most of these "non-traditional" collecting areas, even when the items are difficult to find they are usually inexpensive to buy. Complete your Zip collection before the stamp dealers get wise and increase their prices!
You can assemble a COMPLETE zip collection since the Post Office no longer prints this message encouraging patrons to use the ZIP code. (Now, if you don't use the code...they simply refuse to deliver your letter!). This means that now there are a finite number of stamp issues to collect. This is one of the few stamp collecting areas where it's still possible to actually complete your collection!
Also consider collecting:
SLOGANs printed in margins (mostly used on booklet panes)
USED BLOCKS or PLATE # BLOCKS
SPECIAL CANCELS or PRE-CANCELS
ERRORS, FREAKS, or ODDITIES