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Every kid loves a carousel. And adults remember childhood days of riding the carousel and reaching for the brass ring.

Well, the U.S. Postal Service likes carousels, too. That's why the USPS has issued a new block of four ornate and colorful stamps honoring the beautifully hand-carved animals on the carousels. The stamps are part of the Folk Art Series of U.S. commemoratives.According to the USPS, the exacting detail in the adhesive rivals that of the original master carvers. Veteran designer Paul Calle studied photos of hundreds of carousel figures before selecting this quartet. Gold frames border each stamp.

At the upper left is a graceful deer, selected from the many figures produced by the pioneer of American carousels, Gustav Dentzel. At the lower left is a bejeweled camel.

At the lower right is a rare, long-horned goat (circa 1880), carved by Charles Looff. At the upper right is the "lead" or "king" horse that always was the most ornate and sought-after creature of any carousel.

William H. Dentzel II, grandson of the industry founder, says that this magnificent stallion was especially created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Dentzel Co. This carousel horse is considered one of the rarest and most beautiful of all carousel creatures.

Since the early 1970s, appreciation of hand-carved carousels has grown tremendously, and extensive efforts have been made to preserve the wooden originals. Today, more than 200 handcrafted carousels are in operation across the United States.

First-day cancellations are available for the block of four.

You can purchase the stamps at your local post office and affix them to your own envelopes. No remittance is required. Send to: Customer-Affixed Envelopes, Carousel Animals Stamps, Postmaster, Sandusky, OH 44870-9991. Envelopes must be postmarked by Oct. 31. (Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky is home to four hand-carved carousels and the one-of-a-kind horse featured in the block of four stamps.)

Collectors who prefer to have the USPS affix the stamps should send $1 for each block of four stamps, and 25 cents per single stamp. However, selection of single stamps will be at random by the USPS. Send to: Carousel Animals Stamps, Postmaster, Sandusky, OH 44870-9992. Deadline is Oct. 31.


We recently reported the new 45-cent Love stamp featuring a floral arrangement of red and yellow roses, eighth in the famous Love series.

The first Love stamp was issued in 1973, and the USPS began regular issuances in 1982. More than 36 billion Love stamps have been produced. They continue to be popular with users and collectors alike.

The design for the 6- by-9-inch Love folder, which contains the earlier 25-cent Love stamp and the 45-cent Love stamp, was inspired by verse by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Pictures and text share space in the folder next to blocks of four of the 25-cent and 45-cent Love stamps, which are protected in clear acetate mounts.

You may purchase the 1988 Love Folder by mail. Send your check or money order for $4.50 per folder, plus 50 cents for handling per order, to: The Philatelic Sales Division, Washington, DC 20265-9997. The minimum order is $10. The item number is 0803.


Two new albums have been released by Scott Publications.

The new "First Day Cover Album" is a padded leatherette binder to house first-day covers. It contains 35 clear sleeves. The binder's 70 pockets will hold 140 standard-size (63/4) first-day covers back-to-back. It is priced at $15.95.

Volume II of Scott's "Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue" lists the non-British countries of Afars and Issas through Funchal. There are 24,544 price changes in the volume, with more decreases than increases. However, some countries have shown a large amount of increases. The People's Republic of China, for example, shows 1,336 increases but only 374 decreases.

Volume II is selling for the same price as Volume I - $23. The hard-cover edition costs $39.95.

Both the "First Day Cover Album" and the Volume II of Scott's "Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue" are available at your local dealer.