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Maj. Todd Copley proudly displays his extensive collection of cancelled stamps. Copley is with the 700th Airlift Squadron, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. U.S. Air Force photo by Donald Peek

U.S. Air Force Maj. Todd Copley

Air Force Major Combines Love of Stamps, Aviation
By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
Air Force News Agency
SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 18, 2007 — As a child the C-130 flight navigator had two favorite hobbies, and the line between the two has always been blurred, he said.

With the 60th anniversary of the Air Force fast approaching, Maj. Todd Copley has figured out a way to combine his two passions, stamp collecting and aviation.

The major, who is stationed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., worked with the local Marietta Post Office to design an Air Force-themed commemorative pictorial postal cancellation. The 60th anniversary cancellation is the second cancellation he has designed.

Postal cancellations have been used since stamps were first brought into service in the 1840's. The process is basically a method of marking a stamp at a postal facility so that it can be used only once.

"Back in th ose days if they didn't cancel the stamps," Copley said. "People could just take the stamp off the envelope and use it again."

As the technology improved, postmark cancellations evolved from a simple mark into pictures and words. The cancellations are sometimes used to commemorate special events. Copley first designed a cancellation for the 1999 Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., air show.

David Parks, an employee at the Marietta Post Office, worked hand-in-hand with the major in creating the postmark. He said that even though the post office hasn't officially advertised the cancellation it is already a popular item.


"The cancellation looks great," he said. "So far there has been a lot of interest in it and we have already received 100 requests for it."

With more than 30 years of stamp collecting under his belt, the major is familiar with what works when it comes to stamps and cancellations.

The draw to stamp collecting for him is not money related, he said. It is a pretty inexpensive hobby that he only spends about a $100 a year on it.

"For stamp collecting you got to love it," he said. "You are not collecting to turn a profit. If you do that, you will more than likely get burnt."

The major's aviation themed collection style prevents him from getting overwhelmed by the staggering numbers of stamps and cancellations available in the world, he said.

He occasionally goes to stamp shows but often returns home empty handed, he said. Finding what he is looking for is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. He finds looking through the internet a lot more productive, he said.

The major plans on doing more cancellations in the future. He would like to do one for the Air Force Reserve as his next project. He has enjoyed using his stamp expertise to promote the Air Force, he said.

"That's why I tackled this, it was right up my alley to be able to combine two of my favorite things," he said. "I would encourage everyone that has a unique hobby, to see if there is a way to combine it with their Air Force service."

Last Updated:
09/24/2007, Eastern Standard Time
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