Copyright 2009-2013. All Rights Reserved.
Those who collect postage stamps depicting plants and animals are known as biophilatelists. I am not sure whether there is a term for those who design such stamps, but I was a biophilatelist, specializing in birds and mammals, for many years before I became a designer. One of my peculiarities as a bird stamp collector is that I prefer stamps that are postally used, and I have a large collection of postally used bird and wildlife stamps, but have not worked on them for many years. I have to get back to my stamps some day.

While I was in Washington, DC consulting on the National Geographic field guide, I received a call from Pauline Cianciolo of the Inter-Government Philatelic Corporation in New York, who were looking for someone to design stamps depicting native birds for the newly postally independent countries of Palau and the Marshall Islands. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. My first set of 4 was the second issue for Palau, and their first bird stamps. I continued to design bird stamps for Palau for many years, depicting almost the entire avifauna, until Pauline, who had become a good friend, retired. After that, I lost the connection to I-GPC. Small countries issue stamps to make money from collectors, not to actually pay postage. Several international corporations facilitate the process, and I worked for several of them over the years. Eventually I did stamps for all three countries (Palau, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia) that formerly made up the U. S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The countries themselves often change companies, so following them is something of a challenge. I did mostly birds, but Palau issued one set of mine featuring a fruit bat and a series picturing coastal plants. Eventually, I lost my contacts with all the companies, and have not done any stamps for a long time. It was good-paying work at first, but by the time I left the stamp design business, the amounts paid for designs hardly paid for the time it took to do them.

As a biophilatelist, I always objected to the all-too-frequent practice of tiny countries issuing large runs of stamps depicting bird species that had nothing whatsoever to do with the country represented. I insisted that all the stamps I designed show only birds native to the respective country. Pauline always supported me in this policy. More recently, Palau issued some stamps that showed birds that are never seen there and claimed they were native, many of which were misidentified! This is just the sort of cheesy commercialization I sought to avoid. Standards obviously slipped. However, things have improved with the issuance of some stamps featuring photos of Palauan birds by my friend and colleague Mandy Etpison.

Click here to view an article about the World Wildlife Fund stamps for Micronesia
Searbirds of Palau
Forest Birds of Palau
Palau Fruit Bat
Audubon Bicentennial (Palau)
First Bird Issue (Palau)
Endangered Species (Palau)
Ground Dwellers (Palau)
Larger Seabirds (Palau)
Songbirds of Palau
Marshall Islands Seabirds
Marshall Islands Seabirds (1996)
Pohnpei Rain Forest (Micronesia)
World Wildlife Fund (Micronesia)
Migrant Species (Micronesia)
Palau Shoreline Plants
Palau Shoreline Plants (2)
Birds of the Palau Lagoon
"Sei" Pohnpei Mountain Starling (Micronesia)
Micronesian Definitives
Marshall Islands Wandering Migrants
Palau Aerialists
Micronesia Endemics