Four 15-cent owl stamps of the Wildlife Conservation series will go on sale August 26 in Fairbanks, Alaska. The vertical stamps will be printed in blocks of four in panes of 50 with one plate number. Frank J. Waslick of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed the stamp and engraving was done by Joseph S. Creamer Jr. (vignette) and Albert Saavedra (lettering and numerals).

The great gray owl, which will appear on the upper left of the block, is found mainly in the northern coniferous forests; the earless saw-whet owl (upper right) usually nests in tree cavities in the northern states; the barred owl (lower left) lives in swamps and deeply wooded areas in states east of the Rocky Mountains; and the great horned owl (lower right) inhabits timbered regions throughout the United States.

Those who wish to purchase first-day covers are encouraged to buy the stamps at local post offices, affix them to addressed envelopes, and mail the prepared covers to "First Day Cancellations, Postmaster, Fairbanks; AK 99701" by Sept. 11.

Those who prefer USPS to affix the stampes should send addressed envelopes and remittances (15 cents per stamp) to "Owl Stamps, Postmaster, Fairbanks, AK 99701." Personal checks or money orders (payable to the postmaster) will be accepted for up to 200 covers.

Postal Service, after a survey of advance orders for its Capex souvenir sheet, has announced that customers who did not place reservations by July 28 at their local philatelic centers will not be guaranteed purchase of them when they go on general sale on Aug. 28.

Postal Service has also decided that the number of Capex souvenir sheet panes will not equal the final total of the Fifty State Flag stamp panes. According to available figures, there were 436,005,000 of the flag stamps issued in 1976 (or 8,720,100 panes of fifty). Since each stamp in the pane was different, each design had a total issue of $8,720,100.

A normal printing of a commemorative stamp runs to about 160 million stamps. The Capex issue could run to 180 million, which would call for 3,750,000 panes of 48 stamps (six souvenir sheets per pane), or a total of 22,500,000 Capex souvenir sheets.

The 14-cent international surface rate postal card with a multi-colored painting of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle will go on sale this coming Friday at Seattle, Wash.

The Eagle postal card design by Carl G. Evers was unveiled May 10 in New London, Conn. Collectors were asked to send requests for first-day cancellations starting June 4, with the stipulation that Aug. 4 would be the first day of issue and the final date for submission of cover requests.

This has since been changed, and the deadline for mailing has been extended to the 19th of August. Those able to purchase the Eagle cards at their local post offices may send their addressed cards or a self-addressed envelope of appropriate size to "First Day Cancellations, Postmaster, Seattle, WA98109."

Those who cannot obtain the cards locally may send their order with remittance (14 cents per card) and return address labels (or a large addressed envelope) to "Eagle Postal Card, Postmaster, Seattle, WA 98109." Payment (to the postmaster, Seattle) may be by personal check or money order (up to 200 cards).

Friday is also the final day for mailing in requests for first-day covers bearing the 15-cent Viking Missions to Mars commemorative stamp. Those who have been able to purchase the stamp may send their stamped and addressed envelopes to "First Day Cancellations, Postmaster, Hampton, VA 23669."

Those who have not been able to acquire the stamps may send addressed envelopes and remittance (personal check or money order, payable to the postmaster, Hampton) to "Viking Stamp, Postmaster, Hampton, VA 23669."

This year's second international philatelic exhibition, this time a European version, will be held in Prague, Czechoslovakia, from Sept. 8-17. There will be about 5,000 frames of competitive exhibits.

Praga 1978, as it is known, will be spread over four exhibition halls. There will also be a separate showing of "Art and Stamps" in the Riding School of Prague Castle, with the National Art Galleries of Prague and Bratislava showing original works of art which have been shown on postage stamps.

Sixty-one judges have been named, plus five honorary members of the jury and 10 observers. Herbert J. Bloch of New York is one of the honorary members and Col. James T. DeVoss of State College, Pa., and Bernard Hennig of Chicago will be the judges from the United States. Williams H. Baner is the sole U.S. observer.

The Prague jury will have 28 nations represented. Czechoslovakia will dominate the panel with 13 members, and Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany will tie with five each.

The Federation Internationale de Philatelie will have its 47th Congress on the Wednesday and Thursday preceding the show opening. Each day of the Prague show will have a special theme, with emphasis on Czechoslovak stamp designs and youth.

Italy's Minister of Posts and Telecommunications will be patron for Eurphila '78, which will be held in Rome's Palace of Congress Sept. 20-24. Twenty postal administrations will participate.

France will continue its unusual practice of issuing special stamps Mondays through the balance of this year, sometimes with with two stamps issued on the same day.

The first airpost flight between Villacoublay and Pauillac will be noted by a 1.50 franc pictorial on Oct. 16, followed by two sports stamps on Oct. 23. A 1,00-franc item will note the 19th World Gymnastic Championships, and another 1,00-franc stamp will promote sports for all.

After a two-week lapse (which may yet be filled), two more French stamps will appear Nov. 13. A 1,70-franc will picture a monument honoring Polish combatants, and a 1,20-franc will mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the World World I armistice in a railway car.

The Republic of South Africa will release two 15-cent stamps tomorrow showing man-made deep sea ports at Richard's Bay on the east coast, and Saldanha on the west.

Also tommorrow, Belize will issue the second part of its bird set in six values (10, 25, 35, 45, 50 cents and $1) plus a souvenir sheet. Subjects will be the White-Crowned Parrot, Crimson Collared Tanager, Citreoline Trogon, Sungrebe, Muscovy Duck and King Vulture.

Earlier this month, Botswana brought out a 17-value definitive set featuring birds. The total face value in U.S. currency was $13.15. And, in two groupings, Australia issued five definitive postage stamps showing some of its ground-nesting birds, such as the Little Grebe, Lotus Bird, Hooded Dotterel, Pied Oystercatcher and Spur-Wing Plover.

A 30-centimo special stamp, released by the Philippines on July 17, marked the opening of the world chess championships between Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi in Baguio City. The match is expected to last for two months. COINS

Anniversaries have a way of slipping by, and yet there are some which should be recognized - however belatedly. One such occasion was the 185th anniversary of the coinage of United States half cents, which should have been observed on Jan. 20.

Issuance years for the half-cent coin are given as 1793 through 1857, but actually no coins were struck in 1798, 1799, 1801, between 1812 and 1824, in 1827 and 1830, and between 1836 and 1848. The largest production years were 1809 when 1,154,572 were struck, and 1804 when minting reached 1,055,312.

Minting between 1834 and 1844 was affected partly by President Jackson's fight with the United States Bank. And Treasury couldn't keep abreast of demands for small change. Businessmen who needed small change produced their own "Hard Times" tokens in the size of the then-current half cent and cent.

One sample which has been given a listing in the "Handbook of United States Coins," popularly known as the Blue Book, was dated 1837, and showed an eagle with shield on the obverse, with the wording: "U.S. Standard Weight & Value." The reverse read: "Half Cent Worth of Pure Copper."

The first type of half cent was struck in 1793 only , and has a head of Liberty facing left, with a small cap behind the head. The second type has a large fuller-faced head of Liberty facing right, with a larger cap, and was in use from 1794 through 1797.

Both reverses have a small "1/200" in the lower area between the hanging ends of the ribbon, and some or all of the varieties of the 1793, 1794, 1795 and 1797 half cents has the words "Two Hundred for a Dollar" on the edge of the coin.

The scarcest half cents are the ones issued in 1796. Only 1,390 were struck without a pole to the cap, and 5,090 were minted with the pole. The poleless variety is listed at $525 in fair condition, and $3,650 in fine condition, while the coin with pole is valued at $375 when fair and $2,275 when fine.

Somewhat strangely, an 1802 half cent, with a minting of only 14,366, is priced at $35 in fair condition and $210 for a fair copy. The prices are from the 1978 Blue Book, and therefore should indicate what a dealer is expected to pay.

Moving to another area, the Garden State Numismatic Association will stage its third annual convention next weekend at the Cherry Hill Hyatt House in New Jersey.

The Israel Numismatic Society of South Jersey will meet Thursday evening as a prelude to the convention, with David T. Alexander, Coin World International Editor, as speaker.

An educational forum has been scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with David L. Ganz as moderator. Speakers will be Clifford Mishler of Numismatic News, former Mint Director Eva Adams, and Val Pasvolsky. An awards breakfast will be held next Sunday at 9 a.m.

The Professional Numismatists Guild has begun use of a small nickel-sized adhesive sticker promoting "Coin Collecting, the World's Greatest Hobby." "Art/History/Romance/Investment" are set forth as features of the hobby.

In the medallic field, the American Bicentennial Commemorative Society (Box 1776, Springfield, Pa. 19064) has released Articles of Confederation and Casimir Pulaski medals, which were minted by the Medallic Art Company.