Teacher Mark at Plukpanya Municipal School, Phuket Town - January 2016This past November, I took over the position of Deputy Head Teacher for a large language school and teachers’ agency in southern Thailand.  In addition to overseeing some 40 teachers from five or so different countries and a myriad of administrative duties (i.e., staffing our contracted government-run schools, organizing local English camps, writing course syllabi, etc.), I am still required to teach a minimum of 75 hours per month.  Some of these classes are “in-house” (at the air-conditioned, in-a-shopping-mall language school itself) but most are substitute-teaching assignments for the regular teachers when they take ill or need to deal with periodic immigration requirements.  These lessons are in very hot (perhaps there’s a ceiling fan or two that actually work) wooden or concrete classrooms jam-packed with an average of 40-50 kids – most of whom couldn’t care less about learning English.

The end result of this workload is that I have had no time to spend with my stamps (or writing about them) since long before Christmas.  The month of March – the hottest in Thailand, a country already boiling twelve months of the year – brings the end of the school year and a general slowdown in duties.  Most of my in-house young students have gone on “summer holiday” and my business students mostly learn in the mornings or evenings.  I don’t have to worry about filling-in at one of the myriad of schools scattered about the island.

I finally have time for stamps once again.

I’m starting slowly with a few eBay bids here and there.  I’m still waiting for the stamps I’ve won to arrive but they represent two countries new to my collection (Austrian Offices in the Ottoman Empire and the Indian Feudatory State of Alwar) and a few to bolster my tiny collection of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.

Cover Page for 'Stamps from (Almost) Everywhere' AlbumMy main collecting focus has shifted a bit.  I was attempting to obtain “A Stamp From Everywhere” but found that it was often difficult to pick just ONE stamp to represent an entire stamp-issuing entity.  In designing the album pages for my collection, I decided I didn’t like those that contained a single stamp.  I am now calling the collection “Stamps From (Almost) Everywhere.

That has necessitated a re-start to my album page design.  It is this re-start that have energized my recent boost in philatelic activity.  Each stamp issuer will have two introductory pages containing an information box, flag and map, and a one- or two-page summary of the entity’s political and postal history.  I’d like to obtain enough stamps from each place so that none of the stamps look particularly lonely.  I’ve found that four stamps is the absolute minimum I would like to have displayed on a single page (or one stamp and a postally-used item such as a nice cover or postcard).  There are a few countries that I may strive for completeness (Aden Colony and its Protectorate States, for example) but I am aiming for a “representation” in most instances.

Abu Dhabi - From the Collection of Mark Jochim, March 2016

I’m printing the stamps onto A4 paper as that’s the standard size available in Thailand.  I tried using 150gsm-weight card stock but these jammed in my printer (and the one at work as well) more often than not.  I am now using 120gsm card stock which seems fine.  I decided I liked a light beige color better than white.  For now, I have them in sheet protectors housed in a generic three-ring binder.  I’m trying to find a proper binder (preferably with a slipcase) but the shipping costs to Thailand are prohibitive.  I have more or less settled on a Lighthouse Classic Grande which I know my A4-sized pages will fit.  But I’m not willing to pay US $90 for shipping and import fees.  A proper stamp album binder may have to wait until I can visit someplace that actually sells them in the shops.  My next planned vacation is one to the United States in the autumn of 2017.  Can I wait that long?

First pages of Algeria housed in generic three-ring binder, March 2016

For my worldwide collection, I am trying to stick with those nations actually listed in the Scott Catalogue – although a few local posts will eventually be added.  To this end, I have been compiling the mother of all spreadsheets which has become a labor of love.  I have been going through my 2009 edition of the catalogue page by page – entering stamp-issuing entities in alphabetical order (moving, for example, entries such as the Confederate States, Hawaii, and Canal Zone out from under the United States umbrella) and including columns for years active, volume and page numbers, columns giving information about my own collection (numbers of inventoried, scanned, to be scanned, unlisted or bogus stamps), along with numerous “count” columns.  These last columns will include the number of stamps on EACH page of the catalogue for each country (divided into General Issues and the various Back of the Book items such as Air Post, Special Delivery, etc.).  I do page by page counts so that it is easier to backtrack if I lose count along the way.  I’ve been skipping the “Huge” countries for now and just counting those that only have en or less pages in Scott.

Screenshot of 'Stamp Issuers' Spreadsheet, March 2016

It is a monumental undertaking – I’ve been working on this spreadsheet on and off for about eight months and I’ve only just started on Volume 4 (out of six).  I currently have some 4,486 stamps in my collection (the majority of which have been obtained in just the past four years or so) representing 280 different stamp-issuing entities.  Of these, I have only entered 1912 into my inventory database (the wonderful but time-consuming StampManage) and there are 1529 stamps that have yet to be scanned.  These totals don’t include 210 duplicates and 33 that are either unlisted in Scott or “bogus” (read, counterfeit or facsimile).

It’s a grand-looking spreadsheet and I hope to share it once the “important” pieces are done (namely, the re-ordered countries).  In the meantime, if anybody would like to volunteer to count listed stamps (I am counting MAJOR numbers with a few minor exceptions) for particular countries please let me know.

As for the blog, I hope to resume my “Stamp Issuers” series at some point and will continue to report on new additions to my own collection (although probably not in a “Today’s Mail” format – perhaps as periodic wrap-ups).  I am looking for inspiration in writing other types of articles but I’m not really sure what aspect of philately I feel qualified to write about (I am intimidated by “How-To” articles and reviews).  Time will tell.  I just hope I won’t let another four months pass without an update.

Getting back to my stamps feels really good…

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Although it hasn’t felt like it, I have been on holiday for almost a week now. Because of the huge fires down in Indonesia, Phuket has been covered under thick smoke creating major health issues. They say that it is more dangerous than the worst of the L.A. smogs. It has been so bad that rhe hospitals have been distributing free facemasks. Thailand is a corrupt country and nothing is ever free (and refunds are never given), so you just know it is beyond bad.

You would think that being forced inside for a week would have led me to work on my stamps but I haven’t really been in the mood. However, the postman brought me no less than thirteen envelopes full of stamps this morning and I can feel my motivation-level moving up a few notches as I write this. Eight orders from the United States, four from the United Kingdom and one from New Zealand. They include stamps from Aden, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Russia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and the United States plus pre-stamped postal stationery from Hawaii and Mauritius. In all, just 30 philatelic items and three “new” stamp issuers (the Caribbean islands) for my A Stamp From Everywhere collection.

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First up is Aden. I’ve been putting together a nice collection of the then-British colony on the Arabian peninsula. While I previously bought used copies of several of the low values in the 1937 Dhows set, I now have the first five in Mint, lightly hinged, condition. Aren’t they beautiful?

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The first British representative is my first “Seahorse” stamp. These were first issued in 1913 with retouched values appearing in 1919 and then again in 1934. Three different printers were used during the course of these various releases. My copy is Scott #222 2sh6p brown from the 1934 series. A beautiful stamp picturing “Britannia Rules the Waves” with the portrait of King George V. I was inspired to purchase this stamp by reading about in in Nicholas Courtney’s excellent book The Queen’s Stamps: The Authorised History of the Royal Philatelic Collection.

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Another purchase inspired by Courtney’s book was that of Hong Kong’s 1946 Victory Issue picturing the Phoenix rising from the flames. Issued on 29 August 1946, Scott #174-175 was a significant departure in design from those issued by much of the rest of the British Commonwealth. Not only is the design quite striking but it was the story behind the stamps that intrigued me to purchase them. Briefly, the then Hong Kong Postmaster General, E.I. Wynne-Jones conceived the idea while he was himself a prisoner of the Japanese forces. He made a rough sketch of the design while interred at Stanley Camp.

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I have had a lifelong fascination with ships and the sea with the old transatlantic ocean liners being my favorite nautical interest. I have quite a few of the liners pictured on stamps and finally got around to purchasing Great Britain’s wonderful set issued on 15 January 1969 shortly before the maiden voyage of the Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2. Scott #575-580 is a lovely set; I’ve always preferred ship profiles to photographs or paintings of them at sea. However, I’ve often wondered why they chose the Mauretania over the Lusitania.

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Another “Columbian” arrived – Scott #234 5c chocolate Columbus Soliciting Aid from Isabella Mint with gum, hinged – coinciding with my resuming reading Erik Larson’s account of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, Devil In The White City after setting it aside for more than a year. I’ve long been interested in Columbus, something that may no longer be “politically correct” and is certainly at odds with my siding with Native American issues in most instances. In fact, I’ve slowly been building up a Columbus-themed collection with several items destined for that arriving today, just in time for the anniversary of his first landing in the West Indies. Most of these purchases were inspired by David Nye’s (Mr. Columbus) recent postings on several Facebook pages.

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The earliest is the stamp from Trinidad, Scott #91 2p gray violet and yellow brown. It was issued in 1898 to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ sighting of the island of Trinidad on 31 July 1498. The bicolor (green and violet) stamp from St. Kitts & Nevis is actually the first general issue – Scott #1 – for this former presidency of the Leeward Islands colony. It was issued in 1903. A solid green version was overprinted in 1916 to help fund Commonwealth involvement in the First World War. That is Scott #MR1, another of today’s arrivals.

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The Columbus issue by St. Lucia – Scott #49 – doesn’t mention him by name and pictures local landmark The Pitons. The 2p brown and green stamp was issued on 16 December 1902 to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of the island, something only indicated by the year range at top center.

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The final Columbus-themed stamp in this batch is a nice souvenir sheet issued on 18 March 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of the so-called discovery of America. It’s catalogued as Scott #6075.

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I’m also pleased to add several more classic-era stamps from the United States starting with a nice lightly-cancelled example of Scott #11A, the 3 cent dull red, type II George Washington issued in 1851 (the difference being that the outer border frame lines were recut on both the outer and inner lines on Type II while Type I – Scott #11 – had just the outer lines recut). Next is a strip of three of Scott #182, 1c deep ultramarine George Washington, printed by the American Bank Note Company and released in 1879. Scott #306, 8c violet black Martha Washington, was released as part of a set of definitives from 1902 to 1903. This Mint, gummed and hinged, copy was obtained as a significant reduction from its 2009 catalogue value of US $45 due to its poor centering. I paid just over $3 for it and I’m happy to fill the space.

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Finally, the last of the U.S. stamps is a Mint example of Scott #324, the 2c carmine Thomas Jefferson, issued on 30 April 1904 for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis that year. Again, somewhat off-center, it was advertised as “original gum hinged” but I can find no evidence of a hinge mark. In fact, the gum looks so fresh that I suspect that it may have been regummed at some point. Time to look up how to determine if a stamp has been regummed… The value would be US $70 if it is in fact MNH; I paid $2.25.

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Last for today, we have several items of postal stationery which are unlisted in the Scott catalogues; still, I love adding these types of items to my regular stamp collection. First is a postal card from Hawaii – the three-cent preprinted stamp bears the same red Provisional Government overprint applied to regular stamps in 1893. Faulty corner and a very thick card. The two pre-stamped envelopes from Mauritius bearing Queen Victoria’s portrait are on rather thick paper and were probably issued sometime between 1882 and 1894 and the indicia are embossed, always pleasing to the eye. The final Mauritian envelope features the Coat of Arms design with 4c on 36c overprint, the same style as the overprinted stamps issued in 1925 during King George V’s reign.

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Yes, very nice stamp additions indeed.

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Happy Collecting!

SAM_6714An odd mail day – five philatelic orders received but only one stamp amongst them.  Also, the envelope from the UK was enclosed in a clear plastic Thailand Post “body bag” as it was damaged in transit.  The left side was torn away and somebody patched it with tape – on the inside!  The result was that much of the enclosure was stuck to that tape.  Luckily, the item (a small cover) wasn’t nor were the stamps on the cover.  There was a nice variety of items – a stamp, a cover, a maximum card, an aerogramme, and a book.

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The sole stamp is a German semi-postal, Scott #B201, issued on 11 January 1942 to mark that year’s Stamp Day.  I’m starting to put together a topical collection honoring the “hobby of kings” and the Stamp Day releases by Germany, Austria, and Afghanistan provide many examples.  Looks like I need to rescan this one as it appears a bit blurry (I’ve been having a few scanner problems with latest build of Windows 10 Insider Preview).

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One of my departures from the mainstream of philately is the collection of certain local posts, particularly the carriage labels of Lundy Island in England’s Bristol Channel.  I was initially drawn to these by the many designs featuring puffins, a bird I’ve always been enamored of.  Occasionally, I’ll come across related material such as this cover bearing a British stamp – Scott #1239 – with a Lundy Island pictorial cancellation applied on the first day of issue, 17 January 1989.  The 19p stamp is the lowest value in a set of four commemorating the centenary of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the establishment of the Wild Bird Protection Act.

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Charles Lindbergh was one of my heroes when I was a boy living in rural Tennessee.  I must have read The Spirit Of St. Louis a half-dozen times in my teens and watched the movie starring Jimmy Stewart every time it was shown on local TV.  For my eleventh birthday, my mother purchased a membership in the Postal Commemorative Society and the first cover I received was the one bearing the stamp marking the 50th anniversary of his historic New York to Paris flight.  I affixed a copy of that stamp onto the title page of my paperback copy of The Spirit Of St. Louis.  Not long afterwards, my father and I embarked on one of our annual summertime motorcycle-camping trips – journeying from Kansas to Ontario and back this particular time – and made a special point of stopping at Little Falls, Lindbergh’s boyhood home in the wilds of Minnesota.

However, it’s only been relatively recently that I’ve begun seeking out stamps and other philatelic items honoring Lindbergh.  I did have all of the various issues released by the U.S. but somehow I’d neglected the many foreign stamps.  I particularly like this maximum card illustrating the famous plane; Scott #530 was part of a set of six released by St. Thomas and Prince on 21 December 1979 portraying the history of aviation (souvenir sheets in the same serious had been previously issued in mid-September).

I plan to do a full write-up of my Lindbergh-themed collection once I’ve obtained a cover flown by the Minnesotan aviator himself…

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Lately, I’ve been collecting many of the stamps issued for the British protectorate of Aden and now have about have of those listed in the Scott catalogue.  Scott doesn’t list postal stationery items for countries outside of the United States but I was happy to add this aerogramme to my collection.  Released in 1959, it was the last to be released by the colony.

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Yet another book added to my philatelic bookshelf, The Queen’s Stamps is a beautifully-illustrated history of Great Britian’s Royal Philatelic Collection and the stamps it contains.  Looking forward to reading this one but it may have to wait awhile; I’ve been buying so many books lately that there is now a significant backlog!

Happy Collecting!

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After a week or so of the barest of trickles, the floodwaters opened today and once again a nice-sized stack of mail awaited my return from work.  It was a bit of a card-oriented day – only one short set of “real” stamps and a couple of souvenir folders of local post issues from Lundy Island – and Great Britain dominated the senders’ countries.  In all, five pieces of mail from the UK, one from France, and two parcels from the U.S.

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The Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut counts as a “new” country in my A Stamp From Everywhere collection as the sheikdom in Aden Protectorate had changed its name from the Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla.  These four stamps are the lowest values (Scott #29-32)  in a set of twelve released on 1 September 1955, the first with the new name inscribed. 

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Lundy Island is probably my favorite of the local posts that I collect.  The island itself is quite interesting and I particularly like the stamps portraying puffins which is also the “currency” used.  Some of the earlier issues portrayed the number of puffins equal to the stamp’s denomination.  Today, I received two similar souvenir folders – this one has the complete 1982 definitive set while the other has the three-stamp issue marking Winston Churchill’s death in 1965.

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Here we have a maxi-card bearing the lovely stamp issued by Monaco in 1977 marking the 50th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic, an addition to my “Pioneers of American Aviation” topical collection.

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This year marks the 175th anniversary of the world’s first stamp, the famed Penny Black.  A number of countries have issued stamps commemorating this anniversary but I have yet to obtain a single one (I celebrated by purchasing an 1840 Penny Black with my initials – MJ – as the control letters).  However, I just received this souvenir card issued at London’s Europhilex stamp show a couple of months ago.  It illustrates Sir Rowland Hill’s original sketches for what became the Penny Black.

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Although I am adopted, I am proud of my adoptive family’s name and wish that more was known of its early history.  The story that I remembering hearing as a child was that the “a” in Joachim was dropped when my grandfather emigrated to the United States (I believe through Ellis Island).  So I am always on the lookout for philatelic items bearing either of the spellings.  This card is one of a lot of posted-on-board items from Danish ferries.  I will write about them in some detail – starting with the M/F Prins Joachim, of course – on my postcard blog in the near future.

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Finally, I received three new rubber stamps for my own little local post – Muang Phuket LP.  The one on the left was intended as a first day of issue postmark for the ASEAN Day issue (8 August) but I ordered the 2-inch size which is too big; I’ll probably use it as a cachet instead and “cancel” the stamps using my generic “wave” postmark.  A tuk-tuk is a local mode of transportation; my rubber stamp supplier had a buy-one get-one for free promotion which is why I have two sizes of that…

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Happy Collecting!

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This has been a slow mail week but today brought two orders – one from the UK and one from the United States.  The four stamps pictured above are from the Kathiri State of Seiyun which was in the Eastern Protectorate of Aden, a nation I’ve become rather fond of recently.  Unfortunately, I’m missing one of the UPU anniversary stamps as I was outbid on eBay in the last second!

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The first day cover contains a block of four Scott #1098, issued in 1957 to honor teachers of America.  I’m slowly buying stamps portraying education as part of a collection I’m putting together to illustrate “My Life in Stamps”; I have been an English teacher in Thailand for almost nine years now. 

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We are now firmly into the mid-year monsoons with heavy rains and winds throughout each day.  Luckily, I’ve been inside most of the time working; it’s a busy time for me as my bank staff classes are wrapping up and I’ve been giving final exams and writing student evaluations.  I love coming home after a long day and having a few new stamps to add into my collection.

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I had a cold ride home on the back of a motorbike taxi – the wind was whipping up and I was shivering but, thankfully, the downpour held off until I was safely inside.  There were two envelopes and one postcard addressed to me on the reception desk’s counter – the Registered Mail envelope from Thailand contained a pair of Thai stamps marking the 1987 National Children’s Day while an envelope from the UK contained a couple of later stamps from Aden, one of my favorite countries of late.

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The postcard had me fooled at first as the picture side was facing up when I first saw it and I thought I’d received my first Postcrossing card from Sri Lanka.  Turning it over, I found it was from Slovenia instead – still a first.  As usual, I’ll save the write-up for my postcard blog.

Happy Collecting!

Aden - Qu'aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla

Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla (1942-1954)

Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut (1955-1963)

LOCATION: Hadhramaut region of Eastern Aden Protectorate
GOVERNMENT:  Sultanate
CAPITAL: Al Mukalla

FIRST STAMPS: Aden, 1937-1942
FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: 1942
LAST STAMPS ISSUED: 20 October 1963

CURRENCY:
12 fils = 1 anna, 16 annas = 1 rupee (1937-1951)
100 cents = 1 shilling (1951-1965)
1000 fils = 1 dinar (1965-1968)

The al-Qu’aitis in the Hadhramaut region of the southern Arabian peninsula took the town of Shibam from the rival al-Kathiris in 1858, later conquering Ash Shihr (in 1866) and Al Mukalla (1881) and thus largely replacing the Kathiris to control most of the Hadhramaut coast along the Gulf of Aden.  The Kathiris were confined to an inland region centered around the wadis of Seiyun and Tarim. A treaty was signed with Great Britain in 1888 and a unified sultanate was created in 1902 that would become the Eastern Province of Aden Protectorate.

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The capital of Mukalla on the Gulf of Aden has been a fishing village since the eleventh century.  The walled city of Shibam dates from the third century and features mud brick tower houses rising some five to eleven stories high.    The flag was adopted in 1939 with three stripes of red, yellow and blue plus three castle towers in circles on the center stripe.  The towers in the blue circles represent the port cities of Shihr and Mukalla while the center tower in the green circle symbolized the city of Shibam in the northern wadi.

Aerial View of Mukalla, 1932

The Qu’aiti State first postal services saw mails passed through forwarding agents in Aden as early as 1891.  At the request of the sultan, a post office dependent on Aden was opened at Mukalla on 22 April 1937.   A postal union between Aden and the protected states was signed in 1939 which stated that any stamps issued would be valid throughout the Protectorate and Colony.  Slightly delayed by the start of World War II, the first stamps inscribed “Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla” were released in 1942. 

Mukalla, Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut

Twenty-eight general issue stamps were released between 1942 and 1953.  Beginning with the set of definitives released on 1 September 1955, the inscription read “Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut.”  A total of twenty-four additional stamps are listed in the Scott catalogue under that name, the last set appearing on 20 October 1963 using the same designs as the 1955 set but with the portrait of Sultan Awadh bin Saleh al-Qu’aiti replacing that of the previous Sultan Sir Saleh bin Ghalib al-Qu’aiti and adding one additional denomination.  There were also two aerogrammes issued, one in March 1956 and the other in October 1963, which are not listed in Scott.  Scott also does not list the numerous stamps issued under the name of Qu’aiti State in Hadhamaut that appeared from 1964 onwards due to their bogus nature, designed solely to dupe collectors.

Shibam, Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut

In the early 1960’s, the Qu’aiti State declined to join the British-sponsored Federation of South Arabia, remaining under British protection as part of the Protectorate of South Arabia.  Communist forces overran the Hadhramaut region on 17 September 1967 and the Qu’aiti State was forcibly integrated into Communist South Yemen without a referendum.  South Yemen united with North Yemen in 1990, again without a referendum, to become the current Republic of Yemen.

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I currently have two Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla stamps in my collection – Scott #12 and 13 issued on 15 October 1946 to commemorate the victory by the Allied nations in World War II.  Although it is the same place, I am treating the Qu’aiti State in Hadhramaut as a separate stamp issuer in my A Stamp From Everywhere collection; I have yet to obtain one thusly inscribed.

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Aden - Kathiri State of Seiyun

Kathiri State Of Seiyun

LOCATION:  Hadhramaut region of Eastern Aden Protectorate
GOVERNMENT:  Sultanate
CAPITAL: Seiyun

FIRST STAMPS: Aden, 1937-1942
FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: August 1942

CURRENCY:
12 fils = 1 anna, 16 annas = 1 rupee (1937-1951)
100 cents = 1 shilling (1951-1965)
1000 fils = 1 dinar (1965-1968)

The stamps of Aden Colony, as previously detailed, were valid throughout the Western and Eastern Protectorates and their various sultanates from their initial release in April 1937.  Two of the emirates in the eastern region of Hadhramaut objected to the portrait of King George VI on the stamps and began to release their own stamps in 1942.

The al-Kathiri dynasty once ruled much of the Hadhramaut region of the southern Arabian peninsula but their power was truncated by the rival Qu’aitis in the 19th century.  The Kathiris were eventually restricted to a small inland portion of Hadhramaut with their capital at Seiyun.  The sultanate entered into treaty relations with the British in 1882 and became a part of the Aden Protectorate

The post office at Seiyun was opened on 25 May 1937 and several smaller postal agencies soon followed.  Due to Sultan Ja’far bin Mansur al-Kathiri’s irritation over the royal monarch’s image on the Aden postage stamps, a set of eleven stamps inscribed “Kathiri State of Seiyun” were released in August 1942.  The three lowest values of these stamps – ½-anna, ¾a and 1a – featured a large portrait of the sultan while the remaining stamps pictured the mosques at Seiyun and Tarim, the large palace of the sultan built in the 1920s, and other local views all with a small portrait of the sultan located in the upper corner just as the British monarch had been.  The stamps of the Kathiri State of Seiyun were valid for use throughout Aden. 

Aden Map 1938

Al Husayn ibn Ali al-Kathiri became sultan in 1949, although his portrait didn’t appear on stamps until 1954.  In 1951, the currency on the stamps changed from Indian rupees to East African shillings. That year saw a number of the earlier stamps surcharged with the new currency values. 

The Kathiri State of Seiyun participated in three British Commonwealth omnibus issues – a pair of stamps marking the 25th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI, four commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union in 1949, and a single stamp honoring the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  The Silver Wedding and Coronation issues, of course, all featured images of the British monarchs.

The Kathiri State declined to join the Federation of South Arabia but remained under British protection as part of the Protectorate of South Arabia.  The final stamps of the Kathiri State of Seiyun were released on 1 July 1964.  In all, the sultanate had issued 42 stamps since 1942.  Starting in 1967, stamps inscribed “Kathiri State In Hadhramaut” began flooding the collector market, along with others from nearby individual emirates.  These aren’t listed in the Scott catalogue due to their lack of postal validity.

Sultan Husayn was overthrown on 2 October 1967, and the following month the former sultanate became part of newly independent South Yemen.

South Yemen united with North Yemen in 1990 to become the Republic of Yemen, but local sheiks in Yemen are reported to still wield large de facto authority.

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I currently have two stamps in my collection from the Kathiri State in Seiyun.  Scott #12 and 13 were released on 15 October 1946 to mark the Allied victory in World War II.  They are both overprints of earlier issues – the 1½ anna in dark carmine rose (Scott #4) received a black overprint while the 2½a deep blue (Scott #6) was overprinted in red.  They, like most Kathiri stamps, are reasonably valued.  Only four high denominations are valued at US $10 or above with the most expensive being Scott #11, US $29 mint in my 2009 edition of Scott.  Used copies of Kathiri stamps generally bear Aden GPO or Aden Camp cancels.  Examples with cancellations from offices in the Eastern Protectorate command a premium.

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My first philatelic mail of July was all sent from the UK last week, arriving in Phuket in record time.  In all, only eight stamps were in these envelopes but they added three new countries to my A Stamp From Everywhere collection as well as a nice stamp from an old friend. 

Two of the new countries were sultanates within the eastern portion of Aden Protectorate.  They began issuing their own stamps because of objections over the British monarch’s portrait on the Aden stamps.  I received two stamps from the Kathiri State of Seiyun (Scott #12-13) and two from the Qu’aiti State of Shihr and Mukalla (Scott #12-13).  Both sets were released on 15 October 1946 marking the victory of the Allied nations in World War II.

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The three stamps from Ascension Island are from the long set of pictorial definitives released between 1938 and 1953.  Two are different color shades of the 1½p value showing the pier at Georgetown – Scott #42 was released in 1944, red, and Scott #42C in lilac rose appeared in 1953.  The 1-shilling dark brown, released in 1944, portrays a view of Georgetown, the principal settlement and location of the only post office.

The final stamp in today’s mail was from Newfoundland, the 28th I have in my general worldwide collection.  It’s Scott #270, released 23 June 1947 to commemorate the 450th anniversary of John Cabot’s arrival off Cape Bonavista in the Matthew.  The 5-cent rose violet stamp was the final to be released with the Newfoundland inscription after which the stamps of Canada were used exclusively.  The same stamp is listed in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue (SG #294) as mauve, just one example of differing opinions on color names between various catalogues.

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On the afternoon after I’d published my previous “Today’s Mail” wrap-up, I received a single stamp from Aden – Scott #23A, 14-anna light blue & brown black, released in 1945 picturing the 1839 capture of Aden.  It’s a beautiful stamp.

I also recently received a postcard from my Aunt Edwina who has been traveling in Italy for several weeks now.  Picturing the Duomo of Florence, I published a full write-up on my postcard blog.

Happy Collecting!

SAM_6522Actually, this covers the past two weeks or so as my mail has been trickling in a piece or so at a time.  In that period, I’ve only added 33 stamps to my collections from six different countries, two of which are new to my A Stamp From Everywhere project – Bermuda and The Roman States.  I did receive two books I’d ordered, The German Occupation of Jersey (1940-1945) and the indispensible reference work that is Stamp Atlas.  Rounding out the recent arrivals were several items for yet another thematic mini-collection based around my family history.

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Let’s start with the A’s:  I’ve become enamored with the engraved issues of Aden Protectorate and have been obtaining a few here and there, with 22mostly used values arriving recently – seven of the 1937 dhows issue (a couple duplicates of which are damaged) and the remainder covering the period between 1938 and 1959.

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Next up are five stamps from Bermuda – beautifully engraved bi-colors which I just love.  It’s going to be difficult to choose one stamp to represent the island in the ASFEW collection.  The final British Commonwealth stamp in this batch is Scott #96 from Gibraltar, issued in 1931.

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My Roman States stamp is a used copy – with a thin at the top – of Scott #4c, 1 bajocchi black on yellow buff paper, issued in 1852.  Next to my Penny Black, I believe this is the oldest stamp currently in my possession.  Catalogue value would be US $50 if the condition was much better than this space-filler for which I paid one cent.

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A trio of stamps from the Straits Settlements also arrived.  I’m really interested in this region with the Straits Settlements and Penang State stamps being particular favorites.

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One of my mini-topical collections revolves around my family history including usages of my surname which was originally spelt Joachim.  Long ago, I became interested in the mining community of Joachimsthal in the mountains of the Bohemian Erzebirge and currently known by its Czech name of Jáchymov.  Czechoslovakia issued a stamp (Scott #1413) in 1966 calling the town the “Cradle of the Atomic Age” due as this was where pitchblende was first discovered.  Marie Curie discovered the element radium in pitchblende ore and Joachimsthal was the world’s only source until the First World War.

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Other items received this month on the Joachim theme include a couple of covers – one posted from Stiedra Stedra in Austria in April 1890 and backstamped Joachimsthal, the other featuring a commemorative cancellation during the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia during World War II – plus a poster stamp featuring the arms of another town called Joachimsthal that is situated north of Berlin.

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Another area of interest is the German occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War and I’ve started purchasing a few non-stamp items including a small booklet published by the Jersey War Museum in the 1950’s.

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I’d been perusing the Stamp Atlas section on the Sandafayre auction site for quite some time and so was positively thrilled when I found a good used copy on eBay for an excellent price and very low shipping cost.  It’s much better than the Sandafayre excerpts and will be a much-treasured part of my slowly-expanding research library.

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Finally, as I was putting the finishing touched on this article, a cover arrived from Eckerö in the Åland Islands.  I’d recently met a collector from Åland in a Facebook group and was thrilled when he offered to correspond via snail mail…

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Happy Collecting!