Wrapping up the school term – just a week-and-a-half left – while Phuket is being battered by Typhoon Vamco has put most of my philatelic pursuits into a hopefully brief holding pattern. The mail is unable to be delivered most days due to the heavy rains and high winds but I received a nice-sized stack mid-week. All, aside from a postcard from China, contained stamp orders with my recently started collection of Mauritius gaining the most benefit with nearly 60 stamps from that island nation (including several dubious bonuses). I was able to add four new countries (five if you count two different periods of German occupation), a couple topical first day covers, a few postal stationery items, and several classics from the nation of my birth. Unfortunately, the end of the week brought my first-ever damaged stamps due to careless packaging.
The Mauritius stamps came from two small lots with a nice range dating from 1858 through 1946, including the unissued Scott #8. While several have faults, they will look nice on the pages I recently printed. While I have yet to find a decent binder (losing several eBay auctions for reasonably-priced Stanley Gibbons springback albums and winning one that never arrived), I recently found a good-quality heavy-weight paper in the local stationery shop. Several months ago, I purchased a DVD-R containing over 24,000 album pages of a very pleasing, semi-classical design which I like better than the famous Steiner pages. I’ve been printing some as-is and modifying others. My Mauritius pages fall into the former category…
This sample of page one, obviously, features color images of the stamps none of which I could ever hope to obtain. But wait a minute! Didn’t that dealer send something that I could put into a few of those spaces? I’ve never had a stamp seller send a “bonus” such as this and I’m a bit reluctant to mount them into an album of mine. What do you think?
They aren’t even very good fakes but there you have it – an eBay seller sent me examples of the 1d and 2d Post Office Mauritius (Scott #1 and 2) plus the successive Post Paid of the same values (Scott #3 and 4) completely free. They don’t even have the “Copy” notification on the gum-side of the counterfeits. At any rate, I don’t even think they would look all that great on the album page…
A bit higher status than counterfeit stamps but somewhat less than originally-issued emissions are reprints, especially those officially sanctioned. Take the case of these Heligoland stamps that I received this week, a “new” entry in my A Stamp From Everywhere collection.
The one on the left just doesn’t look right but I would have to say that all three are probably reprints as mentioned in the Scott Catalogue, despite my paying a somewhat higher price than $1-2. But they could be Scott #7 and 10, issued in 1873.
My second “new” stamp issuer this week is Alexandria, listed in volume 2 of the 2009 Scott catalogue under French Offices. France maintained a post office in the famous Egyptian city which issued stamps from 1899 until 1928. The one pictured below is Scott #27, the 50 centime bister brown with lavender center, issued in 1902.
I received two postal cards from Angra in the Azores which are unlisted in Scott but the pre-printed stamps are the same King Carlos designs as the 25 reis green and 50 reis blue (Scott #5 and 7) issued in 1892. What intrigued me was the design of the postal cards – something I’d never seen before: they are folded in half with the outer rims gummed and perforated to provide some privacy, much like later aerogrammes.
Yet another “new” country received this week were two sets (ships and aviation) from Antigua & Barbuda which I’m counting as separate from those stamps bearing the name of just “Antigua” and those bearing just “Barbuda.”
The stamps of Alsace and Lorraine (1870 and 1916) as well as Alsace (1940, plus the now separate Lorraine issues) follow the listings of France in volume 2 of the 2009 Scott catalogue as these are “Occupation Stamps” and given the “N” prefix to their catalogue numbers. Germany was the occupying force in each instance. German Empire stamps replacing those of Alsace and Lorraine from 1 January 1872 until the World War I surcharges which were also used in parts of Belgium occupied by the German forces.
The 1870 series from Alsace and Lorraine are some of the dullest classical period general issue stamps that I have yet to come across. I have Scott #N1 – the 1 centime bronze green – and Scott #N4 – 5 centime yellow green – on piece, the latter of which bears a nice CDS.
The two stamps I received from the 1940 occupation of Alsace are overprinted German stamps from the 1933-36 series featuring Paul von Hindenburg, the second president of Germany. These are Scott #N29 – 5 pfennig bright green – and Scott #N31 – 8 pfennig vermilion.
In the mail were two first day covers – one featuring the infamous Pluto “Not Yet Explored” stamp that was carried aboard the spacecraft which recently flew by the former tenth planet (autographed by the stamp’s designer and featuring a JPL Stamp Club cachet), the other honoring our “Stamp Collecting President” FDR.
I’ve long been enchanted by the United States’ first “official” commemorative stamp series – the 1893 Columbian Exposition issue – but hadn’t purchased many until recently. The first to arrive were Scott #231 (2 cent brown violet – Used pair plus Mint “broken hat” variety), 233 (3 cent green Used), and 233 (4 cent ultramarine Mint), plus #U349 (stamped envelope 2c violet Unused entire).
I am starting to pick up a few other early U.S. stamps as well, filling in gaps with the less expensive stamps before working upwards a bit. Here’s a nice pair of Scott #26, released in 1857, with New Orleans cancellation.
Rounding out this week’s batch of mail were a set from the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic issued in 1921 (Scott #278-294) and the first real mail-order disappointment I’ve had in nearly 40 years of collecting. I’d been trying for a couple of months to successfully bid on a stamp or two from La Aguera and finally won an auction last month featuring Mint copies of Scott #14 (1 centimo turquoise blue) and #15 (2 centimo dark green), issued in June 1922. They arrived just today from Spain but the seller had taped them up into a little pocket of glossy newspaper advertisement. I had to take great care cutting the tape so as not to damage the stamps but when I finally got out of the taped enclosure, they were stuck together by their gum. I slid my tongs between to see if they would separate easily and the top stamp came away with much of the bottom one still attached! Partly my fault, partly the poor packaging. Luckily, there are a couple of the same stamps (with slightly better centering) currently on eBay so I’ll have a second chance…
I certainly hope my next batch of mail brings a bit better luck and…
The first day of September brought more stamps to my home than I received in all of August. I’ve been working on several thematic collections lately, including one dealing with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although he is famous in philately as for having been an avid stamp collector, very few stamps have been issued portraying him as such. I didn’t receive any of those today (already owning the issue from Monaco) but a mix of 30 stamps from Central and South American countries issued in commemoration of his 1945 death are a nice addition to my FDR topical collection. I couldn’t resist the cover pictured below which was sent to Mr. Roosevelt at the White House from France, formerly a part of the presidential collection.
In honor of my upcoming 50th birthday, I am also putting together a collection on pages showing “My Life In Stamps.” I was adopted within the first month of my birth back in December 1965, through Hope Cottage in Dallas TX, and wanted to find a few stamps bringing attention to the adoption of children. I’ve only found one – Scott #3298 from the United States, issued in 2000 – and bought a first day cover with Fleetwood cachet.
Finally, I received a packet of Stanley Gibbons stamp hinges which weren’t a humidity-glued solid mass as were the packages of Prinz hinges received a couple of months ago. I can’t wait until I have a bit of free time so that I can hinge a few hundred stamps onto my self-printed pages, finally getting them out of the stock pages and into a “real” album…
Only six days into the month, and I’ve received mail on four of those days which leads me to believe that my regular letter carrier may be back on the job following a lengthy holiday. In fact, I’m sure of it as I found today’s two envelopes on a table next to the entrance of my guesthouse as he is too lazy to walk another few feet and leave the mail at the reception desk. My previous complaint on this matter fell on deaf ears (the message I received made it sound as if they were doing me a favor by delivering my mail at all!); it’s a wonder that more of my mail doesn’t go astray. Indeed, it appears that the old-time collection in Stanley Gibbons binder on Scott Modern pages that I ordered from Canada at the beginning of May is one rare MIA parcel (and I have just been given a refund for that; I’d much rather of had the album and stamps…).
At any rate, the envelopes containing stamps almost always make it through and today I received two from Europe, both of which arrived a mere eleven days after I’d placed the orders. From Spain, I received four stamps from Spanish Andorra (a “new” country in the A Stamp From Everywhere collection) – single stamps (Scott #102a-d) from a sheet of four issued on 31 March 1978 to mark the 50th anniversary of Spanish postal services in Andorra.
The order from France contained what is possibly my favorite stamp portraying the hobby of philately. The most famous of all American stamp collectors was definitely Franklin D. Roosevelt and the hobby received an unprecedented amount of public awareness in the United States during his long presidency. He was a truly remarkable man, as well as an astute politician, and I plan to write a brief profile of FDR once I have obtained a few more stamps picturing him to illustrate the article.
This airmail release by Monaco (Scott #C16) appeared on 15 May 1947 as part of a set issued to commemorate the principality’s participation in the Centennial International Philatelic Exhibition held in New York City that month. This was the tenth stamp to be issued by Monaco portraying Roosevelt since his death the preceding April (nine stamps – general issue, airmail, semi-postal, and airmail semi-postal – had been released on 13 December 1946). There’s also a slight design error; see if you can spot something unusual about the president’s left hand…