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Another rainy week of no mail deliveries (better than receiving soaked mail) and a national holiday on Wednesday for HM the Queen’s birthday (celebrated as Thai Mothers’ Day), brought a welcome – albeit small – stack of mail this afternoon.  Three eBay wins brought seven stamps, including a thought-lost order from Slovakia which took almost two months to arrive as well as stamps from the 265th country in my collections – Tasmania.

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The stamp arriving from Bratislava is a nice Austria Scott #45, 20 kreuzer gray issued in 1883.  But the reason I purchased this particular stamp was the very nice Joachimstal postmark (applied upside down), an addition to a loose collection based on my surname.  From the German Democratic Republic, I now have Scott #91 – 12 pfennig deep blue stamp picturing a father and his children with their stamp collection, issued on 28 October 1951 to mark Stamp Day (Tag der Briefmarke). 

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Scan_20150814 (8)Tasmania is a “new” country for me and I received five examples from the pictorial series which had eight different designs but were printed using several different printing methods (engraving, lithography and typography), perforation gauges and watermarks between 1899 and 1911, plus one surcharge in 1912.  I have tentatively identified my additions as Scott #88, the 2p violet picturing Hobart issued engraved in 1899; Scott #94, ½p green picturing Lake Marion printed by lithography and issued in 1902-03; Scott #95, 1p carmine, Scott #96, 1p dull red, both portraying Mount Wellington and issued in 1902-1903 – the carmine stamp is lithographed and the dull red is printed by typography; and Scott #97, another 2p violet with a view of Hobart, printed in lithography.  I think… (I seem to have misplaced my perforation gauge this evening…)

Scan_20150814 (13)-cropFinally, I received two postcards – one from my sister who was vacationing in California earlier this month and a Postcrossing card from Russia.  The stamps on each are of interest in that each country has different approaches to postmarking nowadays.  Most mail that I receive from the United States are festooned with what I find to be very ugly ink jet spray-on markings.  Often the stamps aren’t cancelled at all as in the case of the trio of Jimi Hendrix stamps (Scott #4880, issued in 2014) on the card from my sister.  She recently told me that she’d requested a postal clerk to handstamp a letter to me but was told that they “don’t do that anymore.”  The card from Russia, on the other hand, received two nice handstamps on the four stamps (three from a 2009 set of icebreakers and one 2008 stamp showing a bridge in Moscow).

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I’ll write about these postcards very soon on “Please, Mr. Postman!” – my blog about postcards and the subjects they portray.

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!