Continue reading “The Stamps of 2020: January”

It was a busy week for me so I couldn’t devote as much time to philatelic pursuits I would have liked. I did maintain my daily posts to A Stamp A Day (and topped 100,000 words for this month with Saturday’s blog) ans have been working on my new issues spreadsheet mentioned in last week’s “Phila-Bytes”. I had planned to compile the latter into a series (first monthly, then bi-weekly) of articles listing and illustrating all of the new releases I could find from around the world. I got a late start on it, not anticipating how much time it would actually involve. My revised plan is to publish it as a page which will be a work-in-progress added to and updated throughout the year. I hope to have the January portion finished within the next week or so (I have information and images of more than 150 separate stamp issues for this month alone).

United States - Transcontinental Railroad (2019)
United States – Transcontinental Railroad (2019)

The biggest stamp-related news this week was yesterday’s United States Postal Service announcement of a few additional upcoming stamp issues. There is still no word on the Apollo 11 anniversary but the Transcontinental Railroad is indeed being commemorated with three stamps, two illustrating the locomotives Jupiter and No. 119 with the third showing the Golden Spike driven when the trains met at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869. A set of four stamps will mark “Military Working Dogs”, a very worthy subject. Abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly has ten of his paintings appearing in a pane of twenty stamps while tennis champion Maureen Connolly Brinker, also known as “Little Mo” — gets a stamp of her own. Finally, the “Star Ribbon” stamp will be issued in coil rolls of 10,000 and panes of 20. According to the USPS press release:

The artwork features a digital illustration of a star made of red, white and blue ribbon. The white space in the middle of the ribbon creates a second smaller star. The tri-colored ribbon, folded into a patriotic symbol, is intended to evoke the connectedness of the American people.”

Release dates have yet to be announced for any of these stamps.

Canada - Albert Jackson (January 25, 2019)
Canada – Albert Jackson (January 25, 2019)

I didn’t see any advanced notice for the latest set released by the Netherlands other than a press release on the date of issue, January 24. This is a miniature sheet containing two stamps with slightly different designs commemorating “220 Years of Postal Service.” On the same day, Canada Post announced a stamp to honor Albert Jackson, thought to have been Canada’s first black letter carrier. This was issued on January 25 in booklets of ten.

I am not an error collector but it’s always interesting when a new one is reported in the new, particularly on modern issues that are still available from post offices. Last week, Linn’s Stamp Newsan article ran detailing the discovery of multiple imperforate panes of the John Lennon stamps released by the United States last October (Scott #5312-5315). These are missing the die-cuts used to separate self-adhesives stamps from each other. Thus far, more than twenty sheets with this error have been found in Iowa, Florida, and New York. It is likely there are more to be found.

Philosateleian Post - First Moon Landing (January 28, 2019)
Philosateleian Post – First Moon Landing (January 28, 2019)

The Local Post Collectors Society commemorates “World Local Post Day” on the last Monday of January with the organization’s members “releasing” their own stamps marking a common topic. I created stamps for two of these — the World War I centennial in 2014 and the 175th anniversary of the Penny Black in 2015. Both of these were under the moniker of Muang Phuket Local Post (which became Republica Phuketia this past year). Members of the society chose the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing for the 2019 World Local Post Day theme with stamps being “issued” on January 28. Philosateleian Post‘s design carried an image of Neil Armstrong’s boot in the lunar surface. You can receive a mint single of Philosateleian Post’s First Moon Landing stamp or first day cover by sending either USD $2.00 or a self-addressed stamped envelope with your request to:

Kevin Blackston
Philosateleian Post
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Isle of Man - Manx Buses (January 29, 2019) first day cover
Isle of Man – Manx Buses (January 29, 2019) first day cover

My two favorite new issues of this week are a set of six released by the Isle of Man on January 29 depicting Manx buses and a souvenir sheet containing a single stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the Polish banknote. A promotional image even points out all the various security features of the release by Poland.

Poland - 100th Anniversary of the Polish Banknote (January 25, 2019) security features
Poland – 100th Anniversary of the Polish Banknote (January 25, 2019)

This Friday (February 1) is a particularly heavy day with new stamps scheduled to be released by entities as diverse as Åland, Belarus, Japan, Spain, and the New York office of the United Nations. Next Tuesday (February 5) will also see a number of new issues from Estonia, Jersey, Malawi, and New Zealand. That day is also the start of Chinese New Year so I may be more involved in that than blogging. Time will tell….

I didn’t receive any stamps in the mail this week so all that remains is to list my articles published on A Stamp A Day since the last edition of “Weekly Phila-Bytes”:

  1. January 22, 2019:  “The Pontifical Swiss Guard” (Vatican City Scott #1316, 2005) 4,417 words
  2. January 23, 2019:  “Bathyscaphe USS Trieste’s Record-Breaking Dive” (Switzerland Scott #946, 1994) 2,300 words
  3. January 24, 2019:  “Sutter’s Mill & the California Gold Rush” (United States Scott #954, 1948) 5,933 words
  4. January 25, 2019:  “Thailand’s War Against Britain & the United States” (Phuketia MPLP #Ph48, 2018) 6,181 words
  5. January 26, 2019:  “General Douglas MacArthur” (United States Scott #1424, 1971) 7,572 words
  6. January 27, 2019:  “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart” (Germany Scott #1691, 1991) 4,470 words
  7. January 28, 2019:  “King Henry VII of England” (North Korea Scott #2662, 1984) 2,305 words
  8. January 29, 2019:  “Stamford Raffles & the Founding of Modern Singapore” (Singapore Scott #40, 1955) 4,302 words
United States - Star Ribbon (2019)
United States – Star Ribbon (2019)

I still have not decided on a topic for today’s ASAD entry as January 30 is filled with anniversaries of such things as the beheading of King Charles I of England in 1649, the execution of Oliver Cromwell in 1661, the legendary Akō incident during which forty-seven rōnin (leaderless samurai) avenged the death of their master in 1703, the first assassination attempt against a United States President (Andrew Jackson) in 1835, and the successful assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. I do not feel like writing about death this evening. It is also the birth anniversary of German flutist, flute maker and Baroque music composer Johann Joachim Quantz which interests me because of his middle name but I don’t have any stamps picturing him (at least one has been issued by Germany). Thus, it will be a “random stamp day” which means I will search through folders of stamps scanned from my collection until one catches my eye. In these instances, I try to choose something easy (such as an animal or a scenic place) that won’t involve too much research or assembly time. This will be only the second “random stamp day” this month (this year, for that matter); I usually average about 10-12 per month.

Before getting started on that (article #947), it’s time for a trip to the local outdoor market for dinner.

I hope everybody enjoys their weekend.

United States - Ellsworth Kelly (2019)
United States – Ellsworth Kelly (2019)

Scan_20151105 (7)

With my recent promotion to Assistant Head Teacher of my school here in Phuket, Thailand, my leisure time has once again been drastically reduced.  In addition to administrative duties, I still have a number of teaching hours each week including a series of private three-hour Conversation lessons Mondays through Thursdays with a Thai man who is, at best, an Elementary level student.  That one lesson leaves me more exhausted than anything else I do and all I want to do when I return home in the evenings is eat dinner and go to sleep. It has been difficult to become motivated to do anything else!

Luckily, a few stamps arrived at the end of the week that have restored my interest in my philatelic pursuits.  Indeed, the covering envelopes were almost as interesting as the items contained within…

Scan_20151105 (5)-obs-red

Looking at the first, I knew I would be disappointed once I opened it.  The wrinkles from the water damage are apparent from this scan.  In southern Thailand we have just two seasons – the Dry Season (hot and hotter) and the Wet Season (hot and rainy).  This year, the monsoons have been particularly bad with the addition of being hammered by the outer spokes of at least four monster typhoons (AKA hurricanes).  I’m actually surprised that I haven’t received more soaked mail than I have – only three this year (all of which contained mint stamps ruined by the moisture).  As local mail deliveries are made by guys on tiny 110cc motorbikes, they often won’t make their rounds if the skies look threatening.  Occasionally the storms seem to come out of nowhere…

Scan_20151105 (6)

What would have been the “A Stamp From Everywhere” addition for Azerbaijan didn’t survive a storm somewhere along it’s journey from a dealer in Bangor, Maine.  The containing envelope bore a purple marking in Thai (I’ll see if somebody at work can translate it) and the back flap is taped closed.  I have no idea if the marking – and possible resealing – of the envelope occurred in Bangkok or Phuket.  The stamp – Scott #350, 35 kopeck picturing flag on map of Azerbaijan, issued on 26 March 1992 commemorating the nation’s independence – is wrinkled and stuck to the inside of a glassine envelope.  Luckily, it’s not an expensive stamp (2009 catalogue value for MNH was US $1.25) and I should be able to track down another.  Makes me wonder if I should just not order anything during the six months or so of the Wet Season….

Scan_20151105 (2a)
Scan_20151105 (2b)

Stamp dealers often affix older postage stamps to envelopes when mailing out orders but I’ve never seen an 11 year old First Day Cover recycled as was this one from Canada.  The cover bears a souvenir sheet (Scott #2027) issued on 26 March 2004 containing a C$1.40 stamp portraying Arctic explorer Otto Sverdup’s ship the Fram as well as two labels.  This was a joint issue with Norway and Greenland; I believe that the “NU” in the pictorial postmark stands for Nunavut, Canada’s Arctic province.  The dealer added three copies (one on the front and two on the back) of Scott #1812, a holographic self-adhesive stamp issued on 12 October 1999 to mark the Millennium, as well as a single copy of Scott #1856 issued 23 May 2000 to mark the Queen Mother’s 100th birth anniversary.

Scan_20151105 (8)

The recycled FDC from the frozen Canadian north contained a folder of twelve stamps from the tropical islands of Hawaii.  Specifically, the stamps are:

  • Scott #35 (1875) 2c brown King David Kalakaua
  • Scott #42 (1883) 1c green Princess Likelike
  • Scott #43 (1886) 2c rose King David Kalakaua (a duplicate)
  • Scott #52 (1891) 2c dull violet Queen Liliuokalani
  • Scott #57 (1893) 2c dull violet Provisional Government overprint in red
  • Scott #66 (1893) 2c rose Provisional Government overprint in black
  • Scott #74 (1894) 1c yellow Coat of Arms
  • Scott #75 (1894) 2c brown View of Honolulu (a duplicate)
  • Scott #76 (1894) 5c rose lake Statue of Kamehameha
  • Scott #80 (1899) 1c dark green Coat of Arms
  • Scott #81 (1899) 2c rose View of Honolulu
  • Scott #82 (1899) 5c blue Statue of Kamehameha

I plan to design a few album pages to house these Hawaiian stamps on my next day off (currently, that MIGHT be next Friday) and would like to purchase a few more.  There are a number that are rather affordable but others that I can never hope to obtain.  It appears that the earliest stamp from Hawaii that I will be able to add would be Scott #10 (2009 value of US $25 unused), an official reprint issued in 1868 of an 1855 stamp picturing a rough rendition of King Kamehameha III.

Scan_20151105 (9)

From the pre-statehood issues of one future U.S. state to a fantasy issue purporting to represent the republic era of yet another U.S. state, that of my birth – Texas.  These were created this year by Philosateleian, a local post operated out of Jacksonville, Florida, and probably the most visible of the American hobbyist posts.  To quote the designer:

The Republic of Texas never issued postage stamps. Indeed, it became part of the United States of America in 1846, the year before the USA issued its first stamps. But what if Texas had used postage stamps? What might they have looked like? I am creating a series of fantasy stamps for the Republic of Texas, and these are the first set in that series.

In 1916, W. L. Newsom wrote that the early Texas postal system had five basic rates for a letter comprised of a single sheet of paper:

– 6¼ cents (up to 20 miles)
– 12½ cents (20-50 miles)
– 18¾ cents (50-100 miles)
– 25 cents (100-200 miles)
– 37½ cents (over 200 miles)

The five fantasy stamps included in this lot match the rates listed above. They are ungummed.

No more than 280 copies (20 sheets of 14) of each of these stamps will be produced.”

I love the minimalist design of the stamps with the Lone Star of Texas dominating.  I look forward to additional “issues” in this series.  Another term for fantasy stamps, by the way, are Cinderella stamps.

Scan_20151105 (1a)-obs-red
Scan_20151105 (1b)-red

The front and back of the envelope containing the Republic of Texas stamps is a good example of what I enjoy seeing when I pick up my mail in my guesthouse’s lobby.  While most dealers cover envelopes with older stamps from the 1950’s and 1960’s (full sheets of these stamps being dirt-cheap), I would rather see recent stamps such as the new Elvis Presley and Paul Newman emissions issued this past August and September, respectively.  A nice addition is another Philosateleian local post stamp and appropriate markings.

Happy Collecting!