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…
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…
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.