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  1. The Kobans of Japan

    One of the more unknown and interesting areas to collect is the Koban issues of Japan. Unlike the first two Japanese issues which have been extensively forged (actually faked #1-8 of Japan are about ten times more common than the genuine, and forgeries of the second Japanese issue, called the Cherry Blossoms, are ubiquitous too), the Kobans are nearly always genuine and very plentiful. They were the main stamp issue of Japan for the 1875-1910 period, which coincided with one of the most significant and rapid industrializations that any nation has undergone. In 1868, Japan had been a feudal state nearly cut off form the world. The Meiji
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  2. Boxes of Stamps

    Image result for pile of stampsUntil about 1970 the vast majority of stamp collectors were world wide collectors. They often concentrated (mostly in this country in American and Canadian stamps) but the large majority of collectors in that generation maintained world wide collections as well, usually buying box lots. They sorted these box lots out over time adding to their world wide collections when obtaining items for their specialized collections slowed down or got too expensive. Most collectors of this earlier generation got as much joy and excitement form sorting out their box lots as they did from their more specialized collecting. The reason was

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  3. Classic Norway

    Image result for NorwayThe first two issues of Norway have always held great interest among serious philatelists. The First stamp, an imperf, is one of the most popular in philately. It was printed widely apart so nearly always comes with large margins. It is plateable, meaning that all one hundred of the positions in the sheet have been identified and can be told by examining subtle printing characteristics on each stamp. The cancellations types are plentiful and usually identifiable (most countries for their first issues mandated "killer" cancellations of the Maltese Cross type that were used on the Penny Black. Norway largely used the town
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  4. Care of Stamp Collections

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  5. George VI

    Image result for George VIThere are six different Monarchs of Great Britain who have ruled since stamps were issued. Five of them have left a very prominent philatelic footprint (Edward VIII was king for a bit less than a year and made no impact on stamp collecting). Certainly Elizabeth has had the largest number of stamps issued with her likeness on them, followed by her great grandmother Victoria, but it is in specializing on the three kings in between that has produced some of the most interesting areas to collect. Of these three kings, many philatelists consider George VI the most interestin

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  6. Philately and Charity

    Image result for pro juventuteMany collectors choose what they collect so as to both maximize their philatelic pleasure and, at the same time benefit the charitable and political groups that they are interested in. This kind of collecting and stamp issuance has a long tradition. The first stamps that had a charitable component were issued by Switzerland in 1912. This began an annual series of "Pro Juventute-For the Children" and was the beginning of the thousands of charity stamps that our hobby has produced. The Scott catalog calls these stamps semi-postals. These stamps have postal values of a given amount and then a "charity surcharge" that the buyer pays in addition to the postage that is donated to the designated charity. These stamps are sold
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  7. Hiram Deats Library

    AboImage result for Hiram Deats libraryut forty years ago (as one of the first stamp tasks I was involved in professionally), we consulted with the Philadelphia Library over their philatelic collection. Philadelphia had been the recipient of the Hiram Deats library which was donated to them in 1952. It still laid in cartons in the enormous main library basement when I examined it in 1971. The library consisted of nearly 1200 cartons and

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  8. Newspapers

    Image result for first us newspaperCollectors of United States stamps are accustomed to thinking that, when postal patrons of the Nineteenth Century wanted to mail newspapers, they used specially prepared Newspaper stamps. This was the case in the United States, a country that in the Nineteenth Century designed and issued more special service stamps than any other. Most other nations used regular postage stamps to mail newspapers, though the rate was often different than the regular first class postage rate. Most nations, the US included, have always subsidized newspaper mail, offering lower rates for the weights and distances sent. Postal services were government agencies then, and the thought was that aiding the distribution of newspapers fac
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  9. Decoupage

    Classic French stamps are among the most interesting. The first issues of France are printed by a method of printing called typography. Unlike engraved plates, typography relies on plates that hold a design by having an ink-holding agent that is applied to the plate do the printing rather than having the metal plate itself hold the ink, as is the case in engraving. Typography is a simpler printing method than engraving, but in the hands of capable printers can produce a fine result. But the non-metal aspect of the printin
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  10. Modern Philately

    The history of our hobbImage result for 19th century post officey can be divided into four phases. The first is the 1860-1910 period. This was the birth of philately, where collectors first began to acquire stamps. It was when the first catalogs and albums were developed as were the basic rules for quality and what is appropriate to put into collections (genuine vs reprints etc). The tools of our hobby (perf gauge, tongs and watermark tray were developed at this time too). The second period (1910-1950) was the period when collectors expanded the boundaries

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  11. Prince Edward Island

    Image result for prince edward island There are a handful of countries that issued stamps from the very first period of philatelic issues which, through a confluence of historical circumstances, have come down to us as philatelic countries where collectors can obtain all of the stamps for a modest price. Two factors are usually necessary for this to happen. First, the issues need to be plentiful enough, or unpopular enough, that the stamps are not too expensive. And second, the country has to have had a short lived philatelic history so that there are not too many different stamps. Some countries such as Saxony issued less than twenty different stamps before being incorporated into
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  12. Lucky Lanie

    Lanie Murphy was a lucky young woman. On her twenty first birthday, her grandfather gave her a group of stamps that he had received from his father when his father died. The great-grandfather was never a stamp collector; rather, in the 1920's, flush with money from his job on Wall Street, he bought a mint block of four of every new issue as it came through the Post office near his office. Many people bought stamps like this during the 1920's. Lanie's great-grandfather bought them, put them in glassines, and never looked at them again. They remained in perfect quality, which, more than their rarity, made them very valuable.
     
    It is obvious that all mint stamps f
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  13. Forbin

    https://i.ebayimg.com/thumbs/images/g/nBkAAOSwwDtals3l/s-l225.jpgThe last comprehensive catalog of Revenue Stamps of the World was issued by the French dealer Forbin in the year 1915. After that date, the collecting of worldwide revenue stamps began to fall off in popularity. In a very few countries, the United States and France come to mind, the collecting of native revenue stamps continued to be popular. But for the vast majority of the world, by 1930, Revenues simply were not collected anymore. The reason was simple. By 1930 there were enough worldwide stamps (and even within countries enough specialized stamps) to keep all but the most ardent philatelists happy. So Revenues became less popular and in hobbies, less popularity breeds lesser popularity until, today, it is a very unusu
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  14. Czechoslovakia Music Sheets

    Czechoslovakia has all of the markers for a popular philatelic country. It has a highly educated population. As a central European country, its population shares many characteristics with the Austrians, Swiss, and Germans- all of whom are avid collectors. Since the downfall of communism and the introduction of the free market, Czechoslovakia should be an active collectors market with increasing stamp prices. But the popularity of Czechoslovakia has never been as great as outsiders imagine that it should. The reason probably is that the many nationalities that were united to form Czechoslovakia never warmed to the stamps of their
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  15. Literature Past

    Image result for American Philatelist first issueThe New York Review of Books is a literary magazine that began publishing in the 1960s. Issued twenty or so times a year, it carries book reviews and articles on contemporary issues written by a large group of the finest thinkers and academics of our time. The magazine is a bi-monthly journey into the world of ideas, escorted by the best intellectual guides. Like all periodicals of this type, the problem is that great articles of ten years ago are still great, even if the periodical format means that they are never read again. What the N.Y.R.B. has done, however, is put their entire publication history on line. Subscribers have access to over 2,500 wonderful articles about books and thinking. I
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  16. Farleys

    Some of the moImage result for James A. Farleyst popular US philatelic issues of the twentieth century are the Farley issues. They are Scott #753-771, and though avidly collected today, like many popular stamps, they had a checkered past. James A. Farley was a New York party politician who was instrumental in Franklin Roosevelt's rise to the Democratic party nomination for President in 1932. Farley was rewarded for his help by being made Postmaster General. In the days before the Commerce Department, the Postmaster Generalship was the greatest patronage p
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  17. Philatelic Copyrights

    Image result for Herman Herst Jr.'sHerman Herst Jr.'s book Nassau Street is probably the most readable and enjoyable of all the philatelic canon. It is a series of stories and reminisces about philately in the 1930s and 1940s loaded with good anecdotes about many of the giants of our hobby along with reflections on where the hobby was in the year that the book was published (1960) and where stamp collecting had come from. The book was immensely popular and was on the New York Times' bestseller list for a time after its publication, indicating appeal outside the hobby. Copies are available from used booksellers on Amazon, so, if you want one, there are a few that are still available. However, books like this are hard to find, and collectors who cam
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  18. Simplified US Philately

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    Collectors and dealers of the 1930s and 1940s looked at the obstacles to increasing the popularity of US philately and decided that unnecessary complexity was off-putting to new entrants to the hobby. This feeling was created by four things. First, the classic one cent and ten cent 1851 with their different minor plate types being elevated into major catalog number status was felt to be off-putting, creating major rarities (such as Scott #5) where the same type of variety of a more minor country than the US might not even be listed. Second, there were the nume

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  19. Decline of Stamps Societies

    Image result for american philatelic society in the 1950sUnbeknownst to a mass of collectors, one of the major changes brought about in our hobby as a result of the Internet age is greater democratization. In the pre-1900 period, philatelic organizations didn't count for much- there were few of them, and they had few members. The American Philatelic Society emerged as a powerful group in the 1950s, and membership in the society became critical to success as a stamp collector or dealer. Stamp insurance was very difficult to obtain back then if you weren't an APS member, as APS stamp insurance was not only inexpensive but had expansive coverage limits and easy underwriting requirements. In this period too, most better stamps were sold at Pu
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  20. Confederate States

    Image result for confederate stamp alliance catalogConfederate States philately has always enjoyed enormous popularity. The stamps are interestingly printed, served a real postal purpose, and the story behind the stamps has real philatelic appeal- large nation, rent by discord, one section withdraws from union to preserve the ability to own human beings as property, the other side fights to retain the union and end slavery. If it wasn't true it would seem unbelievable.
     
    Losers in wars and political conflict tend to gravitate to th
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