Monthly Archives: June 2014

  1. Benghazi is part of Libya

    The Arab spring which started out so peacefully with the change of the governments of Egypt and Tunisia took a turn for the more violent this summer when NATO was involved in the overthrow of the Libyan government. Libyan stamps have now begun their fourth phase. First, there were the issues of the Italian Colony of Libya which issued over a hundred different stamps before 1951. After WW II and the Italian occupation, there were the Independence issues which were issued from 1951-1969. In 1969, Muammar Gadaffi staged a coup and became the sole ruler of Libya for over 40 years until he was overthrown last summer. Libya has a large geographic area but a small population and is largely de
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  2. Dutch Colonies

    Indonesia was such a massive colony and so enormously profitable to the Netherlands that colonies in the new world were more of an afterthought than official government policy. Most of the colonies in North America that the Dutch did establish were taken away by the British (who seemed to take up the Portuguese interest that was determined by the Zaragoza Treaty of 1529 ). The Dutch retained small colonies on the northern coast of South America , under the names Netherlands Antilles and Suriname.

    Suriname stamps
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  3. The Future of Philately

    We tend to think of Philately as one hobby when it is really three separate and distinct endeavors, each with its own goals, problems, future and marketplace. The three are Mainstream Philately, High-end Philately and Aspirational Philately. Mainstream Philately is what most of us engage in from the youngster enjoying his first packet to the collector perusing Ebay for the best price and quality for the items he wants to add to his collection. Mainstream Philately is determined largely by the market-the stamps that mainstream philatelists desire are for the most part readily available, with most of the search and negotiations going on over price and quality rather than over whether the item is going to be offered at all. Most of the stamps that most collectors want fall into this category.

     High-end Philately is qu
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  4. Major and Minor Varieties

     5
     5A
     6
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  5. War Tax Stamps

    Most special stamps relate to postal use and postal purposes. Stamps such as Airmails are higher denominated stamps and the extra revenue is used to defray the cost of the class of service that is being used. But War Tax stamps are a different animal entirely-they are a country using its postal service to generate revenue for another purpose, in this case war funding. The first War Tax stamps were issued by Spain in the late Nineteenth Century and War Tax stamps have been issued as late as 1974 in Bahrain. But by far the most significant use of War tax stamps was in the British Commonwealth for raising revenue for WW I. Most of the Colonial issues are overprints, but Canada produced di
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  6. Britsh Guiana Stamp Sells for $9.5 million

    British Guiana Stamp Sells for Record $9.5 Million

    A British Guiana One-Cent Magenta postage stamp from 1856, the only one of its kind to still exist, sold for a record $9.5 million at Sotheby's on Tuesday.
    The hefty price, which includes the buyer's premium, makes the one-inch by one-and-a-quarter-inch stamp (2.5 cm by 3.2 cm) printed in black on magenta paper the most expensive stamp ever sold at auction, and the most valuable object by weight and size, according to the auction house.
    An anonymous telephone bidder purchased the stamp during the bidding in the packed auction.
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  7. Collecting US Plate Plocks



    Plate numbers were put in the margins of United States sheets so that later the printer would know which sheets were printed from which plates so that pla
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  8. Essays




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  9. Our Family

    The current owners of Apfelbaum are the great grandchildren of Maurice Apfelbaum who first became a stamp dealer in 1910-nearly 100 years ago. We are four- John, Ken, Missy, and Susanne.

    John (that's me) is 61. I started collecting stamps when I was eight. The first set of stamps I ever bought was the Jules Verne Monaco set from 1960. I was home sick from school playing with my Harris Statesman Deluxe Album and the Scott catalog. This set caught my fancy and I called my father at work and asked him to bring me home a set (one of the advantages of having a stamp dealer father was the ability to experience an early version of same day delivery). I worked with stamps during summer vacations and when I was at Penn in the 1970's. I joined the firm full time in 1975.

    Ken is 58 and has also collected since childhood. He collected Andorra (I think our father wanted to get double duty out of the

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  10. Plea Agreement

    Later this month the world's most valuable stamp comes up for sale. The British Guiana one cent magenta is the world's most written about stamp. It received its cachet as being the stamp with the highest price realization in the famous Ferrary philatelic auctions that were held after WW I.
    The sales price will be very important. A huge price and philately will receive a huge boost from the publicity. A lowish price or if the stamp doesn't meet the (hidden) reserve and the event will be spun as evidence of the decline of philately. A plea for which we all can agree is for a couple of deep pocket buyers to push the price of this stamp to levels

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  11. Sales Tax

    2014 may be the year when the sales tax exemption that most philatelists enjoy when they add stamps to their collections ends. The current sales tax code in most states does not formally exempt postage stamps from sales tax but rather exempts sales of products that travel across state lines when the merchant lacks a physical presence in the state that he is selling (which is how most stamps are sold). This exemption has fueled the growth of mail order selling and now Internet selling and has been actively opposed by most states who are desperate for revenue. The reason for current mail order sales tax exemption is that under our Constitution only the Federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce and so mail order sales from one state to the next fall under the bailiwick of Congress to regulate and tax. But under pressure from the states, Congress may well act next year.
              The bill that is cur

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  12. Today's Classics Were Yesterday's New Issues

    Philatelists today are apt to look askance at the new issue policies of many countries. Between 2005 and 2010 the United States issued over 500 different stamps. Did we really need that many? OK, maybe we did; after all we are a diverse nation of 320 million people (with plenty of special interests that need to be commemorated). And we are a robust commercial nation generating tens of billions of pieces of mail annually. But did Grenada also need 500 different stamp issues during the same period. Grenada in square miles is about the size of the city of Philadelphia and its population of 110,000 is only 3/100s of a percent of the US population. On a pro rated philatelic basis, if Grenada's issuing policies were to mirror the US, Grenada should be entitled to a new stamp every seven years. And Grenada is hardly the most egregious example.
    But profligate stamp issuing policies are nothing new. Some of the most popular worldwide stamps today were originally derided in th

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  13. Always Look Carefully at Your Mail


    Grace and Calvin Coolidge were considered generous and gracious people. But little did they realize that the invitations that they sent out in 1927 had more than just the significance of being able to have cocktails with the President. On the White House stationary that was used for this invitation the President used a rare type II,Scott #634A which was a stamp variety that was not known immediat
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  14. Collectors Collect All Day Now

    Remember how you organized your day was in 1970. Your clock radio alarm went off and you listened to a bit of news or some music while the percolator made coffee. The morning newspaper was at the front door and you read that before going off to work. At your office you did your professional tasks while looking forward to a date later that night with your Apfelbaum Auction catalog or Linns or whatever philatelic item would come in the mail that day. People's lives were compartmentalized and the change in this aspect of our lives is probably why you hear so little about conversations around the water cooler anymore. They no longer exist as the Internet age has let us have access to who and what we like, whenever we want. No more waiting to go home to read the news-it was reported today that 27% of people use their phones to get news updates numerous times per day. People no longer wait until they are off work to engage in philatelic matters-Stamp Auction Netwo

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