Monthly Archives: August 2017

  1. Numismatics & Philately

     

     

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  2. Stanley Gibbons

    Image result for stanley gibbonsImagine a company, which like the Scott publishing company, (so dominant in United States philately) is preeminent as its national stamp publisher. As well as issuing a general worldwide catalog, they are especially known as the publisher of the national specialty catalog which is used by nearly all native philatelists and millions of foreign ones. But in addition to this, they also sell stamps (Scott stopped selling stamps and concentrated only on publishing over 70 years ago), are among the largest stamp sellers in the world, have an investment arm, actively promote stamps as an investment, are beginning to make inroads into the American market, h
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  3. Comparing Catalogs

    There are four major worldwide international catalogs (plus several smaller single area specialized catalogs such as Facit for Scandinavia and Zumstein for Switzerland, which are only issued for their home countries and whose publishers have no worldwide versions of their catalogs). German philatelists collect their stamps by the Michel catalog, which publishes a worldwide catalog in German, along with a highly specialized catalog of Germany and area. Yvert is the French catalog which does substantially the same thing for francophones, again with a specialized France and Colonies catalog. Gibbons is published in Great Britain and once was a worldwide catalog, though their most popular yearly offering is a British Commonwealth catalog that is the standard for collecting the former British Colonies. And in America, we have the Scott catalog, published every year in numerous (costly)&nb
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  4. Albania

    The philatelic history of Albania  shows the effects of the domination of four nations on the Albanian people as well as the political aspirations of the Albania people themselves. As part of the Balkan area, Albania has had the misfortune to be subject to  political and military intervention by the Turks, the Italians, the Germans, the Soviets, before finally, in the most modern period, having their own fate in their hands. (Don't forget, the political good fortune of the dozen or so Eastern and Southeastern European countries that became truly independent after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992 was a histor
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  5. Scott Publishing and Promotion of Philately

    Scott Publishing Company has been integral to collecting stamps in the United States. J. Walter Scott was one of the first stamp dealers, and his publishing company and catalogs grew out of the full service stamp dealing company that he ran beginning in the 1860s. Scott was an innovator, and the Scott companies were great promoters of philately during our hobby's most expansive period.
     
    Albums were a natural progress
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  6. Zeppelin Stamps

    When an event has played out, it is often hard to see how it could have happened any other way. The first airplanes flew, but the limitations of early technology made them cumbersome affairs. Wing design was primitive, providing minimal lift. Materials that made up the plane were heavy compared to the structure they provided, and engines were weighty, generating far less power per pound of metal than do modern engines. All of this meant that though the early airplanes flew, they could carry little more than the pilot. Range of flight was short, not so much because of the probability of engine trouble, but because
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  7. Plate Blocks

    Probably no area of US philately has changed more over the last century than the collecting of US plate blocks. Ours was the first nation to collect plate blocks, and really is still the only country that does (Canadian collectors, UN collectors and Israel collectors have small plate block contingents, but these are derivative from US collecting, mainly appealing to Americans whose interest has migrated away from US philately and don't represent an indigenous specialty of their own). We are so far away from it now that few are aware of why plate number collecting began in the first place. The great American experiment of outsourcin
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  8. Protection Of Certification

    Image result for old stamp certificateCertificates of genuiness grew out of dealer guarantees. Until about 1900, the pool of stamps that there was to collect was so small that the more reputable dealers knew them cold. True too was the fact that the great forgers of the twentieth century (Fournier, Sperati, and De Thuin) had not yet begun their work. In a small collecting environment, peddling forgeries was not very easy. Most forgeries are not visually very convincing. When a dealer or collector has seen numerous examples of the genuine stamp, the forgeries just look wrong to them without having to go to a reference collection to compare them to the known genuine. The early dealers wo

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  9. Stamps As Part Of Mainstream Culture

    Back in 2013 On April 28 the cover photograph of the New York Times Sunday Book Review was the sheet of the 8¢ Willa Cather stamp. The stamp was used to illustrate a review of a new book of her letters.  Such a use of postage stamps by graphic designers is quite unusual today and, as the Sunday Times reaches over two million people, represents

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  10. Satchelateers

    One of the great changes in the stamp world has been the extinction of a species of philatelic professional called the Satchelateer. This type of dealer was common in the early part of the twentieth century and began to decline in numbers around 1980. Satchelateers (and the word is formed from "satchel" which is a large bag) were an important part of the stamp world for nearly one hundred years. They operated somewhat as wholesalers and somewhat in the way that re-insurers do. Here's what they did—dealer A bought a nice collection of, say, US booklet panes and priced them up and put them in his shop. The Satchelateer visited him on his daily rounds from stamp shop to stamp shop and saw what he had acquired. In the course of the Satchelateer's maraudings, he mentioned the fact that he could get some rarer booklet panes if dealer B needed them for a client. Dealer B called h
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  11. Best Times For Philately

    Image result for keep calm and philatelyOur hobby is over 160 years old, and for most of that time philatelists have been complaining about three things that have made their hobby problematic: access to material that they need, prices, and fear of adding altered or counterfeit material to their collections. In philately today, the good news is that these long time concerns have been largely ameliorated thanks to the internet and the collecting market as it exists today.
     
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  12. Spain

     
    The philately of Spain is one of the most interesting. The nineteenth century issues number over 200 face different varieties, much more than most other countries (the United States has more collectible varieties, but we include as major collectible catalog numbers the types of the 1851-57 issue, the subtle shades of the 5c 1857 , the grills and Bank Notes (where Scott lists three complete sets of the same stamps in same colors made from the same plates), and the reprints and reissues. Without these p
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  13. Scott Hardbound Brown Philatelic 1840-1940 Album

     
     
    Many specialist collectors reach the end of their specialties fairly quickly. Two constraints cause this. First, most specialties, such as US stamps, have at most a few thousand varieties that are needed to complete the task. Most of these are quite inexpensive and easily acquired. Then, the few stamps that are left can be very pricey, and so most collectors often find themselves soon at the point where there is little that they either need or that they can afford for their collections. When this happens, these collectors often look for another specialty. But if they choose another country to collect, they soon find themselves in the same bind they were
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  14. Save Your Money

    By the way that some collectors squander their money, you would think that they had an overabundance of it. Throughout philatelic history, collectors have rarely been as careful as they should have been. In the late nineteenth century, few collectors scrutinized where they bought their stamps, and so reprinters and counterfeiters abounded during this period. One of the most egregious scams was the machinations of Nicholas Seebeck. In the early years of the twentieth century, Seebeck contracted with several South and Central American countries to print their s
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  15. Change In Reign

    Queen Elizabeth II has been the monarch of Great Britain for over sixty years. Longevity does run in her family, but she is in her early 90s, and at a certain point she will either abdicate in favor of her son (or grandson) or simply pass on. Her reign has been a long and eventful one, especially for philately. When the Princess became Queen in 1953, the British Empire was just breaking up, and the Commonwealth was just being formed. The stamp issues of the colonies had previously been coordinated, designed, and often printed by the the Crown Agents and their successors. Most British Commonwealth stamps, no matter what co
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  16. The Earliest Forgeries

    Early philatelists did not have the same aesthetics that stamp collectors have today. Little, sometimes even no, attention was paid to quality. Stamps were peeled off envelopes, and the pieces that came off were pasted into early albums. And whenever an early issue proved elusive, early dealers were pleased to print reproductions and forgeries. Many of these early forgeries made little attempt to fool anyone.

     

     

     

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