Burkina Faso — This landlocked West African nation was formerly the French colony of Upper Volta, so named because it encompasses the headwaters and upper drainage area of the Volta River. It was established in 1919 with territory taken from the French colonies of Senegal, Niger and Ivory Coast.
It was disestablished in 1932, with its territory divided between Ivory Coast, French Sudan and Niger. In 1947, Upper Volta was reestablished as a separate French colony. It gained autonomy in 1958 and full independence as the Republic of Upper Volta in 1960.
In 1984, the name of the country was changed to Burkina Faso, using one word from each of the country’s two main languages to convey the description “The Land of Upright Men.”
Since gaining its independence, the country has had a very active stamp-issuing policy, producing many colorful issues with popular topical collecting subjects. On May 25, 1997, Burkina Faso issued a set of four Tribal Masks stamps (Scott 1125A-1125D). The set is unvalued in the 2015 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, presumably because of a lack of pricing information.
Masks are a fairly popular topical collecting area. Recently, a mint never-hinged set sold in an online auction for more than $37 after a flurry of bidding. This indicates that there is probably more demand than can be met readily by the supply. If you see this set offered at $37 or less, I think it would be a good buy.
Several topical sets issued from 1997 to 2002 by countries that are not widely collected in the United States have relatively high catalog values or are unvalued in the Scott catalog. A lot of them also have unusual catalog numbers. Burkina Faso has a run of numbers from 1125A to 1125U. In this example, the suffixes indicate that these stamps were not listed until years after they had been issued.
I think that this is probably because these countries did a poor job of advertising and distributing new issues to catalog editors, dealers and collectors. Whatever the reason, this provides a fertile hunting ground for topical collectors.
A Linn’s editor did not find this week’s recommended stamps on ZillionsOfStamps.com.
Tip of the week
United States — The 1895 2¢ carmine George Washington stamp on paper watermarked double-line “USPS” (Scott 265) is an inexpensive stamp that is often missing in many collections. Examples in collections identified as this stamp frequently turn out to be misidentified examples of its twin on unwatermarked paper (Scott 250).
This stamp is very undervalued in the 2014 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers in both mint never-hinged condition and original gum condition. It is valued at just $27.50 in original gum condition and $82.50 in mint never-hinged condition.
Available stock often comes from old-time plate number strip collections that are broken up for sale as singles if some of the stamps in the strip are hinged and others are not.
This stamp is well worth buying at full Scott catalog value in either mint never-hinged condition or original gum condition in the grade of very fine. Fine-very fine examples are a good buy at two-thirds of Scott catalog value. — H.G.
July 30, 2015 09:01 AMAs in previous years, Rarities Week, the series of sales conducted June 22-26 by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, included several name sales as well as an assortment of notable items from around the world. The week kicked off with something of a do-over: a sizable assortment of better United States stamps and covers that had appeared in four previous sales, but whose winning bidder then failed to pay for them. Read More ›
July 23, 2015 04:35 PMThe Tieton, Wash., post office is a simple 1935 cement block building with a slat wood facade. Townsfolk in the agricultural community of 1,200 in central Washington believe the post office could become a landmark, if only the United States Postal Service would allow them to cover the front with a stamp-like mosaic. Read More ›
July 23, 2015 03:11 PMThe American Philatelic Society will host the nation’s largest annual stamp exhibition Aug. 20-23. The show will take place at the DeVos Place Convention Center, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, Mich. Read More ›
July 21, 2015 01:00 PMLinn’s Washington Correspondent Bill McAllister recently reported that the Inspector General of the United States Postal Service has taken the nation’s mail agency to task for intentionally creating 100 upright $2 Jenny Invert panes. Read More ›
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz discusses the largest souvenir card produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The card is one of three issued to honor the centenary of San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke discusses Canada’s recently recalled $1.20 Dinosaur Provincial Park stamps featuring inaccurately described Hoodoo rock formations.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the discovery of another pane of the intentionally created upright variety of the $2 Jenny Invert stamp.
Chad Snee discusses the recent sale of the glass locket containing the famed 1918 Jenny Invert airmail error stamp.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.