insightsNicaragua Bluefields overprints met economic crisis but spawned fakery
December 30, 2016 10:54 AMollowing the listings for Nicaragua’s postal tax stamps in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 is the modest array of postal issues of the Province of Zelaya (Bluefields) on the eastern coast of Nicaragua. Bluefields is in the area originally known as the Mosquito Coast Reservation, and its chief Caribbean port. The Mosquito name refers not to the flying insect but rather is a corruption of the name of the indigenous Miskito Indians.
insightsIdentifying Brazil’s Bull’s Eyes corresponding plates can be fun
December 30, 2016 10:52 AMIf you overhear someone saying “Brazil came in second,” you might surmise that the subject of conversation is a soccer championship, or coffee production. Instead, you might learn that Brazil was the second nation in the world to have issued postage stamps, and the first on the American continent to have done so. he Empire of Brazil issued stamps Aug. 1, 1843. At first the three issued stamps were used in Rio de Janeiro. That might have been considered a trial period. After 30 days, the stamps were distributed to all major post offices in the empire.
newsDonate your used stamps to a good cause
December 29, 2016 11:35 AMThe London-based Royal National Institute Blind People’s Christmas Stamp Appeal is encouraging folks to send in their stamps as part of an effort to raise money for the RNIB, which is "a leading source of information on sight loss and the issues affecting blind and partially sighted people," according to its website.
insightsExploring creative philatelic entrepreneur Nicholas Frederick Seebeck
December 29, 2016 10:50 AMNicholas Frederick Seebeck was born in Germany in 1857, and in common with many of his compatriots, he and his family moved to the United States in search of a better future. Nicholas Frederick was 9 when the family settled in New York City. Quite early on, he got involved in the printing business. He also began dealing in postage stamps for collectors. In 1876, he compiled and published a stamp catalog with the rather lengthy title Descriptive Price Catalogue of All Known Postage Stamps of the United States and Foreign Countries.
insightsHere’s how to classify the 1888 centenary stamps of New South Wales
December 28, 2016 10:51 AMCollecting stamps from Australia’s former British colonies can be an expensive proposition, particularly colonial stamps issued by New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria between the 1850s and 1880s. Nevertheless, each of the colonies has classic stamps that fall into the realm of “budget friendly,” and good examples are the lower denominations of the stamps marking the centenary of New South Wales, issued between 1888 and 1910.
blogNew book makes Nejd Sultanate stamps, postal history accessible to novice and expert alike
December 27, 2016 11:04 AMGhassan “Gus” Riachi announced in his Dec. 28 Middle East Stamps column the publication of his magnum opus: a work of 16 years titled The Sultanate of Nejd: A Philatelic Manual. After my careful perusal of this scholarly treatment from one of the preeminent students of Saudi Arabia philately, I think it safe to assume that it will be regarded as the primary reference work of the stamps and postal history of the Nejd period for many years to come.
insightsA guide to identifying 2-penny blue line-engraved issues of 1840-80
December 27, 2016 06:00 AMDuring the 40 years of its life (1840-80), the Two-Penny Blue line-engraved Queen Victoria stamp was issued in 10 distinctly different versions. The Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue assigns numbers 2, 4, 10, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 29 and 30 to these 2d blue stamps. Several changes in design, two different perforation gauges, two distinct watermarks, white and blued paper, and combinations of these features determine the Scott number of each stamp.
insightsStained glass windows shimmer on Christmas stamps issued in 2015
December 25, 2015 10:50 AMA half dozen postal entities pictured stained glass windows on their 2015 Christmas stamps. In alphabetical order, they are Alderney, Brazil, Croatia, Guernsey, Jersey and New Zealand. Guernsey Post issues stamps for both Alderney and Guernsey. The seven stamps issued Nov. 6 for Alderney picture scenes from a stained glass window in St. Anne’s Church on the island. The 42-penny stamp shows Jesus blessing children, and the other stamps picture children from different parts of the world.
newsGreat Britain stamps honor story of Shackleton’s survival against the odds
December 23, 2015 11:58 AMGreat Britain’s Royal Mail is issuing eight stamps Jan. 7 reproducing photographs of Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. In 1914, Shackleton and his 28-man crew, including photographer James Francis “Frank” Hurley, set sail in Endurance on an expedition to cross the Antarctic continent. Although the expedition didn’t reach its goal, it is remembered as one of the greatest survival stories of all time. The story has been retold in books, films, television specials and in an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History in 1999.
newsHelp provide hearing dogs for the deaf with used Christmas card stamps
December 22, 2015 12:34 AMRutland & Stamford Mercury is reporting that the charity has raised over £10,000 for the deaf who aren't fortunate enough to have a seeing eye dog. These stamps are being recycled and put towards a greater cause.
blogVol. 2 of ‘The Philatelic Book of Secrets’ helps collectors determine stamp colors
December 22, 2015 11:04 AMWith publication of Vol. 2 of The Philatelic Book of (even more) Secrets, Professional Stamp Experts of Newport Beach, Calif., continues its efforts to help stamp collectors become more knowledgeable. The book is a special edition of Stamp Market Quarterly, the expertizing firm’s official publication.
insightsNetherlands Antilles 2003 Butterfly block of 12 selling well above Scott catalog value
December 22, 2015 10:50 AMOn April 23, 2003, Netherlands Antilles issued a set of 12 se-tenant Butterfly stamps (Scott 1005). The stamps were printed in sheets of 24, as two blocks of 12 separated by a central gutter. The 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue values a block of 12 se-tenant Butterfly stamps at $13.50 in mint never-hinged condition.
insightsFrom pointers to 'Dog 92': working dogs on the stamps of Canada
December 22, 2015 10:49 AMIn May 2015, Canada Post issued a Love Your Pet booklet and souvenir sheet with delightful illustrations and common-sense tips on basic pet care (Linn’s, May 25, 2015). As background for the story, I compiled a chart of Canada’s stamps depicting pets, and was surprised to find that more than 70 percent of the face-different canine designs issued over the last 58 years have pictured working dogs.
insightsHong Kong wins Chinese New Year poll for the fourth year in a row
December 21, 2015 10:50 AMStamps from Hong Kong, Canada, and Liechtenstein won a competition for the best Year of the Ram stamps. The contest included stamps from 56 countries, or special administrative regions celebrating the Year of the Ram. The stamps were issued in late 2014 or early 2015. The Year of the Ram began Feb 19, 2015, and will end Feb. 7, 2016.
blogDon’t forget World Stamp Show-NY 2016 when setting stamp goals for the new year
December 18, 2015 11:03 AMIt’s that time of the year: We feel the need to make resolutions and set goals for the new year. In reflecting on my own goals, I have a few suggestions I believe might be of interest to you, our readers. First and foremost, resolve to have fun with this great hobby of ours.
insightsFor one Canada Numeral cancellation, a case of mistaken identity
December 18, 2015 10:49 AMOne of the images in my Nov. 2 column, “Canada’s early 19th-century Numeral cancels by the numbers,” brought a response from a keen-eyed collector, noting “that the image showing the stated number 17 is, in actuality, number 47.” My critic added that “perhaps Mr. Baumann could notify Siegel Auction Galleries of a misidentification.”
blogNew Japan stamps offer cold weather Winter Greetings
December 15, 2015 06:59 AMJapan’s Winter Greetings pane of 10 stamps features snowy scenes.
insightsNew authoritative book published for stamps of Sultanate of Nejd
December 14, 2015 10:48 AMThe stamps of the Sultanate of Nejd are one of the most difficult areas of philately, and to help collectors, I recently completed a book that focuses on these stamps, titled The Sultanate of Nejd, A Philatelic Manual. The era of the Sultanate of Nejd heralded the rise of the great desert warrior, Ibn Saud, and his consolidation of the various areas of the Arabian Peninsula into what we know today as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
insightsPrivate post served Trondheim, Norway, for 48 years
December 14, 2015 10:44 AMLast year marked the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Throndhjems By-Post (later Trondhjems By-Post) in the Norwegian city of Trondheim. Back in 1865, the Norwegian Post Office did not offer any local deliveries, and the local post was established to fill this void. Trondheim is one of Norway’s largest cities located on its West Coast. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country, having been founded in 997.
insightsTurbulent history of Bulgaria’s peasants revealed through its stamps
December 11, 2015 10:48 AMBulgaria was a major empire from the ninth to the 14th centuries. Conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1396, Bulgarians spent the next 500 years trying to oust the Muslim conquerors and regain their independence. With Russian help, Bulgaria became an autonomous principality of the Ottoman Empire in 1878. Bulgaria issued its first postage stamps May 1, 1879.
newsProducers of 'Freaks and Errors: A Rare Collection' documentary in final stage of fund-raising
December 10, 2015 03:19 PMA group of stamp collectors and postage enthusiasts from Chicago have set of goal of $17,000 to help fund the production of their stamp-focused documentary, "Freaks and Errors: A Rare Collection."
insightsRetelling Charles Dickens’ classic 'A Christmas Carol' with stamps
December 09, 2015 10:44 AMA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was published Dec. 17, 1843, and in the 172 years since then the story has become a timeless classic, retold hundreds of times in a variety of films, television specials and plays, and faithfully read and re-read every year as part of many families’ holiday traditions. Another way to enjoy A Christmas Carol is by forming a topical collection of stamps that picture the characters from this story of redemption.
insightsGreat Britain’s Penny Black evolved into many colors
December 09, 2015 10:44 AMreat Britain’s Penny Black, the first stamp issued in the world, was at first printed in black. That, in itself, requires an explanation. Its creator, Sir Rowland Hill, was from the beginning worried that people could erase a cancellation and thus would be able to fraudulently reuse the stamp to prepay postage on more than one letter.
newsCanada to open 2016 with a 14-stamp salute Jan. 11
December 07, 2015 11:58 AMCanada Post will kick off 2016 on the second Monday in January (Jan. 11) with an estimated 14 stamps, including multi-stamp installments in two continuing series, a five-stamp inaugural release in a new series of Birds of Canada, and a new definitive depicting Queen Elizabeth II. The biggest surprise of this multi-stamp Monday may be the return of old designs in new denominations. The sites pictured on five $1.20 and $2.50 UNESCO World Heritage booklet and souvenir stamps issued May 16, 2014, (Scott 2739-44) will be back as nondenominated (85¢) permanent-rate stamps.
insightsMarx leads stamp trio on 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic cover
December 04, 2015 10:44 AMThe Hungarian Soviet Republic headed by Bela Kun lasted only from March 21, 1919, until Aug. 1, 1919, but during that time the postal administration issued a set of large bicolor postage stamps in the style of contemporaneous political poster art.
insights1905 Japan issue put best face on takeover of Korea post
December 04, 2015 10:44 AMJapan’s nearest neighbor to the west, the peninsula of Korea, is about 120 miles away, across the Strait of Korea. The two countries engaged in diplomatic and trading exchanges as early as the third century, and Korea was the conduit to Japan for many elements of Chinese culture, including food and religion. A treaty in 1876 launched the efforts to make Korea economically and politically part of the Japanese empire, and early in the 20th century, Japan accelerated the maneuvering to dominate its small neighbor.
insightsTip of the week: Bulgaria Knights Templar stamps could be a hit
December 03, 2015 10:43 AMAlthough there was only minimal historical contact between the Knights Templar and Bulgaria, they are very popular in that country, with secret societies claiming to be their spiritual heirs. In 2008, Bulgaria issued a 1-lev 700th Anniversary of the Destruction of the Knights Templar stamp (Scott 4486), and in 2012, issued a 65-stotinki 700th Anniversary of the Disbanding of the Knights Templar stamp (4589).
insightsStamps show Christmas celebrations around the world
December 03, 2015 10:43 AMHere in the Northern Hemisphere we are used to seeing holiday cards and stamps featuring snowy scenes. Our friends living in the Southern Hemisphere have a very different holiday season: their December means summer, not winter, and that season is reflected on their holiday stamps.
newsNetherlands semipostals featuring Little Golden Books raised $10 million
November 25, 2015 11:55 AMEach year, schoolchildren in the Netherlands sell postage stamps to raise money for the Foundation of Children’s Welfare Stamps (Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland), a charity that works to support the development of vulnerable children. This year’s semipostal stamps feature Little Golden Books, a series of books for children that were introduced in 1942.
newsGreat Britain’s Royal Mail issues Star Wars prestige booklet
November 25, 2015 11:03 AMGreat Britain’s Royal Mail has timed the issue of its Star Wars prestige booklet to coincide with the Dec. 17 opening of the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the United Kingdom. The film opens in the United States the next day, Dec. 18.
insightsColorful stamps showcase the culture and history of Polynesian islands
November 24, 2015 10:22 PMPolynesian culture throughout the Pacific has a rich and fascinating history. Until very recent times, scientists, archaeologists, linguists, oceanographers, anthropologists, and explorers were at odds with one another in the debate over the origin of Polynesians.
insightsThe Kingdom of Cod islands: stamps of St. Pierre & Miquelon to 1957
November 24, 2015 08:51 PMPostage stamps pay postal fees, but they also are intended to represent the country of their origin to the rest of the world. The stamps of St. Pierre & Miquelon vividly reflect that nation’s history and its setting.
insightsHave a second, closer look at that old stripped-down stamp album
November 24, 2015 10:45 AMIt’s easy to strip stamps out of an old album obtained from the latest stamp bourse or auction and pay no attention to the album itself. After all, it’s the stamps you’re after. But have a second look at that album: It might be just as fascinating and rewarding as the stamps themselves.
insightsBosnia and Herzegovina’s ethnic regions continue to issue their own stamps
November 24, 2015 10:45 AMLocated in southwestern Yugoslavia, the regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina were a hotbed of political strife for centuries. The provinces were ruled by the Ottoman Turkish Empire until 1878, when they were placed under Austria-Hungary control. Bosnia and Herzegovina issued its first stamps a year later, in 1879.
insightsTip of the week: Bhutan 1973 Phonograph Record set
November 23, 2015 10:39 AMOn April 15, 1973, Bhutan issued a set of seven (five postage and two airmail) Phonograph Record stamps (Scott 152-152F). These weren’t just stamps commemorating phonograph records. They were actual phonograph records that can be played on any standard record player.
insightsThe best and the worst of Great Britain’s Christmas stamp designs
November 23, 2015 10:39 AMSince issuing its first two Christmas stamps in 1966 (Scott 478-479), Great Britain has shown about 240 different designs on its Christmas stamps. These designs have varied in quality, but a few have been excellent and memorable.
newsGreat Britain to honor writers Shakespeare, Potter and Christie in 2016
November 20, 2015 11:54 AMIn early November, Great Britain’s Royal Mail announced the subjects for its 2016 commemorative stamps. The program will start Jan. 7 with an issue devoted to Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) and the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, also known as the Endurance Expedition, of 1914-16.
insightsPromoting stamp collecting to a wider audience and new generations
November 16, 2015 10:38 AMIdeally, we must find ways to encourage more people to move from the stamp accumulator category to the enthusiast category. That being the case, two questions arise: How do we promote philately to a wider audiences and attract men, women, and children of all ages? How can we help ensure this great hobby continues in the digital age?