Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Paraguay - A couple of Postal History Items

Here are two Paraguay postal history items that I find fascinating.

The first is a cover mailed from Viletta on 27 June 1909. The envelope is a piece of Argentina postal matter, the item was mailed to China, via Siberia, the rate was 15 centavos. The 15 centavos rate was for printed matter and was paid for by a 10 centavos stamp and a bisected 10 centavos stamp. (Bisects were not authorized at this time but often were accepted.) The Argentine envelope has an open oval at the upper right to show that the contents were really printed matter. Shown also are the Buenos Aires transit marking and the Shanghai Local Post marking.

The second cover also has a bisect. It is the 2c issue of 1901-02 and was used to pay the printed matter rate. Some collectors might pass this by because of the lower-left corner of the envelope being cut off. However, that would be a mistake as this was a method used to show that the contents were really printed matter. Thus, it is not a damaged cover but one proving that the attached stamp was used to pay the printed matter rate. Also note the “Estafeta No. 9” cancel of Asuncion.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Project Cover Log

Some time ago I started working on a master listing of all El Salvador covers I knew about as well as those listed in auction catalogs. I have included only covers bearing an adhesive stamp so postal stationery, stampless covers and such are not included with a few exceptions. I plan on covering the period 1867 to about 1925 and have completed the 1867 - 1874 section and the 1879 section. Unfortunately, I do not have illustrations of all of the covers as some were just mentioned in auction catalogs but without any illustration. Thus, it is also possible there may be some duplication in the listing.

To access the 1867_1874 file click here and you will go to the Project Cover Log folder. Then click on the issue folder. This will take you to that folder and then you can click on the Excel sheet for a listing. By clicking on the “view” link you will he taken by hyperlink to an illustration of the item. You may get a warning about using a hyperlink but you can click on the “continue” button if you do and the illustration will show up.

The 1879 folder can be viewed here. This is a pdf file as I was unable to get the Excel file hyperlinks to work.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hinged or Unhinged - An Opinion

At a recent meeting of the local stamp club I mentioned that I hinge all the stamps in my collection. An amazed look came over the face of several members, one of whom asked, “Even the Mint Never Hinged (MNH) ones?” Yes, I replied. The amazed look became one of shock. So be it and here is my opinion.

First, let me state that I am not a big fan of mint stamps. For me they are like an unread book. They have not achieved the purpose for which they were produced. Yes, I do have mint stamps in my collection but only to show a full design not obscured by a postmark. I even show the gum side of some stamps because they illustrate a point about the types of gum used on an issue. Generally, however, I am most excited and enamored of a clear, neat, socked-on-the-nose cancel, especially if it is unusual. So, although I do acquire some mint stamps I refuse to pay a premium for MNH and thus I am very happy with a lightly hinged one.

I think people who pay multiples for MNH stamps when they could acquire a nice, lightly hinged copy at a much lower price are really gum collectors not stamp-collectors. I feel they should mount all their MNH stamps gum side up so they can show what they paid all that money for. I would never want a collection of “CDs Never Listed To”, “DVDs Never Viewed” or “Books Never Read” so why a collection of “Mint Never Hinged” stamps? For me, the stamp is the thing and the gum is only part of the picture.

As a philatelist I study the paper, printing, gum, method of separation, design, usage and any other aspect of the stamp. Focusing on just the gum is missing the point as far as I am concerned.

Now, I know that the MNH phenomenon is well established so that train probably has already left the station with me standing on the platform. That is fine with me. I want to make it clear that I am not telling you how or what to collect, just how I do so. You may agree or disagree.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I have added a copy - in Adobe pdf - of the original print-outs for the Seebeck Classification article. Most of them are in color which makes it easier to see. Also, there is a copy of the original letter to me. You can see and/or download the file by clicking here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seebeck Stamps: Originals or Reprints, A Scientific Method of Classification

A Seebeck stamp - is it an original or reprint?
  • Most collectors use the paper, gum and impresstion to make a determination

Due to the subjective nature of these characteristics a lot of confusion is common. What if there were a scientific method to make such a determination? Well, there is.

  • Years ago I worked with Simine Short using X-ray spectroscopy to see if a such a determination could be made. You can read the article at link on right