Sunday, August 30, 2009

The American Philatelic Research Library is a treasure trove

While at the American Philatelic Research Library yesterday, I found a few interesting items in Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News and thought I’d share them here.

The first is from the August 22, 1908 issue and records the three Formula Cards. It states, “The three cards before us have the 1c, 2c and 3c of the upright rectangular series showing the ‘Palacio Nacional’.” Note that no 5c card is mentioned.

In the October 17, 1908 issue, Mr. Herman Focke writes, “I wish to state the following in regard to other varieties of Salvador stamps published in Kohl’ new handbook and by several foreign philatelic papers : - Stamps of the issue of 1906 with head of ex-President Escalon surcharged in purple, ‘Estampillas – no validas’ meaning stamps not good,’ have been mentioned but they are of absolutely no philatelic value since there were of the old stamps used after the term of their official issue, and the surcharge was made with a rubber stamp by the Post Office clerks, to indicate that the letter was not franked and that postage was due on it….Stamps of the present issue with the National Palace are reported to exist with a surcharge of only the rays without the shield. this is staid to be utterly impossible since the surcharge is made with a brass stamps of one single piece…..The 6c rose and black of 1906-07 with bust of Escalon, is reported surcharged with Scott’s Type G of 1905, but this stamp has not been issued by the Salvador Government…”

In the issue of March 8, 1909 we find, “Prof. M. Loewy sends us an official stamp from this country with has not yet been catalogues. The 1c of 1898 has been surcharged with the second type of official surcharge ‘De Oficio’ in bar on circle containing ‘Correos – de el Salvador’. …”

Then in the July 3, 1909 issue on page 232 Hermann Focke writes, “A short time ago you called my attention to a provisional official stamp of Salvador, the 1 centavo of 1898 having been seen with violet surcharge of ‘Correos de el Salvador’ in circle and ‘De Oficio’ in a rectangle across circle. I did not reply to your request to express an opinion, as I wanted to obtain reliable information before giving my view.
I am today in receipt of the following communication from an official of the Salvador Post Office: ‘Salvador stamps with the surcharge in question, made by a rubber stamp still in existence, are the product of some junior employee in this office. These provisories (sic) have never (my emphasis) been authorized by this Post Office, as there has always been an abundance of the regular official stamps since 1896, and they are simply ‘bogus.’ I have not been able to detect the young employee who has been circulating postage stamps of this country with the surcharge referred to, or I should have punished him with dismissal from the office.
From this we should gather that all (my emphasis) the stamps with this surcharge, now be taken out, and thus relieve collectors from worrying about the impossibility of getting them.”

Can any reader identify who Hermann Focke was? I know he was in New York City and I suspect he may have been a collector or more likely, a dealer but I have no proof of this.