• Cuba Alfonso XII 1882-88 Issues: Original; 1st retouch; 2nd retouch Differences
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on June 5, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    1882 Scott 101 2c lake “Alfonso XII” Original State Into the Deep BlueIssued under Spanish Dominion, the typographed “Alfonso XII” stamps of Cuba 1882-1888 do not have a year date in their (Scott A17) design, as do the earlier 1880 & 1881 “Alfonso XII” issue stamps. But they have something more – “retouches” of their design found with certain stamp denominations.These “retouches” are somewhat confusing, and I thought a blog post dedicated to a close look at them would be helpful for collectors of classical era Cuba. It doesn’t help that the black & white (small) fuzzy illustrations for the differences in the Scott catalogue has only been recently upgraded (my 2020 Classic 1840-1940 Scott has it) to small (but better!) color illustrations. For background, my original Cuba post is here…Cuba Blog Post & BB ChecklistI should mention that the Spanish Dominion “Alfonso XII” issues of the Philippines and Puerto Rico have similar “retouches”, and so I will briefly cover those stamp examples as well.1882 Issue: A closer look 100 Centavos = 1 Peso1882 Scott 101b 2c rose “Alfonso XII” Original State The 1882 issue of six stamps (Scott 100-105) share the same medallion portrait of “Alfonso XII” as the preceding 1880 (six stamps) and 1881 (six stamps) issues. But, as mentioned, the 1882 issue does not have the year issue date (1880 or 1881) included as part of the design of the stamp. CV, overall, for the 1882 issue ranges from <$1 to $50.Medallion 1882 2c Original State “Alfonso XII” As said,  the medallion portrait of “Alfonso XII” is the same for the 1880, 1881, and 1882 issues. This medallion portrait is called the “Original State”. Let’s take a look at some of the 1882 stamps to learn the characteristics of the “Original State” portrait….1882 Scott 102 2 1/2c dark brown “Alfonso XII” Original State The 2 1/2c 1882 Scott 102 is “dark brown” for the major number. Color is one of the properties that distinguish this 1882 stamp. The 1883-86 Scott 122  2 1/2c is “olive bister”, the 1883-86 Scott 124 2 1/2c is “violet”, while the 1888 Scott 129 2 1/2c is “red brown”. All of these (major number) stamps have the “Original State” portrait.Medallion 1882 2 1/2c  Original State“Alfonso XII” So what are the characteristics of the “Original State”?According to Scott: “The medallion is surrounded by a heavy line of color of nearly even thickness”Comment: This is important as the 1st retouch & the 2nd retouch are decidedly not surrounded by a line of color of even thickness. 1882 Scott 103 5c gray blue “Alfonso XII” Original State Another characteristic of the “Original State” type, according to Scott: “The heavy oval line of color surrounding the medallion touches the horizontal line above” – part the “Cuba” tablet. (Also the “Philippines” tablet and the “Puerto Rico” tablet respectively for those stamps.)Comment: The 1st retouch & the 2nd retouch type stamps do not have the oval line of color touch the horizontal line above.Also, the 5c gray blue for the 1882 issue is “original state”, while the 1883-86 5c gray blue stamps are found as 1st retouch (Scott 125) and 2nd retouch (Scott 126). Therefore, for a 5c “gray blue” stamp, one will need to determine what type it is to determine what issue and Scott number it is.1882 Scott 104 10c olive bister “Alfonso XII” Original State The last characteristic of the “Original State”: “The opening of the hair above the temple is narrow and pointed”Comment: Important! Neither 1st retouch or 2nd retouch have this sign as we shall see.1882 Scott 104 10c olive bister on Cover Folded Envelope, Havana, Cuba to Vera Cruz, Mexico 2-14-1882 As a change in pace, here is a cover from Cuba to Mexico in 1882. It has the 1882 issue 10c olive bister “Alfonso XII” stamp with the “original state” type. CV(cover) is $25.1882 Scott 105 20c red brown “Alfonso XII” Original State Let’s take a look at the “Original State” characteristics for the 1882 20c red brown..Medallion 1882 20c  Original State“Alfonso XII” Medallion surrounded by oval thick line of color of more or less even thickness…Check.Thick oval line at top attaches to horizontal line….Check.Hair opening above temple narrow and pointed….Check.1883-86 Issue: “Types of 1882” (seven major number stamps)1883-86 Scott 121 1c green “Alfonso XII” 2nd retouch We start off with a bang, as the 1883-86 issue 1c green shows a 2nd retouch. (The 1882 1c green stamp, on the other hand, is original state.)  BTW, the CV for the 1c green 2nd state is $40.Medallion 1883-86 1c  2nd retouch“Alfonso XII” The “2nd retouch” shows a semi-circle opening at the hair temple, and the lock above the forehead is nearly straight, having only a slight wave.And look at the colored line around the medallion oval: It is thinner except along the upper right. And the top of the colored oval line does not touch the horizontal line above. !! And notice, as the colored oval line is thinner, the white oval line is therefore broader.1883-86 Scott 122 2 1/2c olive bister “Alfonso XII” Original State Bur not all of the 1883-86 issue stamps show 1st or 2nd retouch characteristics: the 2 1/2c olive bister is “original state”.  Therefore, the Scott 122 is determined by the color (“olive bister”). (Recall that the 1882 2 1.2c is “dark brown”, also “original state”.)1883-86 Scott 124 2 1/2c violet “Alfonso XII” Original State There was also a 2 1/2c “violet” (major number) stamp issued during the 1883-86 period in the original state. Of interest, there are two minor number color variations. The “red lilac” color has a similar CV as the major number color (CV <$1). But Scott 124 b 2 1/2c “ultramarine” is CV $125!Medallion 1883-86 2 1/2c violet  Original State“Alfonso XII” Take a good look at the close-up as it shows clearly the “original state” characteristics: thick even oval color line which is attached to the horizontal line above, and the narrow hair line at the temple.1883-86 Scott 126 5c gray blue “Alfonso XII” 2nd retouch Contrast that with the 5c 2nd retouch stamp shown above. (Obviously, the “gray-blue” color here is faded.)Medallion 1883-86 5c  2nd retouch“Alfonso XII” 2nd retouch: a semi-circle opening at the hair temple; the lock above the forehead nearly straight; colored oval line thinner except upper right. 1883-86 Scott 127 10c brown “Alfonso XII” 1st retouch OK, our first example of a 1st retouch! The 1883-86 10c stamp is “brown” (major number), or “reddish brown (minor number). Both are 1st touch in the catalogue. Even if one is not aware of 1st touch characteristics, the brown or reddish brown colors will help with identification versus “olive bister” (1882-original state) or “blue” ( 1888-also 1st touch, but much different color).Medallion 1883-86 10c brown 1st retouch“Alfonso XII” 1st touch characteristics…The temple hair wedge is neither narrow (original state) or semi-circular (2nd touch), but between. 😉The lock of hair above the forehead is a “wide V” shape and ends in a (soft) point.*There is a faint white line below the lock of hair.*(*Note: “Owing to wear of the plate, the shape of the lock of the hair and the width of the white line below can vary”.)And, found for both 1st touch and 2nd touch: the color oval line around the medallion is thin, except for the upper right. And the oval line does not touch the horizontal line above it. Comment: I find this feature useful to first separate out “Original State” from “1st/2nd touches”.1883-86 Scott 127b 10c reddish brown “Alfonso XII” on Cover Cover, Havana, Cuba to Leeds, England 3-27-1884; Back cancelled 4-12-1884 Now this is an interesting story. The seller on the APS Stamp store website labeled the stamp as Cuba 1882 Scott 104. Clearly, he/she may have been a postal historian, but was not aware of the fine points of the 1882-88 “Alfonso XII” issues: specifically the “original”, “1st touch”, and “2nd touch” types. The stamp turns out to be a “1st touch” type, and it is a minor number color:  Scott 127b “reddish brown”. CV (cover) is $42+, about twice what the seller thought it was worth. Yes, it pays to know something about stamp issues. !!1883-86 Scott 128 20c olive bister “Alfonso XII” Original State The 1883-86 20c “Olive bister” is only found in the original state. The other 20c stamps (same A17 design) are also “original state”, and separated by color (1882 “red brown”, 1888 “brownish gray”).1888 Issue1888 Scott 129 2 1/2c red brown “Alfonso XII” Original State The 1888 2 1/2c “red brown” (major number) is “original state” (above). But be aware that the 1888 Scott 129a 2 1/2c “pale brown” is found as a “1st retouch”. !! The Scott 129a is the only 2 1/2c stamp of the A17 design that is found with a “1st retouch”: the others (Scott 102, 102b, 122, 124, 124a, 124b, 129) are all “original state”.Note the “dark spot” plate flaw? on the cheek of this example. 1888 Scott 130 10c blue “Alfonso XII” 1st retouch Another “1st touch” example…Medallion 1888 10c blue 1st retouch“Alfonso XII”The temple hair wedge is neither narrow (original state) or semi-circular (2nd touch), but between. The lock of hair above the forehead is a “wide V” shape and ends in a (soft) point.There is a faint white line below the lock of hair.And, found for both 1st touch and 2nd touch: the color oval line around the medallion is thin, except for the upper right. And the oval line does not touch the horizontal line above it.I should mention that any difficulties I have with separating out the types is between 1st touch and 2nd touch types. (The “original state” is usually obvious.) It is a bit of a judgement call, although I am usually more confident then that. And, what really helps, is that often the catalogue only lists one type as a possibility. 😉1888 Scott 128 20c brownish gray “Alfonso XII” Original State And finally, the 1888 three stamp set ends with a 20c “brownish gray” original state. This stamp is determined by the color, compared to the other A17 1882-88 20c stamps – all of which are also original state.Now, there are similar examples of “original state”, “1st retouch”, “2nd retouch” found with the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Let’s take a look….Philippines 1880-86 “Alfonso XII” IssuePhilippines 1882 Scott 78 2 4/8 c ultramarine “Alfonso XII” Original State The Philippines typographic 1880-86 “Alfonso XII” issue (thirteen stamps) shares the same “Medallion” design as the 1882-88 Cuba stamps.But all of the stamps in the Philippines issue are “Original State”, except for the 2 4/8 c ultramarine denomination, which can be found with Original State/1st retouch/2nd retouch types respectively (Scott 78, 79, 80). CV for these 2 4/8 ultramarine stamps is $1+, <$1, $4+ respectively.The example above is “Original State”, and has the narrow temple hair wedge, the more or less even thickness of the oval color line surrounding the medallion, and the oval line attached to the horizontal line above.Philippines 1883 Scott 79 2 4/8 c ultramarine “Alfonso XII” 1st retouch This is the “1st retouch” example (Scott 79), and shows an oval color line surrounding the medallion that is thinner, except the upper right portion. Close examination of the oval color line with the horizontal line above shows it is NOT attached. The opening of the temple hair wedge is wider (compared to the original state), and the lock of hair is shaped like a broad “V” that comes to a (soft) point. There is a faint white line below the lock of hair.Philippines 1886 Scott 80 2 4/8 c ultramarine “Alfonso XII” 2nd retouch The “2nd retouch” (above) shows the temple hair space to be very wide (almost 90 degrees), and the lock of hair is flatter and much less pointed. The color line oval around the medallion is thin and not attached to the horizontal line above. The white line on the forehead below the hair line appears broader.Comment: The cancel mark, I believe, is fiscal. Although the signs here point to “2nd retouch”, I am not absolutely certain. Scott does point out that the shape of the hair and the width of the white line can vary owing to wear of the plate.Puerto Rico 1882-86 “Alfonso XII” IssuePuerto Rico 1882 Scott 67 5c gray blue “Alfonso XII” Original State Likewise, Puerto Rico, with the 1882-86 “Alfonso XII” issue (twenty stamps), can show original state/ 1st retouch/2nd retouch types with the 5c gray blue (Scott 67-69, CV $1+-$5+).Here, this stamp is “original state”, with the narrow temple hair wedge, the even thickness of the oval color line, and the fact that the color line is attached to the horizontal line above.Puerto Rico 1884 Scott 68 5c gray blue “Alfonso XII” 1st retouch The “1st retouch” shows a wider temple hair wedge, and a broad “V” hair lock that comes to a (soft) point. Note the color line oval around the medallion is thin (except the upper right portion) and not attached to the horizontal line above. There is a quite thin faint white line below the hair line on the forehead.Puerto Rico 1886 Scott 69 5c gray blue “Alfonso XII” 2nd retouch The “2nd retouch” shows a semi-circle opening of the temple hair line (quite wide), and the lock of hair is flatter and less pointed. The color line oval around the medallion is thin (except for the upper right portion) and not attached to the horizontal line above. The white line on the forehead below the hair line appears broader.1883-86 Scott 121 1c green “Alfonso XII” 2nd retouchOut of the BlueWell, I hope this exercise of reviewing the “Alfonso XII” original state/1st retouch/2nd retouch signs with specific examples for Cuba (mostly), the Philippines, and Puerto Rico has been helpful. I’m glad I did this post, as I am more confidant and sure now about the “types” differences, and how to tell one from another.  !!Comments appreciated!

  • Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao) – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on May 28, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Scott #s 164-169, 1942 Bud’s Big BlueBud’s ObservationsStamp albums generally, and Big Blue in particular, never quite keep up with fitful national boundaries and identities. Like political maps, albums are out of date before they leave the printing presses. To make things even more complicated, poor editorial judgements and outright mistakes are commonplace. The Netherlands Antilles provides a case in point. Early editions of Big Blue have a section titled “Curaçao”, short for Curaçao and Dependencies, a group of islands widely spread across the Caribbean Sea comprising Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, and Saba. All six islands are featured in the 1942 pictorial series (see above). For all stamps in Part I of Big Blue, the name Curaçao applies to the six islands collectively and to the island Curaçao individually. The same stamps were moved in the 1969 edition of Big Blue (the BB album that both Jim and I use) to a new heading titled “Netherlands Antilles” — a change consistent with the 1948/1954 decisions about the islands’ connection with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Those decisions, however, came well after the closing date for Big Blue Part I (1940). So, I think the stamps shown on the page scans below would fit more appropriately under the heading Curaçao than under Netherlands Antilles. After filling BB’s spaces for “Netherlands Antilles” I thought I would replace the existing stamps with cancellations from all six islands on the stamps inscribed Curaçao — a kind of weak-kneed protest intended to show how things actually were when the stamps were issued. That goal is proving to be difficult because, while interesting cancellations do exist for all six islands, they’re scarce and usually expensive. I’ve found several Aruba cancels on airmail stamps — probably the most plentiful except for Curaçao island itself. Scott #s c8, j17, c6, Aruba cancelsA Saba cover recently sold on eBay for a reasonable price, but I missed it. Cancels struck in Saba, a hurricane-swept dot at the outer rim of the Caribbean, are elusive; those struck in Bonaire, even more so.Scott # 98, Saba cancel on cover. Source: eBay.Island cancels on the marine insurance stamps are yet more difficult to find. The marine insurance stamps are overprinted “Frankeer Zegel” (postage stamp) and intended for regular use, not for insurance. The three-cent example shown below has an indistinct island cancel, possibly Sint Eustatius, and is dated 1929, a year before these stamps became invalid for postage.The Netherlands created marine insurance stamps in 1921 in response to the maritime disasters of World War I. Letters with such a stamp affixed were placed in a “floating safe” located on the ship decks. In the event a ship sank, the bobbing safe would be reclaimed by rescue ships or, eventually, float ashore. I know of no instance of this safekeeping precaution being put into action. Marine insurance stamps were issued for several Dutch colonies as well as the homeland, but they found little usage. Scott #s 87-90 Census: 73 in BB spaces, two tip-ins, 49 on supplement pages.Jim’s ObservationsBig Blue ’69, on two pages, has 73 spaces for the stamps of Curacao. No coverage of the Postal Due stamps is included. Total coverage is 39%.• Coverage is “reasonable” for a two page allotment, but I did find an additional 37 stamps (15 postage due) that were CV <$1-$1+,and not in Big Blue.• Expensive stamps ($10+) are only in two spaces.Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao) Blog Post & BB ChecklistPage 11a1b1cPage 22a2b2cSupplements Page 1Page 2Comments appreciated!

  • Papua New Guinea: The Laktois 1901-10 – a closer look
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on May 19, 2021 at 2:00 pm

     Lakatoi Into the Deep Blue Jim’s Comment: Alan (hy-brasil) has penned another fascinating post. He is a longtime worldwide collector and a former employee of the philatelic auction business. He also contributed the article on the 1922 pictorial Issue of Armenia on April 15, 2021. Jim’s Note: My original Papua post is here. A lakatoi (or lagatoi, closer to the usual pronunciation) was the iconic multihulled craft of  Papua New Guinea . It was made up of two or more large canoes lashed together with a platform and housing added, and was used to carry trade goods packed in the canoe hulls. Papua Map It was used by the Motu people that lived around the Port Moresby region, (see map) in the Hiri trade cycle. They would create pottery and items made from seashells to trade with people north along the Gulf of Papua , a voyage of up to 200 miles or so. Since when is a very good question. Sources say the practice was traditional and it could date back to more than 2500 years ago. It continued until the 1950s. The trade winds would take lakatois northwest in October/November as far as the Purari River delta area (bright green on the map above) west of Kerema. The Motu would mostly trade for sago, the slow-growing palm-like tree that you might find in gardens in warmer spots elsewhere in the world.  Its spongy center is made into a starchy flour, a staple in short supply back in the Motu homelands. The trading would be done quickly enough, but traders had to wait until the monsoon winds changed around January to take their sago home. During this time, they rebuilt their boats larger, since sago was a much bulkier cargo. So they would also trade for  more canoes, with up to 14 hulls reported used for one lakatoi, though more often it was four to six total for the return trip. Out of the Blue: Beginnings The Gibbons catalog tells us that the stamps of Queensland were used from about 1885 onwards until the first issues were produced. These can be recognized by the killer cancels “N.G.” or “B.N.G.” in a heavy oval of bars, as well as other markings. These are quite scarce to rare.Halfpenny British New Guinea  1901 British New Guinea Issue This is a beautiful and colorful engraved set (eight stamps), making  it is quite striking for the era. Big Blue only provides two spots so you will be safe from harm with that. But curiosity killed the cat. and armed with a Gibbons catalog, we might (will?) descend into watermark variety and paper madness. Multiple Rosette Watermark  The watermark comes horizontal  (shown above) or vertical. We can assume that because the full printing sheet was square, the printers didn’t really care how the sheet went into the press. The paper is listed by Gibbons as thin or thick, with the thin paper (with or without gum), feeling close to the thickness of a sheet of modern typing paper. These were issued in sheets of 30 (5 stamps wide x 6 tall) with just crosses to align the two color prints. In the margins of positions 5 and 16, there are pinholes used to align the sheets for printing. So if you get a left or top margin copy with a marginal pinhole, your stamp is probably plated for you and it should not be counted as a flaw.  On this and later issues, you should be rather reluctant to pay any kind of premium for used with a socked-on-the nose Port Moresby cds, as most of those are favor-cancelled at best. Port Moresby is by far the most commonly seen cancel, with other towns scarce to rare. Loose Ship Letter CancelMaritime/paquebot cancels and Australian markings show up also, like the partial LOOSE SHIP LETTER cancel shown above, handed over on board ship or at the departure dock and so not carried inside the normal mailbags. If you have the “B.N.G.” killer cancel mentioned earlier, it’s very likely genuinely used but may not be very attractive.  That is, except in one important case. The scarce 2/6 value (CV $700) was forged by Sperati, along with the BNG cancel. The forgery is excellent, so anyone buying this stamp should have it certified. The Sperati forgery is worth some money by itself. Collectors should note that the usual conditions for stamps from tropical regions apply to early 20th century issues, ranging from bright white paper with bright clear gum to having slightly toned paper and browned gum. The latter should not be heavily downgraded if at all. The 1/-  and 2/6 frame colors will often be oxidized to varying degrees. Centering is generally quite good in most cases.2d Papua Overprints 1906 Large Papua & 1907 Small Papua Overprint Issues Control of the territory was given to Australia and the region was renamed Papua. The large (1906-eight stamp issue- at top) and small (1907- eight stamp issue) overprints are shown above for comparison. Individual type letters can vary; this is fairly usual. See the raised “a” and period/stop on the small overprint above. True overprint errors/varieties exist: sideways, double, diagonal, inverted d used instead of a lower case p (positions 10 and 16), dropped “pua” (position 17), all rare.  Since these overprints were done on existing stamps, there are the same paper and watermark varieties. Halfpenny large and small PAPUA 1907 Lithographed Issue, small PAPUA Large and small PAPUA: these can be quite confusing without several in hand and even then… There are slight variants in the tablet inscriptions besides(!) Here, the large is at top, the small at bottom. While the large generally has taller lettering than the other, I suggest using the width of the ending “A”, which is clearly wider in the large PAPUA. Crown and Double-lined A (Scott Wmk 13) Can be upright or sidewaysHere again we have two orientations of watermark (upright & sideways), now the standard Crown over A. This is also found reversed on occasion. There is perf 11, perf 12 ½ and a rare compound perf of the two.4d rift in clouds Note slightly curved mostly horizontal white thick line above white puffy cloudsThe issue is eminently plateable with possibly every value in a sheet being distinct from another and with 3 printing stones involved besides. There are characteristics found in both in the vignette and frame. The “Rift in clouds” (pos. 23 of every value) is the most prominent and so gets a mention in Scott.2,5d white leaves The “White leaves” at lower left variety adjacent to the 2d or 2 ½d. They are both popular and thus rate some premium but are really just distinct plate positions. 1910 Lithographed Issue, large PAPUA New transfers were made, with all values now with upright Crown over A watermark and perf 12 ½. The 1/2d and the 2/6 values are distinguishable by perf; the 1907 stamps are perf 11.  The rift in Clouds variety no longer existed but the white leaves variety still carried on.2d OS perfin Officials OS perfins exist beginning with the 2/6 large Papua overprint. These have been ignored by most collectors for the longest time since they have not gotten catalog recognition until fairly recently. Again, we have perf, paper and watermark varieties as on the basic stamps. The perfins of the lithographed issues (large and small PAPUA) are sometimes perfed 11 1/21d stamp duty Out of the Blue again, revenue style The Lithographed stamps were overprinted STAMP DUTY,  reported by the 1915 Forbin revenue catalog to be the ½, 1 and 6d small PAPUA values and the 2/6 large PAPUA. Alan hy-brasil

  • Netherlands – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on May 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Van Gogh’s favorite postman: Joseph Roulin Bud’s Big BlueBud’s ObservationsDutch stamps abound in feeder albums, so filling the Netherlands spaces in Big Blue isn’t difficult except, perhaps, for a few of the postage dues. Nevertheless, I always check the Netherlands pages for interesting cancels when I get a new feeder album. Like its neighbors, Belgium and Luxembourg, the Netherlands excelled in SON (socked on nose) cancels during the pre-World War I era, and I’ve always liked them. At first, I traded my ordinary cancels for any with clear dates and places of origin. Some of these linger on the first pages of the scans shown below, also on the supplement pages. Then, as duplicate SONs amassed, I limited my replacements to stamps cancelled in the towns I visited in pre-covid days. These also, in part, linger. More recently I’ve been scanning the feeders for town-cancels where medieval, renaissance, and impressionist Dutch artists were born — Hertogenbosch for Hieronymus Bosch (b. circa 1450), for instance, or Leiden for Rembrandt (b. 1606). These make for a somewhat more difficult search. I haven’t gotten very far but they, too, are plentiful. Dutch towns have long histories of supporting the arts. If, however, I end up finding too many of these, I’ll try birthtown cancels pinked on the artists’ birthdays. So far, I’ve found none of these. I might someday find and keep, say, a 17 June 1898 Leeuwarden cancel, M. C. Escher’s birth date and town. Who can guess what surprises feeder albums may hold? For instance, take the Scott #84 (shown below). Cancelled in Bosch’s hometown, it’s supposed to be brown lilac, but gray lilac describes it better. An anomaly? Chemically faded? A rarity? I like it simply for its Hertogenbosch cancel. Peeking from behind it is a normal brown lilac #84, also rescued from a feeder album.Scott # 84 (vars), Hertogenbosch, 18 October 1904 cancel I’ve had more luck finding cancels for Hertogenbosch than for any other artist’s birthtown.  Here are three more:Scott #s 17 red brown, 37 violet, and 50 gray violetRoughly contemporary with Bosch is the master engraver known only as IAM of Zwolle, the town of Zwolle presumably being where he was born and worked. While little is known about Bosch personally, even less can be said about IAM. His surviving works, only 24 in all, feature swarming crowds, have fine tonal nuances and, like Bosch’s paintings, tend toward the grotesque.Scott # 1a, light blue, Zwolle cancel, 19 (?) June 1860 The Zwolle postmark is “type 75” according to O. M. Vellinga’s Postmarks of the Netherlands 1676-1915, a comprehensive on-line resource: https://jdlkremer.angelfire.com/VELLINGA.1676-1915.KNBF.pdf.  Leiden postmarks (Rembrandt’s place of birth) are also rather easy to come by. Rembrandt, of course, is not only the greatest Dutch artist, but the world’s greatest. I’m struck by the similarity of Queen Wilhelmina’s profile on the two stamps shown below and that of Rembrandt’s Bathsheba, except Bathsheba, having received King David’s letter demanding an illicit tryst, carries a mien of deep sadness. Scott #s 67 and 68, gray lilac and blueBathsheba contemplating King David’s letter, Rembrandt, 1654Coded postal obliterators (CPOs; puntstempels in Dutch) provide another way to identify artists’ hometowns although place names are not spelled out. A number, surrounded by 26 variously-shaped dots, designates the post office of origin (5 = Amsterdam, 91 = Rotterdam, and so forth). It’s unusual for all 26 dots to print and, even more rare, for all 26 to be found on a single stamp. And, of course, there’s no cancellation date. The Netherlands used CPOs from 1 April 1869 until 15 June 1893. An index of CPO numbers can be found at: https://poststempelverzamelaar.jouwweb.nl/puntstempel.Scott #26, gray, Rotterdam CPO 91Rotterdam is the birthtown of Willem Pieterszoon Buytewech (b. 1581/2), a painter noted for his group portraitures of ribald parties, only few of which have survived. Although not Dutch by birth, Claude Monet lived with his family in Zaandam, a town near Amsterdam, in 1871. He painted 25 views of his temporary home town. The river front scene, shown below, may include the post office (or maybe 😉 it’s just to the right and out of view).Claude Monet, 1871, evening at Zaandam dike The Zaandam cover (below), likely a death notice, bears a clearer “type 75” cancel than the Zwolle example shown above. It was struck about a decade before Monet painted Zaandam.Scott #2 on cover, lake, Zaandam cancelVincent Van Gogh used his drinking buddy, postman Joseph Roulin, as the model for many paintings. I particularly like the one hanging in Philadelphia’s Barnes Museum (shown at top). It would be the perfect illustration for this post on the Netherlands’ stamps except for the fact that Van Gogh was in Arles when he painted it, and Roulin was French. The “postes” on Roulin’s cap is the giveaway. Nevertheless, the Netherlands rightfully claims Van Gogh as its own, for he was born in the village of Zundert. Zundert cancels are few, so I borrowed this one and will need to give it back. I’m hoping for a Zundert cancel on Van Gogh’s birthdate, 30 March 1853, about a year after the first Dutch stamps were issued. I’m preparing for a long wait.Scott # 37, violet At first glance, early Dutch stamps seem rather drab, as the scans for Big Blue pages one through three (below) amply demonstrate. But, if you follow where the cancels lead, WOW! Census: 307 in BB spaces, six tip-ins, 168 on supplement pagesJim’s ObservationsFor the Netherlands, Big Blue “69, on 10 pages ( Five for the semi-postals), has 140 spaces for regular, 7 air post, 35 postage due, and 125 semi-postal spaces. Of interest, BB only misses 8 semi-postal spaces.BB Total = 307BB Overall coverage = 61%.Of the expensive stamps in BB, there is one (1891 Scott 50 1g gray violet ($77+) ) that crosses the $35 threshold, and 21 between $10-$30+.  Of those, eleven are semi-postals. The Netherlands classical issues, unlike some other European nations, are quite reasonable in price- considering they are indeed classics. And, although mono-color, i.e. “drab”, as Bud says,  they are, to my eye, quite attractive indeed.And, the Netherlands also issued many quite attractive semi-postals. Have a look at them with the second blog post below.Netherlands Blog Post & BB ChecklistNetherlands Semi-postalsPage 11a1b1c1dPage 22a2b2cPage 33a3b3c3dPage 44a4b4cPage 55a5b5c5dPage 66a6bPage 77a7b7c7dPage 88a8b8c8dPage 99a9b9cPage 1010a10bSupplements Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6aPage 6bPage 7Comments appreciated!

  • German South West Africa – a closer look
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on May 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    1906-19 Issue Scott 34 5m slate & carmine Wmk Lozenges; “Hohenzollern” Into the Deep Blue I obtained an almost complete collection (major number stamps) of German South West Africa just before the COVID lockdown last year. Why not then, do a “show & tell”- a closer look?The original post is here…German South West Africa Blog Post & BB ChecklistI need to mention at the outset that the historical treatment of the Herero and Nama people of GSWA was grisly.  Bud explores this shameful chapter with his Big Blue Blog post.A Closer Look 100 Pfennig = 1 Mark1897 Stamps of Germany Overprinted Hyphenated “Sudwest-Afrika” The first issue was overprinted “Deutsch-Sudwest-Afrika”, and derived from the 1889-90 German issue.  This 1897 issue is characterized by the overprint having a hyphen in “Sudwest-Afrika”. CV (unused)  ranges from $4+ to $225.1897 Scott 4 20pf ultramarine Stamps of Germany Overprinted Hyphenated “Sudwest-Afrika” German immigrants were present in GSWA – 2,600 in 1902; 13,000 by 1913.So it is fun to look at postmarks – here GOBABIS? 1897 Scott 5 25pf orange Stamps of Germany Overprinted Hyphenated “Sudwest-Afrika” The 25pf orange and the 50pf red brown were prepared, but not sent to the colony*. This unused specimen (above) has a CV of $225,* A few specimens were, in fact, postmarked from the colony. CV = $28,000. !!1898-99 Stamps of Germany Overprinted No Hyphen in  “Sudwestafrika” The 1898-99 overprinted issue does not have a hyphen in “Sudwestafrika”. CV ranges from $3+ to $350.1898-99 Scott 8 5pf green  Stamps of Germany Overprinted No Hyphen in  “Sudwestafrika” Note the postmark “Swakopmund”(“Mouth of the Swakop River”)? This was a port (harbor – founded 1892) on the coast with access into the interior, and linked towns via the State Railway (Staatsbahn -1902) such as Windhoek (capital) with the coast. GSWA Map ~Circa 1915Note “Swakopmund” on the middle coast, with the Staatsbahn  (red lines) into the interior. 1898-99 Scott 11 25pf orange Stamps of Germany Overprinted No Hyphen in  “Sudwestafrika” Provided this overprint and postmark is genuine (Swakopmund), this used 25pf orange specimen has a CV of $400 (unused is $350).1898-99 Scott 12 50pf red brown Stamps of Germany Overprinted No Hyphen in  “Sudwestafrika” The 50pf red brown has a considerably less CV @ $20. 1901 Kaiser’s Yacht “Hohenzollern” Issue 3pf-80pf Denominations; No WmkThe 1901 Kaiser’s Yacht “No Wmk” issue has nine typographed stamps for the 3pf-80pf denominations.  CV ranges from a modest $1+ to $2+.1901 Scott 18 30pf orange & black/salmonNo Wmk; “Hohenzollern” The 30pf is $2+ used, but $80 unused. Note the 4-12-01 postmark from Skakopmund.1901 Scott 20 50pf purple & blackNo Wmk; “Hohenzollern” Rather an iconic design. The 50pf has the same CV for used and unused: $2+.1901 Kaiser’s Yacht “Hohenzollern” Issue  1m-5m  Denominations; No Wmk The 1m-5m denominations are engraved in a horizontal format.1901 Scott 24 3m black violetNo Wmk; “Hohenzollern” The 3m black violet has a CV of $30+ (unused). Another iconic stamp.1901 Scott 25 5m slate & carmineNo Wmk; “Hohenzollern” The 5m slate & carmine has a postmark from Windhuk (Windoek), the capital. The CV is $160.1906-19 Kaiser’s Yacht “Hohenzollern” Issue Wmk LozengesThe second “Kaiser’s Yacht” issue of nine stamps was watermarked, and was nominally issued between 1906-19. But GSWA was occupied in 1915 by South African troops during WWI, and then mandated in 1922 to the Union of South Africa (South-West Africa) by the League of Nations.Wmk Lozenges (125)The “Lozenges” watermark is usually fairly easy to see. If in doubt, use watermarking fluid (I use “Clarity”, a non-toxic solution).1906 Scott 27 5pf green “Hohenzollern” Wmk Lozenges A 5pf green with a clear “Deutsch Westafrika” postmark. Generally, “used” have more CV than “unused” for this issue..1912 Scott 31 1m carmine “Hohenzollern” Wmk Lozenges Remember that German horizontal higher denomination stamps of the era traditionally have two postmark strikes per stamp. I think this “Swakopmund” postmark has a 1914 date. CV is $80 (used), while an unused specimen has a CV of $10+. Obviously, one has to be aware of the possibility of forged cancellations.1911 Scott 32 2m blue “Hohenzollern” Wmk Lozenges The 2m blue (Wmk unused) has a CV of $10+. Be aware that the 3m black violet (Wmk ) was issued in 1919, and hence never placed in use. Therefore, the stamp is only found “unused” in collections. 1911 Scott 30 30pf  orange & black/pale yellow Wmk Lozenges; “Hohenzollern” Out of the BlueI think it would be fun to delve deeper into “used” GSWA stamps, and see what postmarks one could find, and relate them to the settlement history of the day.Links German South West Africa – Bud’s Big BlueComments appreciated!

  • Nepal – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on April 24, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    “Sripech and Crossed Khukris” Bud’s Big BlueBud’s ObservationsThe learning curve for Nepali stamps is as steep as Mt. Everest, and I am no philatelic Sir Edmund Percival Hillary. So, I’ve asked Jim to do the arduous climbing for this post. The first four stamps on BB’s Nepal page are perhaps the most puzzling stamps in the whole album. The cliché varieties, the fuzzy printings of worn plates, the non-philatelic usages and even some tricky forgeries — all thrown together in feeder albums and stamp dealers’ stocks — make a generalist’s head ache. The two scans (below) show my rookie attempts and unstudied acquisitions (at least one stamp on the supplement page is upside down).Jim’s Observations I agree with Bud that the early stamps of Nepal (A1, A2, A4 designs) are complicated indeed, with the pin-perf. imperf, European wove paper, Native wove paper, and later, telegraph cancels.Then there are the plates, cliché varieties, various usages, and forgeries, to name a few of the challenges.First, check out my revised post on Nepal…Nepal Blog Post & BB Checklist (Revised)I was helped immensely by the fortuitous fact that Dr. Frank Vignola is a member of my local stamp club, and is a recognized expert on Nepal’s early issues. (Actually, his father – also named Frank Vignola – was the original expert philatelist/collector of Nepal, and the son – Dr. Frank – continues in the tradition.)Together, Dr. Frank Vignola and Richard Frajola ( a very well known expert on classical philately) have published an internet version of the Catalog of Classic 1888-1930 Stamps of Nepal. There, is also a link to Dr. Frank Vignola’s 128 page (pdf) original research exhibit on Kukris issues (1881-1930).Well, there is enough information above to keep a collector immersed in the myriad aspects of Nepal philately- for years!But what if the WW collector wishes to just have an overview?I asked Dr. Frank Vignola to write an introduction for my Nepal Blog post, and I am also presenting it here… Thanks Dr. Frank!Going by Scott catalogue numbers is difficult because one number covers several varieties. In general there are three types.  The first 1881 issue is on European wove paper.  The second series that runs from 1886 to 1907, and is on native paper.  The third series, that was used for telegraph forms, can be found from 1917 to approximately 1930.  The second and third issue have the black half Anna stamps.In actuality there are about 30 printings of the 1 Anna and 2 Anna stamps from 1881 to 1930 and about a dozen of the 4 Anna stamps.  These stamps were all printed from the original 1881 plates.The telegraph canceled stamps are fairly common, as they sometimes would use whole sheets of stamps on a telegraph form.  The rate was something like 2 pice per word. 1 Anna = 4 pice and the first issue had 1, 2, and 4 Anna stamps.The first Sri Pashupati issue had 2, 4, 8, and 16 pice that replaced the ½, 1, 2, and 4 Anna stamps.  They kept the postal rates fairly constant for a long time.Jim’s Comment: Thirty printings! No wonder early Nepal stamps are definitely specialty territory, requiring intensive study, and a very good reference collection of books! And the stamps were all printed from the original- or retouched- 1881 plates! And as fact, the known settings total 85 for the 1a (28), 2a (31), 4a (12), and 1/2a (14).Page 11a1b1cSupplements Page 1Comments appreciated!

  • Armenia 1922 Pictorial Issue: A Close Look at Genuine-Forgery Differences
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on April 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm

     1922 Scott 306 3000r black & green “Peasant Sowing” Into the Deep Blue Jim’s Comment: A new talent has arrived. !! Alan (hy-brasil), a  longtime worldwide collector and a former employee of the philatelic auction business, has graciously agreed to submit occasional articles, which should be of interest to all WW collectors. Here is his take on the 1922 pictorial Issue of Armenia.. (Note: All of the scans by Alan showing a full stamp are genuine.)Armenia once again tried to issue their own stamps, this time in larger formats in two colors each. These have been called the Erivan Pictorials. Like their predecessors, they went unissued as printed. It is remarkable that not only were there four unissued definitive sets for Armenia, but that each was forged at least once. Were there evil printers with too much time on their hands? At least one of the forgery types (of which there are several) are sometimes called reprints since they match up with the original designs in size and form. But this can be accomplished by camera reproduction of the originals. These are indeed forgeries. The two lowest value forgeries are most often seen and seem to far outnumber the genuine stamps. Forgeries for the other values are less common but still are plentiful. Forged covers with forged stamps and forged cancels are also known.  We only show part of one forgery type here for comparison. Therefore, you should use the method used by hunters of wild mushrooms to keep from picking a similar-looking but poisonous species. And that is to match the characteristics of the genuine exactly. If it doesn’t, reject it as a forgery.  While genuine stamps can be found often enough, you will probably need to complete the set on your own. That is not a difficult task. Then the question that also comes to mind is: why don’t we see forgeries in complete sets?  There are also supposed color trials that are single color only. I don’t know what to make of these since they do have most of the original characteristics but are slightly different overall. The 50r and 300r values have been covered earlier: http://bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.com/2017/06/stamps-of-1919-22-armenia-what.html so we continue here with the rest of the set.  I suggest that, for the time being, to disregard gum appearance, paper and colors for forgery detection. Over time, gum and paper can age seriously so are not always reliable indicators. Both genuine and forgeries can come in color shades and can have clean-cut or rough perfs, though not necessarily for every value.1922 Scott 302 400r blue & pink “Soviet Symbols”The 400 rubles shows a hammer and sickle and star. Genuine / Forgery Green arrows point to dots, and lack of shadingIn the genuine stamp (left), the (pink) dotted decoration along either side fit the space they are given. In the forgeries, they do not. Registration (the proper alignment of the color plates) can be wildly variable in both genuine and forged so the dots may prove hard to use. But in the genuine, also note how the rings and leaves have heavy shading where they overlap.1922 Scott 303 500r violet & pale lilac “Crane” Note shading lines in upper corners are long and fineThe 500 ruble value depicts a stork with a stone tablet at its foot. Genuine / Forgery Note rays of stars The rays of the star on the genuine stamp (left) are broken/dotted. The shading lines in the upper corners are longer and finer than on the forgeries.1922 Scott 304 1000r dull blue & pale blue “Man poling a boat” Note the outline of the star just intersects the second “0” of “1000”The 1000 ruble stamp shows a man poling a boat. There are intriguing catlike heads on the columns at either side.Genuine / Forgery Ripples in the waterThe genuine stamp (left) has ripples in the water that are often dotted or broken, and the lines do look like little waves. The forgeries have solid lines, sometimes curving but hardly wavelike. HOWEVER, you can be fooled by a forgery on a type of paper with rough spots that cause the printed lines to break up. The genuine have finer lines and many more breaks in the ripples.  The extra dot in the inscription in the forgery was mentioned in the earlier post, but that only applies to one of the forgery types. There is also a forgery type where the background color appears to be buff or yellow, particularly when scanned (!) A second check is that on genuine stamps, the curved outline of the second zero of “1000” intersects the outline of the star. The forgeries I’ve found all have the outline of the star (partially) covering the zero.1922 Scott 305 2000r black & gray “Harpy”The 2000 ruble appears to show a harpy. Or it may be just some similar creature from Armenian mythology. How many definitive sets do you know that show mythical animals? Note the flaws along the bottom border. These may or may not be constant. A lot of minor varieties like this can be found on most if not all values. Of course, they also exist on some forgeries, too. Genuine / ForgeryOn the genuine (left), the lines behind the head are broken and dotted, where the forgery essentially has continuous/solid lines. The genuine also has several ends of the rays from the star ending in fine dots and short lines.1922 Scott 307 4000r black & light brown “Soviet Symbols and Mythical Creature”Yet another mythical creature. Again, what is it? It is not an aralez, which is doglike. Note that the flaw at lower right is not damage but is missed inking. I’m guessing that it was not constant, but caused by a tiny scrap of paper that was present during printing and then fell off. This value only exists on thicker toned paper. Genuine / Forgery On the genuine (left), the beast is more thoroughly shaded, evident on the rear leg and rump. Perhaps the key is the very short ray from the bottom of the star, missing on the 2 very different type forgeries I’ve found.1922 Scott 308 5000r black & dull red “Forging”The stamp shows a farmer with a scythe, and a blacksmith. Note that the good Communist artist managed to work a hammer and sickle into the design here.  This value only exists on thicker toned paper. Genuine / Forgery Star Rays are the clue Once again, in the genuine (left), the star has some broken/dotted rays where the forgery has solid lines only. The lower part of the left figure’s robe is similarly shaded, with some dots/breaks in the genuine stamp.1922 Scott 309 10,000r black & pale rose Plowing”The design is of a farmer plowing with oxen. Genuine / Forgery Dotted lines vs Solid lines In the genuine (left), the bottom line of shading in the sky is a short line dotted at the end. In the forgeries, the line is solid and runs nearly to the right frame. The genuine also has many dotted/broken lines in the plowed fields, and the sky has many broken lines. The forgeries have continuous/solid lines.  The Inflation issues We can see that the values in rubles are already quite high due to the inflation of the Russian ruble. By the time the pictorials were ready for release, inflation had surged tremendously and made most values obsolete. The pictorials were still issued (or perhaps even reprinted by their appearance), now surcharged with new values using both rubber or steel handstamps. These actually saw use. Scott only separates surcharges by color, but the two methods are clearly distinct with the rubberstamp types having a large first numeral.  Of course there are surcharge forgeries. Any surcharge on a forged basic stamp is going to be a forgery. Though uncertified, the below examples compare well with ones shown at https://stampsofarmenia.com/?page_id=1816 , Stefan Berger’s excellent online reference for early Armenia . The standard print references by Tchilingarian, et al are now hard to find.1922 Scott 328 200,000 on 4000r (V) RubberstampThe 200,000r on 4000r with rubberstamp surcharge in purple. The partial blue diamond is a control overprint that does not appear on every surcharged stamp. 1922 Scott 312 10,000 on 50r Steel Handstamp1922 Scott 320 30,000 on 500r Steel Handstamp Surcharges (above) done with steel handstamps. Note the interesting heavy shift in the second color on the 30,000r on 500r. The lilac color block at top is from the stamp design above. This may not be particularly uncommon, since for many countries needing to surcharge “leftovers”, the postal authorities used what was on hand without regard to centering and other niceties. Alan (hy-brasil)Harpy – Good (Genuine) & Bad (Forgery) Out of the Blue Jim’s Comment: Wow, did I learn a lot! Thanks Alan for the clear demonstrations of Genuine / Forgery differences. Now, I need to go back and check my own stock. !! Links Armenia Original Blog Post & BB Checklist Armenia 1919-22 Forgeries Bud’s Big Blue – ArmeniaComments appreciated!

  • Nauru – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on April 7, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Bud’s Big Blue Bud’s ObservationsA riddle: what is one of the smallest, most isolated countries in the world but, at the same time, is one of the largest and very near-by countries? In fact, it spreads out almost everywhere.A ClueAnother clue: It’s small because it’s an eight square mile dot in the Pacific Ocean. It’s isolated because it’s not close to anything except the equator. Another clue: It’s large because the phosphate rock mined there has been shipped all over the world as fertilizers, animal feed supplements, food preservatives, baking flour, pharmaceuticals, anticorrosion agents, cosmetics, fungicides, insecticides, detergents, ceramics, water treatments and metallurgy additives. There’s a chance that we walk on part of this country every day. Another riddle: What country was one of the wealthiest per capita a few years ago, but now is among the poorest? They had, then lost, it all.A ClueA final riddle: What country used to be called Pleasant Island and was lush with flora and fauna, but now is largely a polluted, strip-mined wasteland? Notice the shore line palms at the left of the clueA Final ClueThe above philatelic clues, of course, foretell the boom/bust history of Nauru. Freighters were carrying away Nauru back in 1924 when this stamp series was issued, and they continued to do so until the phosphate mines were completely plundered (about 2002). Then, Nauru collapsed. Even Air Nauru’s one jetliner was repossessed.Judging from the feeder albums I’ve plundered to build my stamp collection, Nauru’s stamps have been spread out almost as widely as their phosphate rock. Mint examples, as most of mine are, cost me less than a comparable amount of phosphate; good used Nauru stamps would likely cost considerably more than phosphate, but I don’t have many of those. Census: 22 in BB spaces, one tip-in, eleven on the supplement page.Jim’s ObservationsWhat can we say about tiny isolated Nauru?This little oval shaped phosphate rock encrusted coral atoll is only 8 square miles in area, and is located in the South Pacific Ocean on the equator south of the Marshall Islands. It is surrounded by a coral reef, so only small boats may access the island.The original settlers were Micronesian and Polynesian. The island was annexed by Germany in 1888, and attached to the Marshall Islands.As luck would have it- or curse-, Phosphate (From seabird guano) was discovered on Nauru in 1900, and eventually, 80% of the island was strip-mined.For more on Nauru (If you can stand the depressing narrative), check the original post below…Nauru Blog Post & BB ChecklistPage 11a1b1cSupplements Page 1Comments appreciated!

  • Crete – Genuine/ Forgery signs for the British Admin 1898-99 10 & 20 para issues
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on March 29, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    1898 Scott 3 20pa green  Genuine  Into the Deep Blue Back in my first year -2011- of the blog, I published the Crete blog post with a pic of the 1899 20pa rose, part of the British Administration four stamp issue of 1898-1899. A little more than a year later, in the comments section, Michael Adkins of Dead Country Stamps pointed out that I was illustrating a forged specimen. This was my reply… Hi MichaelThanks for the nice words, and glad I can be helpful.Your Dead Countries web site is absolutely excellent.As far as the 1899 “Scott 5” 20pa rose, yes indeed it is a forgery. In fact, I have the complete forgery set (Scott 2-5). ;-)When I put this blog post together, I did not have have the information to call the 20pa rose a forgery- although I was suspicious.  Now I do.According to Varro Tyler’s Focus on Forgeries (Edition 2000), the small circle with dot above the numerals is incomplete at the bottom, and hence a forgery. As the set is perf 11 1/2,- like the originals-, it was supposedly made by the original printers, Gundman & Stangel of Athens Greece. But the stamps then were not reprinted on the original stone, so they are not reprints- but forgeries.Tyler also says some of the forgery stock was sold to Francois Fournier, who gave them an 11 perforation. Another forgery from the Gunman & Stangel supply was sold and perforated 11 1/4.I’ve made an update note on the Crete blog post, so to not lead people astray.That is one thing I appreciate about your Dead Countries web site and virtual albums is the meticulousness and accuracy.Now if I can do likewise. 😉 Jim Even today, despite alas! no new posts for the past 3 years, Michaels’ site is a treasure trove of information. Check it out! Well, it is time for me to do a bit of an update on Crete, and I thought – why not- show the genuine/forgery differences for this lithographic issue. So, let’s begin…1898 Scott 3 20pa green  Genuine The above specimen, is, in fact, my only genuine copy. !! But, not too surprising, as Varro Tyler did say that forgeries far outnumber genuine stamps. I have eight more stamps – all forgeries! I checked the APS Stamp Store site, and they were currently listing eleven stamps from the four stamp issue – again, all forgeries! (Yes, even the APS site is caveat emptor. !!)My Genuine is on white paper, has a very regular clean cut 11 1/2 perforation, and the printing is nicely done.1898 Scott 3 20pa green  Forgery Here is a forgery, with yellow green color (my genuine has a green color), on yellowish paper (my genuine is on white paper), and very poor (shallow) perfs (almost looks sewing machine perf). The Perf appears 11 1/4 X 11 1/2.1898 Scott 3 20pa green  Close-up 1 Genuine Close-up of the genuine shows Tyler’s main marker: “The small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is complete at the bottom”. Also, note the two smaller circles on either side and the five “leaf” drawings above the dotted circle are clear of any color infilling.1898 Scott 3 20pa green Close-up 1 Forgery The forgery has a dotted circle that is incomplete at the bottom (diagnostic). Also note infilling of the right smaller circle.1898 Scott 3 20pa green Close-up 2 Genuine Not noted by Tyler, but noted by me, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, the middle (and left-middle) smaller circles are not infilled in my genuine. Since I only have one genuine stamp, I don’t know if this is a constant finding for all Genuines. But it is worth a look.1898 Scott 3 20pa green Close-up 2 Forgery The Forgery shows,  for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1898 Scott 2 10pa blue Forgery Example 1 Note: Remember, if you want a closer up view of the stamp, click on it!The rest of the examples I have are all forgeries. We will note the differences, compared to my genuine already illustrated a bit above.This forgery is on yellowish paper, has poorly formed shallow 11 1/2 perfs, and the small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is incomplete at the bottom. The color is gray-bluish blue.Also, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1898 Scott 2 10pa blue Forgery Example 2 This forgery is on white paper, but has 11 1/2 poorly formed shallow perfs.Note the blue color – the other 10pa “blue” forgery (bit above) has a gray-bluish-blue color.The small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is incomplete at the bottom. Also, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1899 Scott 4 10pa brown Forgery Example 1 The 1899 10pa brown is on yellowish paper, with a perf of 11 1/2 – fairly clean cut.But the small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is incomplete at the bottom.Also, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1899 Scott 4 10pa brown Forgery Example 2 The second 10pa brown forgery example is on yellowish paper with 11 1/2 perf, with perfs fairly clean cut.But the small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is incomplete at the bottom.Also, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1899 Scott 4 10pa “brown” Forgery Example 3 The third forgery example is on white paper, with the perfs @ 11, and somewhat rough and shallow. Note the Perf is 11: This is probably a Fournier forgery.The color is different than the other forgeries also: a chocolate brown color.Characteristic of forgeries, the small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is incomplete at the bottom.Also, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1899 Scott 5 20pa rose Forgery Example 1 This 20pa rose forgery is on yellowish paper, with fairly clean cut 11 1/2 perfs.But the small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is incomplete at the bottom.Also, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1899 Scott 5 20pa rose Forgery Example 2 My second 20pa “rose” forgery is on whiter paper, with perf 11 1/2 rough shallow perfs.But the small circle with the dot centered above the numerals of value is incomplete at the bottom.Also, for the arabesque design below the numerals of value, all the smaller circles are infilled.1898 Scott 2 20pa green GenuineOut of the BlueI hope this bit of “show & tell” for the British Administration 1898-99 10 & 20pa issue stamps, showing the forgery differences vs the genuine was helpful.Note: Crete- Bud’s Big Blue post shows further examples of genuines, as well as several used examples. Check it out!Crete Heraklion CancelNote: hy-brasil in comments section (below) points out that these “Heraklion” markers, often mistaken for overprints, are, in fact, “favor” ctos.Comments appreciated!

  • Natal – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on March 21, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Natal’s Colonial Badge, Black Wildebeest Bud’s Big BlueBud’s ObservationsNatal, so named because Vasco da Gama sailed by there on Christmas Day, 1497, and because Natal is the Portuguese word for Christmas, rested pretty much undisturbed by Europeans until the 19thcentury, except for a series of shipwrecks along the coast and occasional hunting parties. Then, in July 1824, the British started a settlement.  They wanted trade in ivory, hippo tusks, buffalo hides, cattle and grain. Although Natal’s stamps adhere strictly to British colonial protocol (crowned heads, usually key types or key plates) and show nothing of what 19th century life might have been like at the southern tip of Africa, matching key events the colony’s history with its postal history requires very little imagination.  Shaka, the Zulu King who controlled the area surrounding what became Port Natal (Durban), initially welcomed the settlers and ceded them about fifty miles of coastline for their use. When the settlement ran short of medicines, the Zulus escorted the colonizers’ scout to Delgado Bay to get supplies. This era of good feeling was short lived.Tribute to Shaka first appeared on a South African stamp Scott C57  in 2003By 1850, when the first Durban post office opened, the fledgling colony was prospering. Trade was good. Dutch families started farming the surrounding area. Meanwhile, relations with the Zulus had been souring. Shaka had died (1828), assassinated by his half-brothers, and, as early as 1835, Zulu resistance to the growing British hegemony had resulted in fierce attacks on settlements. At one point, Durban had to be evacuated. Having been proclaimed a separate British colony in 1856, Natal produced its first stamps in late Spring 1857. These have embossed British crowns on colored paper and can be found online and at stamp shows, but the price normally exceeds $100 for perfectly stuck examples. So, I’ve settled for a cheap Cinderella that resembles Scott #1 (no embossing). Centennial Cinderella Engraved stamps issued during the 1860s, a time of increasing economic hardship in Natal, have the image of Queen Victoria commonly used in British colonies. In 1859, Natal’s Parliament had passed a “Coolie Law” making it possible to bring in much needed Indian workers for five-year indenture contracts. But, by 1866, all immigration stopped because of the poor economy and, sadly, indentured workers were being poorly treated by White farmers. Durban installed street lights in 1864 although, by 1867, the city could no longer afford oil for them.Scott #s 10 and 16, stamps for economic hard times During the early 1870s, the original engraved stamps were frequently overprinted, a practice that often connotes political and economic turmoil. The overprinting may have been undertaken merely to distinguish postal from fiscal usage. The turmoil, however, stemmed from ever deteriorating relations with the Zulus. As Natal’s first typographed stamps were being introduced (1874-1880), matters worsened to the point that the Anglo-Zulu War broke out, and the British were soundly defeated at the battle of Isandlwana (January 1879). Over 2500 of the Queen’s soldiers died. Scott #s 51, 52, and 53, stamps for war times The British quickly retaliated. The Anglo-Zulu War continued until the Zulu’s were decisively defeated at the second Battle of Ulundi, 21 July 1883. This warfare ended, in effect, the traditional Zulu Kingdom. The British cemented control by establishing the separate colony of Zululand, marking the occasion by issuing the Zululand stamps placed at the very end of our BB albums. After a few years, Zululand was incorporated into Natal (1897). Through the 1880s and 1890s, new Natal stamps consisted of additional values of Queen Victoria key plates and more overprints of earlier issues.Scott #s 74, 78, 79, and 80, stamps for divisive timesAt the same time, Indian citizens grew increasingly concerned about their diminishing rights in Natal. They brought in a London-trained lawyer to help them. The Registration of Servants Act No. 2 of 1888 classified Indians as members of an “uncivilized race.” Free Indians were forced to carry passes or be arrested. The lawyer, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, planned to stay only a few months after his arrival in 1893, but ended up living there for over 20 years. He came to think of himself as being South African as well as Indian. At the time of Gandhi’s arrival, Whites were outnumbered by Indians in the colony.  Gandhi was living in Durban when the stamps with Edward VII’s image were issued (1902-08), Natal’s final series. Natal joined with the Cape Colony, Orange Free State, and Transvaal in 1910 to form the Union of South Africa. Scott #s 84 and 85, stamps for end timesA few years ago I had a brief audience with the current Zulu King, His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, at his palace in Nongoma. A descendant from one of Shaka’s fratricidal brothers, His Majesty delights in recounting how his people handed the British army its only defeat in all African history (Isandlwana).  I had to interrupt the King’s recitation, however, because I was sick — two flat tires getting to Nongoma on unbelievably washboardy dirt roads and a nearly empty gas tank had frazzled me. His Majesty was displeased.  And he reported, regrettably, no gasoline was to be found in Nongoma. And he had no interest in stamp collecting.His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini in ceremonial garb. He wore a business suit when I was there.Roads departing from Nongoma were even more dreadful. We had hoped to spot black wildebeest along the way but, instead, we ran out of gas in an extremely remote area. Friendly Zulus, pitying our plight, brought us gasoline in milk bottles and delicious pineapples that they sliced up with their machetes. Ton Dietz, former director of the African Studies Centre at Leiden University, has written extensively about the stamps of Africa, including Natal, as an adjunct to his broader interest in African development.  Dietz observes that “Postage stamps, postcards, and other forms of postal heritage are miniature communication tools and tell stories about places, routes, and times.” See his 95-page paper on colonial Natal stamps with extensive illustrations copied from on-line auction catalogs and other sources: https://scholarlypublications.universiteitleiden.nl/access/item%3A2939025/view. Census: 25 in BB spaces including three of the six official stamps (Edward VII profile), three tip-ins, 24 on the supplement page.Jim’s ObservationsWow! I’m afraid I cannot top Bud’s story (above), where he met the current Zulu King. I have met, however, a queen ( Queen Noor, while visiting Petra in Jordan). 😉Natal Blog Post & BB ChecklistPage 11a1b1c1dSupplements Page 1Comments appreciated!