• New Caledonia – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on July 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    A recent New Caledonia emblemBud’s Big BlueBud’s ObservationsI’ve commented in several Bud’s Big Blue posts that large numbers of overprinted stamps usually indicates that some form of social upheaval bedevils the country. New Caledonia is no exception to this rule. In the nineteen years following New Caledonia’s first stamps with identifying initials (1881-1900), thirteen different overprints were used. And there are many double surcharges, errors and anomalies. New Caledonia was the first colony to have its initials overprinted on French Colonies stamps#6 red on straw, invertedFortunately, an excellent resource for identifying early New Caledonia surcharges can be found at https://www.rfrajola.com/NCE/nce.pdf.  At this site, Richard Frajola has published the Frederick Mayer collection of pre-1900 New Caledonia stamps. These overprints commonly turn up in feeder albums, so most world-wide collectors have at least few of them. My assortment is showing at the beginning of the supplement pages (below). #35 red on green, #37 carmine on rose (blue ovpt)No doubt the main reason for the deluge of overprints was slow delivery of stamps from France. But social turmoil may also have contributed to the necessity for overprints — New Caledonia was a prison colony for French convicts and political dissidents, indigenous people were largely excluded from the French economy and restricted to reservations, French ranchers’ cattle ate locals’ vegetable gardens, violence erupted, and European diseases decimated the native population. Collectors might wonder if their early New Caledonia stamps franked a prisoner’s mail to France. From 1859 through 1881, New Caledonia used French Colonies stamps without overprints, as was the case in other colonies. Stamps cancelled in New Caledonia, however, can sometimes be identified by a distinctive dot matrix lozenge authorized for Nouméa, New Caledonia’s capital and largest city. Scott’s catalog numbers these with an “A” prefix. I located my collection of Nouméa cancels in Big Blue’s French Colonies pages rather than with the New Caledonia supplements. Here are four examples; the first three show the dot matrix while the fourth has a standard circular cancelA7 20c blue on bluish, A19 1c olive green on pale blue,  A23 30c brown on yellowish, A54 25c black on roseScott’s Catalog makes an exception for the first New Caledonia stamp — it’s an 1859 local issue rather than an officially authorized stamp. Apparently, it was in use only a short while, then, when the French Colonies stamps became available, it was discontinued. According to comments in the Mayer collection (cited above), it was carved by a Colonial French Marine sergeant on a stone plate of 50 stamps, each being separately drawn. Since each of the 50 originals is different, forgeries, which abound, are difficult to detect. These local stamps were intended for service between Nouméa and Canala, an outlying town. A total of 1500 stamps were printed. Of the two in my collection, the first may be authentic while the second is an exceptionally crude imitation. The image is meant to be Napoleon III.#1s? Maybe/Unlikely.After 1920, New Caledonia, like most French colonies, was issued stamps of distinctive design. The acclaimed artist André Delzers engraved many of these, but they lack the inspiration, nuances, and details of the stamps he designed for France. Compare, for instance, these four, all by Delzers:NC #s 152 and 169, France #s 332 and B100The emblem at the top of this post employs some New Caledonia symbols that classical era stamps largely avoided — the nautilus shell, a Kanak spear or flèche faîtière (often used to decorate roofs of chiefs’ houses), and a tall native pine tree. These had to wait until the 1950s for their philatelic debut. A flèche faîtière appears on a 2007 New Caledonia stamp. Census: 125 in BB spaces, 101 on supplement pages.Jim’s ObservationsWow, I learn something from Bud’s observations every time!New Caledonia, 750 miles east of Australia in the southwest Pacific Ocean, has been a formal possession of France since 1853. But, it was named by the British Captain James Cook in 1774, as the land reminded him of Scotland. The indigenous population was the Kanak society, which is clan and chief based, and had the fearsome reputation of eating their enemies in former years.The French established a penal colony, where some 22,000 prisoners were sent through 1897. Nickel was discovered in 1864, and New Caledonia has today 25% of the known nickel resources in the world.Stamps were introduced in 1859 with a portrait of Napoleon III. One will note the stamps often are inscribed “Nouvelle Caledonie et Dependances”. The Dependencies are the Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines, Huon Islands, and Chesterfield Islands.New Caledonia Blog Post & BB ChecklistPage 11a1b1c1dPage 22a2b2c2dPage 33a3b3cPage 44a4b4c4dSupplements Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Comments appreciated!Page

  • Fiume 1919 – a closer look at forgeries
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on July 9, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green  “Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume” This Forgery: Only found on 10 corona denomination for Issue Into the Deep Blue The legionnaires, under the Italian nationalist poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, seized control of this city on the Adriatic Sea in September, 1919.Read more about the history at…Fiume Blog Post & BB ChecklistAnd read Bud’s post on the “frightful little gnome” here…Fiume- Bud’s Big BlueThe reality is that, between 1919-1924, 262 stamps were issued. !!  Many of them offer challenges to the WW collector – because of overprint forgeries of the 1918 issue on Hungarian stamps, and because of forgeries generated in the 1920s for the packet trade.In fact, my original post on Fiume (first link above) in 2011 was unknowingly salted with at least two forgery illustrations. I plead that I didn’t know any better. 😉But help is now at hand.The first is Varro Tyler’s book “Focus on Forgeries” (2000), which  offers five pages of discernable findings for five key stamps between 1919-1923.Stamp Forgeries – Forged Stamps of Fiume (Stamp Forgeries of the World)The second major resource (link above) is the brainchild of Denmark’s Morten Munck, who has been compiling from his website Stamp Forgeries of the World, images and descriptions of stamp forgeries for many stamp issuing countries/entities. This effort has been going on for a number of years, and he has a particular valuable contribution for Fiume. Fiume 1918-1924 – Classic Stamp ForgeriesThe third major resource (website link above) is relatively new, having only been published for less than a year, but  presents precise research into many classic stamp forgeries, with additional material being added weekly. This is the magnificent effort from Ron, of Canada, and it well needs checking out by the WW classical era collector for all of the counties that he has now posted. In fact, it was his recent post on the forgeries of Fiume that made me decide to revisit this topic.Fiume 1919 – a closer look at the forgeries 100 Filler = 1 Korona 100 Centesimi = 1 Corona (1919) 100 Centesimi = 1 LiraSo how will I approach the topic of forgeries for Fiume, when as Scott says ” Collectors should be aware that collections sold “as is” should be assumed to consist of mostly forged stamps. Education plus working with knowledgeable dealers is mandatory in this collecting area. More valuable stamps should be expertized.”I will approach this topic by showing some of the more common forgeries which are detectable without too much difficulty. That is for the “Education” part of the Scott quote above. And I will warn the reader when forgery detection becomes too subtle, and when experts should be called in. !! I will divide the topic into two posts: This one will look at the 1919 issues (and a little of the 1920 issues). The next post will examine the 1920 issues and beyond. Let’s begin…1918 Scott 3 2f brown orange (OP Forgery) Typographed overprint on Hungarian Stamps of 1916-18 Beginning December 2, 1918, the overprinted stamps only being produced for three weeks, and with the issue being unannounced, the first issue of Fiume (2 printing plates, 6 handstamps) had limited supply. And huge demand by collectors.It was easy for enterprising types to obtain sheets of genuine 1916-18 Hungarian stamps, and go into the forgery business by applying a simple “Fiume” overprint.1918 Scott 21 10f scarlet (probable OP Forgery) Typographed Overprint on 1918 Hungarian Stamp There are both typographic overprints (Scott 1A, 1-23), and handstamp overprints (Scott 3a-23a). CV’s are generally higher for handstamp OP specimens ($17+ – $175) than for typographic OP specimens ($2+-$60), but there are typographic exceptions that are rare ($7000-$11000). I think, though, the CVs, in general,  are artificially low in the catalogue for these comparatively uncommon genuine specimens because of the overwhelming need to identify and reject the extensive forgeries.Most collectors have given up. I know I have. If you want to read more about this unfortunate situation, here it is….Two Typographic Overprints Probable Forgeries “Forgery” signs (upper): “Serifs point in the wrong direction and tend to be rounded not sharp;The right side of the U is too thick; The middle of the M is too low and not pointed”“Genuine” signs (lower): The Serifs tend to be pointed and sharp, the left side of “U” is thicker, the middle of the  “M” is pointed, and not too low. Overall, though, I suspect the print is too thin for a genuine.So, Dear Reader, I do not recommend that you spend time trying to figure out genuine from forgery overprints…..unless you really want to get down into the genuine/forgery weeds…Then, study intently…Stamp Forgeries – 1918 Fiume Overprints WebsiteClassic Stamp Forgeries – Fiume Website1919 Scott 27 2c dull blue “Italy” Genuine The new “city-state” of Fiume first lithographic issue proper of 1919, consisting of seventeen stamps and four designs, was quite attractive to collectors. CVs for the issue range from $1+ to $60+.The 2c, 3c & 5c denominations shared this metaphorical “Italy” design.Scott now divides the issue based on paper: (A) Jan-Feb printings- grayish, porous paper, sheets of 70 (minor number); (B) March printings-translucent or semi-translucent good quality white paper, sheets of 70 (minor number); (C) April printings-good quality medium white paper, plain and opaque, sometimes grayish or yellowish, sheets of 100 (major number). 919 Scott 27 2c dull blue “Italy” Genuine Close-up Naturally, with the popularity of this lithographic issue with collectors, large quantities were produced for the packet trade. For the genuine “Italy” design, the star is a proper regular five-point, and the length of the middle horizontal arm of “E” in FIUME is only slightly shorter than the other arms..1919 Scott 27 2c dull blue “Italy” Forgery The forgery is cruder in appearance.1919 Scott 27 2c dull blue “Italy” Forgery close-up The five point star is irregular and narrower in appearance. The middle horizontal arm of “E” in Fiume is much shorter in length.1919 Scott 28 3c gray brown “Italy” GenuineHere is the 3c gray brown genuine…1919 Scott 28 3c gray brown “Italy” Forgery Note the cruder appearance, the squashed five point star, and the short middle arm of “E” in FIUME. Another example of the forgery (5c yellow green) is shown with the “Out of the Blue” section at the end of this post.1919 Scott 30 10c rose (Genuine) “Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume” The second design for the 1919 issue shows City Hall, and the “Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume”.The 10c rose (above) was given a page in Tyler’s “Focus on Forgeries” and features one of the easier ( and gratifying) identification differences between genuine/forgery during the packet trade era.1919 Scott 30 10c rose (Genuine) close-up Note there are three windows below the gable to the right of the clock tower. The upper two windows of the far left building (in close-up above) are separated by two horizontal lines: the upper line which is thinner and shorter than the lower line.(Note also that the edge of the vertical tower wall to the left of the tower clock does not show any gaps or openings in the edge structure. There is a second forgery known, where there are gaps or openings here. I don’t have any examples of that forgery.)“1919 Scott 30 10c rose” (Forgery) “Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume” During the post WW I era, this quite attractive lithographic four design  set of 1919 was abundantly forged for the packet trade: this 10c rose forgery is thought to be the work of N. Imperato of Genoa, Italy, according to Varro Tyler.“N. Imperato” should be a familiar name, has he is supposedly responsible for other forgeries as well. He produced forgeries circa 1920-22, and advertised them as “costing a fraction” of the genuine stamp. Besides Fiume, he is responsible for producing forged stamps of Batum (British occupation), Brazil, Eritrea, Honduras, Italian Occupation of Austria, Italian Offices in the Turkish Empire, Spain, Sicily, Karelia, and Bulgaria.“1919 Scott 30 10c rose” (Forgery) close-up Look for four windows in a horizontal row below the gables on the right side of the clock-tower. !!The two vertical windows on the far left building only have a line or dot between them. (Note the edge (line) of the vertical wall to the left of the clock-tower is relatively intact. Another forgery, as mentioned above, of this stamp will have some gaps and openings here. )1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Genuine) City Hall: “Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume” Another example of the “Clock-tower” stamp: here the 20c green.Recall, that the issue can be found with good quality medium white paper (April, 1919 – major number), Poor quality grayish paper (Jan-Feb, 1919 – this stamp (above)), or good quality translucent white paper (March, 1919). There can be major differences in CV, depending on paper. 1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Genuine) Close-up Note the three horizontal windows (left of clock-tower), and two lines between the two vertical windows (right of clock-tower).1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Forgery)The “four window” forgery….1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Forgery) close-upNote the four horizontal windows (left of clock-tower), and the line or dot between the two vertical windows (right of clock-tower).1919 Scott 31 15c violet (Forgery)This is the 15c violet forgery. I have to chuckle when I exhibit this stamp, as the seller on the APS website* was proud of the fact that he has parsed the three types of paper for this issue, and asserted that all the stamps belonged to Type C paper type. He forgot about forgeries. 😉*APS website – good site, I buy from them. But still Caveat emptor. I regularly cruise the site looking for forgeries, and there are plenty of them, supposedly from “knowledgeable” APS members.1919 Scott 33 25c dark blue “Revolution” GenuineThis is the third design for the 1919 issue: quite lovely indeed.I don’t have any forgeries for this issue. The forgery has many interrupted (non completed) diagonal lines among the upper background, and there is a a small white patch (white dot) below the end of the Lion’s tail and between the metaphorical woman figure.1919 Scott 38 60c claret (genuine) “Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume (1918)This is the fourth design for the 1919 issue used for the higher denomination between 50c and 10cor (seven stamps). 1919 Scott 38 60c claret (genuine) Left upper Close-upA close-up of the upper left portion of the stamp shows a horizontal line extending into the space between the two vertical outer lines. The genuine stamps of this design (seven denominations) usually show this marker. The unique 10 corona denomination stamp forgery does not (see below).1919 Scott 41 3cor orange redThis is probably genuine. But there is a type of forgery that is over-inked, and shows a break in the central part of the cross, where the top vertical cross part and the right horizontal cross part meet (where they cross!).Close-up Note the many wavy lines present in the outer margin of the collar of the sailor’s middy. Also note the thick-ish wedge of color located between the two legs of “R” of “COR”.“1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green “\ “Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume” This Forgery: Only found on 10 corona denomination for Issue This 10 corona forgery (only found with this denomination) is quite deceptive, and no doubt lurks in many collections. Is ignorance bliss? Varro Tyler devotes a whole page to this forgery.1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green left upper Close-up ForgeryNote there is no horizontal shading line extending into the space between the left outer vertical framelines. (Characteristic for the 10 corona forgery.)“1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green “\ Close-up ForgeryNote the lack of horizontal lines on the outer margins of the collar of the sailor’s middy.Also note the thin wedge of color between the “R” legs of “COR”.1919 Scott 46 5c yellow green “Italy”An almost identical issue to the preceding Jan-April, 1919 issue was released on July 28, 1919, except the bottom tablet has “Posta Fiume”, rather than “Fiume”. This July, 1919 issue consisted of the four previous designs, but on only eight stamps. CV is $2-$8. For the “Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume” design (four stamps), the “crack in the middle of the cross” forgery is known.Newspaper 1919 Scott P2 2c deep buff -original “Eagle” Sometimes genuine differences can be mistaken for a forgery. The genuine original looks like this…Newspaper 1919 Scott P3 2c deep buff – re-engraved “Eagle” Note the re-engraved specimen has the “2” rounder, and broader, the feet of the eagle shows clearly, and the diamond at the bottom has six lines instead of five lines.1919 Scott 62 15c on 45c orange “Revolution” Stamps and Types of 1919 Handstamp Surcharged Between 1919-20, thirteen stamps/(types-new values) of 1919 were surcharged. Generally, there are three types of overprints. This is Type I for the 15c: Letter N with serif at top left, Loop of letter R round, Numeral 5 thick and wide. There are plentiful forgeries. Check to see if the underlying stamps is a forgery, then the overprint is also. Or, check the Fiume Forgery website resources linked earlier to ascertain if the overprint appears genuine.1919-20 Scott 76 20c on 20c orange  “Statue of Romulus and Remus Being Suckled by Wolf” Semi-postal stamps of 1919 Surcharged First Setting: Surcharge Letters thin and small Between 1919-20, semi-postal stamps of 1919 (three designs) were surcharged as shown. There are three settings of the surcharge overprints. Of interest, the three settings are each given major numbers in my 2020 Scott, but my 2011 Scott does not break them out.1920 Scott 73A 5c on 5c green“Statue of Romulus and Remus Being Suckled by Wolf” Semi-postal stamps of 1919 Surcharged Third Setting: Surcharge Letters Bold, 2.0mm separationWith the third setting, the surcharge letters are bold, and there is a 2.0 mm separation between “Cent.” and letter of value, according to Scott.  The second setting has a 2.5 mm separation, according to Scott.  (Note: the actual measurements that I got was 1.5 mm between the dot after “Cent” and the numeral of value for the third setting. The second setting has 2.0 mm between the dot after “Cent” and the numeral of value.1919 Scott 29 5c yellow green “Italy” Forgery Out of the BlueWell, I know much more regarding the “Packet Trade” forgeries for the 1919 Fiume issue. I hope this has been helpful to you, too. Of course, if you want to know more, check out the resources listed during this post introduction (scroll up).Comments appreciated!

  • New Brunswick – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on July 1, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Scott #6, brown violet Bud’s Big BlueBud’s ObservationsNew Brunswick issued only a few stamps (eleven, in Scott’s listing), but four of them are philatelic firsts — first train on a stamp, first steam and sail ship, first commemorative and, audaciously, first stamp with the image of a postmaster on it. Each of these four has generated no end of commentary by collectors and specialists. Exactly what locomotive is it? What boat? Why was Prince Albert Edward (Bertie, the future King Edward VII) commemorated? Why on earth did postmaster Charles Connell commission his own picture on a stamp? The wood-burning locomotive on Scott #6 is supposed by traditionalists to be the Ossekeag, an engine owned by the newly opened and extravagantly named European and North American Railway line. Train buffs say it more closely resembles the Coos 4-4-0. Probably, though, it was meant to be the Ossekeag because one of the railway directors was postmaster Connell. But artists at the American Bank Note Company, where he had commissioned the stamps to be made, didn’t know what the Ossekeag looked like. European and North American Railway Engine #9, OssekeagSimilarly, the ship on 12½-cent stamp (Scott # 10) is unclassifiable except in generic terms. It might be the “Royal William”, the first steamship to cross the North AtlanticScott #10, blueOr it might be the “City of Washington”, a mail boat steaming/sailing between New York and Southampton in the 1850s.There is, of course, no mistaking the image of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) outfitted as a teen-aged highlander. Postmaster Connell intended the stamp to commemorate the Prince’s 1860 royal tour of Canada. He was the first royal to appear on a colonial stamp other than his mother, the Queen. A 17 cent stamp would carry a letter from New Brunswick to England by way of New York.Scott #11, black The photograph used by the engravers is available online. https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/albert-edward-prince-of-wales-and-the-future-king-edward-news-photo/150713057 (Shown here for educational purposes)Postmaster Connell authorized a photo of himself for the 5 cent stamp (Scott #5). It was a cocky step too far, resulting in immediate scorn. It should have been the Queens’ image, not his. He then quit (was fired?) as postmaster even though he offered to buy all the stamps and burn them in his front yard. A few escaped the blazes, though, and have become extreme rarities. Unsurprisingly, counterfeits exist, as they do for all New Brunswick stamps.Scott #5, plate proof (Obviously, not in my collection)Postmaster Connell’s 1860 series used cents (dollars) rather than pence and shillings as the value denomination. This currency was on a par with the Canadian dollar, by which it was replaced in 1867 when New Brunswick joined the Canadian Confederation. Census: six in BB spaces, two on supplement page, both duplicates of those in BB spacesJim’s ObservationsFor Big Blue, the entire six stamp 1860-63 issue is given a space- the good news for this gorgeous issue.The bad news, for the price aware collector, is the entire selection crosses the threshold for “expensive” stamps. And four stamps meet the $35 criteria for “Most Expensive” stamps, with a CV ranging from $37+-$77+. !But, since I have a particular like for these stamps, I, for one, am pleasedNew Brunswick Blog Post & BB ChecklistPage 11aSupplements Page 11aComments appreciated!

  • Cuba 1899 & 1905 Issues: original & re-engraved differences
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on June 22, 2021 at 2:00 pm

     1905 Scott 237 10c brown “Cane Field” Re-engraved Into the Deep Blue Bits and pieces of memory flood back when I look again at the original 1899 and re-engraved 1905 stamp issues of Cuba: There I was as a 12 year old in the living room of our old house, trying to make sense of the differences these stamps exhibited. I think I mostly succeeded, but not entirely, as I never would have had the 1905 5c blue “Ocean Liner”, with the re-engraved secret mark – too expensive for my boyhood budget (Today CV $8).So, with a tinge of nostalgia, and the realization, even now, that these issues can be confused, I thought a proper look at the differences would be in order.As students of Cuban history know, the 1899 issue came into being while the U.S. had military rule and occupation of Cuba, due to the Spanish-American war in 1898.There were five stamps for the 1899 issue (1c, 2c, 3c, 5c,10c), and four stamps for the 1905 re-engraved issue (1c, 2c, 5c, 10c). Since I want to illustrate differences, the 1899 3c will not be discussed further.One problem Scott presented to us collectors is that their illustration of the differences were in black & white until very recently, and particularly the “2c” illustration was confusing. Fortunately, my 2020 catalogue now shows the illustrations in color with better resolution.So, let’s take a closer look…1899 Scott 227 1c yellow green  “Statue of Columbus”; Original The original 1c has a fairly obvious sign if you know where to look.  Also, the 1c’s color was “yellow green”, which might offer a clue compared to the 1c “green” or “light green” of the 1905 issue.1899 Cuba Issue: Double-lined “C” (left) & “U” (right) Wmk US-C (191C) I should mention, for those familiar with the USA Wmk 191 (Double lined “USPS” in Capitals), that there was a special 191 variation watermark (191C) used on the 1899 Cuba issue: namely “US-C”. 1899 Scott 227 1c yellow green Close-up Original: The ends of the “Centavo” tablet are square Well, here is the difference that identifies the 1c original: Note that either end of the “Centavo” tablet is square.1905 Scott 233 1c green  “Statue of Columbus”; Re-engravedOK, now the 1 centavo of 1905. Note the “green” color. Also, this issue is unwatermarked. Note also that both the 1899 & the 1905 issues are Perf 12.1905 Scott 233 1c green Close-up Re-engraved: The ends of the “Centavo” tablet are roundedThe close-up of the 1905 1c shows that either end of the “Centavo” tablet is rounded (or cut into top and bottom if you prefer).1899 Scott 228 2c carmine “Royal Palms” Original The 2c is one of those stamps I clearly remember from my childhood. 😉 It can be found either as “carmine” (major number) or scarlet. 1899 Scott 228 2c carmine Close-up Original: Foliate ornaments inside “2” disk oval The clue to identifying the 1899 2c is to look inside the oval surrounding the “2”. There is a “9 o’clock” and a “3 o’clock” foliate ornament present inside the oval.Cover 1899 Scott 228 2c carmine OriginalSoldier’s letter (Sperow): Co. F., with 10th U.S. Infantry based in Matanzas Matanzas, Cuba 4-4-1900 to Boston, Mass Backstamped Havana, Cuba 4-4-1900Here is a soldier’s letter posted 4-4-1900 from Cuba. Recall that the U.S. had occupation forces there after the 1898 Spanish-American war.Cover: Matanzas, Cuba 4-4-1900 to Boston, MassStamp: 1899 Scott 228 2c carmine  Original: Foliate ornaments inside “2” disk ovalSure enough, the stamp is the 1899 2c carmine with the foliate ornaments inside the “2” ovals.1905 Scott 234b 2c carmine “Royal Palms” Re-engraved Let’s look at the 1905 re-engraved 2c. Take a look inside the “2” ovals. (BTW, I think the color here is minor number “carmine”, rather than major number “rose”. It turns out the carmine color has a lesser CV (<$1) than the rose color ($1+) The carmine color must be also more common?)1905 Scott 234b 2c carmine Close-upRe-engraved: No foliate ornaments inside “2” disk ovalA look inside the oval “2” shows no foliate ornaments.Cover: 1905 Scott 234b 2c carmine Re-engraved 8-31-08 Caibarien, Santa Clara, Cuba to Decatur, Georgia via Havana Arrived 9-4-08 I’m beginning to think that postal historians (those that like their stamps on covers) do not pay a lot of attention to the stamps themselves. The seller here listed the stamp as “228” – the 1899 2c stamp.Cover: Caibarien, Santa Clara, Cuba 8-31-1908 to Decatur, GeorgiaStamp: 1905 Scott 234b  2c carmine  Re-engraved: No foliate ornaments inside “2” disk oval Do you see any foliate ornaments inside the oval 2s? No! This is clearly a 1905 2c issue, which is  appropriate for a 1908 cover.1899 Scott 230 5c blue “Ocean Liner” Original The original 5c blue 1899 edition. 1899 Scott 230 5c blue Close-up Original: There are no right angle lines added  in the upper corners of the “Cuba” tabletFor this stamp, the sign is subtle – there are no added right angle lines in the upper “Cuba” tablet.1905 Scott 236 5c blue “Ocean Liner” Re-engravedThe 1905 issue 5c blue is CV $40+/$8 (unused/used). I suspect this stamp is missing from many ordinary WW collections.And the sign for the 1905 issue 5c is also subtle….1905 Scott 236 5c blue Close-upRe-engraved: There are right angle lines added in the upper corners of the “Cuba” tablet Look carefully at the upper corners of the “Cuba” tablet: There are placed “right angle lines”…almost a secret sign!1899 Scott 231 10c brown “Cane Field” OriginalFortunately, the 1899 10c brown has a not so subtle sign…1899 Scott 231 10c brown “Cane Field” Close-up Original: Square ends either side of “Cuba” tablet Look for square ends.1905 Scott 237 10c brown “Cane Field” Re-engravedNow, the re-engraved 1905 10c brown….1905 Scott 237 10c brown “Cane Field” Close-up Re-engraved; Small “ball” added to the square ends The square ends have a ball added. !!!Ocean Liner Close-up 1899 Scott 5c blue Out of the BlueI hope you enjoyed the close examination of the differences between the 1899 and 1905 issues. Admittedly, most are fairly obvious if one knows where to look. !!Comments appreciated!

  • Nevis – Bud’s Big Blue
    by noreply@blogger.com (Jim) on June 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    A selection of Medical Springs stampsBud’s Big Blue Bud’s ObservationsJim suggested that world-wide collectors should acquire a few of Nevis’ famous Medicinal Springs stamps because of their unique design, even though they tend to be rather expensive (see Jim’s post here). So, to use a phrase common in my great grandmother’s time, I decided to “take the waters.” Not literally, of course, for I have no desire to swig hot mineral water or loll about in it regardless of any alleged curative benefits.The stamps’ design tells a powerful story, though. A fainting, perhaps dying woman is supported by another while a third pours a therapeutic quaff. I hope it restored her vigor. Certainly, the stamps vigorously promote the spas. Scott lists 18 major numbers with this design. The spas of Nevis were a 19th century luxury attraction. And they still exist.Nevis spa. Photo credit: www.tripadvisor.comAs a start, I bought five of Medicinal Springs stamps (shown below), all reasonably priced — two of the one cent and three of the four cent variety. Sometime after making the purchases, however, I learned that the Nevis spring waters had been muddied by forgers. Even the 14 stamps of Nevis’ Queen Victoria design have been extensively forged. My Medicinal Springs examples might test positive for the forgery virus, as do many of those offered by on-line auctions. For genuine vs forgery comparisons, see:  http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-nevis/. The forgeries, however, make an interesting collection in their own right, including those forged as recently as Nevis’ 1984 automobile series. Serious forgery collectors will want to consult a 1910 book by Fred J. Melville — The Postage Stamps of Nevis & How to Detect the Forged Stamps of Nevis. A digital reprint recently became available. Used Nevis stamps often bear the “A09”, the British designation for Charlestown, the capital of Nevis. The “A09” was used on British stamps before the colony had stamps of their own inscribed “Nevis.” In the 1880s, Nevis created an overprinted bisect — the one cent purple Queen Victoria was split in half to create two ½ cent stamps. Scott catalog provides major numbers for these two, one for the black overprint and one for the violet. An example of the black overprint is showing on the supplement page. The Medicinal Spring design achieved restored vigor of a sort when, in 1903, Nevis began issuing stamps conjointly with St Kitts, a nearby Caribbean island. The redrawn vignettes show the scene more clearly than do the originals.St. Kitts and Nevis, Scott #s 5, 35, 87, and 14I suspect that many collectors are glad that only four spaces, out of a possible 32, need to be filled to complete the Big Blue Nevis page. To make it even easier, three of the four can be filled with any Nevis stamp. Census: four in BB spaces, eight on supplement page.Jim’s ObservationsNevis (named originally by the Spanish as “Nuestra Senora de las Nieves” -Our Lady of the Snows), was actually settled by British settlers, who migrated from Saint Christopher, in 1628. The sugar cane grown on the island, with the help of imported African slaves, was highly profitable, even outproducing Jamaica in the 17th century. But an invasion by the French d’Iberville in 1704 decimated the sugar industry, and Nevis never really recovered.In 1883, St. Christopher, Nevis, and Anguilla were linked under one “Presidency”, with the headquarters on St. Christopher (St. Kitts). Naturally. Nevis was not pleased, as they had their own “Presidency” prior to this new administrative arrangement.In 1778, the Bath Hotel was built to take advantage of the hot springs in the area. This, interestingly, was the first attempt at “tourism” in the Caribbean. The “Medicinal Spring” theme was also featured on the first issues of Nevis 1861-1876, some 19 stamps. Nevis Blog Post & BB ChecklistPage 11aSupplements Page 11aComments appreciated!

  • 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!