A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Guam - Bud's Big Blue

Guam Guard Mail Stamp
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
When I look at Guam stamps I get an earworm; sticky music, some people call it, or Involuntary Musical Imagery (INMI). I always hear Tevye’s Yiddish lament “If I were a rich man” from Fiddler on the Roof (in Zero Mostel’s voice). Can’t help it. Can’t get rid of it.

Worse, since I, too, am not a rich man, I never buy the Guam stamps I’d like to have. What might those be?

·        All 14 of the Guam overprints issued by the US Navy (1899), complete with the ultra-rare #9 (a type II) and the elusive #13 (also type II).
·        A cover with #e1, preferably a Guam-local special delivery.
·        Original and authentic Guam Guard Mail stamps, like the one shown above which is currently on eBay offer, with date and place visible cancels.
·        All of the Philippine stamps overprinted “Guam Guard Mail,” not just the low CV examples shown on my scan.
·        Several pre-1898 Guam covers franked with Philippine stamps: King Alfonso XII (1876-1882), the Spanish coat of arms (1881–1889) and the brattish Alfonso XIII (post 1890).
·        Airmail covers with Guam transit markings from the 1930s, Pan-American first flights, etc.
·        Lots of town and village cancels from places like Piti and Marizo. Inarajan, too. The scan shows three cancels but, sadly, I can’t decipher any of them.
·        Freaks and errors for the 2007 Hagåtña Bay USA airmail stamp. (There must be some).

If I were a rich man,
Daidle daidle deedle daidle duam
On eBay I'd biddy-biddy-Guam.
If I were a wealthy man… .
Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am,
Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan
If I had a few more Guam?


Census: five in BB spaces, three tip-ins.

Jim's Observations
The 1898 Spanish-American War resulted when the United States, after the unexplained sinking of the American battleship "Maine" in Havana Harbor, demanded that Spain immediately surrender control of Cuba, and Spain refused.

The result of the war was that Spain lost sovereignty over Cuba, and ceded the Philippine islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States for $20 million dollars.

The capture of Guam during the war is almost comical.

On June 20, 1898, Captain Henry Glass, with the armored cruiser USS Charleston, entered Apra Harbor. The Cruiser then fired a few cannon rounds at Fort Santa Cruz but nothing happened.

Two local officials, believing the cannon fire was a salute, and unaware that war had been declared, came out to the Charleston to apologize for not being able to return the salute.

Captain Glass informed them that Spain and the U.S. were at war.

The next day, the surrender of the island was arranged with the Spanish Governor, and the 54 Spanish infantrymen were sent to the Philippines as prisoners of war.

No U.S. military were left on the island. The only U.S. citizen on the island promised to keep an eye on things until the U.S. forces returned.

Guam Post and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

1864-79 GB Penny Red Sheet Reconstruction: In Search of Plate 77

1864 Penny Red Pair
Sheet Position OK & OL; Plate 90
Into the Deep Blue
The British Penny Red of 1864-1879 (Wmk Large Crown, Perf 14, Re-engraved portrait)  provides the WW collector with many study opportunities.

Each stamp is identified with letters in the lower quadrants with its place in the sheet (12 stamps across each horizontal row, 20 stamps down each vertical row). The first row left to right is lettered AA to AL. The second row is lettered BA to BL. This continues to the 20th horizontal row, which is lettered TA to TL. For good measure, the upper quadrants of each stamp is lettered inversely.

Altogether, there are 240 stamps in the sheet that can be identified by position with these letters.

AA-AE .... JA-JG Sheet portion
One could reconstruct a sheet by finding a Penny Red for each of the 240 positions. Although it appears simple, it would still require examining thousands of Penny Reds to reconstruct a sheet.

AG-AL...JG-JL Sheet portion
Certainly, price wise, it could still be done today by the WW collector, as the basic CV for a Penny Red is only $2+. What a challenge!

KA-KF...TA-TF Sheet portion
Well, is that what I have done? After all, I'm showing here a reconstructed 1864-1879 Penny Red sheet!

KG-KL...TA-TL Sheet portion
Alas, I cannot take credit for it. Perhaps five years ago, I bought the reconstructed sheet for a nominal bid price (I don't even remember how much) at our local stamp club auction.

Thank you to the previous collector who spent many hours necessarily putting this together!

Perfins on Penny Reds
Well, what further study can be done on the 1864 Penny Red?

Obviously shades. Scott lists rose red (major number) and brick red and lake red. As we present the many examples following of the Penny Red for this post, it appears that there may be even more shades.

One could identify the numeral cancel postmarks by town or post office station. I could, but I won't at this time. However, if the reader wishes to identify the towns, please post them in the comments section, - that would be great!

One could also identify perfins on the Penny Reds. One could look for reentries (specialized project). One could look for watermark differences (specialized project).

Plate Numbers are contained in the Scroll Work
Note: 2  1  2 (Plate 212)
Or... one could identify plate numbers!

It turns out that all of the 1864-1879 Penny Reds have embedded in the scroll work on each side of the stamp, the plate number!

Plate numbers used for these Penny Reds include Plate 71 to  Plate 225 (Numbers 69,70, 75,126, & 128 were never used because of defects; Plates 226 - 228 were made, but never used). Altogether, some 152 plate numbers can be found. Of those, I have 96 different plate numbers (63%).

The 58 common plate numbers have a CV of $3. Then they go up from there: 45 plate numbers are CV $10+-$80+. Plate 225 is $825.

And then the mother of all plate numbers.....plate 77.. is CV $500,000. !!!

Plate 77 was also rejected, but some got out. One specimen is in the Tapling Collection, and there are eight or nine others that are known. In 1944, a copy (Stamp MI) was found in a box among a million stamps sold. So, they are out there waiting to be discovered. !!

(For a heated discussion about the validity of a recent "plate 77" find, see this thread on the Stampboards.com forum. More here.)

To paraphrase...

Expert: Plate 77 is extremely rare. You have a snowball's chance in hell of finding one.

Me: So you are saying I have a chance?
-------------------------------------------------------

So, since I have a chance, let's examine all the plate numbers for the Penny Red Reconstruction Sheet.

1864-1879 Penny Red Plate Numbers Examination...a closer look

AA (220)...AB (118)..AC (106)..AD (172)..AE (149)...AF (123)

AC appears to me to be a "deep lake red" color. AE is "rose red". Some others are "lake red"?

AA - Plate 220
AE (220) is $9, while AE (149) is $7.

AG (---)..AH (---)..AI (118)..AJ (---)..AK. (106)...AL(107)

AL (107) is $9.

You will note here that, on three stamps, I was unable to determine the engraved plate number.  Of the 240 stamps, I was unable to determine the plate number on 31 of them (13%). That actually isn't too bad. Since the plate number is engraved twice (in each side scroll), the chances are enhanced that it will be identified. On the other hand, a heavy cancellation will be a challenge for identification..

BA (85)..BB (193)..BC (79)..BD (100)..BE (86)..BF (89)

BA (85) is $4, and BE (86) is $5.

BG (--)..BH (103)..BI (72)..BJ (74)..BK (--)..BL (157)

BH (103) & BI (72) are $5.

BI - Plate 72
This is the earliest plate I have (plate 72). As plate 71 was released April 1, 1864, my example could not have been far behind. Note the nice rose red color.

CA (85)..CB (184)..CC (198)..CD (98)..CE (168)..CF (167)

CE (168) is $11, while CC (198) & CD (98) are $7.

CG (110)..CH (208)..CI (171)..CJ (90)..CK (--)..CL (--)

CH (208) is $18+, while CG (110) is $11+.

CH - Plate 208
Many of the plate numbers in the 200s have a higher CV. Note this stamp is fairly well centered on three sides, with the left side cut into by perforations. It is difficult indeed (impossible?) to find a well centered four sided copy that isn't cut into by perforations.

DA (76)..DB (79)..DC (150)..DD (99)..DE (111?)..DF (140?)

DD (99) is $6.

DA - Plate 76
Here is plate 76 on a nice rose red....plate 77 must be around the corner. ;-)

DG (171?)..DH (156)..DI (171)..DJ 80?)..DK (100)..DL (138)

All are at the nominal $3. Both the Scott 1840-1940 catalogue and the SG 1840-1970 British Commonwealth catalogue have a list of CVs for every plate of the 1864-1879 penny red.

EA (150)..EB (--)..EC (170?)..ED (124?)..EE (78?)..EF (176?)

All are at the nominal $3.

Note that a number of plate identifications have a "?" after the identification? I am reasonably certain about the identification, but not positively certain. 

EG (123)..EH (198)..EI (85)..EJ (206)..EK (160)..EL (108)

EJ (206) is $11, while EH (198) is $7.

FA (212)..FB (120)..FC (74)..FD (124)..FE (140)..FF (145)

FA (212) is $13+.

Note the earlier plate ( FC (74)) has a rose red color.

FA - Plate 212
The lake red color is seen on this late plate. Recall that the numbered 200+ plates often have a higher CV.

FG (--)..FH (144)..FI (148)..FJ (100)..FK (199)..FL (150)

FH (144) is $26, while FK (199) is $15.

FH - Plate 144 CV $26
This plate is one of the higher valued found in the reconstructed sheet. This particular example may have been cut on three sides. I should mention, as an aside, that there are imperforated specimens known for 48 plates - see SG (very high CV).

GA (94)..GB (147)..GC (162?)..GD (200)..GE (208)..GF (212)

GE (208) is $18+, GF (212) is $13+, and GC (162) is $9.

GA (94) & GB (147)
I'm struck by the particularly rich colors of this grouping. Deep Brick Red and Deep Lake Red?

GG (96)..GH (92)..GI (125?)..GJ (150)..GK (81)..GL (150)

All are the nominal $3.

HA (78)..HB (160)..HC (177)..HD (138)..HE (187)..HF (120)

All are nominal $3. But among these, are a forger's dream.

HC - Plate 177

HC - Plate 177 Close-up
A popular way for a forger to make a "77" plate is to obtain a "177" plate, such as this one, and eliminate the "1".  ;-)

HG (--)..HH (188)..HI (88)..HJ (144?)..HK (108?)..HL (141?)

HJ (144?) is $26, HH (188) is $12+, HL (141?) is $11+, and HI (88) is $10.

A lot of value here.

IA (184?)..IB (--)..IC (172)..ID (200)..IE (102?)..IF (129)

IF (129) is $11.

IG (81)..IH (109)..II (124)..IJ (123)..IK (--)..IL (--)

IH (109) is $4+.

JA (149)..JB (--)..JC (99)..JD (116?)..JE (--)..JF (81?)

JD (116?) is $11+, JA (149) is $7, and JC (99) is $6.

JG (176)..JH (--)..JI (87)..JJ (--)..JK (177)..JL (90?)

All are nominal $3.

JJ (--)
This Penny Red illustrates two possibilities.

One can check the numeral cancellations for towns and post office stations.

And see "JJ"? Those are my initials!  Did you find a stamp embedded within the constructed sheet that represents yours?

KA (--)..KB (85?)..KC (160)..KD (87?)..KE (193)..KF (118?)

KB (85?) is $4.

KG (154)..KH (125)..KI (94)..KJ (203)..KK (119)..KL (97)

KJ (203) is $21, while KI (94) is $6.

KJ - Plate 203 (CV $21)
Another high value 200+ numbered plate.

LA (93)..LB (95)..LC (162)..LD (148)..LE (78)..LF (97?)

LC (162) is $9.

 LE - Plate 78

Here is Plate 78. Hey, where is plate 77? ;-)

LG (104?)..LH (197?)..LI (190)..LJ (95?)..LK (102)..LL (207?)

LH (197?) and LL (207?) are $11, while LI (190) is $7+, and LG (104?) is $6.

I suppose the problem with higher CV plates is, if you were going to sell them, most customers would want certainty and not a "?" specimen. ;-)

MA (164?)..MB (164?)..MC (164?) ..MD (--)..ME (193)..MF (78?)

MA,MB, & MC (all attached) appears to be (164?), a $9 apiece value.

Attached MA-MB-MC (164?)
For plating other early issues, having attached strips is invaluable. For the 1864-1879 Penny Red, that luxury is not so much needed, as all stamps can be placed within a plated sheet by using the corner letters.

MG (207)..MH (125)..MI (167)..MJ (99?)..MK (--)..ML (140)

MG (207) is $11, while MJ (99?) is $6.

Large Crown Wmk Varieties
A variety of watermark can be found on MA (ML) up to plate 96. Unfortunately, I don't have any examples. (The TA (TL) variety doesn't show up on the 1864-79 Penny Red issue.)

State II of Large Crown Watermark
The Large Crown Watermark was altered from State I in 1861 (See prior Illustration), and hence all 1864-79 Penny Reds have the State II watermark.

Inverted watermarks exist for most of the plates - worthwhile checking one's collection.

NA (154?)..NB (--)..NC (--)..ND (92)..NE (78)..NF (79)

All are nominal $3.

What are the problems with identifying the plate numbers? For one, the engraver may have done a poor job with engraving the plate numbers. And the numbers are difficult to discern not infrequently. A "0" can be a "8" or a "6" or a "3", or vice-versa. A "1" can sometimes be mistaken for a "7" or a '4" or vice versa. In my experience, only the "2" is usually without confusion.

NG (86)..NH (--)..NI (118)..NJ (87?)..NK (153)..NL (101?)

NK (153) & NL (101?) are $11+.

OA (146)..OB (125)..OC (216)..OD (--)..OE (125)..OF (--)

OC (216) is $24, while OA (146) is $7.

QC - Plate 216 (CV $24)
A well centered specimen (which this is not) commands a 50% premium, according to Scott. Based on my sample of stamps, I think the premium is too low. ;-)

OG (156)..OH (124)..OI (151?)..OJ (96)..OK (90)..OL (90)

OI (151?) is $11+. OK and OL (plate 90) are attached.

PA (187)..PB (98?)..PC (184)..PD (100)..PE (203)..PF (179)

PE (203) is $21, while PB (98?) is $7.

PE - Plate 203 (CV $21)
This PE specimen is perfectly centered, yet the perfs cut into the design. !!

I should mention that all the Victoria Head portraits for the 1864-79 Penny Reds are  the re-engraved type. 

"PG" (FG-96)) ..PH (97?)..PI (140)..PJ (174)..PK (140)..PL (--)

The only error the previous collector made with the sheet reconstruction: He placed an FG stamp where a PG stamp should go.

PH (97?) is $4+.

PJ (174) -PK (140) -PL (--)
Clear Cancels
This is beyond the plate identification topic I'm covering here, but be aware that attractive town cancellations and circular datestamps also command a premium.

QA (209)..QB (150)..QC (76?)..QD (163)..QE (89?)..QF (145)

QA (209) is $10+. while QD (163) is $9.

QG (157)..OH (184)..QI (84)..QJ (184?)..QK (90)..QL (92)

All are nominal $3.

RA (167)..RB (176)..RC (--)..RD (122)..RE (129)..RF (196)

RG (129) & RF (196) are $11.

RG (79)..RH (119)..RI (124?)..RJ (140)..RK (114?)..RL (91?)

RK (114?) is $16, while RL (91?) is $7+.

SA (158)..SB (110)..SC (165)..SD (196)..SE (98?)..SF (--)

SB (110) & SD (196) are $11+, while SC (165) & SE (98?) are $7.

Changing the topic, are you getting bored with the relative simplicity of the 1864-79 Penny Red issue?

1841-1858 Penny Reds
One-tenth of a sheet (Upper left hand corner)
Perhaps you would like something more challenging, such as the 1841-58 Penny Reds?


Although reconstructing a sheet for the 1841-58 Penny Reds is no more difficult than for the 1864-79 Penny Reds, the expense would be more. CV ranges in the $10 category on up for each stamp.

The varieties of 1841-58 Penny Reds are also more complex: Imperf/perf 14/perf16- bluish/white paper- original/re-engraved portrait. See my GB 1840-1900 post.

The real challenge comes with plating.

SG Volume I Queen Victoria Catalogue
Each stamp is usually identified plate wise by the position and shape of the bottom corner letters. One will need a good reference source, such as the catalogue above. Of interest, some of the plates used for the Penny Black (Plate 1b, 2,5,8,9,10,11) were also used for the Penny Red.

Now, back to the 1864-79 Penny Reds...

SG (167)..SH (72)..SI (110)..SJ (--)..SK (--)..SL (154)

SI (110) is $11+.

TA (134?)..TB (110)..TC (76)..TD (137)..TE (98?)..TF (117)

TB (110) is $11+, while TE (98?) is $7.

TG (95)..TH (199?)..TI (158)..TJ (120)..TK (89?)..TL (--)

TH (199?) is $7+.

According to SG, re-entries are few for the 1864-79 Penny Red issue. The best ones are found on SL & TL on plate 83, and MK & TK of plate 71. I don't have those specific examples.

GE   Plate 208
Out of the Blue
Well, I didn't find Plate 77, but I came close. (Plate 76, Plate 78). ;-)

I also found Plate 177, the forger's favorite plate for making 77s.

And there were plenty of higher valued Penny Red plates found.

Hope this little excursion will whet your appetite for your own exploration of the Penny Reds.

Note: All the stamp scans are mine, except the watermark "Large Crown" diagram is from the SG 1840-1970 British Commonwealth catalogue, and is used here for educational purposes.

Comments appreciated!