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. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Errors, Freaks, and Oddities Collecting

Error Vertical Perforation Cut on
1914 Mexico Scott 369 5c gray green "Coat of Arms'
Redrawn, Perf 12
Into the Deep Blue
Every collector comes across a stamp, at times, that does not look ordinary, or has something "different" about it. It looks "odd", or freakish, or might even appear to be an error.

Something clearly went wrong in the production of the stamp.

You might become curious as to what happened. You might wonder if it is "worth" anything. Are there other collectors that like this kind of thing too? You might even consider becoming an EFO collector.

Welcome to the world of Errors, Freaks, and Oddities!

There is even a long established stamp society for this: The Errors, Freaks, and Oddities Collectors Club.

1909 Liberia 119a 15c indigo & black
"Vai Woman Spinning Cotton"
Center Inverted
Perhaps, for most collectors, the most interesting error that comes to  mind are the center inverts. This can occur when a stamp goes through the printing process twice: once for the frame, and once for the center vignette/scene, and the center or frame plate is inverted.

1911 Guatemala 142a 5p red & black
"President Manuel Estrada Cabrera"
Center Inverted
Quite spectacular.

In truth, inverts are fairly rare (and valuable- think "Inverted Jenny" of 1918), at least among philatelic nations with high quality control.

Among other nations where philatelic shenanigans are tolerated,  perhaps not so much.. ;-)

In reality, I think of inverted center stamps as part of mainstream philately, and not just for EFO fanatics.

1855 Sweden Tri-Skilling Yellow Color error
From the Internet - not mine!
A genuine color error on a stamp - not just a shade or changeling- is also rare and valuable. This can occur when a color intended for another denomination is used by mistake.

November 16, 1962 USA Scott 1204 4c black, brown, & yellow
"Dag Hammarskjold" Special Printing Issue
Yellow Inverted and Shifted to the Right
Color mistakes (errors) can be found on late 20th century stamps too, here the USA 1962 "Dag Hammarskjold", printed by the Giori press on October 23, 1962. The yellow color is inverted, and shifted to the right.

After discovery, a deliberate "mistake" special printing was released November 16, 1962. The original 10-23-1962 "mistake" stamps can only be authenticated if on cover with a postal date prior to 11-16-1962.

I remember the excitement in the philatelic community, and even the general public!, when the original error stamps were discovered (Front page news!). And what a "downer" it was when deliberate error stamps were produced. 

1956 Russia Scott 1860 40k emerald "Makhmed Alazov"
Two lines in 148 panel (TII) rather than three lines (TI)
Errors sometime occur when the printing on the stamp is found not correct, and a subsequent corrective stamp is then issued.

Here, the "error" stamp had two lines of Cyrillic script in the "148" panel, while the corrective stamp has three lines. The Scott catalogue lists these variations as Type II and Type I respectively.

1959 USA  Scott J89 1c carmine rose
Wildly off-center, no?

The stamp itself is printed by rotary press. But the denomination for the stamp is added by using rubber plates in an operation similar to precanceling.

If I was a mainstream collector, I would want a nicely centered specimen. An EFO collector might like this.

1928 Canada Scott 154 8c blue "King George V"
Right "8" with "black holes"?
Much of EFO collecting is sorting through specimens looking for production errors. Here, the left "8" has three black marks. Looks intriguing, but I think those marks were left by the cancel - an oddity. If it was a production error, it could be a one-off (a freak), or a repetitive error on one or more stamps of the sheet. If the latter, then the Scott catalogue might be interested!!, and you  might have a find!

India Hyderabad 1934 Scott O50  4A ultramarine
"Reservoir for City Hyderabad'
Engraved; "4 Annas" improperly printed
Plate wear can lead to "errors". Here the "4 Annas" on the left side panel is not well printed. This might be of interest to a specialist, or an EFO collector.

1903 USA Scott 304 5c blue "Lincoln"
Most of us look for well centered stamps.  But sometimes the stamp is so badly centered, it becomes interesting.

1967 USA Scott 1294 $1 dull purple 
"Eugene O'Neil'
So bad that it is good from an EFO point of view.

1882 USA Scott 1950 20c blue
"Franklin Delano Roosevelt"
I wonder if this is printer's waste? Probably not, but not a good day for "quality control" at the post office.

1932 Lithuania Scott 265 bister & orange brown
"Vytautas Fleeing from Prison"
Now this is probably printer's waste. Many "shenanigan" countries do seem to get stuff like this out into the philatelic community.

1882 New Zealand Scott 61 1p rose "Victoria"
Imprint gutter - or not
This was labeled in the album as showing an "imprint gutter". I don't think so - looks like the frame of the next stamp.

1935 Paraguay Scott O98 2.50p violet
Imperf rather than Perf 11
The Paraguay Scott O98 is only catalogued as Perf 11. This imperf specimen is either printer's waste, or unauthorized, - or possibly a cover/envelope stamp? (Scott doesn't cover envelope stamps for non-USA countries.)

1928 Guatemala Scott 230a 1/2c on 2p orange
"National Observatory"
Blue  & Inverted Surcharge
Lots of EFO hunting among overprints/surcharged stamps, as that is a fruitful area for production errors.

This is an example of an inverted surcharge. Inverted printing/surcharges can at times be rare, but more commonly, it is so frequent that there is no or very little added value.

1903 Panama Scott 79 10c yellow
"Map of Panama"
Overprint in Red: Part of "P"(right) and "M"(left) missing
Close inspection reveals lacunae among the overprint.

British Guiana 1890 Scott 150 1c on $3 green & black
Red Surcharge: Broken "C" on Surcharge
The broken "C": a freak or a repetitive error on part of the sheet?

Not listed in Stanley Gibbons, so probably a one-off.

1902-03 Iceland Scott O22 5a brown
"02-03" Op in Black: Here "02" appears to be "09"
OP looks like a "09"? 

1917 Trinidad & Tobago Scott MR5 1p scarlet
Part of "A" in "TAX' missing
Missing part of "A" in "TAX". A freak (one-off).

1948 Jordan Palestine Scott N6 4m deep yellow green
"Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein"
Red OP, Part of "Palestine" OP missing
Not well printed.

1882 Switzerland Scott 84 40c gray "Helvetia"
Large Numerals, "Two Crosses" !!
Here is an oddity: Two crosses! Actually, the second cross is part of the cancel.

Liberia 111a $1 rose & gray "Mercury"
Center Inverted
Out of the Blue
Does EFO collecting excite you or bore you to tears?

I admit it does a little of both for me.

Note: The scan of the Sweden Tri-Skilling yellow, which is unique and a great rarity ($3,000,000), is obviously from the internet, and the scan appears to be part of the public domain.

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Hatay - Bud's Big Blue

An early wreathed head from Hatay1
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Why would BB’s editors allot 13 spaces to a small, independent state that lasted only eight months? Three justifications would likely be offered by those who made the decision:

Hatay’s 1938 political significance. France wanted Atatürk, Turkey’s president, not to side with Germany in the upcoming war. So, France arranged for Hatay, which it occupied thanks to a League of Nations mandate, to cede from Syria and become a Turkish-leaning independent state. Hatay’s new stamps abetted this ploy first with a series of overprinted Turkish stamps (showing Atatürk, of course) then with maps of the sliced off territory. A few months later, some of these were overprinted with the date June 30, 1939 to celebrate formal annexation to Turkey (none showing in the scans). The ploy worked; Turkey stayed neutral until almost the end of WWII, then sided with the Allies. So did BB’s editors, presumably.

Hatay’s rich ancient history. Inhabited since the Stone Age, Hatay’s capitol, Antakya (aka Antioch), figures prominently in Akkadian, Amorite, Hittite, Assyrian, Persian, Jewish, Greek and Roman cultural histories. See gold coin above. The Apostles Paul and Barnabas visited Antioch and it became an important early Christian center.

Hatay’s stamps intertwine with those of other nations in BB. Within living memory, the 1938 residents of Hatay could recall having used the stamps of France, Syria, Alexandretta, and Turkey. A world-wide “representative” stamp album, which BB’s editors aimed to achieve, could hardly omit Hatay.

Census: 13 in BB spaces, five on the supplement page.

1 A gold solidus from Antakya (Antioch) depicting Emperor Julian, 361-363 CE. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Image was first published on Flickr. Original image by Peter Roan. Uploaded by Mark Cartwright, published on 21 February 2013 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

Jim's Observations
There is a significant difference between the Hatay spaces for the '69/'97 edition and the '47/'41 editions of Big Blue.

The '69 BB, on two lines of one page, has spaces for thirteen stamps. Coverage is 26%. (Other countries on the page includes Hejaz and Horta.)

The '47/'41 BB, on the other hand, has one full page!, with spaces for 25 stamps, including all the stamps in the '69/'97 editions. Coverage is 50%. (Page is found between Guatemala and Guinea.)

I would like to ring the necks of the '69 editors....Just kidding!   ;-)

Seriously, what a poor decision.

Hatay Blog Post and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Haiti - Bud's Big Blue

The elusive C4a
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
Although much avoided and maligned by collectors, Haiti’s classical era stamps have a peculiar allure for me. So, unable to resist their blandishments, I caved in and started a Haiti specialization.

An old article reinforced my budding appreciation of these stamps. Titled “Why Collect Haiti?,” it was written in 1957 by F. Burton “Bud” Sellers (no relation) who was twice president of the American Philatelic Society and a true lover of Haitian stamps.1

How do Sellers’ 1957 reasons for collecting Haiti hold up today?

·        They’re inexpensive, he says. It’s still true. Stamps2Go, an online marketplace, currently offers 2465 Haitian stamps. Of these, 2380 can be bought for under a dollar; only ten of them cost more than $10; many have a one cent price tag.

·        Haiti follows a no-nonsense policy for issuing stamps. “She hasn’t even issued a Rotary commemorative or a 1956 Olympics topical!”  Sellers applauds avoidance of unneeded issues.  “Haiti has issued only a few semi-postals and those with modest surtaxes” Is all that still true? Well, maybe, but beginning in 1958 the number of air mails proliferated.

·       There are very few watermarks to contend with. Yea!

·        Like most countries, Haiti has a few counterfeits and fakes meant to deceive collectors. “But they are not really much of a problem. The fakes of the common stamps are crude and cheap – they assault the eyes and cry out their fakery – not even a novice could mistake them. The counterfeits of the first perforated issue are rarer than the genuine stamps!” Not a problem, he thinks but, still being a novice, I’m not so sure.

·       “Haiti has a fascinating history!” Agreed, and it’s much entwined with US history.

·        Haiti offers many collecting sidelines. Sellers lists: stampless covers dating back to the early 1700s; British and French stamps used in Haiti before 1884; stamps of various shipping companies; packet boat covers; postal stationery; revenues; pioneer and first flight covers; essays; proofs; US Marine Corps covers. Yes, and they’re still available. But cost becomes a problem.

So, how am I doing on my Haitian specialization? Scott lists 371 major number for Haiti in their Classical Catalog. My ragbag of long ignored Haitian stamps produced 354 of them along with a few of minor numbers (see scans). Some of these are likely unidentified fakes wanting replacement. Since the scans were made, I’ve added 12 for a total of 366 major numbers. The remaining five, when/if I find them, should cost about $36, including the elusive C4a. I don’t yet have any for-sure early counterfeits or anything at all from the expensive sidelines Sellers mentions. But I’m hopeful.

1 Pan American Philatelist Vol. 3 Whole No. 28 Feb.- June, 1957.
Available online at:  https://haitiphilately.org/Documents/Downloads/Why_Collect_Haiti.pdf

Jim's Observations
Very interesting country with a tendency for Presidents to not last long during the classical era. I certainly felt myself becoming immersed in the history as I reviewed the stamp issues.

Frankly, I was not aware of the considerable involvement (read occupation) of the U.S. in Haiti's affairs

Haiti Blog Post and BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!