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Artifacts of war

Artifacts of war

I love when stamp production and historical events bind together, because it usually provides interesting stories for us later generations to research and study. Such is the case with three stamps below: Ukranian UPP overprints of 1920s, the Spanish 1936 Granada issue, and imperforate Dutch Queen Wilhelmina stamps of 1940s (aka. type Konijnenburg). What’s common for all these items is that they are artifacts of war-time conditions, and they all have fallen from philatelic grace because general stamp catalogs provide very little if any recognition to them. Yet, all these items have got interesting historical stories to unveil.

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Dutch Armenwet stamps

Dutch Armenwet stamps

I displayed the below Dutch Armenwet stamps first time almost six years back. Back then I didn’t know whether or not the stamps I had were forgeries, though I suspected so. Well, now I have some facts to share. On my recent work trip I came across with a library copy of the “De vervalsingen van Nederland en OG” (roughly translates as ‘Forgeries of Dutch stamps’) by P.F.A. van de Loo, 1979), and I took some some photos of it with my phone so that I could study and compare them back home.

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Some South Vietnam varieties that major western stamp catalogs omit (and a small give-away)

Some South Vietnam varieties that major western stamp catalogs omit (and a small give-away)

I don’t usually put much focus on mint stamps, but some time ago I was pre-sorting my way through a batch of Vietnamese stamps, and noted two MNH specimens of 1971 South Vietnamese rice harvester stamp with a difference. The first stamp was on somewhat translucent paper with shiny gum, the other stamp was on notably thicker paper without gum. Once I placed the stamps under UV-light, the specimen on translucent paper light up as bright bluish-white glow whereas the other copy remained dull yellowish (likely the yellow emitting from the design/ink). Since none of the general catalogs say nothing about the variety I headed on hunt for more information just for the fun of knowledge.

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French Marianne by Decaris – types I and II

French Marianne by Decaris – types I and II

Today’s post is about one of the chameleons of stamp world, namely the French Marianne de Decaris (aka. Marianne by Decaris) issued in 1960. It is one of those stamps that most worldwide stamp collectors have seen in large quantities over the years,  and very likely most own a copy or more. Yet, not so long ago I was browsing Delcampe, and came upon a (auction) listing of this stamp with types I and II on sale. To me they both seemed somewhat identical, and since I didn’t recall any variants of the stamp to exist I headed out to my catalogs to see what the difference was all about.  To my amazement there was nothing; even my Yvert France (very ancient edition, but still useful specialized resource) provided me with no details.  So I started digging information from various online resources and learned not just some useful tidbits but also that stamp collecting/philately unanswered questions sometimes for a reason.

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Three practical tips every stamp collector can use to supercharge the way they collect

Three practical tips every stamp collector can use to supercharge the way they collect

It seems my last week’s post hit a nerve of some sorts as it generated far more responses than usual. I think the post also pointed out one of the reason why blogs and online communities have become somewhat popular among collectors: they are not just ‘dry’ technical knowledge but also bring up real world problems, solutions and best practices that others can possibly learn, adopt and adapt for their collections. Below I’ll share three practical and low-cost stamp tips every collector can (and IMHO should) use to supercharge the way they collect.

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How do you deal with collector’s block?

How do you deal with collector’s block?

I think most of us stamp collectors suffer from internal conflicts from time to time; at least that is the gut feeling I’ve established when corresponding with many of you (either privately or through blog) over the years. Especially as one advances into new territories, or plans on making changes to familiar routines, or encounters conflicting knowledge or views, then all sorts of doubts arise easily, and on worst scenario lead into complete block paralyzing all collecting activities. Often times in moments like that we collectors reach out and seek advice from others (making different stamp boards, forums and blogs as popular as they are).

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Space Oddity on Ecuador 1966 stamps

Space Oddity on Ecuador 1966 stamps

About three years back I shared some philatelic tidbits on modern Ecuadorian stamps. One of my unanswered questions back then was that from 1966 to 1969 Ecuador issued amounts of CTO-cancelled topical wallpaper for no apparent (political) reasons. Well, I still don’t have an answer to that but I can add a new (hopefully interesting) sub-chapter about these stamps.

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There is something terribly, terribly wrong with this stamp

There is something terribly, terribly wrong with this  stamp

Some people have asked me for what purpose does a ‘general world collector’ like me need a precision tool such as SCB’s Digital Perforation Gauge, and I’m always responding with some stamp related story.  The latest story occurred last weekend when I was sorting some new / incoming French stamps. And once again I noted that one of the stamps didn’t exactly match with other copy. This time I was looking at a pair of French 2009 commemoratives for the 82nd philatelic congress of FFAP.

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Review of Edwin Delsing’s ‘Qualität von Briefmarken’

Review of Edwin Delsing’s ‘Qualität von Briefmarken’

There are a lot of stamp books worth reading out there, and one of those is Edwin J.F. Delsing’s ‘Qualität von Briefmarken – Zur einstufung der erhaltung von Briefmarken‘ (roughly translated, ‘Stamps and quality – advice on grading of stamps’, published 2015). I acknowledge most non-German collectors will never read this 150-page book simply because the title is in German only. But I’m still going to educate you about it, because this is most likely the only (proper) scholarly study about different types of faults and damages on stamps, a topic that every collector should have proper working knowledge.

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