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Book review – Nowherelands: An Atlas of Vanished Countries 1840-1975

Book review –  Nowherelands: An Atlas of Vanished Countries 1840-1975

It is somewhat rare that a stamp collector writes an book of their hobby and interests these days. It is even more astonishing that the book becomes an international best seller. But Norwegian ASFE (A Stamp From Each/Everywhere) collector Bjørn Berge has done so with his book ‘Nowherelands: An Atlas of Vanished Countries 1840-1975‘.  The original Norwegian edition was released in 2016, and ever since the book has been published in number of languages such as Finnish, Swedish, English, Dutch , German etc.   Ever since I saw the title on Christmas sale last year it’s been on my wish list and I finally received a copy. 

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The great watermarking fluid experiment (and why it failed)

The great watermarking fluid experiment (and why it failed)

Like many stamp collectors I too occasionally struggle with stamp watermarks.   Most of the time watermark are relatively easy to see by simply placing the stamp face down on black background or viewing the stamp against a source of light. But then there’s always one or two stamps that refuse these methods.  They are cause of both angst and frustration. One of my plans for the past summer was to experiment with various watermarking fluids, and figure out if there was any real world difference with various watermarking fluids available.

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Dienstmarke vs Dienstmarke: the story behind two kinds of East German (DDR) official stamps

Dienstmarke vs Dienstmarke: the story behind two kinds of East German (DDR) official stamps

At times it is bit of a shame that stamp catalogues do not cover the historical backgrounds of selected stamp issues in more detail. One such example are the East German (DDR) officials. I know a lot of stamp collectors consider these stamps either as toxic waste not worth their time, or alternatively they are very much afraid of their complexity. As so often in this common hobby of ours, a lot of it comes down to what kind of knowledge collectors favorite stamp catalogue provides.

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Anatomy of acquired Spanish stamp collection – when 1+1 makes 3

Anatomy of acquired Spanish stamp collection – when 1+1 makes 3

Lately I acquired a Spanish collection of about 2,000 different stamps (about the same size as my collection, except this was mixture of used and mint). For 33€ (all fees included) it was yet another cheap auction buy. But with only three blurry images to describe the contents of it all, it was also a bit of a gamble. I assumed that 80-90% of the 2000+ stamps would be the same as in my collection, and at least 10% of the stamps would turn out to be faulty. So all in all I was expecting to add 180-360 stamps on a good day; making the acquisition cost 10-20 cents per stamp.

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Long postage stamp series of Spain

Long postage stamp series of Spain

I think most of us stamp collectors have got love/hate-relationship with long running stamp series with consistent theme and appearance. As such Spanish Post did strike a home run in the 1960s and 1970s when they launched not just one, but actually eleven(!) annually running long stamp special series – many of them with engraved designs. In total these series contribute approx. 750 stamps to collect. The reason I use approximation is that there are some not so hard definitions on what to include/exclude with count, but it comes down to personal preferences where to draw the line on the sand.  Since these stamps make up over one fourth of all Spanish stamps issued between Second World War and Euro-era, knowing the elementary details and boundaries of these series can make sorting Spanish stamps significantly easier.

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Those green lines on back of Brazilian stamps…

Those green lines on back of Brazilian stamps…

Do you own any of the 1940s Brazilian stamps with three green lines on the background? If you do, then you may have read from any of the major stamp catalogs that the lines are control marks. But do you know the specifics why this control mark was put into action, and whats the difference between stamps with or without these lines?

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Bahrain definitive stamp series of 1976/1980 – varieties

Bahrain definitive stamp series of 1976/1980 – varieties

Possibly the most common and interesting of all Bahraini stamps is the definitive stamp series of 1976/80. These are a classic example of stamps where catalogue listings are incomplete and lagging behind discoveries. The series consists of four low values (5 to 20 fills) showing Bahraini flag, eight middle range values (from 40 to 200 fills) displaying map of Bahrain, and six high values (from 300 fills to 3 dinars) depicting a portrait of the Emir, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. The low and mid range stamps were printed in lithograph by Oriental Press of Bahrain, the high values were recess printed at De La Rue of London.

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Random notes and observations about stamps of modern day Algeria

Random notes and observations about stamps of modern day Algeria

Moving forth with last weeks post, here are some random notes and observations about stamps of modern day Algeria. Once again I unfortunately have more open questions than answers about these varieties.

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Misc observations and notes from stamps of French Algeria

Misc observations and notes from stamps of French Algeria

When it comes to general worldwide collecting, one of my pet peeves is that there are so many unanswered questions with less popular areas.  For example I recently moved all my Algerian and Tunisian stamps into a new stockbook, and while in the process I tried to re-study some of the varieties I had collected over the years.

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British stamps with discount backprints (underprints)

British stamps with discount backprints (underprints)

Have you ever wondered all those British stamps with bluish star or letter D on the back? Only recently did I learn that they come from rather shortlived experiment with discount stamp booklets and discount folders, and the backprint (or underprint as Stanley Gibbons calls it) was to ensure the discount stamps were not sold over the counter at full face value.

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All original content and images of this blog is under copyright protection; any kind of reproduction of full contents without permission of the owner is hereby denied. All Rights Reserved © Keijo Kortelainen, 2009-2018 unless otherwise stated. All photos of stamps in this blog are enlargements or reductions of original stamps from private collection of author of the blog (unless otherwise stated). The designs of stamps and postmarks are copyright of issuing postal authorities and their designers. The comments / discussion on this blog are copyright of their retrospective authors, and represent the opinion of their authors. When submitting content of any type to this Website, you agree that you assign to this Website and its successors perpetual and unlimited license free of charge to host, store, publish, reproduce, publicly display or otherwise use any content and materials of any type provided or contributed by You. Catalog numbers (Scott, Michel, SG etc) are the copyrighted property of their publishers. | See our privacy policy