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BOBs (not) Your uncle - bizarre back of book stamps

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German ATM stamps (aka. Klüssendorf) - rethinking how to organize

German ATM stamps (aka. Klüssendorf) - rethinking how to organizeThough many might not agree with me, I consider ATM-stamps (which the Americans call Variable Rate Stamps or Variable Value stamps) as one of the best innovations in modern postage stamp production. Although stamp catalogs have got varying policies with inclusion of ATM-stamps (with Michel giving them full recognition, Scott listing only the US based stamps), they are real postage stamps. Whereas meters and labels are valid only by the licensed user from the specified location and on the date imprinted, the ATM-stamps behave just like postage stamps - buy once from any vending machine, use whenever and where-ever. With this entry I'll be providing a simplified overview with one of the most common and popular area of them all - the German ATM-stamps. ...(1011 words,15 images, 7 comments)

Peru Pro Desocupados stamps

Peru Pro Desocupados stampsPostal tax stamps often times reflect major difficulties in history of a country, and the Peruvian Pro Desocupados stamps make no exception. As the title of these stamps suggests, the stamps were used to collect a tax 'in benefit of' the unemployed' (Pro Desocupados in Spanish) in the aftermaths of great depression. Use of these stamps was mandatory from April 1931 to 1965 for all postal matter. A total of 17 different stamps (including few overprints) were released in three decades. Interestingly, the face value of these stamps always remained the same 2 cents despite inflation, and as such the true value of these stamps was somewhat non-existing at the end. Instead of going through these stamp by stamp, I'll show/share few observations and amendments to what general catalogs tell. ...(750 words,4 images, 6 comments)

Polish Post Insured Mail Seals

Polish Post Insured Mail SealsAs some of you may recall, in addition of stamps I have got a side-collection of different types of postal labels such as airmail and priority etiquettes.  The limits of this collection are very shady, and instead of taking everything for the completions sake, I include only items that I feel good about. And when I encountered the below Polish label on mixed lot of world kiloware, I knew it was definitely a keeper. The only problem was that I did not know what it actually was. ...(436 words,2 images, 6 comments)

Marginal notes about stamps of Finland

Marginal notes about stamps of FinlandIn this part of marginal notes about stamps we're heading to my home country Finland. The topics include stamps of 'Kekkoslovakia' followed by stamps of Eastern Karelia Military Administration, reprint of 2004 Sibelius stamp, Finnish bus parcel (Autopaketti) issues, perfins, marginal watermarks and much more. As always, hope you enjoy the philatelic tidbits ahead. ...(1118 words,9 images, 6 comments)

Marginal notes about stamps of Germany

Marginal notes about stamps of GermanyWelcome to read the third part of the 'marginal notes' series. This time we're heading into the German 'autobahn' of stamps. The topics of this article include bits of DDR (n)OSTalgia, DGzRS 'quittungsmarken', a mysterious perfin ,and bizarre postmarks (and even more bizarre cancellation practices) on German stamps. As always hope you enjoy the show. ...(944 words,7 images, 3 comments)

Sri Lankan "Postal Facilities for the Hon. Members of Parliament" - stamps. What are they, and why are they not listed on the catalogs?

Sri Lankan I don't get buzzled easily, but the below Postal Facilities for the Hon. Members of Parliament stamps have left me scratching my head somewhat clueless. ...(385 words,2 images, 7 comments)

How to check if a stamp is a forgery or genuine - a case study of Spanish 1854 Una Unza official stamp

How to check if a stamp is a forgery or genuine - a case study of Spanish 1854 Una Unza official stampClassic Spain is said to be a minefield of forgeries, but the problem I've got is the same that just about every worldwide collector faces: How to find out if stamp is genuine or not, especially when there's no more than one or two specimens under my nose. With this post I'll uncover some of my methods. ...(765 words,3 images, 2 comments)

Puzzled by size difference in pair of 1906 Liberian OS (Official) stamps

Puzzled by size difference in pair of 1906 Liberian OS (Official) stampsRecently I've been working with backlog of African stamps, and there I've found few stamps that have made me puzzled. For recent stamps I can understand the lacking and contradicting catalog information, but with items of 100 years of age not so much. Surely somebody else must have noticed the same differences that I'm seeing; so why isn't there anything in the catalog pages. Let's take a look for the brain-buzzler of the day: a pair of Liberian OS (official) stamps from the 1906 series. ...(538 words,2 images, 0 comments)

Unlisted perforation varieties on Ecuador Timbre Escolar stamp by Sanchez Toda

Unlisted perforation varieties on Ecuador Timbre Escolar stamp by Sanchez TodaIf you're a worldwide collector, then you have likely heard or noticed the name Sanchez-Toda before. In reality this name masks two world class stamp professionals, brothers José Luis López Sánchez Toda and Alfonso López Sánchez Toda. They both worked on Spanish mint (FNMT) from the 1920s to their retirement in the 1960s, and designed and engraved on their own and together well over one hundred designs including the world famous Spanish 'Nude Maja' stamp. What's less know is that brothers occasionally worked outside FNMT as well, such as this 1954 postal tax stamp of Ecuador for Heraclio Fournier S.A. ...(554 words,3 images, 2 comments)

The mystery of Peru 1874/79 Postage due stamps without grills

The mystery of Peru 1874/79 Postage due stamps without grillsAs some might know, Peru is the second country in the world besides United States to have used grills (embossed patterns) on their classic stamps. This was simply because the printer of classic Peru stamps was National Banknote Company, which also was the printer of grilled US classic stamps. The grills can be found on number of Peruvian stamps issued between 1874 and 1884. ...(493 words,1 images, 5 comments)

Salt department revenue stamps of Egypt

Salt department revenue stamps of EgyptI'm somewhat continuously amazed by the versatility of bizarre back-of-book items a casual worldwide stamp collector like me can come up. Take for examples these three Egyptian salt duty stamps I received few weeks back. ...(419 words,3 images, 7 comments)

Albanian Mirdita stamps

Albanian Mirdita stampsThough I don't usually include mint or unused items on to my collection, the 1921 Albanian ' Vetëkeverria e Mirditiës' stamps make an unusual and fascinating exception. Republic of Mirdita (aka Mirdite Republic) was a short-lived, self-declared republic in northern Albania; it existed from July 17 to November 20, 1921. Depending on the resource, the stamps of Mirdita are deemed either as complete bogus/fantasy stamps or unissued locals of uncertain origin; at the moment none of the major stamp catalogs list them besides (illustrated) footnotes about their highly questionable status. I don't have the knowledge to judge these either or, so I'm just enjoying their 'rough beauty' and the challenges they provide for the ordinarie stamp collector. Despite of their mixed nature, these make a very attractive collectors item. ...(545 words,5 images, 10 comments)

What makes a BOB a BOB?

What makes a BOB a BOB? Lately I've been wondering what makes a BOB (back-of-book) stamp a BOB. Each major stamp catalog has slightly varying views what constitutes as a BOB: for example Scott considers airmails and semi-postals as BOBs, whereas in Michel they are listed as regular postage stamps along commemoratives and definitives.   I can't help thinking myself if stamp catalog editors of the past have done us collectors a serious disservice by coming up with such 'artificial' categorization instead of simply listing all stamps equal in chronological order. ...(418 words,4 images, 17 comments)

The Audubon bird stamps of Haiti

The Audubon bird stamps of HaitiEvery stamp collector makes mistakes sometimes in their life, and two of my mishaps relate to so called Audubon bird stamps of Haiti. All modern stamp catalogues state these are of unofficial status and they were issued without the approval of Haitian postal authorities. But as to be expected, that's just part of the story behind these. ...(561 words,3 images, 12 comments)

1959 Nicaraguan postal tax stamp with unknown overprint

1959 Nicaraguan postal tax stamp with unknown overprintHere's a bit of an oddball item that I have not managed to identify accurately. I know the base stamp is 1959 Nicaraguan postal tax stamp "Jesus and the children". But the overprint Pensiones de Retiro y Montepio G.N is giving me a lot of headache. ...(152 words,1 images, 7 comments)

Belgium 1882/1894 Parcel Post stamp forgeries

Belgium 1882/1894 Parcel Post stamp forgeriesI was doing my usual 'sunday morning rounds' on the web reading various stamp related boards, when I found an an interesting topic asking how to identify Belgium 1882/1894 Parcel Post Issue forgeries. There were no answers to topic (at the time), but this is an interesting question as I've had nearly 20 years two stamps from this series that I believe to be fakes. So I started to search for more knowledge. ...(404 words,2 images, 8 comments)

Forgery of Camp Post Hanau stamp / label

Forgery of Camp Post Hanau stamp / labelHere is another interesting piece I have lately added to my collections… After the 2nd world war, Europe and especially Germany had millions of displaced persons that were left adrift. As an establishment to bring order into chaos and help people in return to their homes, the governments (and allied forces) started to gather these persons into camps by nationality. Many of these camps provided local postal services. And this is where my item of the day, Camp Post Hanau stamp, comes along. Hanau was an Estonian-Latvian DP camp about 25 km east of Frankfurt am Main. ...(256 words,1 images, 8 comments)

Unknown Bulgarian cinderella

Unknown Bulgarian cinderellaMoving outside the topic of Latin American stamps for a while, here's a bit of a mystery that's been puzzling me some time: a Bulgarian cinderella stamp. What makes this very interesting is the inscription, 'допълнителни пощенски услуги' which (Google) translates as 'additional postage (stamp)'. My initial thought was that this might be some kind of obligatory postal tax stamp. But this item is nowhere to be found on general stamp catalogues!? ...(118 words,1 images, 9 comments)

Some revenue stamps of Egypt - need ID help

Some revenue stamps of Egypt - need ID helpOne more post about the topic of Egyptian stamps. Like most worldwide collectors, I occasionally end up with bizarre back-of-book items. Below are various items that I either know or suspect as revenue stamps of Egypt. If any of You blog readers can assist me in identifying these accurately, I'd be very grateful (I know there's "The Catalogue of Egyptian Revenue Stamps" by Peter Feltus that likely lists all or some of these). ...(165 words,3 images, 7 comments)

Soviet Court Fee stamps and an early Russian revenue

Soviet Court Fee stamps and an early Russian revenueOne of the most peculiar items I received from last years stamp exchange, was a set of three Soviet stamps. At the time neither I or the sender (Holger from Germany) did not know what they were, but Holger had a clue they might be court fee stamps. I finally had the time to sit down and look for these at various catalogs, and there they were at Barefoot revenue catalog for Russia. Indeed, these are court fee stamps from the early years of Soviet Union. ...(162 words,2 images, 8 comments)

Taxe Percue postmark

Taxe Percue postmarkRecently I acquired a small worldwide collection from dealer, and on back of the book section I found two square cut "BUREAU DE POSTE / SHIBA JAPON / TAXE PERCUE" postmarks. I remembered seeing similar items somewhere earlier, and after some Googling I found an answer. ...(120 words,1 images, 6 comments)

Private perforations on Czechoslovakian newspaper stamps

Private perforations on Czechoslovakian newspaper stampsLast night I finished sorting the Czechoslovakian stamp horde I had been working for nearly 2 months. As a result, my humble collection of Czechoslovakian stamps grew from 40 pages to over 80 pages. I managed to fill a huge number of blank spaces for regular stamps, and found several interesting varieties to include into my collection. One of the most interesting items IMHO were various private perforations on newspaper stamps. ...(225 words,5 images, 3 comments)

Japanese 1898 parcel post revenue stamp

Japanese 1898 parcel post revenue stampIt's been couple of rainy summer days, so I've had some good time to sort new stuff into my collection. Below is an bizarre item that defied my catalog lookup skills for couple of days. Finally I went online and searched for about hour before landing with definite answer. It's an Japanese parcel post revenue stamp of 1898. ...(102 words,1 images, 12 comments)

Swedish TuristPorto / tourist postage stamps

Swedish TuristPorto / tourist postage stampsThe Swedish tourist postage stamps (aka. TuristPorto in Sweden) were private courier stamps sold exclusively at holiday destinations abroad. Released by Nordic Mail AB (later Swedish and Danish Post) in mid 1990s, these stamps were available to thousands of Scandinavian travelers in Spanish holiday resorts. ...(315 words,3 images, 0 comments)

Finnish parliamentary elections today - a ballot cancellation

Finnish parliamentary elections today - a ballot cancellationAs Finland is having 2011 Parliamentary elections today, here is a bit of related philatelic cinderella: a ballot cancellation. Likely, this is the most commonly used “official document” cancellations in Finland. That said, it is one of the rarest ones too, as the election ballots, envelopes etc. sealed with this are destroyed afterwards. ...(84 words,1 images, 4 comments)

Misdated postal markings and a Finnish Zeppelin cover

Misdated postal markings and a Finnish Zeppelin coverRecently I’ve been asked several questions about Finnish stamps, so I decided to focus on topic and share some peculiar Finnish items from my collection. ...(303 words,3 images, 6 comments)

Unidentified Spanish fiscal revenue

Unidentified Spanish fiscal revenue Once again it's time to display one one of those mystery cinderella items that have been bugging me for ages. All I know with certainty is that the following item is from Spain, and very likely it is some sorts of fiscal revenue. The design looks very similar to some of Spanish postage stamps issued in late 1930s and early 1940s, so likely this is from the same era. ...(115 words,1 images, 8 comments)

British Wilding stamps with Christmas Island BFPO postmark

British Wilding stamps with Christmas Island BFPO postmarkHere's a bit of an oddball item that I've had for few years now. This cutout features 2x9d+3d British Wilding definitive stamps with BFPO (British Forces Post Office) Christmas Island postmark. ...(180 words,1 images, 10 comments)

Revenue stamp from Ticino

Revenue stamp from TicinoThis is very likely one of the most bizarre back-of-book items in my Swiss stamp collection - some sort of local revenue stamp from Rebublic of Canton Ticino. If you haven't heard of Ticino, don't worry, I'm sure You are not alone, LOL. Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Interestingly it is also the only swiss canton in which Italian is the sole official language...And once again I'd like the blog readers to assist me in digging up bits and pieces (like who,why,when etc) about this. ...(164 words,1 images, 6 comments)

Marca da Bollo and other Italian fiscals with stamp-like designs

Marca da Bollo and other Italian fiscals with stamp-like designsThe Italian revenue stamps (with inscriptions such as 'Marca da Bollo', 'Tassa di bollo, 'Riscontro' etc.) often resemble postage stamps. When looking at these, I can't help thinking "which came first, the chicken or the egg" design wise. ...(92 words,2 images, 4 comments)

Milan 1906 World Fair cinderella / vignette

Milan 1906 World Fair cinderella / vignetteIMHO it's kind of funny, that it's usually cinderella items that cause more research and headache than real postage stamps. Here's one my all-time favourite cinderella items from Italy. I have owned this vignette over an decade, but only recently have I managed to decipher some of it's background. IMHO the design is Art Nouveau on it's best. ...(233 words,2 images, 0 comments)

Collecting airmail labels

Collecting airmail labelsBesides collecting stamps, I cherish a small collection of worldwide airmail labels (or airmail etiquettes as some do call them). The history of airmail labels dates back to early 20th century and the era of first commercial airflights. AFAIK, the labels were born to ease the life of postal clerks by allowing easy separation between groundmail and airmail. ...(186 words,2 images, 2 comments)

Giro Nacional cancels on Spanish stamps

Giro Nacional cancels on Spanish stampsOver the years, I have found several Spanish postage stamps with ‘Giro Nacional’ cancel. Today I learned that this marking is used only on money orders (a printed order for payment of a specified sum, issued by a bank or post office), and occasionally on telegraphs. ...(70 words,1 images, 2 comments)

Spanish ATM stamps

Without doubt, Spain is one of the greatest issuers of ATM stamps. To date, Correos Espana has issued 172 face different ATM-stamps designs. Philatelically speaking the Spanish ATM stamps can be divided to three groups. ...(189 words,4 images, 23 comments)

Cyprus ATM stamps

Cyprus ATM stampsCyprus Post has released 15 face different ATM stamps by end of 2009. There is 1 Frama and 14 self-adhesive Nadels. Unfortunately, my Cyprus ATM collection has only one item to show, but it is a beautiful one ;) ...(55 words,1 images, 4 comments)

Introduction to collecting ATM stamps

Introduction to collecting ATM stampsI admit that I have many philatelic projects going on, and one of them is building a digital archive of various ATM (or variable rate stamps) stamps I have. The reason for my project is the fact that several ATM’s (especially those printed on thermal paper) are self-destructive. ...(326 words,1 images, 6 comments)

Rural postmarks on Cyprus stamps

Rural postmarks on Cyprus stampsRural postmarks seem to be somewhat "popular" amongst Cyprus (and British Commonwealth) collectors, but I admit knowing absolutely nothing about the topic besides owning few random items. ...(90 words,2 images, 3 comments)

Lundy Puffin postage stamps

Lundy Puffin postage stampsLundy puffin postage stamps are widely known amongst the stamp collectors. The history behind the stamps of Lundy is similar to stamps of Herm Island. ...(526 words,6 images, 47 comments)

Herm Island local: 1961 Europa stamp

Herm Island local: 1961 Europa stampI have had this Herm Islands stamp in my albums for few years. It is part of the 1961 Europa (CEPT) set of six different local stamps issued on September 18th 1961. ...(197 words,1 images, 2 comments)

The unusual stuff found on kiloware

The unusual stuff found on kilowareI think most stamp collectors do make unusual (and random) findings from kiloware (assuming it is truly unsorted). ...(76 words,1 images, 5 comments)

India 1924 Mount Everest Expedition label

India 1924 Mount Everest Expedition labelFew weeks back I did something unordinary, and bought this fabulous item for 55 AUD (+ postage). Normally I don't spend this much on single item, but IMO this is truly attractive piece of philatelic history and worth it's price. ...(130 words,1 images, 8 comments)

US First Man on the Moon stamp

US First Man on the Moon stamp Do you remember the Swiss stamp cancelled in UK I showcased last month? Here is equally bizarre "accident" - a US airmail stamp cancelled in Germany. ...(136 words,1 images, 29 comments)

German Morgenpost stamps

German Morgenpost stampsTim, a German reader of this blog, was kind enough to send me a piece of Morgenpost mail. Morgenpost is one of the many private postal service providers operating in German markets. In a sense this is local issue, but 21st century style. ...(251 words,2 images, 5 comments)

Customs duty cancel on Norwegian definitive stamp

Customs duty cancel on Norwegian definitive stampHere is something I have never seen before. A customs duty (toll) cancel on Norwegian postage stamp. If nothing more, this is very likely one of the smallest circular date stamps (CDS cancels) used on postage stamps ever. ...(38 words,1 images, 4 comments)

Bogus stamps: Isö, Sweden

Bogus stamps: Isö, SwedenThe Isö cinderellas are somewhat interesting phenomena in Scandinavian philately.  Some sources (such as Wikipedia) mention Isö stamps as "local post stamps from Eastern Sweden (Gotland)", but in reality these are complete bogus stamps. ...(207 words,2 images, 21 comments)

Swiss postage meter stamps

Swiss postage meter stampsNot all stuff that wholeworld collectors like me bumb into are traditional stamps. One example of such material are postage meter stamps / labels such as this item from Switzerland. Usually items as this end up as back-of-book material. ...(187 words,1 images, 5 comments)

Swiss T-cancels stand for postage due

Swiss T-cancels stand for postage dueIn continuance of my exploration with Swiss stamps, I will be displaying Swiss stamps with T-cancel. The T-cancel was primarily used to collect postage due on covers, cards and other postal items. However, like always with my stories there is an interesting philatelic story with twists. ...(222 words,1 images, 0 comments)

Stranger on a strange land

Stranger on a strange landOne of the reasons I love junky stamp lots is a possibility to find something interesting with very limited budget. Or what would you say about this casual looking Swiss stamp? ...(117 words,1 images, 6 comments)

A french mystery stamp

A french mystery stampBack-of-book issues are always fun to receive, as you usually have to do some detective work to find out details and history of the item.  Below is a mystery item I assume to be from France.  I hope that french collectors could help me with this one as I have run to an dead end. ...(130 words,1 images, 19 comments)

Beautiful Austria (Schönes Österreich) definitive postage stamp with strange cancel

Beautiful Austria (Schönes Österreich) definitive postage stamp with strange cancelI think most worldwide collectors are very familiar with Austrian “Beautiful Austria” (Schönes Österreich) definite postage stamp series from the 1970′s. Stamps from this set are very easy to find, as they are very common & low value. Nonetheless, these stamps are design masterworks in miniature size and pleasure to marvel. Nevertheless, here is a stamp from the series that is bugging me. It has a bizarre wavy-line cancel. ...(136 words,2 images, 9 comments)

Bogus Sahara OCC RASD souvenir sheets

Bogus Sahara OCC RASD souvenir sheetsBesides Somali Republic (see yesterdays blog entry), Sahara OCC R.A.S.D (or officially République Arabe Saharouie Démocratique - Arab Republic of Western Sahara) is one of the most common sources of modern topical bogus / cinderella stamps.  None of the RASD issues have postal validity anywhere. At best, they can be considered as local propaganda labels or cinderella issues. ...(168 words,2 images, 9 comments)

Bogus Somali Republic military uniforms souvenir sheet

Bogus Somali Republic military uniforms souvenir sheetThere are thousands of bogus ’stamps’ produced in the last few years, many bearing the name of the Republic of Somalia or Somali Republic.  As most worldwide collectors know, Somalia is a country that truly exists in Northern Africa with long and interesting postal history. But according to UPU (Universal Postal Union) all postage stamps with inscription Somali Republic are illegal.  ...(178 words,1 images, 11 comments)

Bogus: Afghanistan 1999 Masks miniature sheet

Bogus: Afghanistan 1999 Masks miniature sheetLet's continue with the world of miniature sheets but with another theme. Bogus issues are a concern for any stamp collector. Especially topical stamps are a big favourite amongst bogus makers as the thematic stamp  collectors are usually not so "bogus aware" as country collectors.  As my first example with this topic I've chosen a 1999 Afghanistan miniature sheet of 12 stamps issued in 1999. ...(210 words,1 images, 4 comments)

Private local stamps of Hamburg

Private local stamps of HamburgWhen buying bizarre looking stamps and other postal items (of which I usually know nothing in depth) I often ask myself a simple question “will I ever see a similar item?” When I came across with these beauties few years back, I knew from the start resistance would be futile. And I was right, I haven’t seen similar set ever since. ...(182 words,1 images, 4 comments)

1945 China postage due stamp with double perf

1945 China postage due stamp with double perfHere is an interesting find I discovered from a mixed (very low price) worldwide lot recently: a Chinese 1945 postage due (porto) stamp with a double perforation. Usually I do not pick up mint stamps, but this error really caught my eye. ...(50 words,1 images, 0 comments)

Interesting Japanese postmark

Interesting Japanese postmarkHere is an interesting looking postmark on very common definitive stamp from Japan. ...(55 words,1 images, 16 comments)

Some classic revenue stamps of Japan (updated)

Some classic revenue stamps of Japan (updated)Here are some 18th century revenue stamps from Japan. Normally I would know very little about these, as they fall out of the scope of regular postage stamp catalogs. But with little help from my online friends I think I've nailed these pretty accurately. As many of these stamps come up frequently under the 'I've got an unidentified Japanese stamp...' discussions, I think these are worth sharing. ...(360 words,4 images, 1 comments)

WW2 Christmas seals

WW2 Christmas sealsTo continue last posts christmas seal theme, I'd like to share images of two World War II era christmas seals. Their design and use of colours is IMHO so striking, that one can still feel how tough the times have been in 1943. ...(140 words,1 images, 2 comments)

Old christmas seals from Denmark

Old christmas seals from DenmarkI try to limit my collection only to used wordwide stamps, but every once and awhile I place miscellanous "non-stamp" items to the back of my stockbooks.  This post shows two old christmas seals from Denmark. ...(128 words,1 images, 4 comments)

1912 US Parcel Post stamp

1912 US Parcel Post stampMany say that eBay box lots / mixtures never contain good finds. I think this is just a question of opinion.  I consider the following US Parcel postage stamp as a good and interesting find. ...( 0 comments).

Industrial Exhibition in Madrid - modern forgery of classic stamp

Industrial Exhibition in Madrid - modern forgery of classic stampThis stamp was issued was originally published in 1907 for Madrid Industrial Exhibition in Spain. It is an obligatory fund raiser "stamp" that had to be attached in exhibition mail in addition of regular postage stamps. A complete set contains six different face value stamps with pictures of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria.   ...(214 words,2 images, 8 comments)

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