SCB Stamp Collecting Blog - the premier resource for exclusive stamp information and news

Philatelic tidbits

This is index page for articles about Philatelic tidbits . Below you find excerpts on available stories. To read the full stories, please subscribe or sign in.

Postal tax stamps always have got a purpose

Postal tax stamps always have got a purposeA common source of moaning and groaning with many modern era stamp collectors is that there are way too many stamps without a purpose, and they are mostly nothing more than pretty pictures. No doubt there is certain truth to it, but there is one group of stamps which defies the sheer blandness of commercialization. Postal tax stamps are, as their name suggests, a tool of taxation and their issuance and usage is often times strictly governed by legislation and real world needs. With this post I'll dive in with the history of Chilean postal tax stamps. ...(729 words,6 images, 2 comments)

Chalky vs ordinary stamp paper

Chalky vs ordinary stamp paperI admit that I am slightly out of my comfort zone when it comes to question of chalky vs. ordinary (or more widely speaking coated vs. uncoated) stamp paper. It is not so much that I would not know the technical difference and a number of ways to spot the differences, but the fact that interpreting the results is always subjective to number of factors, not least of them being personal experience. ...(987 words,4 images, 11 comments)

Twice the fun with two-part stamps, or why half the stamp is sometimes better than none

Twice the fun with two-part stamps, or why half the stamp is sometimes better than noneThe world of modern postage stamps is filled with all sorts of wacky stuff such as transparent stamps, stamps with cookie odor (sadly no taste included), or stamps printed on bizarre materials. But one of the most versatile and longest running oddball practices has been creation and usage of two-part stamps. ...(1012 words,12 images, 4 comments)

Thank goodness, they're all Cancelled-To-Order

Thank goodness, they're all Cancelled-To-OrderLike most of the traditionally trained stamp collectors I was taught to frown upon CTO (cancelled-to-order) stamps. As such even today I still prefer a postally used copy over CTO whenever possible. So when I started learning about the history of League of Nations (SdN; Société des Nations) stamps I recently got, I was surprised to find out that for them CTO is the 'norm' whereas anything else frowned upon. ...(660 words,5 images, 5 comments)

Finland 2002 1€ Lion definitive stamp - original vs. reprint

Finland 2002 1€ Lion definitive stamp - original vs. reprintReprints are the salt of the earth for many stamp collectors, and below pair of modern Finnish Lion definitive stamps introduces a recent variety that is somewhat easily available.  The original 1€ stamp was released in 2002 as the common workhorse of Finnish postal system, and a reprint came out in January 2013 (and is becoming more and more common as old stocks have been finally consumed).  According to official statement of Finnish Post the reprint should be identical, only the die-cut of the sheet has been improved. But like so many times there's more to the story. ...(324 words,2 images, 0 comments)

Beautiful Stamps of the World – August 2017 edition

Beautiful Stamps of the World – August 2017 editionTime for the (likely) last round of beautiful stamps of the world for this summer. The mailman delivered me yesterday a half kilo box of 'exotic kiloware' (all on paper), and I'll be kicking of this months stamp-extragavanza with some more or less unusual pieces from it. Very likely it will take a month or two before I've soaked it all, and even more till I have managed to sort and mount all the stamps. ...(121 words,1 images, 6 comments)

Forgery of 1944 Barcelona postal tax stamp (Ayuntamiento de Barcelona)

Forgery of 1944 Barcelona postal tax stamp (Ayuntamiento de Barcelona)One of the interesting differences between various worldwide stamp catalogs is how differently they classify and list obligatory postal tax stamps. For example Michel and Yvert assign major numbers to all Barcelona City Council (Ayuntamiento de Barcelona) postal tax stamps, whereas Scott and Stanley Gibbons bypass them with a note 'used on correspondence purely for the purpose of raising local revenue and therefore listing is omitted'. ...(429 words,2 images, 2 comments)

Beautiful Stamps of the World – July 2017 edition

Beautiful Stamps of the World – July 2017 editionHowdy ho all ye stamp lovers. It is time for another month of beautiful stamps around the world. With great interest I am looking forward whether or not my collection reaches the landmark of 110,000 stamps this month. Though I am only 136 stamps away from reaching this milestone, July has been traditionally a somewhat slow stamping month for me. It is summer and holidays, and life has got plenty of other stuff besides stamps (oh the blasphemy of it). ...(144 words,1 images, 18 comments)

Hamburg 1864 2½ schilling in brownish khaki - genuine or not

Hamburg 1864 2½ schilling in brownish khaki - genuine or notI'm usually not attracted by uncancelled items, but the below Hamburg 1864 2½ schilling stamp caught my interest since stamps of Hamburg are somewhat rarely seen. From first looks it appears as Michel #14  (Scott 23) with one clear exception: the color of the stamp is brownish khaki instead of the standard green-ish color. The starting situation in itself poses two mind-intriguing questions.  First, is the stamp genuine or not?  And second, if it is genuine, then what could have caused the color change? ...(1075 words,3 images, 6 comments)

Beautiful Stamps of the World - June 2017 edition

Beautiful Stamps of the World - June 2017 editionAs the summer season is once again upon and I've got a bit more time for the stamps in months ahead, I'm trying out some new things for the SCB.  In addition of the weekly blog entry,  for the next two to three months I will be sharing some 'beautiful' stamp from my collection.  These items will come through as I add new items or otherwise work with my collection, so any updates to this topic will appear irregularly. There will be no 'deep' philatelic knowledge on this page, just scans of stamps I fancy and maybe a random commentary about them. Whether or not this becomes a regular feature depends entirely on your feedback.  As always, hope you enjoy the stamp extravaganza ahead. ...(132 words,3 images, 24 comments)

Polish perforation varieties of the 1950s

Polish perforation varieties of the 1950sI have got two tricky questions for you. First, how many of the Polish stamps issued between October 1950 (currency reform) and end of 1959 have got perforation varieties (besides imperfs)? And two, how many different perforation variations are there for each of these stamps? To give you some ballpark, Poland issued 480 stamps in these ten years. ...(403 words,1 table + 3 images, 5 comments)

Some new discoveries on stamps of Sri Lanka

Some new discoveries on stamps of Sri LankaI know modern postage stamps are not everybody's cup of tea, but the below new discoveries hopefully show why I keep on collecting new issues as well. Especially the stamps of less loved countries such as Sri Lanka are guaranteed to provide endless possibilities for those who keep their eyes open and treat stamp catalogs only as rough guide. ...(224 words,2 images, 7 comments)

Netherlands Antilles series Disberg

Netherlands Antilles series DisbergHere's an interesting tidbit that jumped out from a pile of stamps while I was working my way through Netherland Antilles. I noted definitives of 1958/1959 (which the Dutch call Disberg series after their designer) come with at least two different paper types without the general catalogs saying nothing about the variety. The difference between papers is so obvious that it sticks out even without any kind of tools. ...(375 words,6 images, 12 comments)

The dreaded dash as catalog value

The dreaded dash as catalog valueI'm sure most of you know the feeling of discovering a variety that is valued with a dash only. A big happy smile trying to come up, maybe attached with some disbelief forcing you to recheck that what you got is real. But above all there's the desire to know why catalog editors have failed to provide any measurable valuation, and what the dash equals in real world. In a way it doesn't make sense at all since most of us collectors are never going to sell our precious. I guess it falls down to owning a prized possession. The bigger the catalog value, the better the catch. And if there are no metrics, then there's really nothing to brag about it. ...(851 words,2 images, 5 comments)

Siam 1914 overprint types

Siam 1914 overprint typesHere's a fun stamp related tidbit I was not aware before. In 1914 Siamese Post increased foreign postal rates and decreased local rates. To meet the demand of new values, stamps from the series of 1912 were overprinted with new values. Michel says nothing on varieties, but the two specimens I stumbled upon display a clear difference: ...(386 words,3 images, 4 comments)

Czechoslovakia EXPO58 commemorative: perforation variety or something else?

Czechoslovakia EXPO58 commemorative: perforation variety or something else?Here's yet another interesting pair of stamp. This commemorative was released on 15th July 1958 for Czechoslovakian week at the Brussels World Exhibition. Print run of the stamp was 2,125,000 copies. Michel and Pofis (a Czechoslovakian specialized catalog) state perforation of 11.25 x 11.75, Scott goes with perf. 11.50. No varieties should exist. ...(414 words,5 images, 10 comments)

Some observations on Saudi Arabian 1949 airmail stamps

Some observations on Saudi Arabian 1949 airmail stampsOne of the most frustrating moments in general collectors life is when general catalogs tip there is more with some stamp, but then full disclosure is not provided. Such is the case with 1949 Saudi-Arabian airmail stamps. Michel has got a footnote saying 'all values have sometimes significant color and format differences' whereas Scott notes 'The 1st printings are on grayish paper and sell for more.' These notes clearly give a vague suggestion there are multiple printings on these stamps and they can be separated, but for reason or another the editors have decided not to provide any further guidance. Fortunately all it takes is few duplicates and some patience to get started with hunting for the differences without catalog assistance. ...(623 words,4 images, 12 comments)

Perforation varieties on Sudanese 50 Piaster 1962/75 Sennar Dam stamp

Perforation varieties on Sudanese 50 Piaster 1962/75 Sennar Dam stampThe deeper I dig with my world collection, the more astonished I am by the small differences that come up when comparing information provided by different stamp catalogs against reality. Lately I was working with some stamps from Sudan, and came up with the below Sennar Dam stamp you might have in your stamp collection as well. ...(540 words,4 images, 12 comments)

Argentina UP stamps

Argentina UP stampsI'm sure most of the worldwide stamp collectors have noted that in recent two decades Argentina has issued many stamps with inscription UP. Scott notes that the stamps were sold at Unidad Postal outlets, Michel calls them 'agency stamps'. Both have got it true, but as always there's bit more to it. ...(269 words,3 images, 2 comments)

Malawi CANCELLED stamps

Malawi CANCELLED stampsIt is somewhat unusual that my research on something specific gets totally blocked, but so has happened with the the below Malawi stamps having CANCELLED marking. I have checked all my usual resources, and none of them even hints why such one line marking was used on postage stamps. I have got two such specimens (and one duplicate) in my collection, all dating mid 1970s. When trying to seek information, I ultimately went through both eBay and Delcampe listings for Malawi (closer to 10,000 items), only to learn that ...(364 words,3 images, 3 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)

Stamp data visualization

Stamp data visualizationFor anyone collecting worldwide stamps in depth, one of the biggest challenges is likely understanding the big picture. Sure - I can look at a pile of stockbooks or catalogs, and say there it is. But it really doesn't describe anything else than the sheer amount. Thus I'm constantly trying new ways to visualize various stamp data to make deeper understanding easier. Lately one of my work projects required use of D3 data visualization library (a free tool for software developers), and after some playing with it, I realized that I definitely want to try it on some of the statistics I've gathered to build My Collection. And I think the results of my tests are worth sharing, at least I haven't seen anything as such on stamps ever before. ...(547 words,3 images, 4 comments)

Swedish discount postage stamps

Swedish discount postage stampsGeneral catalogs often provide only limited basic information about stamps, and as such at times they can omit or simplify specifics that can make a world of difference from collector perspective. One such example are the Swedish discount postage stamps (or 'rabattfrimärken' as they are called in Sweden) issued from late 1970s up to early 1990s. Many worldwide collectors are familiar with these, especially the ones reading "PRIVATPOST" are notorious for misleading a number of worldwide collectors to think they would be local stamps of some sorts. ...(1192 words,6 images, 0 comments)

Czechoslovakia 1976 Use Zip Code coil stamps

Czechoslovakia 1976 Use Zip Code coil stampsIn 1976 Czechoslovakia issued a 30 heller green 'Use zip code' stamp that can be described common as mud.  I remember this stamp being a part of the 100 diff world stamps packages I bought about 30 years back, and even today the very same stamps is part of cheapest world mixtures. Very likely all world collectors have got a copy of this stamp in their collections. To make matters worse, this stamp was built be efficient and unhappy:  it's got appeal of brutalist architechture in miniature size, and mentality of Harry Potter's dementor. So very few collectors have got real love for it. It fills a space and that's about it. Therefore it is only appropriate that a stamp like this caught my interest, and some surprising observations started to come up. ...(662 words,4 images, 8 comments)

Charkhari pictorials of 1931

Charkhari pictorials of 1931The 1931 pictorial stamps of Charkhari make an interesting set of stamps. They are among the most common stamps of Indian native states, and the fact that I found 50+ specimens (over one tenth of the total) from my recent Indian states purchase says a great deal on the easy availability of the stamps. The stamps are so common because the Charkhari State administration lost (or gave away) control on the distribution of the series, and the stamps were dumped on philatelic markets in large quantities of mint and CTO specimens at much below face value; thus they are very cheap even nowadays. Genuine postally used  copies, especially on cover are extremely difficult to find and totally different topic.  Another characteristic of the series is that it contains a range of high values from 1 to 5 rupees (equal to 1-5 days wage at State service) that likely saw little to no real postal needs. So in number of ways this series is a forefather of modern day philatelic wallpaper. ...(522 words,8 images, 2 comments)

Nabha fake overprint - a possible Hialeah forgery?

Nabha fake overprint - a possible Hialeah forgery?Many worldwide collectors are wary with overprints, and maybe for good reasons. I was adding some stamps of Indian states to my collection, when I noted the overprint on one of the Nabha stamps looked very different from the crowd. Needless to say I had stumbled upon a crude fake that had sat on my collection for few years.  If I had not received several duplicates to compare, I guess it would have gone unnoticed. ...(404 words,3 images, 4 comments)

Soviet 50th anniv. of October revolution EFO

Soviet 50th anniv. of October revolution EFOBelow is an interesting Soviet EFO (error-freak-oddity) that I believe is a result of poor quality control during sheet cutting.  These two minisheets are of identical size, and the only real difference between the sheets is the shifted location of background (which leads to different inscription visible) and the location of stamp itself. ...(224 words,1 images, 4 comments)

Marginal notes about stamps of Israel

Marginal notes about stamps of IsraelThe previous parts of my marginal notes have taken you on a philatelic journey across Europe into stamps of Spain, Italy, Germany and Finland. What's common for all the above countries is that they represented the 'axis of evil' during the WW2.  In this last and final part of my marginal notes we're looking on the other side (in number of ways) with stamps of Israel. The topics include  Doav Ivri stamps, tabs and full tabs,  stamps and propaganda, chambon perfs (again) and a piece of stamp catalog contradiction.  As always, hope you enjoy the showcase. ...(1253 words,6 images, 4 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)

Marginal notes about stamps of Italy

Marginal notes about stamps of ItalyTime for the second part of my 'marginal notes' , and this time we're heading into Italy. The topics of this article include stamps of Polish Resettlement Corps in Italy, CLN /Partisan stamps of Upper Varese, and a double print/KISS flaw on CEPT-stamp. As always, hope you enjoy the stamp extravaganza ahead. ...(855 words,4 images, 6 comments)

Marginal notes about stamps of Spain

Marginal notes about stamps of SpainFor the month of May (and first week of June) the articles on SCB will be be a bit different from the usual overviews and analytical studies. The space will be filled by a series of posts titled Marginal notes about stamps of [countryName]. Longtime readers might remember that the original tagline of SCB was 'diary of an ordinarie collector of stamps'; well these 'marginal notes' are kind of a spinoff production of the blog. I've had these items marked separately on my albums for possible display, but since these are mostly short and random tidbits, I would/could not write a full-featured (500-1500 word) article on these. Thus I'm now releasing some of these notes as country specific 'collections'. Hope you enjoy the stamp extravaganza ahead! ...(1041 words,9 images, 0 comments)

Artifacts of war

Artifacts of warI 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. ...(999 words,5 images, 4 comments)

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. ...(504 words,2 images, 15 comments)

Space Oddity on Ecuador 1966 stamps

Space Oddity on Ecuador 1966 stampsAbout 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. ...(467 words,1 images, 6 comments)

There is something terribly, terribly wrong with this stamp

There is something terribly, terribly wrong with this  stampSome 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. ...(3 words, images, 4 comments)

SCB's Free Digital Perforation Gauge is here

SCB's Free Digital Perforation Gauge is hereAs the title above suggest, SCB's free Digital Perforation Gauge is now officially released. You can access the online version here, or if you prefer to use an offline version then download this file and extract the zip-file contents on any folder you desire. ...(354 words,1 images, 13 comments)

Rare modern stamp - a difficult but not impossible combination

Rare modern stamp - a difficult but not impossible combinationIf you haven't been living inside a stamp cave for the past month, then you've likely read or heard at least some news about the recent Australian 30 Adelaide emergency provisional stamps selling for insane amounts. This is a prime example of a modern day stamp market getting red hot when an unexpected modern rarity surfaces. Of course this is just top of the iceberg and below I'll share three other less known modern day stamp rarities that 'almost made it' big time. ...(866 words,3 images, 4 comments)

Pakistan 1994 Muhammad Ali Jinnah definitives - unlisted subtype / variant

Pakistan 1994 Muhammad Ali Jinnah definitives -  unlisted subtype / variantWhen working with stamps of 'less popular' countries such as Pakistan, there's a pretty good chance that something interesting will pop up because very few have bothered to research them in detail. And this weeks article is about the beginning of such a journey. ...(548 words,6 images, 4 comments)

Genuine color varieties that catalogs omit

Genuine color varieties that catalogs omitIn late October I wrote about color changelings and showed some examples of North Korean stamps. On the end of that same post I promised a sequel in which I'd display some genuine color varieties (that catalogs don't talk much). First, how do I know these are genuine? It's all because older editions of Michel provide a tiny footnote which state that North Korean stamps issued in sheetlet format do have slightly different colors than single stamps issued in regular sheets. Let's take a closer look of some examples on what this statement means in practice. ...(396 words,4 images, 0 comments)

Stamp misidentification made easy - a case of Canadian 50c Prairie Town Main Street stamp

Stamp misidentification made easy - a case of Canadian 50c Prairie Town Main Street stampI'm quite sure most worldwide stamp collectors are familiar with the 1978 Canadian 50c prairie town main street stamp. Despite being a somewhat modern issue, it is a classic example why most stamp collections contain at least some misidentified stamps (despite us owners/collectors claiming otherwise).  Here is my story how I made a identification mistake, and how I found out about it over two decades later. ...(787 words,3 images, 9 comments)

Sharjah Post Day 1969 - 5 riyal m/s - unlisted in Michel. Why?

Sharjah Post Day 1969  - 5 riyal m/s - unlisted in Michel. Why?Here's a truly oddball item that's got me puzzled: ...(312 words,1 images, 23 comments)

Overinking or something else on North Korean 1963 Orange Catchfly stamp?

Overinking or something else on North Korean 1963 Orange Catchfly stamp?Here's another interesting variant that caught the corner of my eye when I was sorting through some new additions to my North Korean collection. In 1963 North Korea issued a set of five flower stamps, and based on catalog details these should have nothing special. Except, I've got copies of 10ch Orange Catchfly stamp with 'normal 3' and 'larger than normal 3' in year inscription. ...(225 words,2 images, 2 comments)

North Korea - unlisted perf variety

North Korea - unlisted perf varietyIn Feb 5 Juche 65 (1976) North Korea issued a set of three stamps featuring ducks and geese. According to North Korean Stamp Catalog (issued by Korea Stamp Company, DPR Korea) the stamps were designed by Kim Hui Won and Ri Song Thaek, and they were printed in offset on ungummed paper with perforation 11¾. ...(230 words,2 images, 3 comments)

Color variations on Zambian 3 ngwee National Dancing Troupe stamps

Color variations on Zambian 3 ngwee National Dancing Troupe stampsLately I've been working my way through a largish bulk lot of Zambian definitive stamps that I got last year. In case you're wondering why a worldwide collector like me purchases bulk lots containing possibly hundreds of copies of the same stamps, the reason is two fold. ...(384 words,3 images, 9 comments)

How to implement a stamp that is an utter catastrophe from collector point of view

How to implement a stamp that is an utter catastrophe from collector point of viewDuring the Easter I did quite a bit of stamp soaking on my own as well as with my youngest daughter (she's eight by now and shows promising interest towards the world of stamp collecting). Though I did enjoy the father-daughter sharing a common hobby, I must say that there was a bit of dark cloud over these sessions. ...(546 words,3 images, 9 comments)

Few minor print flaws on Turkish stamps

Few minor print flaws on Turkish stampsJust a short post to cheer up a otherwise somewhat slow Easter holidays by showing some recent additions to my collection. ...(237 words,3 images, 4 comments)

Constant variations on 1970 Ecuador 80c Morpho Cypris-butterfly stamp

Constant variations on 1970 Ecuador 80c Morpho Cypris-butterfly stampWhen you come up with print variations on some (modern) stamp, how do you determine if they are a constant or one time errors? That's the question I had to answer when I spotted the below variations on 1970 Ecuadorian 80c butterfly (Cypris Morpho) stamps, and considered whether or not they are worth keeping. ...(343 words,4 images, 0 comments)

SCB visits Aland Islands

SCB visits Aland IslandsFor the past two days I've been at Mariehamn, capital of Åland Islands on work related matters. As most worldwide stamp collectors likely know, Åland Islands is one the smallest stamp issuing entities in Europe besides Andorra, Gibraltar and Vatican, and I was very much expecting to see the locations and places in more detail . As I had some spare hours yesterday afternoon, I headed into the town to seek some stamp related fun. ...(498 words,4 images, 10 comments)

When stamp catalog gets it wrong, who's to blame?

When stamp catalog gets it wrong, who's to blame?This week I've been going through some stamps of Togo (thanks to Bill), and while adding new stamps to my collection, I noted something interesting that I consider worth sharing. In 1970 Togo issued a series of seven stamps and a minisheet to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of United Nations. Michel states the set was issued on October 25th 1970; Scott says October 24th 1970; and Yvert & Tellier states just the year 1970. So which one got it right? ...(378 words,2 images, 25 comments)

Interesting print variations on modern Bulgarian stamps

Interesting print variations on modern Bulgarian stampsRecently I've been going through a box lot of Bulgarian stamps, and to my surprise I've spotted a number of interesting print variations on 1988 '110th anniversary of liberation of Bulgaria'  commemoratives.  Based on catalog details, these should have nothing special. Both designs (5 Stotinki, Gen. Skobelev in attack in Pleven, and 13 Stotinki, Meeting the Russian troops), are minimum catalog value items with print run of approx. 1 million copies. Even the semi-specialized Bulgarian resource I've got mentions nothing special about these. But after going through a pile of around hundred specimens each, I would say that very likely these stamps exist in two different types. Additionally there are plenty of minor print varieties to look out. ...(312 words,5 images, 4 comments)

Interesting variety on 1922 Belgian Houyoux / Albert III stamp

Interesting variety on 1922 Belgian Houyoux / Albert III stampDuring the holidays I spent couple of days going through a largish pile of Belgian definitive stamps that had been sitting on my table for some months. All in all it seemed there was nothing of greater interest until I spotted an interesting looking variety on 5 cent stamp from the 1922 series generally known as Houyoux-series (after engraver Leon Houyoux). ...(148 words,2 images, 6 comments)

Merry Christmas everyone

Merry Christmas everyoneOne of my Christmas traditions for the past five years has been to wish a Merry Christmas to readers of the blog, as well as to show the on-going years Finnish Christmas stamps. Well, I'm not going to make exceptions this year either. ...(220 words,2 images, 9 comments)

Switzerland Pro Juventute 2009 die cut error

Switzerland Pro Juventute 2009 die cut errorFrom time to time I am asked whether or not I make interesting new finds from my stamp exchanges. Though this may amaze you, the answer is positively yes. Let me show you an example with freaky versions of somewhat recent of Swiss Pro Juventute stamps. ...(234 words,4 images, 0 comments)

If you are a stamp catalog publisher, the most stupid thing you can do is...

If you are a stamp catalog publisher, the most stupid thing you can do is...For the past two weeks I've been browsing the brand new Michel North Africa 2014 catalog. As always with new Michel catalogs, it's pretty excellent piece of work. But this time everything isn't so rosy as Michel has done something that every stamp collector and stamp dealer fears the most: it's re-numbered/re-catalogued the stamps of an entire country. ...(284 words,1 images, 14 comments)

Unlisted perforation varieties on classic Montenegro stamps

Unlisted perforation varieties on classic Montenegro stampsCarrying on with topic of Montenegro stamps, here's a bit of an mystery. Both Michel and Scott state that the 1910 stamps commemorating 50th anniversary of the reign of King Nicholas have perforation of 12½. But I've found a good number of copies (of several values) that are something different. ...(189 words,4 images, 0 comments)

A modern Soviet forgery

A modern Soviet forgeryI was working with my Russian and Soviet collections last weekend, and upon sorting through a small accumulation of postally used Soviet definitives, I came upon a specimen which appeared a bit odd. Upon closer inspection, I found out that just about everything on this specimen was wrong. ...(332 words,4 images, 7 comments)

Some unissued Russian Civil war era stamps from Armenia

Some unissued Russian Civil war era stamps from ArmeniaI had an unexpectedly busy weekend due to an work related crisis, and thus had to push down my 'stamping plans' considerably. So instead of digging into big pile of Nepalese stamps that's been waiting my soak tray for several weeks, I started sorting a notably smaller lot of miscellaneous Europe. And there I found a couple of Armenian stamps from the Russian civil war era worth sharing. ...(466 words,2 images, 8 comments)

The unidentifiable uglies - or how I deal with stamps of Indian states

The unidentifiable uglies - or how I deal with stamps of Indian states Though I'm quite knowledgeable about various worldwide stamps, one of those areas that give me a cold sweat are stamps of various Indian feudatory states (aka.the uglies). For the past week I've been going through a small pile of new additions from various Indian states, and here's some of my thoughts about them in general, as well as few 'tough nuts' to identify. ...(1071 words,5 images, 8 comments)

New perforation finds on Liberian stamps

New perforation finds on Liberian stampsOn 1970 Liberia issued a set of stamps six stamps and a miniature sheet commemorating Paintings of Napoleon. All major stamp catalogues agree that the stamps are perforated 11, whereas the sheet is imperforated. With these facts stated, I noticed something that did not fit the story when working on a bunch of these lately. ...(318 words,4 images, 7 comments)

Klaipeda forgeries

Klaipeda forgeriesIf you've not heard of stamps of Klaipeda before, worry not. It was new to me since late last year, when I landed with a small lot of Klaipeda forgeries. Shortly put, Klaipeda is Lithuanian name for what's usually referred as the (German plebiscite territory of) Memel in stamp world. Lithuania occupied the Memel territory from the Germans during January 1923 and declared it as autonomous region of Klaipeda within Lithuania. ...(415 words,4 images, 8 comments)

Some useful tidbits about Hong Kong definitive postage stamps

Some useful tidbits about Hong Kong definitive postage stampsRecently I've been working with my collection of Hong Kong stamps: adding new items as well enhancing my knowledge of the ones I previously possess. All in all, the past week has definitely brought up the various definitive stamp issues of Hong Kong amongst my favorites even in worldwide scale. ...(760 words,4 images, 21 comments)

You always learn something new from the stamps...

You always learn something new from the stamps...Under the working title 'You always learn something new from the stamps...' I represent you the following short (but hopefully) entertaining story: ...(240 words,1 images, 8 comments)

Romanian reprints of 1950s

Romanian reprints of 1950sI've been trying to move onwards with my 'philatelic journey worldwide' but for some reason I seem to be 'stuck' with interesting European stamps coming from all directions. So let's go back for awhile to one of my favorite countries - Romania. Michel catalogues have got the below footnote about Romanian stamps of 1952-1960: ...(476 words,4 images, 8 comments)

Guyana flower stamp with (Michel) unlisted overprint

Guyana flower stamp with (Michel) unlisted overprintFor a change, a short blog entry. The Guyanan overprints are likely one of the least known and difficult areas of modern philately, and here's one example why these are such a headache. The overprint is listed in Scott, but not in Michel. But even the Scott details on this one are extremely vague. ...(127 words,2 images, 2 comments)

Venezuela 1896 Apoteosis De Miranda forgeries

Venezuela 1896 Apoteosis De Miranda forgeriesStamps have been used as means of international politics through ages, and the Venezuelan set of 1896 is a prime example of that. The so called 'Venezuela Crisis of 1895' was about the territory of Essequibo and Guayana Esequiba, which Britain claimed as part of British Guiana and Venezuela saw as Venezuelan territory. Venezuela supported its claim by printing a postage stamp series (known as 'Apoteosis De Miranda')with a map showing claimed areas "Guayana Venezolana" which escalated the crisis further including also the involvement of US. The crisis ended in 1899 when the disputed territory was awarded to British Guiana, but the stamps remain as reminder of events. ...(304 words,3 images, 5 comments)

Few more unusual stamps from the 1970s Trucial sheikdoms

Few more unusual stamps from the 1970s Trucial sheikdomsI acknowledge a lot of us western stamp collectors have certain assumptions about the so called 1970s 'Sand dune stamps', and with this entry I try overrun some of these beliefs by sharing few more or less unusual items. ...(596 words,5 images, 4 comments)

More about perforation varieties on Dubai Stamps

More about perforation varieties on Dubai StampsRemember the Dubai fish stamp perforation variety I blogged about 18 months ago. Since then I've accumulated quite a lot of new stuff into my 'Sand dunes' stamp collection, and now possess several Dubai items that match similar characteristics. Here's one of them: a 1968 commemorative series displaying various flowers. ...(291 words,3 images, 8 comments)

Azerbaijan stamps of 1923: forgery times two

Azerbaijan stamps of 1923: forgery times twoFew summers back I wrote about stamps and postal history Azerbaijan, and back then I also shared an image of somewhat common Russian civil war era bogus stamp series for "White Azerbaijan". Today I can add a little bit more to that story by showing something that I believe is a forgery times two. ...(191 words,2 images, 5 comments)

German occupation of Macedonia - forged postmark

German occupation of Macedonia - forged postmarkFor the last few days I've been adding lots of new items to my stamp collection, but there's specifically one item I'd like to pick and share: a Bulgarian stamp with overprint "Македоння/8.IX.1944/15 ЛВ". This appears to be 1944 stamp from the short lived German (and Bulgarian) occupation of Macedonia. ...(148 words,1 images, 2 comments)

My special stamp exchanges of 2013

My special stamp exchanges of 2013As my regular stamp exchange is having a summer break now, it's time to get my special exchange offers rolling. This year I will be putting up quite a many (better) singles and sets - all are coming from somewhat recent high catalog value purchase I've done. Additionally, as a lot of people have asked specifically for Finnish stamps on my regular exchange, I'm making some lots from the 10kg Finnish kiloware box I rediscovered recently. And as usual, I will be putting up some (hopefully interesting) oddball items that don't fit well into my regular stamp exchanges. ...(1311 words,30 images, 50 comments)

Is this the future of self-adhesive stamps?

Is this the future of self-adhesive stamps? Few nights back I was doing some spring clean-up on my stamp cave, and came up with an 10kg box of Finnish kiloware I had totally forgotten about. It had been there at least 7-8 years (since the day I got it). This in itself is not surprising, as I've got lots of stuff waiting to get sorted. But what had happened inside the box might interest many. ...(255 words,3 images, 12 comments)

Transjordan 1942 stamp - possible forgery

Transjordan 1942 stamp - possible forgeryI was just reading Jim Jackson's excellent Big Blue blog, and the recent post about classic stamps of Jordan stopped me. Jim wrote: ...(304 words,3 images, 4 comments)

Argentina 1908 San Martin definitive stamps

Argentina 1908 San Martin definitive stampsI've been going through a bunch of classic Argentinian stamps for the past few weeks, and it's been lots of fun. However, when going through definitives of 1908, I came across with a problem I haven't found any answer. Michel notes that all values exist in perforations 13½:12½ and 13½ with following exceptions: ...(118 words,1 images, 8 comments)

Philatelic tidbits of modern Ecuador stamps

Philatelic tidbits of modern Ecuador stampsWith this final entry about stamps of Ecuador, I want to raise up some random,but still interesting philatelic tidbits about modern Ecuadorian stamps. ...(594 words,4 images, 7 comments)

Classic Ecuador stamp mystery - a possible wet print specimen?

Classic Ecuador stamp mystery - a possible wet print specimen? Going back to the topic of South American stamps, I started this year by giving my collection of a boost by adding nearly 400 new Ecuador stamps. With such large number you are inevitably bound to come up some unusual and interesting items. And here's one of them: ...(281 words,2 images, 19 comments)

Some observations about stamp printing practises of Central American nations

Some observations about stamp printing practises of Central American nationsThe early years of Central American nations are best described with term 'Banana republics' (or as Wikipedia finely puts: 'a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by the collusion between the State and favoured monopolies'). This practice applied not only to export products such as fruits or minerals, but also to stamp printing. ...(403 words,4 images, 0 comments)

History and culture of Central American nations on stamps

History and culture of Central American nations on stamps Lately I've been expanding my knowledge about culture and history of Mexico and Central American nations by reading few books about the subject. The reason for this is simply the hunger to know/understand more about the topics, events and characters displayed on stamps of these countries. This write-up is not a history lecture per se, but more of a stamp illustrated list of various historical tidbits I find interesting. ...(2012 words,13 images, 40 comments)

Soak US - what US stamps You can soak, and what not

Soak US - what US stamps You can soak, and what notFew years back I wrote a general rant about unsoakable stamps, but this time I'm narrowing my focus a bit, and I'll share a few words of the wise about recent US stamps. Namely what US stamps You can soak with traditional methods (hot water), and what not. ...(296 words,3 images, 13 comments)

Glimpses of Africa

Glimpses of AfricaI've just finished final bits of my summer project of re-organizing my African stamp collection, and before I move on to other topics, I think it's time to give one last look at the topic of African postal history and stamps. I know I've written about collecting stamps of Africa earlier, but here comes yet another of my rants and raves on topic. ...(326 words,5 images, 10 comments)

King Farouk of Egypt stamps obliterated

King Farouk of Egypt stamps obliteratedWhen monarchies and regimes fall, it usually means interesting times for us stamp collectors. Following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, a range of Egyptian definitive stamps with portrait of King Farouk were obliterated (defaced) with three black bars. Like most of the stamp stories I share on this blog, these stamps have more than a quick peek on stamp catalogue might tell. ...(451 words,3 images, 5 comments)

Print flaw on Italian Alti Valore definitive postage stamp

Print flaw on Italian Alti Valore definitive postage stampMoving on with Italian (definitive) postage stamps, here's a small EFO I spotted when sorting the so called "Alti Valore" series. ...(95 words,1 images, 0 comments)

A Sweet Bite of Brazilian Stamps

A Sweet Bite of Brazilian StampsEvery time I find something a bit more special, I enjoy a feeling of excitement and pleasure. Below is a modern (1999) definitive stamp from Brazil that put a big smile on face. From top it's like most modern definitive stamps, but there's a twist (like in all good stamp stories). ...(162 words,2 images, 4 comments)

Guatemala Spring Fair of 1960 perforation varieties

Guatemala Spring Fair of 1960 perforation varietiesRecently a reader of the blog asked if (pre-printed) stamp album pages provide spaces for all the issued stamps and (essential) varieties. My response to question was negative: if catalog editors can't agree on simple facts on what to list as major/minor numbers, then how could those making album pages manage better on deciding what spaces to include on album pages? Here's a simple example to prove how messy things can get: a 1963 Guatemala airmail stamp to commemorate the Spring Fair of 1960. ...(477 words,1 images, 3 comments)

Some Chinese stamps - cancellation forgeries or something else?

Some Chinese stamps - cancellation forgeries or something else? These days stamps don't get me confused often, but the below Chinese stamps have done that. These are from the same lot as the Japanese Taxe Percue cut squares I wrote few weeks back. The stamps are ok, but the cancellations... I've got a nasty gut feeling I've landed with a pile of cancellation forgeries on common Chinese stamps. ...(206 words,3 images, 18 comments)

About USA 60c Rickenbacker stamp

About USA 60c Rickenbacker stampFor few last nights I've been adding new items to my US stamp collection. While going through a pile of duplicates I noted that the 60c Eddie Rickenbacker (Aviation pioneer) stamp had clearly two different types. I quickly picked up my Michel stamp catalogue, and true. There was a statement this stamp exist in multiple types, and advice to see Michel USA SpezialKatalog for further details. Alas, I really dislike when general stamp catalogs tip off like this. Fortunately I have a copy of Scott Specialized catalog for US stamps and covers, and I was able to check the details from there. It turned out that I had spotted a well known variety. ...(349 words,1 images, 12 comments)

Japanese new year stamps

Japanese new year stampsOne of the most common Japanese stamp types to come by are new years postage stamps. These stamps are used mainly on new year greeting cards, which are highly popular in Japan (most families receive over 50 new years greeting cards each year). The first Japanese stamp for new year wishes was issued in 1935, and special stamps were also issued the following two years before the outbreak of second world war. ...(300 words,3 images, 5 comments)


HarvestingFor the last month I and my family have been somewhat occupied by harvesting the crop from our home garden. Not surprisingly, there are lots of stamps to commemorate the end of growing season. As I've been lately working my way through Swedish stamps, below are some absolutely fabulous harvest related stamps from Sweden. ...(121 words,3 images, 12 comments)

Philatelic safari to Burundi

Philatelic safari to BurundiIt's extremely rare, that I manage to explode a single stamp album in one go. But last night I did it with Burundi. Recently I acquired a stock book full of Burundi stamps for peanuts, and yesterday I spend 4 hours putting in new stuff as well as re-arranging. Here's a small philatelic safari of some new additions to my collection of Burundi stamps. ...(280 words,5 images, 7 comments)

Finnish Christmas postage stamps 2010

Finnish Christmas postage stamps 2010I'm having a busy week at work & home, so this will be a very short note simply displaying some of this years Finnish Christmas postage stamps, that I purchased earlier today... This year Finland's official Christmas issue consists of 3 designs:two of these are for domestic rate greetings (0.55€), additionally there is a 1st class stamp for regular letter rate/international postage. All are (hopefully soakable) peel & stick stamps. ...(129 words,1 images, 7 comments)

Collecting stamps of Trucial states - a short introduction

Collecting stamps of Trucial states - a short introductionAn issue I feel great deal of interest, anguish and anger at the same time is collecting stamps from Trucial states. And no, I'm not talking about the recent Trucial countries, but the small sheikdoms like Ajman, Fujeira, Sharjah and Um-al-Qiwain that issued huge amounts of postage stamps (mainly for collectors, not for real postage needs) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. ...(617 words,3 images, 42 comments)

A simplified anatomy of my BRD stamp collection

A simplified anatomy of my BRD stamp collectionBesides re-organizing my German (BRD) collection lately, I've also spent quite a few hours building a complete (but simplified) inventory of what I have and don't have. Before this I had a gut feeling that my collection of BRD stamps was about halfway complete, with heavy weight on the issues of 1960's, and very scarce on the new issues. But building a proper overview gave me a much more insights in addition of having just a list of haves/wants on main catalog number level. ...(275 words,3 images, 2 comments)

Best of British stamp design

Best of British stamp designTo continue display of some recent additions to my collection, here are three different booklet panes from London 2010 Accession of KGV prestige stamp booklet. I got these from a parcel that brought me a second hand set of specialized stamp catalogs of Greece (Karamitsos/Hellas 2008 to be more precise) from UK. I know several websites have shown images of these stamps/booklet panes, but I suspect very few have seen these real used like this. These are absolutely stunning IMHO. ...(177 words,6 images, 12 comments)

Switzerland 1939 - Schweizerische Landesausstellung -1st series

Switzerland 1939 - Schweizerische Landesausstellung -1st seriesJust to display a stamp set I finally managed to complete: Switzerland, 1939 National exposition of Zurich, 1st series. Personally I find these stamps attractive in all senses, as they feature nice design and plenty of small variations to keep hawk-eyed stamp collector alert. The stamps are available in 3 different inscriptions (French, German, Italian), and each value has been printed on different kind of paper (10c smooth, 20c grooved,30c fibers paper). ...(183 words,1 images, 2 comments)

English-Afrikaans se-tenant stamps of South Africa

English-Afrikaans se-tenant stamps of South AfricaOne of the peculiarities of philatelic world are se-tenant stamps of South Africa. Between years 1926 and 1951 (and a single set in 1955) all South African stamps were issued with an English inscribed stamp and an Afrikaans inscribed stamp alternating throughout the sheet. ...(139 words,3 images, 9 comments)

Stamps of South African homelands

Stamps of South African homelandsAs a large part of the world is preparing to follow the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, I've decided to dedicate few upcoming posts to South African stamps and postal history. Let's begin the journey with so called homeland or bantustan (peoples land) stamps. In short homelands system was a territory set aside for black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa (currently Namibia) as part of the policy of apartheid. ...(189 words,3 images, 1 comments)

Swaziland 15/45c overprinted butterfly stamp

Swaziland 15/45c overprinted butterfly stampOne of the smallest nations of Africa is Swaziland. Since it's independence (from the British) in 1968, the country has issued about only about 700 stamps to match postal needs. Most of these are of very modest catalog value, but there are few exceptions like the 15/45c overprinted butterfly definitive stamp. ...(156 words,2 images, 7 comments)

The die cut postage stamps of Sierra Leone

The die cut postage stamps of Sierra Leone For many stamp collectors the name of Sierra Leone brings up plenty of negative associations. This somewhat tiny (about the size of South Carolina state) West African nation issued the worlds first self-adhesive stamps in the 1964. Sierra Leone was also one of the first countries to adapt shape cut postage stamps. And if Sierra Leone's reputation with serious minded philatelists was not already destroyed by the above, then the flood of topical wallpaper since mid 1980s has been the final nail for many. But despite all this, Sierra Leone has been IMHO a brave trend setter in stamps world. ...(399 words,4 images, 14 comments)

Collecting stamps from Africa

Collecting stamps from AfricaSome may have noted that my latest posts have introduced African stamps - a topic I have not written much earlier. The reason behind this wind of change is very simple (and fun): I've been on a "phila-safari" since late March while re-organizing my collection of African stamps. ...(393 words,5 images, 11 comments)

Angola bogus stamps - and a story behind Fournier forgery

Angola bogus stamps - and a story behind Fournier forgeryAs Angola is these days part of the evil empire of IGPC (philatelic agency, which produces most of the topical stamps for small islands and developing countries), I was not hardly surprised when I lately received a selection of pretty CTO-used Angola topical stamps. But I was slightly amazed when they all turned out as complete and utter bogus (for some I suspected it, but not all). ...(332 words,4 images, 9 comments)

Happy May Day

Happy May DayIn many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers' Day, or Labour Day, which celebrates the social and economic achievements of the labour movement. May day carries also several traditions with ancient origins, that can be shown on stamps. ...(297 words,4 images, 1 comments)

Unsolicited stamp trader listings - beware of

Unsolicited stamp trader listings - beware of stamptraders.orgThis is possibly one of the topics I wish I would never have to experience or write. But here I am typing this... Today's mail brought me few exchange letters that were way off from my usual stamp exchange. After some digging I managed to find out that somebody had entered my details as unsolicited listing on stamp traders list. ...(407 words,2 images, 12 comments)

Hungarian souvenir sheet for European Football Championships

Hungarian souvenir sheet for European Football ChampionshipsHere's something not so ordinary I found while soaking Hungarian kiloware during the Easter. It is a used 1972 souvenir sheet issued to commemorate Football European Championships in Belgium. ...(91 words,1 images, 2 comments)

A story of a dinosaur stamp

A story of a dinosaur stampHere's an interesting dinosaur stamp from Canada. It's a 43c Massospondylus from the 1993 series of prehistoric animals. Whilst looking at the postmark on the item, I though I had found yet another freak to my "stranger in strange land" collection of stamps canceled in wrong countries. But I was way off. ...(136 words,1 images, 5 comments)

The Faberge booklet

The Faberge bookletSomewhat related to last post about golden era stamp collectors and philatelists is this Finnish booklet commemorating collector Agathon Faberge. Yes, he was a member of the same Faberge family that created the fabulous Winter Eggs for the Russian czar. But above all, he was one of the first "grand collectors" of Finnish stamps. ...(203 words,1 images, 1 comments)

Golden era stamp collectors and philatelists

Golden era stamp collectors and philatelistsOne of my favorite stamp related books is "Filatelian taito" (roughly translated "The art of philately") written and printed in the 1950's. Why such old book? Besides the very obvious reason that very few stamp related books exist in Finnish language, I'm very much in love with the "feel good stories" of golden era collectors and great findings the book contains. ...(285 words,2 images, 4 comments)

And a case of good luck :)

And a case of good luck :) Just to show a case of good luck in contrast to last post. This is something I found while sorting stamps I had soaked from kiloware... An Argentinian 10 peso definitive postage stamp issued in 1995. It looks like any modern day topical stamp, but if catalogs are to believe, this one is worth 30€ a piece. ...(146 words,1 images, 2 comments)

A case of bad luck

A case of bad luckLast week I received a stamp catalogue I had ordered from Canada before christmas (yes, the delivery took 50 days as it was mailed by surface to cut costs). Anyway, everything seems to have gone pretty smooth until the parcel landed on Finnish postage system. ...(345 words,7 images, 14 comments)

Sewing machine roulettes on Vietnamese stamps

Sewing machine roulettes on Vietnamese stampsSewing machine roulette (also known as "Perce en points" or pin roulette) is one of the oldest and widely spread methods to separate stamps. As the name suggests, roulette is created with sewing (or similar) machine. In this roulette, small holes are pricked trough the paper one at a time,and no paper is removed (which is why this is a roulette, and not a perforation). These characteristic makes it somewhat easy to differentiate pin roulette from normal perforation. Lots of countries have used it up to very recent times, but as I've got my Vietnamese collection open, let's display some of them. ...(252 words,2 images, 7 comments)

How to remove cigarette smell from stamps?

How to remove cigarette smell from stamps? I am a non-smoker, so one of my greatest annoyances is ending up with otherwise good stuff that has cigarette smell all over. So how do I get rid of the smell? ...(161 words,1 images, 14 comments)

Finnish Christmas postage stamps 1973-1996: feels like Christmas

Finnish Christmas postage stamps 1973-1996: feels like ChristmasI'm a Christmas person. Without a doubt it's the only celebration that I expect seriously year after year. For me Christmas has never been about religion, it's a celebration of family filled with traditions, good food and being together. ...(2462 words,41 images, 4 comments)

International Year of Astronomy m/s from Canada

International Year of Astronomy m/s from CanadaI hate to say this, but it seems I have another sequel to "I hate when postal service ruins a philatelic item"[part 1, part 2] saga. This time Tristan from Canada sent me a cover with corgeous International Year of Astronomy miniature sheet on top - and quess what Canada Post did? ...(145 words,2 images, 4 comments)

Cross shaped self-adhesive stamps from Finland

Cross shaped self-adhesive stamps from FinlandI just came back from the local post office (outlet) as I had to buy some low value stamps to keep up with everchangin postal rates. I was very heavily suprised to get some of the 2008 "cross-shaped" self-adhesives decipting the Finnish archipelago. ...(132 words,2 images, 8 comments)

Canadian Save the Polars and Glaciers miniature sheet

Canadian Save the Polars and Glaciers miniature sheetThis could very well be a sequal to "I hate when postal service ruins a beautiful item" post I made week ago. Sadly most of the items on this nice cover have escaped the postmark. ...(176 words,3 images, 4 comments)

I hate when postal service ruins a beautiful item

I hate when postal service ruins a  beautiful itemOne of the eternal complaints from stamp collectors is how postal service (more or less frequently) ruins the philatelic mail sent. In US "killers" (cancels) are a sure way to make the cover not so collectible. In UK many postal officers seem to fancy pen cancellations - if cancelling cover at all. And in Finland? Well... ...(238 words,5 images, 6 comments)

Classic stamp designs: Cyprus George V definitive

Classic stamp designs: Cyprus George V definitiveHere's a superb example of classic stamp design that is ageless. This is multicolored 1912/1915 King George V definitive (with "multiple crown CA" watermark). ...(68 words,1 images, 1 comments)

The wonders of India

The wonders of IndiaI know many (European) stamp collectors dislike Indian stamps, but personally I love them 110%. I agree that "head stamps" (=portraits of men/woman) of any country are somewhat boring in design, but when moving to topicals issues...Well, then current Indian stamps are very hard to beat. ...(200 words,3 images, 6 comments)

Singapore MyStamp promotional card

Singapore MyStamp promotional cardLately I received two National Day Celebrations 2009 cards from Singapore. ...(130 words,2 images, 8 comments)

Non-inverted Jenny

Non-inverted JennyI believe most stamp collectors are familiar with Inverted Jenny, one of the worlds most prestigious stamp printing errors. But how many has seen the non-inverted stamp (and other stamps of the same set)? ...(197 words,2 images, 4 comments)

US 40c Philip Mazzei airmail stamp

US 40c Philip Mazzei airmail stampI think most worldwide (and US) collectors recognize the US airmail postage stamp I'm writing today. In 1980 US post (along with Italian Post) issued a commemorative stamp to honor the 280th anniversary of  Philip Mazzei's birth. ...(103 words,2 images, 6 comments)

Coloring book with images of Finnish postage stamps

Coloring book with images of Finnish postage stampsMy kids did an interesting find from a local second hand store.  It's unused childrens coloring book with A4 sized images of (black & white line-drawn) Finnish postage stamps from the 1980's and 1990's. ...(92 words,1 images, 0 comments)

Green matter - Happy World Enviroment Day!

Green matter - Happy World Enviroment Day!World Environment Day (or in short WED) is a special commemorative day established by United Nations to stimulate awareness of the environment.  This year’s host the event is Mexico which reflects the growing role of the Latin American country in the fight against climate change. The United Nations official WED website has some great tips on how to "Easily Green Your Daily Routine", but what would a "green matter" list look for a stamp collector?  Below is my "star advice" that I wish every environment cautious stamp collector would use. ...(291 words,2 images, 0 comments)

Master engraver Czeslaw Slania

Master engraver Czeslaw SlaniaWhile talking about the stamps of Sweden, there is no way one could bypass the name of Czeslaw Slania. He was the master engraver supreme, adored by co-workers and collectors alike.  He produced numerous stamps for Sweden and 28 other nations.  One of his best known (and award winning) masterpieces is the "Swedish film history" miniature sheet issued in 1981, for which Slania engraved 3 stamps. ...(119 words,3 images, 2 comments)

The fine art of Ivan Aguéli on stamps

The fine art of Ivan Aguéli on stampsIvan Aguéli (1869-1917) , also known as Sheikh 'Abd al-Hadi Aqhili  upon his acceptance of Islam, was a pioneer and master of Swedish modern / contemporary art. In addition he was also a wandering Sufi (a Muslim mystic), linguist and author.  To commemorate a centenary of Ivan Aguéli's birth Sweden issued it's first miniature sheet in year 1969. ...(102 words,1 images, 4 comments)

The beauty of socked on the nose

The beauty of socked on the noseIs there anything more beautifull than a socked on the nose (also known as SON or SOTN) cancel on a well engraved stamp?  Feel free to decide yourself... ...(90 words,1 images, 5 comments)

Interview with’s Mats Blückert

Interview with’s Mats Blückert It's time continue the interview series with stamp collectors online. This time I'll be discussing with Mats Blückert - the man behind excellent website. ...(795 words,0 images, 8 comments)

Polish dogs on cover

Polish dogs on coverHere's a lovely cover from Poland (sent by Andrzej). It has a strip-of-5 of Polish 2006 dog stamps (Michel#4289-4293, cat. value 4€) issued for internation dog show in Poznen, Poland . ...(156 words,6 images, 7 comments)

Casual stamp collector in Helsinki

Casual stamp collector in HelsinkiFor the last few days I was an a work related trip to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Mainly I worked from 8-5pm, but I did manage to find some time to visit both Postal Museum and a local stamp shop - both within 200 meters from the central railway station and my hotel. ...(462 words,2 images, 12 comments)

Interview with Rainbow Stamp Club's Jeevan Jyoti

This week I'll be starting a new article category / series, which will introduce various  more or less well know online stamp collectors. I have asked interviews from various blog owners, philatelic webmasters, online dealers  etc. and kindly many have given some of their time.   My first interview is with Mrs. Jeevan Jyoti who runs the excellent Rainbow Stamp Club blog. ...(789 words,0 images, 12 comments)

Postage stamps people use

Postage stamps people useI just came in from a walk during which I bought a small mixture of on-paper stamps from a local 2nd hand store. Nothing fancy -  just a handfull of totally unsorted stamps from a non-collector.  What was inside tells a great story of stamps non-collecting people use for regular postage. ...(211 words,1 images, 2 comments)

Beautiful La Semeuse (the Sower)

Beautiful La Semeuse (the Sower) La Semeuse, the Sower, first appeared on French stamps in April 1903. The graceful figure (of model Charlotte Ragot) wearing the Phrygian cap of liberty, sowing ideas at sunrise, came to symbolise Republican France throughout much of the 20th century.  The stamp was designed by Louis Oscar Roty and engraved by Louis-Eugène Mouchon. Without going deeper into this series, I'll just show an interesting item I found recently. ...(209 words,1 images, 25 comments)

Precancels on french stamps

Precancels on french stampsTo continue with last weeks theme with France, I'll be talking about precancels - or préoblitérés as French say - on French postage stamps. In short, a precancelled stamp is a stamp that has been cancelled before being affixed to mail. Precancels are typically used by mass mailers like newspapers and advertisers. The postal administration will typically offer an incentive in the form of a reduced price for precancelled stamps in volume. ...(258 words,3 images, 15 comments)

Vive la France – some good reasons to collect French stamps

Vive la France – some good reasons to collect French stampsI confess that for a long time I didn’t like French stamps. The problem was pretty much the same as with any foreign country that one collects randomly – what you get is usually definite series with messy cancellations. Luckily my collection of French stamps has grown from my early collecting days, and currently France is one of my favorite European countries to collect. This is pretty much due to interesting themes that go on year after year. ...(313 words,5 images, 4 comments)

Spring at last - Finnish spring flowers on postage stamps

Spring at last - Finnish spring flowers on postage stampsThe last few days have been exceptionally warm and finally winter is stepping away even in central Finland. A few days ago I spotted the first coltsfoot grewing up in the middle of snowy our yard trench, then the crocus started rising on our snowy yard lawn and yesterday people started placing flower pots on sunny places. It's finally spring and time to show off some beautifull spring time flowers on stamps (as well as a nice flower stamp specialty I have found). ...(372 words,4 images, 2 comments)

Christian Easter in postage stamps of Equatorial Guinea

Christian Easter in postage stamps of Equatorial GuineaThe easter is close, so it's time to look some of the easter stamps. For the next 4-5 adding this post with various Easter souvenir sheets from 1970's Equatorial Guinea (also known as "dictator Nguema era") each day. I know most collectors categorize these as "bogus" since there's no proof of real usage or legimite origin of these stamps; most likely they are right.  I think Michel is currently the only major catalogue providing full listing of these...  But bogus or not, IMO these make suprisingly fascinating and nice looking area to collect. ...(457 words,5 images, 2 comments)

Nordic mythology on Norden miniature sheets

Nordic mythology on Norden miniature sheetsBesides Europe CEPT issues, one of the long time favourites of scandinavian collectors has been so called Norden-issues. Starting in 1956, the Scandinavian countries have issued "Norden" stamps to commemorate their co-operation in postal services. At first, the stamps all had a common design in all countries, but currently different designs with a common theme are issued. Norden stamps are issued nowadays every other year. In 2004, 2006, and 2008 the theme was Nordic Mythology. ...(291 words,2 images, 0 comments)

Lighthouses of Finland miniature sheet

Lighthouses of Finland miniature sheetFrom ugliness back to beauty. The lighthouses of Finland miniature sheet issued in 2003 is yet another work of art. It features some of the best looking lighthouse stamps I've ever seen. ...(144 words,1 images, 3 comments)

Finland 2007 Eurovision song contest miniature sheet

Finland 2007 Eurovision song contest miniature sheet One of the true signs of spring is Eurovision Song Contest. This year the contest, 54th in order, will be held in Moscow between 12th and 16th of May. Besides being one of the most watched television events in Europe, Eurovision has also a long tradition on philately with various special covers, cancellations and stamps around the Europe. ...(217 words,2 images, 0 comments)

The Imperial Winter Egg by Carl Faberge - Finland Miniature Sheet

The Imperial Winter Egg by Carl Faberge - Finland Miniature SheetFor the past weeks I've been mainly showing stamps from the 18th and 19th century. I think it's time to get a fresher look and focus for a while with some modern postage stamps for the next month or so. This week I'll be showcasing some of the modern miniature sheets from Finland.  Let's begin with Imperial Winter Egg miniature sheet  issued in 2005. ...(150 words,3 images, 0 comments)

German colonies Yacht stamp issue

German colonies Yacht stamp issue The Yacht issue refers to a series of German colonies postage stamps bearing the image of the Imperial yacht Hohenzollern.  These stamps were used in all of Germany's colonies meaning Caroline Islands, German East Africa, German New Guinea, German South West Africa, Kamerun, Kiatschou, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Samoa and Togo from 1900 until the First World War. ...(249 words,1 images, 0 comments)

CTO cancelled Wurttemberg stamps

CTO cancelled Wurttemberg stampsWurttemberg has one specialty that sets it aside of several other German states that issued stamps. Several issues are more common as CTO (Cancelled-To-Order)-cancelled as really used. These can usually be regognized from specific Stuttgart cancellations. ...(137 words,2 images, 3 comments)

The story of Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria

The story of Luitpold, Prince Regent of BavariaTo continue yesterday's Bavaria topic, let's jump over half centuries forward to year 1911.  I know many stamp collectors have seen old stamps of Bavaria with old bearded man.  That's the man I'm going to write today - Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. The story of Luitpold is so amazing, that it's hard to believe it as a part of modern European history. ...(316 words,1 images, 2 comments)

Some early Bavaria stamps

Some early Bavaria stampsI know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but these early Bavarian stamps are a pleasure to look. The stamp design is simple, colours are vivid and a nice millwheel cancel on top gives the final touch. These stamps also carry a historic message, as Bavaria was the ninth country in the world to release postage stamps. Bavaria was also the first German state to begin stamp production. ...(260 words,1 images, 3 comments)

Good ol' time adventure and mystery

Good ol' time adventure and mysterySeveral times I have wondered why some postage stamps appeal more than others.  One of the explanations I have come up with is, that some stamps bring along a feeling of good ol'd time adventurers. ...(78 words,1 images, 3 comments)

Hong Kong 1997 Skyline stamp issue high values

Hong Kong 1997 Skyline stamp issue high valuesGood quality stamps with beautifull (hand) cancel are extremely hard to get from normal (real) mail -  especially when it comes to high values. As an example I have chosen the 1997 Hong Kong Skyline issue, that has a total of 22 stamps from 10c to 50HK$ nominal value. ...(150 words,1 images, 0 comments)

British Post Offices in China

British Post Offices in China For a long time, these two stamps have bugged me.  They are very common Hong Kong definitive stamps from the King George V era with single line overprint "CHINA". ...(207 words,1 images, 3 comments)

Finland Friendship Miniature sheet 1998

Finland Friendship Miniature sheet 1998 After a decade of waiting, I finally managed to get my hands on this Finnish 1998 Friendship greetings stamps miniature sheet (Michel cat. Bl.18, value 7€ for used & mint) with "real" postal usage. Why I highlighted the word real, is that this came on top of parcel from a Finnish stamp dealer some time ago. I don't think that many non-collectors have, or use stamps as old as this for their postage. The stamps on the sheet are 1st class forever stamps. ...(134 words,1 images, 0 comments)

Interesting danish postmarks

Interesting danish postmarksBelow are two examples of so called "star postmark" (or mill wheel postmarks) that where used in Denmark between 1866 and 1929. These are IMHO very impressive looking on single stamps. I can only imagine how great these look on covers and other full items. ...( 0 comments).

Denmark perfins

Denmark perfinsTo continue with some of the interesting perfins of the world, below are two not-so-ordinary shaped perfins from Denmark. To make things even more interesting, there is a nearly 90 years difference between these two stamps. At least in Denmark, the perfin culture seems to be still very much alive and kicking. ...(158 words,1 images, 23 comments)

Used US stamps high values

Used US stamps high valuesBelow are few scans of postally used modern US stamp high values.  Once again, tough these are not highly valuable, they are surprisingly hard to come by. I've received these from a friend of mine who orders auction catalogues from United States as a printed matter. ...(108 words,2 images, 1 comments)

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, 2009-2017 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