Saturday 22 April 2023

Flipping Through Germany

Join me for a flip-through of my newly-created album as we visit German states, German definitives, West Berlin, my original GDR/East Germany, East Germany commemoratives and definitives, then West Germany and unified Germany commemoratives. There were 960 in my collection before adding 1,615 accumulated over the last several years, for a new approximate total of 2,575! Alles ist gut!

Here's the sideways, close-up version

Here's the farther away, vertical version

This flip-through probably should have been matched to some Wagner!

Tuesday 18 April 2023

What's Wrong with Stamp Shows?

And, what's wrong with organized philately? Much like organized religion, organized philately has challenges when it seeks to interest and educate its practitioners. Having just watched Graham Beck's Exploring Stamps Youtube video 'Visiting a Stamp Show' the reasons behind these challenges really struck me. As the video progressed, I took some screen captures to illustrate this post. Ask yourself, Why would I want to participate, and if I did, what activity would I enjoy the most?

For me, the top photo spoke volumes. Youth tables, like the one pictured, are hosted to introduce youngsters (but not adults?) to stamp collecting. Come and grab some free stamps! (Adults will have to buy them, in contrast at the nearby bourse!)

That top photo just looks like fun to me! At McIntyre's stamp shop on Brock Street, there were always a stamp bin and a coin bin to root through. The proprietor told me, "We put all kinds of stamps in there, there are even some valuable ones" and he was right. I found several U.S. special delivery stamps that caught my eye. Even as an adult, while on a break from a short visit to Hotel Dieu Hospital to provide intraoperative pathology services, I would wander over at lunchtime before heading back to Kingston General Hospital. Just to explore that bin and fill an envelope for pennies per stamp.

Then we have to graduate to the adult practices on the bourse (above and below). Sitting down in front of rows and rows of albums or stacks and stacks of stock boxes. Perhaps with one's own binder, stock book and want list. And money. Why is there no in-between? Where is the social media-like interplay and conversation between collectors? These activities do not look like fun to me. Hence the grey hair and lack of youth or young adult representation, except for the videographer, that is!
Perhaps even worse, the display of frames (below) with videographer Graham being the only viewer. Getting to a one-frame display seems to be the trend, and no wonder. Who but the most hardcore philatelist, or judge, would go through frame after frame?  Now, books are even being published on how to get your frame 'right'. I'm all for research, and clearly those who do research like to share the results of their hard work. Where is the quick bite, the fun assembly of attractive stamps, the non-standard display?
The purpose of this Working Stamps blog is to try to describe what I enjoy about philately, but always my child-like hope to keep stamp collecting fun, despite the 'Working' title of this blog!

Sunday 16 April 2023

Web Log of Stampers on Youtube

There's a whole online community of stampers on Youtube. Watching Youtube channels are not a good alternative to working on my collection. After a long day, at 10 p.m., I'm not going to work on my collection lying in bed, but I might watch a stamp video! 

In my quest to find an engaging stamper on Youtube, there are some characteristics I'm looking for in a channel:
  • regularly-posted
  • lots of videos to choose from
  • host is entertaining, not stuffy
  • show stamps I'm interested in
Some Youtubers to explore further:

Silk on the Web - definitely has fun (infectious laugh)

American Philatelic Society Stamp Chat

Exploring Stamps - closed his channel after 7 years and 50 videos. The scope, quality of videos, financial and time resources required made the channel no longer sustainable as of March, 2024.

John Collects Stamps

Kyle's Stamps - fun!

North Toronto Stamp Club

Stamp Sleuth & More - shows the Traveler stamp album! - (top photo)

The Digital Philatelist - blog roll worth checking out 

Stampcat - from Canada!

specific good videos to watch:

Grandpa's Stamp Album Cover to Cover

Saturday 15 April 2023

Gee...The Crusade Continues


The Long and Noble Crusade continues as I album-ize stamps long organized but not yet hinged. Smaller countries like Andorra, Burkina Faso, Chile, Djibouti, Ethiopia and even French ocean colonies made it to pages. Then we got to G: Gabon, Ghana, and what to do about Germany?

Well, the 8x11 self-printed pages are up to about a half-inch deep, so Germany is getting its own binder. There was no way it was going to find a home within my three Traveler albums. I'm looking for a fourth. With 28 degree temperatures for a couple of days here, the sunroom is where the crusade is happening. It's stamping room only as each album page fills with as many same-shape stamps as I can fit, ones I've already organized five-deep in stock sheets along with assembled hinges and pages ready to go. It's quite an assembly line! Right now its commemoratives, then I'll circle back through definitives, Deutsche Bundepost Berlin and finally East Germany/DDR.

Then, my Germany collection will be unified!

Thursday 13 April 2023

My Favourite Stamp

I added this Hong Kong stamp to my collection at McIntyre's years ago. I considered it my favourite at the time, and I still do today. 

Imagine my surprise when I was watching a mail call video on the Stampcat Youtube channel and a collector named Trevor sent two of these Hong Kong stamps to Youtuber Lisa. He called them "...Powerfully symbolic of the start of the post-war era."
$1 stamp (above) and 30 cent (below).
The Head Postmaster of Hong Kong, Edward Wynne-Jones, sketched the design while in a Japanese intermet camp in Hong Kong.

After his release at the end of the war in 1945, Wynne-Jones brought this artwork back to Britain with him, and sent it to the Colonial Office for consideration. A design for the crown colonies’ planned Victory omnibus issue, showing the Houses of Parliament, had already been agreed with the Colonial Office.

However, because of the exceptional background to Wynne-Jones’ design, special permission was given by King George VI for it to be used in Hong Kong instead of the universal one. Two values, recess-printed by De La Rue, were issued on August 29, 1946: a 30c intended for domestic letters and a $1 for airmail use. The Phoenix Rising From Flames stamp was issued August 29, 1946.

The design used a variety of symbols to convey a powerful message. The central portrait, naturally, was of King George VI, with a crown above his head, reasserting the power of the British Empire. Below this was the mythical phoenix bird, which died in flames and was reborn from the ashes, symbolising the colony’s recovery from disaster. A ribbon below the bird bore the word ‘Resurgo’ (Latin for ‘arise’), and the dates ‘1941’ and ‘1945’ recalling the period of the Japanese occupation. The name of the colony appeared in English at the top, while Lions of England held shields that gave the name in Chinese characters.

On each side of the stamps are vertical tablets bearing Chinese inscriptions. There are varying literal interpretations of these phrases, but the general sense is clear: on the left it says ‘China and Britain perpetually at peace’, and on the right ‘The phoenix revives: great good fortune’.