Sunday 31 December 2023

Truer Words were Never Spoken...


...when this appeared on Wheel of Fortune. The category at bottom also describes my collection's location in my house! Although I will always treasure and honour my mother-in-law's bestowing the shelf above the coats in the front hall closet as a good place for my collection. At least the albums!

This blog has been an enjoyable outlet over the past year as I continue to improve my collection...around the house.

Happy New Year to the three of you who may be reading this!

Monday 18 December 2023

Re-homing and Enjoying a Stamp Collection

In this previous post, I gratefully accepted the gift of a nearly-forgotten stamp collection. In this post, I'll detail how I processed the collection once it came into my possession. First of all, the album itself - oversized pages with spaces for a lot of older stamps. It's even more unlikely I'll find many of these stamps in 2023 than when they were printed in 1959. Many of the countries no longer exist, though I really liked the map and information provided for each country. Unique! So, I decided to recycle some of the album pages as envelopes for stamps. I reverse-engineered a glassine envelope I had handy, traced its outline onto some cardboard, and traced around it on the album pages in various orientations, folding then finishing them with two 7 cm strips of Scotch tape.
Plucked from the two albums, here is the plethora of stamps I need:
Another envelope contained this amazing collection of Canada pre-cancels and perfins:
Any common stamps I didn't need went into this on-the-go baggie that I will send to Oxfam's stamp program:
I made another pass through the albums. I'd missed a small pile of stamps that blended in to the pages (top right) and I noticed the country seals had been hinged. I was able to remove them and will add them to my own album pages as needed:
Even the reusable stamp hinges did not go to waste. I will indeed reuse them!
Stamp collections are like model railway layouts. Even though they bear the fingerprints of one enthusiast, when the time comes, they can still be re-homed and enjoyed by others!

Saturday 9 December 2023

All Day, All Night, Marianne!

Marianne is the famed feminine emblem of France. She has been described as a version of Lady Liberty, and she is usually depicted wearing a phyrygian cap and Grecian robes usually over one shoulder. This capped female allegory was first used in France at the time of the Revolution to symbolize Liberty. 
How she got to be called Marianne is uncertain.   Each French president selects a Marianne image for use during his presidency. Some images of my 2+ pages of Marianne, many obtained from department store grab bags, no doubt. I assembled them over time without even trying! Pas de probleme!
I decided to try to make sense of the various versions of Marianne in my France collection. Searching online for useful articles, I found:

  • this post in French contains several images of Marianne stamps through the years.
  • this post contains a handy graphic that I've included below:

My second page of Mariannes, all albumized though not in chronological order. As I add more denominations to my collection, these may move around a bit on the page. To try to bring order to chaos, I added small bleu pieces of Post-it notes with their release years in pencil:

This one is a bit of a mystery. An undenominated Marianne that defied albumizing. More research needed:
It's actually a 1993 self-adhesive booklet stamp: Yvert catalogue 2806. Scott catalogue 2340.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Eric to Eric Inhericance

Since I launched this blog back in February, its journey has been what the marketing types might call a 'soft launch'. As in, who would ever find this blog? Telling someone you're a stamp collector can be daunting. And dangerous. The danger being that they now believe you're a bigger nerd than they had previously thought! Then, throwing caution to the wind, I added this blog to the top of the sidebar of my main Canadian railway blog, Trackside Treasure. Until now, there was absolutely no evidence that anyone really noticed or cared, and the blog view statistics bore that out. Did I say bore?

I'm OK with keeping it quiet, even boring. Sorting stamps ain't exactly the Super Bowl - definitely not a spectator sport. Not everyone finds the careful exploration, examination and arranging of these microscopic, monumental and amazing works of art interesting at all. Until now. Fellow rail enthusiast, model railroader (and fellow Eric) Eric May sent me an email enticingly entitled 'SURPLUS STAMPS'. Oh, I thought, great! A small packet of old stamps heading my way. He had found some older stamps during a basement reorganization. Startlingly, Eric's subsequent email referenced getting a hernia, lifting with the knees, and "should have included a protein bar". 
While going out to retrieve the recycling box six short days later, imagine my surprise when my peripheral vision perceived a Large Canada Post Flat Rate Box. If it fits, it ships, with a maximum weight of 5 kilograms! The 1944 Germany semi-postal set issued for National Hero Day caught my eye:
I didn't have any trouble lifting it, I had trouble believing it. If I was any kind of YouTuber, I would have done an un-boxing video. No time for that! I unglued the flap, and out slid a substantial 1959 Illustrated Around-the-World Stamp Album binder album produced by the Educational Book Guild, and a smaller 1975 Harris Explorer World-Wide Postage Stamp Album. That's not all! Some Canada Post millennium material, several covers and two small stamp packets were also in the sturdy, well-packed box. The stamps likely belonged to Eric's wife's grandfather, and that no-one in the family had taken up philately, a common situation.
I seem to have a thing for old stamp albums. Maybe I was born in the wrong decade. Or century. Most of the stamp illustrations represent stamps I'll never find. And that's okay. I see that as the progression from albums in which you feel compelled to cover each illustration and fill each space, to ones where the collector can print his own pages, making each one seem as full as desired.
What really caught my eye was the extensive explanations of early U.S. commemoratives. And many of the spaces had been filled! Some intriguing covers:
A simple, sample spread from the smaller album:
Now the big question. What to do with this amazing gift? I hope to incorporate the early US pages in my own collection, which my paperback US album is really lacking in. I will add many of the stamps to my own collection. Others will be shared with fellow collectors, as Eric had suggested. I have to thank my fellow Eric for his generosity. I'll leave the last words of this post to Eric, who generously declined any payment for his postage costs. 

"Don't worry about the postage, your blog posts provide more than enough entertainment and education."