Thursday 18 January 2024

U.S. Stamps on Jeopardy!

U.S. Stamps looked like an interesting category last night, January 17. The first question was about the Tiffany lamp (top photo). Juveria Zaheer, from Ontario, guessed Brontosaurus, as did I. We both got it right!

I guessed 'What is Mariachi?' at the last minute. Correct!
What else could it be...'What is the 'Stang?' Correct again!
What is Christmas? Well, it just passed us!

Tuesday 16 January 2024

TradeOnlyStamps Saved!

 Great news!

This popular trading website has been picked up and moved! A new administrator in South Africa has taken over from the previous Dutch one! We are no longer in dutch about what to do when he stopped his involvement running the site after many years. 

In the latest TradeOnlyStamps newsletter just out, I found six potential trades! Two from France plus Ireland, Tunisia, US, Netherlands. Though I'm trying to keep exchanges more domestic, to Canada and the U.S. to save on postage, it's been awhile since I've been able to find a new trade on the site. Rumours of its demise were exaggerated and it's great to have it still alive! Trade on!

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Ghost in the Machin

Since 1967, Great Britain and its regions have  been  using  stamps  featuring  the Machin Head image  of  Queen  Elizabeth.  The series gets its name from the designer of the image, Arnold Machin. Machins comprise the most prolific series in stamp collecting history!
Excluding minor varieties, there are 575 Machin Heads stamps of several types: 

  • 20 pre-decimal issues (1967-1970)
  • 287 decimal issues
  • 43 non-denominated issues
  • 19 barcoded issues
  • 7 anniversary issues  (featuring  Queens Victoria and Elizabeth, to mark the 150th anniversary of  the first stamp in 1990)
  • 64 Northern Ireland issues
  • 60 Scotland issues
  • 60 Wales issues
  • 4 Isle of Man issues
  • 11 other (including  airmails, etc.)
While I don't expect to fall into the abyss that is Machin collecting anytime soon, I can see how it would become an engrossing pursuit. There are over 3,000 varieties, and even a basic set of Machin stamp album pages is 30 pages long! An online version of Simplifying the Machins is 32 pages in length! I just like the range of colours and the longevity that the Machine have enjoyed with the Royal Mail. Getting into the weed of fonts, perforation styles and revised portraits are not for me. I albumize my Machins on double-sided black stock sheets. This allows for moving them around because I have arranged them by type, and within each type by value i.e. 1P up to values in Pounds.

Unfortunately for soaking purposes, security features were added in 2009 to make soaking an unpleasant exercise. To further reduce counterfeiting scammers, current Machins come with a two-dimensional data matrix barcode.

Interestingly, I recently came across several copies of the blue 'E' value for Europe-bound mail, since discontinued. Who says Machins are boring?

Saturday 6 January 2024

Turn the Volume....DOWN.... avoid sensory overload, because this Youtube video is completely overpowering with its hard-driving Quincas Moreira soundtrack 'Chunk'. The visuals....the audio....both may have you banging your head against a hard surface. Why?

This video is the stamp cave of the videographer's 88 year-old father. Once I turned the volume down, waaaaay down/off, the visuals were stupefying (screenshots below).

I am often asked, "What am I supposed to do with your collection after you're gone?" (my favourite variation, "in case something happens to you" and I have the strong suspicion that if my collection gets too big something will happen to me. And of course my mind races to benevolent thoughts of some future family member lovingly poring over my work someday and thinking....

  • so that's how he spent his spare time?
  • what an amazing legacy he's produced for future generations!
  • these really are amazing miniature works of art!
  • how can we make a quick buck off this?
  • what day is recycling day?
I am in awe of the stamp cave this 88 year-old has created. Clearly, adding more binders and more shelves was more important than adding drywall over the vapour-barrier! There are at least three work surfaces, catalogues, mounts and other supplies hung nearby, and then there are...the binders!
So many binders. Everything is neat, labelled, organized and in order. Custom-made pages and labelling, and custom cardboard liners to keep the pages flat, made from cereal boxes. Hey, that's perfectly good cardboard!

This looks like a full-time job for this gentleman. I not only mean the 88 year-old collector who died unexpectedly, no doubt "doing what he loved", but also his son whose duties include executing the stamp cave contents' disposition to someone else. The (SOLD) word in the title gives me some hope. The videographer/son's Youtube channel also includes a video called Marvel and DC Statue Room Tour, displaying his plethora of similarly nicely-displayed comic figures, so the collecting gene was strong!

I've stumbled on a Youtube video sub-genre I would call Overwhelming Stamp-Cave Room I Now Have to Deal With Views, with examples here and here and I'm sure the algorithm can find you many more to watch.

The original video really is worth watching. I am still in awe. And a little afraid for the future!