Displaying items by tag: history

The FIP Postal History Commission has put together a programme of five on-line seminars on the theme of:

‘The importance of ……… in postal history exhibiting’.

The programme will run from August – October 2020 and all the seminars will be held on Sundays.

The programme is as follows:

Starting Time

A 16 August ‘Rarity and Condition’ Henrik Mouritsen

A 6 September ‘Presentation’ Chris King

B 20 September ‘Treatment’ Dan Walker

A 4 October ‘Importance’ Henrik Mouritsen

A 18 October ‘Knowledge and Research’ Andrew Cheung

Starting Times

A. 8.00pm Singapore time, equivalent to 8.00am New York time;

1.00pm London time; 2.00pm Berlin time; 9.00pm Hong Kong time.

B. 10.00pm Singapore time, equivalent to 10.00am New York time;

3.00pm London time; 4.00pm Berlin time; 11.00pm Hong Kong time.

To register for any of the seminars, please send an e-mail to Andrew Cheung (Secretary of the FIP Postal History Commission) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For further information, have a look at the FIP Postal History Commission website:

https://www.f-i-p.ch/fip-postal-history-commission-exhibiting-seminars-via-zoom-aug-oct-2020/

Published in News

Linn’s reader Sid Morginstin of Bordentown, N.J., recently wrote to present an expertizing ethics problem. He is a specialist expertizer, which I define as an independent solo performer with expertise in a specialized area, oftentimes a dealer as well.

Morginstin fits that definition. He runs the Negev Holyland Auctions and is a specialist expertizer in the postal stationery of Israel and some other related Holy Land areas.

In his message to me, Morginstin makes the point that he does not issue certificates, but others do, and that is the crux of the problem he writes about:

“For example, Joe B is a recognized expert in the postal history of Upper Slobovia. He is active in its society. There are not many dealers who handle Upper Slobovia. Joe B happens to be the largest such dealer. I have no problem with him issuing a certificate on an item. However, I do object to Joe B then offering that item for sale.

“Ancillary to this, I am also afraid that if one of Joe B’s competitors sends him a very rare item for a certificate, Joe B may state that it is ’not genuine’ so that the competition does not get the publicity or business.

“Now the question arises: what if Joe B is the only recognized expert in Upper Slobovia? Do we have to trust him? What can be done?”

I have several reactions. It is certainly a given that there is an opportunity for mischief when a single individual accumulates power through knowledge. That said, and I am no Pollyanna, it’s my experience that the dealers and collectors in our hobby are honest to a degree greater than the general population.

Thus it is my baseline expectation that specialist experts can be relied upon to do the right thing when applying their knowledge in rendering opinions on stamps and covers submitted for expertization. For one thing, they are proud of their knowledge and their reputation and do not want to put the latter in jeopardy.

As I have said before in this column, I am a fan of multiple sets of eyes examining any patient (a stamp or cover submitted for expertization), but in some collecting areas this is not possible.

In the case where a specialist expertizer has a financial interest in an item being expertized, there is indeed potential for mischief, and I can understand why Morginstin would not want a dealer to be selling something he or she had determined to be genuine.

On the other hand, if the dealer stands behind the certificate to the extent that he guarantees a refund within a year or so of purchase should a competent authority determine that the item is not as described, I would not object to the expert selling the item on his own behalf or that of another owner.

Indeed if he is the only expert and the primary dealer in the field, I as an owner would want him to be the seller. It would disadvantage me if the dealer said: “Yep, it’s genuine all right. Now, here’s your certificate. Take it elsewhere to sell it. I can’t because some think if I sold it, it would be a conflict of interest.”

So, as with so many things in this life, clear yes and no answers can be elusive, and we are forced to contend with shades of gray and to make decisions on incomplete information. There are some guidelines, though, as follows:

a. Is the expertizer/dealer a member of professional organizations, such as the American Stamp Dealers Association or the American Philatelic Society, entities that have codes of ethics such that membership indicates a clean ethical record?

b. Is the expertizer/dealer a member of the relevant specialist organization or organizations? Does he contribute articles to the society journal? This speaks well to both level of knowledge and to the level of respect in which he is held.

c. Does the expertizer/dealer also expertize for one of the expertizing institutions in the United States or abroad?

d. Can the expertizer/dealer provide references regarding his operations?

e. Does the expertizer/dealer have a printed statement of qualifications and a statement of the services provided, specifying fees, his responsibilities and your rights? Specialists who hold themselves out to be an expert for hire should have such statements.

f. If the expertizer/dealer accepts material consigned for sale or operates an auction, be certain to read the terms of sale carefully. There should be no surprises after the sale.

Once you have done your homework and feel good about the services and terms, you may also feel confident that you can move forward.

You must still keep in mind that an expertizing opinion, whether from an expertizing organization or from a specialist expertizer, is just that: an opinion. Much as we are tempted to look at opinions as conclusive, they are the best opinion that can be reached at a moment in time based on knowledge, reference material and the tools available.

So one other thing to look for in any expertizer is a healthy level of humility in addition to a healthy level of self-confidence. Specialist expertizers especially (since no one is checking their work) must know when they are in over their heads, when to seek help and when to decline an opinion.

The motto of every first-class expertizer is “Seek certainty — and distrust it. Never guess!”

Beware

The fact that a given stamp is genuine as described on a good certificate does not necessarily mean that its selling price ought to be anything near catalog value. There is the matter of condition to be assessed, especially when it comes to imperf classics.

Ancient wisdom does not go out of style, and the following passage from Chats on Postage Stamps by Fred J. Melville, published in 1911, is worth remembering:

“… with old used stamps, especially the imperforates, really fine copies cannot always be got at the prices indicated for them in the standard catalogues. … the beginner would be well advised to choose even his (apparently) common stamps with painstaking regard to their perfection of condition. …”

What this means is that lightly canceled, undamaged stamps with four margins, such as those from the United States, Spain and France shown in Figure 1, are unusual and command a premium. Only a small percentage of existing stamps meet this standard.

Most of these early imperfs were separated by scissors or a knife or by using a ruler. Postal personnel paid little, if any, attention to the collectability of the stamps they were selling. So most do not have four margins, and even lightly canceled examples were often pinned to a sales board by a dealer before reaching a collector.

The result is that after running the gauntlet of separation, cancellation and retailing to collectors, precious few perfect early stamps exist. Most look more like the examples from the United States, Spain and France shown in Figure 2.

So you may be surprised to see perfection priced near or even above catalog value, but what you should guard against is paying those sorts of prices for the types of stamps shown in Figure 2.

Pricing of stamps can sometimes represent the triumph of hope over reality. In fact the fewer the margins, the less perfect the condition and the heavier the cancel, the faster the retail price should fall as a percentage of catalog value.

The harsh reality is that an average example of even a scarce stamp should be priced a good deal less than catalog value, even as low as 5 to 10 percent for a sound but flawed stamp with one or two margins, a heavy cancel and damage.

Soource: linns.com

Published in News
Friday, 14 February 2020 06:24

Belgian Philately through history

1815-50

By the Congress of Vienna, Holland and Belgium with Luxembourg were united under the King of the Netherlands. The King proclaimed that all territories under his government belonged to the kingdom of the Netherlands. Postal services were amalgamated under the Dutch Director-General and in the following 15 years most handstruck markings were translated from French into Dutch or Flemish. These straight-line markings were in turn replaced at the main POs by circular marks which included the dates.

This rapid change from French influence was greatly resented by the Belgians, especially in the southern provinces, and led to a rising against the Dutch in September 1830. On 18 November 1830 a national council proclaimed the country’s independence and in the following year Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became King of Belgium.

Postal services were reorganized: the 9 provinces were grouped into 2 regions and many places reverted to their French names. As there was a Prussian garrison in Luxembourg, the Belgians were alarmed that the Dutch might use their territory to attack. A Belgian force was maintained to cover this possibility and, by 1837, the first Belgian military marking had appeared.

At the same time, the first mail was being carried on the Belgian railroad system. In 1841 the ‘Service des Postes sur le Chemin de Fer’ was inaugurated and subsequently many train marks began to appear.

Leopold was interested in all modern reforms and in 1849 he decided that Belgium should use postage stamps. This followed his close study of the reforms of Rowland Hill.

1850-71

Belgian stamps followed the British tradition and did not have the name of the country included in the design until after Leopold died in 1865. He was succeeded by Leopold II, and from 1869 the designs included the word ‘Belgique’. First stamps were printed in sheets of 200, but these were increased to 300 stamps per sheet from 1863.

Handstamps issued to offices after stamps had been released are interesting. Initially they were circular with the number allocated to the office in a rectangle surrounded by parallel lines. -The offices (1-208) and TPOs had horizontal bars and the distributions (1-145) had vertical ones. Marks with-out number, using horizontal bars, were issued to postmen to cancel letters handed to them for delivery on the same route. These circular obliterators were replaced in April 1864 by a lozenge of dots similar to French types.

1871-1914

Belgium was one of the first signatories of the GPU in 1874, which became the UPU in 1878.

The Flemings complained that the French name for Belgium – ‘Belgique’ – was the only name on the stamps, and from 1893 ‘Belgie’ was added. The name has appeared in both languages ever since.

Between 1893 and 1914 an innovation was tried. All stamps were produced with a detachable label inscribed ‘Do not deliver on a Sunday’ in both French and Flemish. All stamps were printed with these detachable bandalettes, which enabled the sender to indicate whether delivery was to be made on a Sunday.

Belgium’s neutrality was guaranteed by the Treaty of London (1839). It was a breach of this treaty which led to the entry of Britain into World War I.

1914-18

Belgium was invaded by the Germans on 1. August 1914. and quickly occupied except for a small, area, the Ypres salient, which remained in Allied hands throughout most of the war, and the enclave of Baarle Hertog surrounded by Holland which remained in Belgian hands throughout the war. Britain entered the war on 4 August.

The government moved to Le Havre in France on 13. October 1914. and continued to print stamps for use in that locality and in unoccupied Belgium. The Germans issued stamps for use in occupied Belgium on 1 October 1914. These continued in use throughout the war and were used concurrently with the stamps of German Western Military Command from 1916. The latter were also used in the occupied area of northern France.

British Field POs were used in Belgium and, in particular, when a force was sent to Antwerp in October 1914.

Following the collapse of the German army, King Albert re-entered Brussels on 22. November 1918.

1919-39

Belgian troops occupied part of the Rhineland until 1930 and overprinted stamps were issued for this area (see Germany 1919-39). The troops themselves had free postage so no stamps were used. Having withdrawn from occupation, Belgium hoped that neutrality would be maintained, especially with the building of the Maginot and Siegfried Lines further south.

1939 to date

Invaded by Germany on 10 May 1940 and quickly overrun. Some British units were moved up from France but once the king surrendered the Belgian army, withdrawal to Dunkirk was necessary. Several British Field POs were either captured or had their handstamps destroyed by staff.

No overprints were issued: King Leopold remained in Belgium at the start of the German occupation though eventually imprisoned in Germany. The liberation began in August 1944, and in September the king submitted to a regency under his brother Charles. When Leopold was released, the Belgian parliament would not accept him and the regency continued until July 1950, when Leopold again tried to return to Belgium. This caused widespread rioting and the king abdicated in favour of his son – Baudouin (died 1993 and was succeeded by his brother, King Albert II).

Source: https://www.sandafayre.com/atlas/belgium.htm

Published in News
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 07:24

Postage Stamps History

Small-scale Glass Painting

The first stamp for postal services in the world was created and introduced in the UK, and it was called a Black Penny, having a picture of Queen Victoria on it. It is really an interesting thing, how people come up with stamps and how they were introduced to the public and how postal service could have been without stamps at all.

What Was before the Envelope?

The postal stamp era starts from 1840, the year when the first stamp was released. Before the paper stamps, there were other types, made from cork or wood. There were also special hand-stamps and inks for verification of letter payment and sender. No matter what systems of verification were popular, as they were sent without actual postal stamp on it.

At the beginning of postal service, people didn’t even think about envelopes. Frankly speaking, envelope was considered as only additioinal piece of paper which made the process rather more costy. In order to send a letter, you needed just to seal it so the message within is not seen. The one who receives your letter should pay for it, it is as simple as that. The fees for letters were comparatively high, so lots of people declined the letters coming to them. There were even profound cheating systems in order to fool the postal services. They used to write secret small messafes on the top of the letter, they saw it when they received a letter, and then they declined it. Because such system was too popular, the postal services made sender pay for the message and the era of postage stamps began.

Rowland Hill the Reformator

The postal reform took place because of efforts put by Rowland Hill. He changed the system that the postage fee was paid due to the weight of the mail, rather than its size. He was the one to come up with the first dhesive stamp in 1837, later he was made a knight for this invention. The first stamp – Penny Black – the beginning of stamps era, was firstly issued in UK in 1840. It led to the simplification of the letters’ payment process, as well as gave an ability to prepay letters, and the price was really affordable.

The Dawn of the Stamps

Sir Rowland Hill created the image of the first stamp which one penny worth. As this postage stamp was issued in black, later in history, it became famous all over the world as the Penny Black - first postage stamp ever made.

It was verified for usafe on 6st of May 1840, and two days later it was issued for common use. The first postage stamp in history, the Penny Black, became available to the public on May 8, 1840. It had a picture of Queen Victoria on it. Later the Penny Black two was released as well, with a seconf image of Queen Victoria. It is interesting that first stamps didn’t have perforations, as people didn’t figure it out back then, so they just cut it out with scissors or knives.

By the time Penny Black was released, there had been no use in indicating the country on a stamp, as UK was the one and only country that introduced stamps. Still to that day, UK doesn’t use the name of the country on their stamps, but they have another way of distinction: there always be an image of a reigning person no matter what theme of the stamp is.

As soon as stamps were introduced to UK residents, the postal system experienced a small revolution, as the system was simple and increased the speed of the work. Till the introduction of stamps there were 76 million of stamps send in 1839, which is really hard to compare to 1950 and 350 million and it increased a lot beck then. The popularity of letters lasted till the end of 1990’s, as the Internet messaging took its niche.

The Growth of Collectors

The presence of stamps has led to the growth of stamp collectors and the postage stamps of each country in the world became a subject for enriching the collection. Soon after the familiarizing with adhesive stamps in 1840, people started collecting these items. They couldn’t even imagine that their actions can lead to one of the most widespread hobby in the world. What’s more they couldn’t even imagine that people can get extremely rich because of few rare stamps gathered together.

Philately

Philately is the study about stamps, its history, and everyhting connected to postage stamps. Stamp collecting does not mandatory involve the study of stamps. Basically, you might be called a philatelist even though, you didn’t obrain any stamps. Philatelists often just use the scientifical approach and learn stamps that are important to history and are kept in museum, but basically philatelists do not have these stamps for themselves.

Source: stamp-collector.biz

Published in Post
Friday, 22 February 2019 06:42

Before The Modern Postage Stamp

In ancient times the common person rarely if ever sent or received what we would consider mail. If they did it was hand delivered by a single courier or a series of couriers. Merchants traveling to a particular port or friends and family traveling to a distant city would carry letters or parcels. Only the wealthy or heads of state could afford to do this on a regular basis.

Post Boys - 1834In the 1600s, there was no such thing as a central post office system. Mail in Britain, Ireland and the new colonies in North America was carried by "post boys". These young men had their own horses and would carry messages, letters and parcels to a destination. The person who received the package had to pay for delivery in order to get it.

This system did work but it was very expensive, and full of problems. The post boy had to rely on the fact that the receiving party had the cash available and wanted the package. If something happened to his horse, the message could be delayed or worse.

Mail Coaches began running in the late 1700’s and ran regular routes. People would pay to put their mail on the route however delivery was not dependable nor was it timely. Many people still relied on hiring personal delivery for their packages. Wagon trains and settlers heading to a destination often were asked or paid to carry parcels with them. Because this was generally expensive, letter writing was for important business or serious situations. As the population and immigration grew so did commerce and the demand for a dependable system for delivery of documents and parcels.

For England, This all changed in 1840 with the very first stamp, the Penny Black. This was quickly followed by other nations including the First Stamp Issues of the United States in 1847.

Published in News
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