Displaying items by tag: Collectors

Saturday, 31 October 2020 06:10

Stamp Story: Darsh Gupta

My journey through stamps started 11 years ago when I was 7, my uncle had handed me over his stamp collection as he had noticed my great interest in history and geography.

At that stage I had no idea how diverse they could be and a little could I research about them.

One of the most memorable times I’ve had with my stamp collection is when I brought it to school for the ‘show and tell’ activity. It was something unique compared to what the other children had brought. With time I started to lose interest and eventually forgot about my stamps.

This lockdown turned out to be an excellent opportunity to start something left behind. My dad started painting again after 28 years and seeing that, I followed his footsteps and got hold of my stock book. Initially I had thought of just adding on to the collection as a hobby, but no great story ends with something being just a hobby.

When stamps became my passion from just a hobby, I realized that these pieces of art can actually teach a lot about cultures and traditions across the world, history, geography and more importantly people who need to be remembered for their contributions to the society.

I received a good response from my peers and quite a few of them saw postage stamps for the first time. It was like show and tell for me again after 11 years.

Darsh appeared in Episode 2 of APS Stamp Stories. All episodes are available on the APS YouTube Channel

It has turned out to be a great learning experience because I’m sure I would have never come across information that I encounter on a day to day basis while researching for my stamp stories like the colonial history of Congo or something about a Chilean statesman, the topics are as diverse as these stamps are.

I think the diversity of stamps can even help the audience find interests like I’m sure if a little kid sets eyes on a stamp with a space shuttle from the space race era or a stamp from the Olympic games, it can help ignite the passion for knowing more and more about them and you never know what you end up liking or in fact even pursuing as a career.

I’m sure none of my friends must’ve ever thought of Darsh being a Philatelist, even my parents were surprised when they discovered this passion of mine. Well, you don’t know what life holds in store for you. It has been pretty rewarding for me as it is broadening up my horizon of knowledge.

In the end I would like to share this stamp which is from my earliest collection. I considered it to be the most precious one as when I was a kid its unique rhombus shape and large size intrigued me.

This stamp from Mongolia was issued to commemorate the International Year of the Child- 1979.

And that’s my philatelic journey till date.

View More by Darsh Gupta

Source: stamps.org

Published in News
Saturday, 30 May 2020 06:46

Attention to Detail: Little Things Mean a Lot

Correctly identifying a postage stamp in a worldwide catalog is a bit like trying to find your seat in an unfamiliar Major League ballpark. Knowing the nation that issued it may get you to the right city, and finding the right stamp design in a catalog gets you to the ballpark, but that’s only part of the challenge. Unusual commemoratives with dates printed on the face can make it easy, but look-alike definitives printed over decades with few minor changes in design and color can frustrate even patient philatelists.

Finding all of the different catalog numbers and years where your stamp could be hiding gets you to a section of the stadium and narrows down the search. Carefully reviewing every aspect of the stamp you’re searching for — basic details, such as watermark, perforations or lack thereof, and the color of the stamp — gets you to the row in that section of the stadium, and unique details of a specific catalog number get you to your seat in the ballpark. That’s how you can enjoy the game. Over time, like any regular fan, finding your way can become second nature. But find a new stamp from a country with which you’re unfamiliar and the challenge is back.

There’s a simple rule for this that is fundamental to baseball, a rule that has its counterparts in every other activity as well, including the stamp hobby: Keep your eye on the ball.

Attention to detail matters, sharpened by relentless curiosity. To generate the necessary humility on your hunt, it may help to bear in mind that the two rarest stamps in the world weren’t found by rich men, influential stamp dealers or lifelong exhibitors with a study full of trophies and testimonials. They were discovered by schoolchildren who fed their need to collect stamps by rooting around in the attic, hoping to find something new and interesting to put in their albums. They succeeded.

Nearby are a few examples of stamps with similar designs but different catalog numbers, where specific design details determine their true identity.

The 1886 ½¢ North Borneo stamp on the left (Scott 25) pays “POSTAGE,” but the 1887 version on the right (Scott 35) pays fees for both “POSTAGE & REVENUE.”
The two North Borneo ½¢ rose stamps have very similar designs, but notice that the 1886 stamp on the left (Scott 25) has “POSTAGE” near the bottom and the 1887 version (Scott 35) has “POSTAGE & REVENUE” on a scroll that spreads to the edge of the design. This one was rather easy, but newcomers to collecting North Borneo may miss the difference.

Issued under Austrian administration between 1912 and 1918, the earliest stamps of Liechtenstein include 11 showing the profile of Prince Johann II. The 1917–18 20-heller dark green stamp on the left was a definitive (Scott 8), but a similar stamp released November 12, 1918, commemorated the 60th anniversary of the accession of the Prince by replacing the upper corner designs with the year-dates of his reign. The Scott catalog pictures both types of stamp accurately, but it’s so hard to see the dates that the listing for Scott 10 includes the boldface note “Dates in Upper Corners” to help you find it.

Similar stamps can serve different purposes. Liechtenstein’s 1917 20-heller Prince Johann II stamp on the left was a definitive (Scott 8), but the stamp on the right (Scott 10) was released November 12, 1918, to commemorate his 60th anniversary by adding the year-dates of his reign.
Some typographed definitive stamps of Iceland issued between 1920 and 1937 picture Denmark’s King Christian X, the titular head of Iceland under the 1918 Danish–Icelandic Act of Union. A used copy of the earliest of these designs, a 40-aurar claret stamp of 1920 (Scott 123), is shown next to mint stamp of the same shade and value with a redrawn design introduced in 1931 (Scott 184). Note the more filled-in look of the later portrait and the oval lines, as the horizontal lines were closer together and had vertical crossing lines.

The first design of Iceland’s King Christian X definitives, seen on the used 1920 40-aurar claret stamp (Scott 123), is very different from the redrawn 1931 design on the stamp at right (Scott 184).
United States stamps are represented by two double-line watermarked 2¢ carmine stamps of 1895. The shading within the triangles tells the tale on the identity of these stamps.

In the Type I version of this stamp (Scott 265, not shown) horizontal lines of shading run across the design and through the upper triangles. We have enlarged those upper left triangles on the two stamps shown here 1,000%. The one on the left has Type II corner shading (Scott 266), with thin lines that run through the triangle border and the triangle. The one on the right has Type III corner shading (Scott 267), with the thin lines only in the triangle itself, and not in the triangle border. These stamps reside in the APS Reference Collection, as do the other stamps shown here.

The double-line-watermarked 1895 2¢ carmine First Bureau Issue definitive, Scott 265 (not shown), is Type I, with horizontal shading running through the triangles at the top of the stamp. These Type II and Type III stamps (Scott 266-67) have had the top corners enlarged so you can see the differences: Type II with thinner lines running through the triangle; and Type III with thin lines only in the triangle, and not in the border of the triangle.
Some collectors may see these examples as elementary, but you would be surprised at how frequently we have seen misidentifications of these types. Details in stamp collecting are very important and should be studied. In past columns, we have tried to show some of these details, particularly on the 1¢ green Franklin stamps of the 1920s. We hope we have been helpful to your collecting.

Farewell, My Friends

After 39 years in the Sales Division (Circuit Sales), and recent stints in Special Projects and Expertizing, May 31, 2019, will be my last day here. (I also spent 4 years working part-time in the Sales Division in the 1970s — including a year as janitor and the man who mowed the lawn — while attending graduate school at Penn State University.)

On the same day I leave APS, my wife leaves PSU after 20 years working with the Alumni Association there. There are too many plans for us to outline them here, but I do plan to help organize the postal history part of the APS Reference Collection as a volunteer later this year. That should keep me occupied, along with nine grandchildren in the area to enjoy.

I could not have asked for a better career than working in my main hobby! The learning process has never stopped for me. Service to members and developing relationships with members have been the most rewarding parts of my work at APS and there are too many great friends in the hobby to name them all.

I will not be disappearing, as I plan to occasionally volunteer at the American Philatelic Center. After all, I am a 48-year APS member.

Source: stamps.org

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 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 06:44

How to Get Stamps

There are many ways to get stamps for a collection. Some are free, some are negotiable and some are not. The methods listed here cover the major methods. Each method is discussed in detail in the Buying & Selling Guides Section of this Web site.

Free from incoming Mail: There are many ways to get postage stamps for your collection. The most common method is to ask family, friends and neighbors to save them for you from their incoming mail at work and/or home. Tell them to save the whole envelope since you want to cut off the stamps yourself. This way, you can make certain that the stamp isn’t damaged but one of them trying to peal the stamp off or cut the envelope too close to the stamp.

Besides, if the envelope has an unusual postmark, you may want to save the whole envelope for your collection. It costs them nothing extra and you gain some nice items for your collection.

Definitive stamps will be the bulk of what is collected but unwanted stamps can be accumulated over a period of time and sold or traded as a lot.

If you know someone who works in an office, or some place that receives a lot of mail, especially from others places in the world, ask them to be on the lookout for stamps and save them for you.

My sister used to work for a government office that received mail from all over the world and she would cut the envelope leaving about a 1+ inch margin all the way around the stamp and postmark. She’d wait until she had a few accumulated the give them to me. Make sure they ask their manager if it’s ok. Some organizations and government agencies are very particular about the littlest things, even stamps and postmarks.

Recently, many thousands of letters arrived in the U. S. from Nigeria asking for money. It was found that many of the stamps used on these envelopes were forgeries and they may be a valuable collectible in the future.

It’s taken a while to get my family trained but now I receive regular piles of stamps and can-pop-tabs for charity (Shriner’s Hospitals)

The U.S.P.S.: This may be an obvious choice for new issues. It’s actually not always the most economical way to get them.

Local Stamp Clubs: Trade with or buy from other collectors in your area. This is a good way to get to know other people with similar interests and other local collectors can give you the low-down on local stamp shows and dealers.

Stamp Shows: Stamp shows which have a bourse can also is a good place to look for stamps that you need while meeting dealers and other collectors in the area.

Dealers: These can be a good source of philatelic materials and if the dealer has a good business going may be able to offer a decent selection at a good price. Some dealers will negotiate but most have a higher markup due to the additional overhead cost of running a brick-n-mortar store. Even so you should explore the shops available to you and get to know the people who run them.

Auctions: On and off line. Auctions come in many different types and can be tricky to get the hang of. You need to know what you’re looking for, what is being offered and what the going prices are. To get the feel for auction on or off line you may want to attend and watch a few before joining the action.

Approval Services: This is how many collectors; particularly in rural area got started in collecting. I started getting stamps from H.E. Harris and later from a dealer named Robert Wagner.

Mail Order: There are many good mail order stamp companies which periodically release catalogs or price lists. These are not usually negotiable prices but the bigger companies are consistent and stand behind their products and the quality advertised is fairly reliable.

Published in Post
Sunday, 12 August 2018 00:00

H.E. Harris

(January 21, 1902 – December 29, 1977) Boston

He was a philatelist and a pioneering stamp dealer who through his company, H.E. Harris & Co., popularized philately for many Americans, especially children. Harris began selling stamps at the age of 14 and eventually built one of the largest stamp businesses in the world.

Harris advertised extensively in popular non-philatelic magazines as well as philatelic journals throughout the world, promoting both himself and the stamp collecting hobby.

Harris used the radio show, "Ivory Stamp Club of the Air," and its popular host "Captain Tim" Healy to promote his business and stamp collecting. He supplied albums and stamps to the millions of listeners, thereby increasing the popularity of stamp collecting to the general public.

Harris also successfully promoted the hobby and his own company through his widely distributed booklets containing stories of famous collectors, famous rare stamps, and stamps with unusual human-interest stories. One of his most popular booklets was his The Stamp Finder, which helped novice and general collectors alike identify unusual stamps.

Over time, Harris's ads, offering a quantity of stamps for a small amount of money (usually ten cents) on condition additional stamps were sent on approval, became ubiquitous in many magazines and comic books. Harris's company, which was based in Boston, sent out millions of informational booklets and stamp approvals, all over the world. While the company was noted for selling low-cost packets of stamps, it also sold rarities as well.

Harris won international applause from the philatelic community for his action in the famous “Thatcher Ferry Bridge” case. His quick action in November 1962 prevented Canal Zone postal officials from flooding the market with deliberate misprints of the October 12, 1962 Canal Zone stamp issued for the opening of the Thatcher Ferry Bridge (now the Bridge of the Americas) over the Panama Canal. Several sheets (of Scott No. 157) were accidently printed with the silver ink, and thus the bridge, missing, and one sheet had reached the hands of a stamp collector. U.S. Postmaster General Day took steps to issue "missing bridge" reprints of the Canal Zone stamp to collectors as he had done in the case of the U.S. Dag Hammerskjold "inverted background" stamp (Scott No. 1204, issued October 23, 1962), flooding the market with the error.

With the APS acting in support, Harris eventually won his law suit against the Canal Zone government in 1965. He prevented it from reprinting the “missing bridge” error; the three sheets in its possession were transferred to government institutions. Harris received the Luff Award in 1966 for Exceptional Contributions to Philately.

Harris was elected posthumously to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame in 1979.

Source: coneysstamps.com

Published in Stamp Collectors
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