A busy ending to a long holiday month (school term break in Thailand) brought a major job promotion, watching my hometown baseball team win the first two games of the World Series and lose the third, not to mention Halloween which is viewed by Thais as an opportunity for women to dress in the sexiest witch outfits one can imagine and spend the night getting as drunk as possible with not a pumpkin or bowl of candy corn to be found. By the looks of one envelope received today, Zorro is alive and well working for Canada Post – defacing a lovely block of four (Scott #913) issued in 1982 portraying the original “Bluenose” stamp (Scott #158) of 1929 which many regard as the most beautiful stamp ever issued.
Another order had some recently-issued United States stamps affixed, including two of the recent “Charlie Brown Christmas” stamps – a television show which debuted on the day of my birth in 1965. I must remember to order the full booklet in the near future! I love receiving recent stamps on my mail more than the old 3c or 5c stock that most dealers tend to use.
Enough of what was on the outside of my mail today. What lurked within? The “Bluenose” envelope brought yet another of my attempts to order stamp hinges that I can actually use. The last several orders arrived in the middle of heavy downpours, soaking the envelopes and gluing together the thousand hinges each packet contained. Normally, our local mailman will not even load up his 110cc motor scooter if the weather is foul but at some point he must brave the monsoons. I will try and not place any orders next year during the rainy season (which runs roughly from early May through October); I was lucky more often than not this time around but…
The sole addition to my “A Stamp From Everywhere” collection is the 1 piaster ultramarine value issued by Austria in 1906 for use in their post offices in the Turkish Empire (Scott #41).
I have been buying a few stamps from the early issuing years of the United States recently. My budget has been that of a teacher’s salary (and teachers in Thailand being paid even more dismally than our counterparts back in the States) so I am sometimes compelled to buy poorly-centered “space-fillers” until I can afford a more beautiful specimen. A case in point is this copy of Scott #73, two-cent black Andrew Jackson (known to collectors as the “Black Jack”), issued in 1863. A well-centered (four margins, Very Fine) used Black Jack is valued at US $70.00 in my 2009 Scott Catalogue; I paid $6.50 for this one. I like the fancy cancellation “X” made out of cork.
As an American expat, I find a certain fascination in the places that later became parts of the United States or that once held territorial status. Probably such issuer holds more interest for me than the isles of Hawaii although I had to set foot anywhere within our 50th state (my parents once spent a holiday at Kaanapali Bay on Maui, however). Prior to Hawaii becoming a U.S. territory on 14 June 1900, it issued its own stamps and postal stationary. Scott #75, received in today’s mail, is part of a set designed by E. W. Holdsworth following his success at winning a competition. The two-cent brown value pictures Honolulu harbor. What I can read of the purple postmark leads me to conclude that is that of one of two different towns on the big island of Hawaii – either Paauhau or Paauilo – which sat on the northeastern coast about five miles apart in the wet region (Hamakua) which included a number of large sugar plantations.
Interestingly, the nine stamps that comprise the pictorial issue (five issued on 28 February 1894, one released on 27 October 1894 with the final three put on sale in 1899) were issued by three different governments – a Provisional Government established in 1893, the independent Republic of Hawaii which was formed on 4 July 1894, and an administrative “Republic of Hawaii” which existed in name only following annexation by the U.S. on 12 August 1898. At midnight on 13 July 1900, all Hawaiian stamps became invalid for postage and soon thereafter sent to Washington, D.C., via Honolulu where they were burned on 9 February 1901.
A great website covering all details about the stamps and postal history of pre-territorial Hawaii is called Post Office in Paradise. It is highly interesting even if you have no interest in the stamps themselves.