Philatelic Round-Up! #1

Week of 15 May 2023

Early each week, I scan through a large number of different stamp collecting blogs and social media accounts getting a sort of “philatelic fix” before pursuing one or more of my ongoing projects (not necessarily hobby-related). Along the way, I stumble across many articles and other resources that may be of interest to other collectors; I usually just bookmark them and move on with a mind to share “later”.

Later is now! Welcome to the first “Philatelic Round-Up!” My current intention is to put together one of these each week but I haven’t had a great track record with starting blog series lately (there are several that have stalled now but to which I hope to return someday).

I had a similar series back in late 2014 and early 2015 which I called “Philatelic Pursuits”. I had only recently started collecting stamps again after an approximately 8-year break, writing about my “Return to a Lifelong Hobby” in a September 2012 article on my personal blog (then called Asian Meanderings). It wasn’t until the following July until I really dove back into the hobby with a vengeance, producing a number of articles about stamps over the remainder of 2013. That December saw my initial efforts in covering New Issues, presenting a few 2013 releases in my “12 Days of Christmas Stamps” series, something I repeated in 2014 and have done in some form each year since.

The end of December 2014 saw the first “Philatelic Pursuits” column which was a wrap-up of my personal collecting activities for the preceding month. By the April 2015 installment, I was already expressing my desire to start a dedicated stamp blog by the same name — the blog you are reading right now. It’s had a few ups and downs along the way mostly from having to change webhosts a couple of times — a number of the earliest articles are no longer available and we lost almost all of the 2019-2022 content as well. Still, I soldier on and am furiously trying to get caught up on New Issue updates. We will get back to those soon..

Big Blue: Portuguese Congo

One of my favorite blogs is Big Blue 1840-1940 which covers the first volume of the Scott Company’s International Postage Stamp Album. This is the album I use for my general worldwide collection although I also use the second volume which goes up to 1949, mainly for all of the World War II occupation issues. On Sunday, guest contributor “Bud” wrote about his stamps from Portuguese Congo.

Big Blue 1840-1940, 14 May 2023

My own holdings of Portuguese colonial stamps is quite sparse but I do have ten stamps from Portuguese Congo, none of which are in my Big Blue album. For fun, compare my album’s page (on the right) with Bud’s page…

Unfortunately, the album doesn’t provide spaces for the 1913 Republica overprints on the 1898 Vasco da Gama issue (I have them on the Portuguese Africa set — Scott #83-90). The next page in the album is the start of Portuguese India and I cannot insert a blank page as my copy of the album is the bound version rather than looseleaf posts. So these stamps reside on a stockcard.

Portuguese Congo #83-90 (1913)

My other two stamps from Portuguese India also don’t have specific spaces although I can use one of the unlabeled spots — Scott #3 (1894) and Scott #52 (1902); I have always loved the typeface used for those “My other two stamps from Portuguese India also don’t have specific spaces although I can use one of the unlabeled spots — Scott #3 (1894) and Scott #52 (1902); I have always loved the typeface used for those “Provisorio” overprints.

Portuguese Congo #3 (1894)
Portuguese Congo #52 (1902)

Commonwealth Stamps Opinion: New Issues from India, Mauritius, Pakistan & Sri Lanka

Commonwealth Stamps Opinion Blog, 14 May 2023

A Sunday post on Commonwealth Stamps Opinion Blog highlights several new issues:

  • a MyStamp personalized item from India commemorating the 33rd anniversary of India ITME Society (I no longer list these in the Schedule Pages as India releases enough “normal” stamps to keep me busy)

India: India ITME Society 33rd Anniversary MyStamp, May 2023

  • a single stamp from Pakistan marking the 50th anniversary of National Engineering Services Pakistan (PVT) Ltd. issued on 10 May

Pakistan: National Engineering Services Pakistan (PVT) Ltd. 50th Anniversary, 10 May 2023

  • four stamps and a mini-sheet of three released by Sri Lanka on 4 May to mark Vesak Buja Day

Sri Lanka: Vesak 2567, 4 May 2023

I don’t actively collect India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka and rely on blogs such as Commonwealth Stamps Opinion to find out about new issues. I then go in search of higher resolution images of the stamps, sheets, and anything else I can find. I do, however, have a fairly extensive collection of the next country reported upon in the Sunday article by White Knight. (While we’re here, allow me to ask a question: Why do so many stamp bloggers go under odd aliases? We’ve got White Knight, the Punk Philatelist, Catpaw over on Bitter Grounds, and I am sure there are others I am forgetting. Why not post under your real names?)

  • and one stamp from Mauritius released on 13 May honoring the botanist Philibert Commerson

Mauritius: Philibert Commerson, 13 May 2023

Philibert Commerson was a French naturalist, best known for accompanying Louis Antoine de Bougainville on his voyage of circumnavigation in 1766–1769. He had previously drawn up an extensive program of nature studies for the Marine Ministry, in which he elaborated the “three natural kingdoms” which a naturalist should investigate on a voyage around the world. Among the wildlife that Commerson observed was a particular kind of dolphin in the Strait of Magellan, now known as Commerson’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii).

Commerson’s partner and assistant, Jeanne Baré (also referred to Jeanne Baret), accompanied him on the voyage, disguised as a man. Baré acted as a nurse to Commerson, who was often ill, as well as assisting him in his scientific work. Her gender was only publicly discovered while the expedition was at Tahiti, but she remained with Commerson, nursing him and assisting him in his professional activities until the end of his life.

Commerson was an astute observer of the Tahitian people and culture, thanks in part to a remarkable lack of European prejudice compared to other early visitors to the island. Commerson and Bougainville together were responsible for spreading the myth of Tahitians as the embodiment of the concept of the noble savage.

On the return voyage to France in 1768, he remained behind at Mauritius (the then-French Isle de France), where he died on 14 March 1773 at the age of 45. His extensive collections from the voyage did not, unfortunately, receive their deserved recognition.

I have collected the stamps of Mauritius for a number of years and even corresponded for a while with Helen Morgan, author of Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Stamps. Below is a photo of the Mauritius pages in my Big Blue Part One album (my Part Two only has two stamps — the 1946 Peace issue):

Unfortunately, the album doesn’t include spaces for the 1847 one penny orange or the two pence blue so I couldn’t mount my facsimiles!

Thailand Post: New Issues, May-August

We had our first national elections in Thailand since the coup in 2014 over the weekend, making it a dry Saturday. Thailand Post took the opportunity to release their latest bulletin, and revealed the designs for several upcoming issues.

Thailand Post Stamp Catalogue, May-Aug 2023 — CLICK HERE to view the online version

The “Five Buddhas” issue for Vesak Day will be issued in individual sheets of 10 stamps for each of five designs as well as miniature sheet containing all five stamps on 26 May. The five Buddha statues are supposedly named for the animals that raised each one (chicken, naga — a half-snake/half-human creature, turtle, cow, and lion) after being hatched from eggs laid by an albino cow. The eggs had been blown to different places by a fierce storm and were later found by the aforementioned animals who raised them. As adults, they ordained as monks and became the statues once they attained enlightenment. Anyway, that’s all according to the promo material provided by Thailand Post.

Thailand: Vesak Buja Day, 26 May 2023

August 4th marks the 140th anniversary of Thailand Post and several issues are being released over the next few months culminating in the World Stamp Championship Exhibition at the Grand Postal Building in Bangkok this November.

The first of the Thailand Post 140th anniversary issues will be released on 1 June consisting of four stamps inspired by scrapbooks of photos. The stamps illustrate a variety of postal-related items and are quite unlike most other Thai stamps in design. They also bear the TWSC logo.

Thailand: Thailand Post 140th Anniversary Series I, 1 June 2023

Two additional sets of 140th anniversary stamps are included in the current bulletin, both due for release on 4 August (Thailand Post Day) — a four-stamp set titled “Celebrating 140 Years of Thai Stamps: Marking the Pride of the Nation” and a pair celebrating my favorite member of the Thai Royal family as the “Collector Princess.” I have met HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn three times now — twice in conjunction with philatelic events and she is well known here as a lover of stamps and postcards (yes, she is a member of Postcrossing!). Those designs have yet to be announced.

In fact, the bulletin has “under consideration” place-holders for the designs of most stamps due to be released in the upcoming few months including the single King’s birthday issue on 28 July and a pair of stamps for the “Father of the Royal Thai Navy” (there’s a museum dedicated to him here on Phuket) with a yet-to-be-announced release date. There are images for the next installment of the Thai Traditional Festival issue due to be released on 21 June (this time highlighting four different novice monk ordination ceremonies) but Thailand Post has yet to provide higher-quality images of the stamps, sheets and first day covers. When they do, I will add them to the site.

They did provide images of these for the annual issue marking Queen Mother Sirikit’s birthday on 12 August:

Thailand: HM Queen Sirikit, The Queen Mother 91st Birthday, 12 August 2023

New Issues this Week: Australia, Austria, Croatia, Great Britain, Luxembourg, United States

Coming much sooner than that, tomorrow (17 May) in fact, is the latest large number of stamps with accompanying mini-sheet to be released by Royal Mail for Great Britain. This time, the 40th anniversary of the situation comedy Black Adder is being commemorated.

Great Britain: Black Adder, 17 May 2023

Additional stamps scheduled for release this week include the following:

Postal EntityDate of IssueName of Issue
AustraliaMay 16, 2023Jellyfish: Underwater Wonders
AustriaMay 19, 2023Host Pyxis from Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum
CroatiaMay 15, 2023International Day of Families
CroatiaMay 18, 2023Croatian Castles
LuxembourgMay 16, 2023Europa 2023: Peace — The Highest Value of Humanity
United StatesMay 18, 2023Endangered Species

Australia: Jellyfish, 16 May 2023

Austria: Host Praxis, 19 May 2023

Croatia: International Day of Families, 15 May 2023

Croatia: Croatian Castles, 18 May 2023

Luxembourg: Europa 2023 Peace — The Highest Value of Humanity, 16 May 2023

United States: Endangered Species, 19 May 2023

Europa 2023 Stamp Listings & FREE Album Pages

I am struggling to catch up on my Europa 2023 catalogue and have lately been separating the individual sections into separate articles. Thankfully, there are other resources that are much faster with their updates! These include the pre-eminent blog about Europa (and also SEPAC and Norden issues) simply called the europa, cept, norden and sepac stamps information blog. The site has been around since 2006 and is a valuable resource. PostEurop itself illustrates thumbnail images of most of its members’ Europa stamps and WOPA+, which serves as a sales agent for more than 40 different postal administrations, offers images of not only the stamps but also many of the other items included in the various issues (i.e., first day covers, miniature sheets, etc.).

I think where my catalogue differs from the above resources lies in the write-ups accompanying each issue (some is the research is quite time-consuming) and the fact that, as time goes on, I try to upgrade the images with scans of actual items rather than the promotional versions provided by different postal administrations. It is a labor of love.

I was quite impressed a week ago when a collector from Peru, Juan Carlos Delgado Málaga, offered a set of stamp album pages covering the Europa 2023 issues. It seems complete and up-to-date even including some of the “unofficial” issues such as the stamps from the Republic of Artsakh (Արցախի Հանրապետություն), although he has them listed under “Nagorno-Karabakh”, as do most other sources. This sort of thing kind of annoys me as Artsakh has been the name (and inscribed upon the stamps as such) since 2017. I cannot understand why collectors can’t remember that but can remember that Swaziland changed its name to Eswatini and has issued a few stamps inscribed with that name since 2018 (although not recently!). Anyway, the album pages can be found as a free download on several sites including one dedicated to stamps supporting “Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression through Philately” (for which Málaga has created two comprehensive catalogues covering issues from 2022 and 2023).

Alternatively, you can download the Europa pages here:

Stamp of the Week

I don’t typically collect revenue stamps or much back of the book material other than air mail stamps and postal cards, but I recently came across a post in the Virtual Stamp Club Facebook group that described stamps similar to this one:

This is an example of a Private Die Proprietary stamp. These were produced at the expense of a private company and used only by that company. The dies and plates were controlled by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Private stamps offered the advantage of having the proprietor’s name depicted on the stamp. This particular stamp was engraved and printed for the W.D. Curtis Match Company of Stillwater, Minnesota, between August 1869 and August 1873. The poster, Charles J. DiComo, describes the stamp design as follows:

“. . . beautiful diamond-shaped #RO68 depicting in a pear-shaped oval, an antlered stag turned to the left in front of an evergreen tree, with ONE CENT and U.S. INTER. REV. above in a folded ribbon and below the company name, MATCHES and OSHKOSH, Wis. 1,654,408 were printed on old paper and 1,827,092 on silk paper.”

The copy illustrated above is actually Scott #RO68e, printed on experimental silk paper, sold on HipStamp for US $450.

DiComo also wrote that,

“W.D. Curtis was a founding partner in the Cannon Match Company. H.W. Cannon had no part in running it, but as a local banker he loaned money to buy the revenue stamps, so they bore his name in the lower ribbon, along with STILLWATER, MINN. #RO57 was issued from Dec. 1877 to 1878: 1,131,520 were printed all on pink paper.”

He added, “the match factory did not last very long and was not in business for more than a year. The matches were inferior and would flare up and go out.”

Stamps are fascinating items and I am constantly learning from them.

Twitter: Engraved Beauties & Penny Black Circular

Stamps are also beautiful (it was the beauty of #RO68e that caught my eye before I knew the background behind it). One of my favorite Twitter accounts that I follow highlights the beauty of engraved stamps (intaglio printing). Engraved Beauties highlights a different stamp each day along with a very brief description. Here are two examples posted earlier this week:

The anniversary of the issuance of the first postage stamp, Great Britain’s Penny Black in May 1840, always brings a flurry of interesting social media posts illustrating lesser seen examples of it. A recent tweet by Irish Stamps showcased the following:

April 1840 Postal Notice “to all postmasters” advising of the imminent despatch of the new postage stamps & stationery envelopes, affixed are 1d Black Pl 1a. MD-ND vert pair, extremely rare. Very few are in private hands

YouTube: America’s Stamp Club

The American Philatelic Society posted not one but two new videos on its YouTube channel today, 16 May. The first is a short tutorial on how to request APEX certification on any item purchased through the APS StampStore. Next up is the relaunch of the popular “Stamp Chats” series with this one billed as Season 1, Episode 1. David S. Ball, president of the American Air Mail Society (celebrating its 100th anniversary this year), is featured in this episode and discusses 47 ways to collect air mail. The recording date (yesterday, 15 May) happened to be the 105th anniversary of the establishment of the air mail service by the U.S. Post Office Department.

I am really looking forward to watching the Stamp Chats episode later this evening (I watched the intro but can’t spare a full hour until after I finish this Roundup!).

OTD: Transjordan Recognized

I suppose an “On This Date” feature doesn’t really work in a weekly series but, hey, I need to wrap this first one up somehow!

Let’s Talk Stamps tweeted that:

This was accompanied by a beautiful graphic that caught my eye:

I wish I could take photos of my stamps and stockbooks with such flair. I hit the “Follow” button as soon as I saw that despite not collecting Transjordan. I only have one copy of a stamp in my “Stamps From (Almost) Everywhere” collection. I, think I will take a closer look at its stamps, however, as the region has long fascinated me philatelically.

The region that became the Emirate of Transjordan (إمارة شرق الأردن, Imārat Sharq al-Urdun, literally ”the emirate east of the Jordan”) was administered by the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (OETA) after the Ottoman defeat in World War II. This was a joint British, French and Arab military administration over Levantine provinces. After the British withdrawal in 1919, this region gained de facto recognition as part of the Hashemite-ruled Arab Kingdom of Syria, administering an area broadly comprising the areas of the modern countries of Syria and Jordan. Transjordan became a no man’s land following the July 1920 Battle of Maysalun, during which period the British in neighboring Mandatory Palestine chose to avoid “any definite connection between it and Palestine”.

Abdullah I bin Al-Hussein entered the region in November 1920, moving to Amman on 2 March 1921; later in the month a conference was held with the British during which it was agreed that Abdullah bin Hussein would administer the territory under the auspices of the British Mandate for Palestine with a fully autonomous governing system. Abdullah established his government on 11 April 1921. Britain administered the part west of the Jordan as Palestine, and the part east of the Jordan as Transjordan. Technically they remained one mandate, but most official documents referred to them as if they were two separate mandates.

Britain recognized Transjordan as an independent government on 15 May 1923, and gradually relinquished control, limiting its oversight to financial, military and foreign policy matters. This affected the goals of Revisionist Zionism, which sought a state on both banks of the Jordan. The movement claimed that it effectively severed Transjordan from Palestine, and so reduced the area on which a future Jewish state in the region could be established.

Let’s Talk Stamps has been on Twitter since last August but has been posting videos on YouTube for about three years now. Many of these are about the stamps of Jordan but there are a few general videos about the hobby and processes of stamp collecting. His most recent video — posted yesterday (15 May) — concerns the history of Egypt as portrayed on stamps. Have a look:

I hope you enjoyed this first installment of what I hope will be a long-lived series of “Philatelic Round-Ups”. At the present, I envision this as a weekly endeavor. This first one has been written on a very hot Tuesday afternoon as I am still on school holiday. I think that I will aim for a Saturday publication starting with installment #2 as I believe this will be easier for me to manage once I return to school on 29 May.

As for other content on Philatelic Pursuits, I am currently still working on updating the Europa stamps as well as the schedules and galleries for various postal administrations. As mentioned above, I am dividing the Europa catalogue into individual posts before adding additional entries. Additional new issue content will appear from time to time but I will use this “Philatelic Round-Up” as a way to preview the designs long before I will be able to put them into a dedicated article.

And that’s a wrap on the round-up!

©2023 by Mark Joseph Jochim, All Rights Reserved

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