Friday, February 13, 2015

Stampy Stuff

            I’ve been playing with two old stamp albums. One was given to me and the other I bought for ten dollars in a junk shop. They’re sparsely filled; most of the stamps are on the cheap side. Some are junky and damaged. But there are scattered gems.
            I have a nearly complete Bavaria collection if you just consider major types. Most American collectors ignore all the varieties. Lately, I’ve been looking for them. Some are very rare – high priced in the various European catalogs – but mostly ignored by the Scott Standard. I pulled all the Bavaria officials from the two albums, sorting them by Michel (A catalog published in Germany) listed shades and varieties. Two of them are really pricy. This is fun. Treasure in a box of neglected stamp albums.
            I am combining everything that I don’t need into the best album which I will give away when I’m finished. It will give one of my friends who collects a fun album of pre-1935 stamps.

            Collecting varieties brings its own problems. Sometimes a difference is obvious, but identifying which variety it is becomes difficult. It’s fun anyway. I work on it in ten minute spurts, using the time I devote to it as a break from more tedious things. Below is a photo of the Bavarian official stamps. I’m not certain you can see the difference in colors.


  1. I never really got into stamps – apart from the junior pastime of spending pocket money on pretty items that were printed by strangely unknown African or European countries, whose sole national product appeared to be printing stamps so they could take money from unsophisticated collectors. So I cannot quite understand the passion that philately engenders.

    Instead I collected cigarette cards. Yup – for a number of years I was a fully fledged cartophilist. Since I came from a background that was severely anti-smoking, that was probably more than a bit weird. But I wrote articles for the two learned cartophilist journals of the day. I pontificated on the minutia of Guinea Golds, and lamented the drop in standards since the original cards in the UK were killed off by the paper shortages of the Second World War – to be replaced, post-hostilities, with trade cards given away with various brands of tea. The original concept was never really reintroduced after the war as attitudes sort of worked out that getting kids to buy cigarettes so they could collect the cards was probably “not a good thing.”

    And then I switched to post cards. It was probably something to do with cigarette cards being too small, and the onset of frowning through eye glasses. And of course, the religious history collecting had a vast swathe of postcards attached to it. Still, the box loads of cigarette cards had nicely increased in value over the years. That collection along with two specialist book collections that I hadn’t looked at for decades nicely funded my daughter’s wedding.

    But stamps – not for me really. Still, each to his or her own.

  2. I wonder: why we collect things?