Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Madness of Pixes Part 178



We can title this post “The Mad Plan.”

            Those who read this blog regularly know I collect stamps, write history and herd children. Oh and raise goats, French Alpines to be exact. And if you don’t regularly read my blog, you now know ...

Goat Girl in her Element

            I don’t have a huge amount of money to spend on stamps, but patience sometimes brings stellar stuff my way. I have a generalist collection in the old Scott brown International Albums [1849-1940] and individual country collections for Austria, Germany and France. My Austria collection brought me a gold medal at an APS exhibit. But I’ve concentrated on my Germany collection for several years. I’m proud of it.
            We’re always in need of money to pay research expenses. Original research is often an expensive proposition. For example, we traced an 1881 booklet to a university in Georgia. A photocopy cost me over fifty dollars. It was an obscene fee. But they own the only known copy, and it’s key to part of the story we tell.
            We raise money through yard sales; we use royalty money from the sale of our already published books. We receive an occasional small donation. But we’re always in need for money.

Killing two birds with one stone ...

            So ... I’m off on ebay, ignoring the racket my girls are making, and LO! I find a lot of stamps on album pages. They’re German stamps. I have all of these but two. Some stamp dealers do not describe large lots. They post pictures and leave everything up to you. I always look closely, sometimes copying the dealer’s pictures into my photo editor for a better look. This lot had been bid up to ten dollars. I usually spend that or less.
           Most of it is common, things I have; some are ‘second choice’ stamps. But, there are three, maybe four [Bad photo], that are very expensive. Two of them I do not have. The key stamp is a Bavaria ‘Reich’ overprint in type II. So I bid. In the hours before the auction ends a minor bidding war starts. It ends with me winning. Total cost with postage is forty US dollars. I cringe, but I know very well that I can break this lot down into individual lots and probably [very probably] raise two hundred dollars. It’s worth the work. I end up with two pricey stamps I’d probably never own otherwise. [Scott Cat. about $500.00] And I replenish our research fund.
            Some pages I can sell as is. Some stamps will need a gentle soak to remove soil and old stamp hinges. But, dear heart, our research account is at less than ten dollars and I need to buy stuff. So that’s my mad plan.

 The 4 Mark stamp is Type II. I don't have this one in type II, or didn't. Now it's mine.

Other insanity.

            Probably no-one who reads this blog is really interested in my re-do the house project. I have boxes and baskets of things piled up near the foot of the south stairs, all of which need to be sorted. That’s this week’s project. Much of this is yard sale or Goodwill Store bound. A long-time friend has fallen into need. I’ve sorted out sheets and pillows for her. I gave her our extra vacuum. [Pet man bought me a new one.] The pillows are new, not used. I bought them hoping they’d give me some support post surgery. They’re nice and fluffy but they hurt my neck. So I have four pillows to give her if she wants that many.

            A good pillow is a life essential.



1 comment:

An occasional reader said...

It's a lovely moment when you suddenly find something or gain something for your collection - and for little or no expense. I collected stamps as a child, going for pretty pictures, until I realized that certain countries in Europe and Africa had as their main industry printing little bits of paper that never saw the light of day on an envelope.

But that "Eureka" moment has hit several times with books and I am sure the pixie has her own tales of nonchalantly wandering to the checkout with something and getting it for peanuts as we say over here.

One of the best observed "Eureka" moments I witnessed was many years ago, in pre-Internet days in the Glamorgan Record Office. We were all silently poring over microfiche readers (remember microfiche?) and suddenly a middle-aged matron stopped in her tracks over the other side of the room, punched the air and shrieked "YES!!!" Everyone collapsed in laughter. It was not the normal sound you would hear in a po-faced British repository.