Saturday, October 15, 2005

First Day Covers

I recently bought an accumulation from a local dealer that included a number of first-day covers from several nations. I don't collect first-day covers, and have no use for anywhere from five to twelve copies each if I did. I'm offering these in a one-time trade to anyone that wants them, and who will send me an equal value in used stamps I might need in my collection.

There are a total of six different covers: three from the People's Republic of Southern Yemen, two from Nicaragua, and one from Israel (tabbed). Here are scans I made of the stamps:

People's Republic of Southern Yemen
#15-18, 22-24, 25-28, cacheted unaddressed FDC
Nicaragua (Sandanista)
#1120-24, C983-84, complete set of seven on two cacheted unaddressed FDC

Israel #375, unaddressed FDC, tab single.

IF anyone's interested in these six FDCs, please contact me at this email address.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Scratching my head...

I'm going through a modest stash of British Commonwealth stamps at the moment, and it's driving me to drink! The biggest problem is Scott Publishing, and the "Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue". I just cannot reconcile what I have with what's in the catalogue - not just in one or two countries, but in dozens.

There are three problems: stamps that don't match the catalogue description, mostly differing in perforation and/or watermark; stamp varieties that are "mentioned" but not listed in one country, while the same varieties are listed and given separate numbers in others; and treatment of the "dated definitive" issues. One problem may be caused by my use of "dated" catalogues - I'm still using the 2003 issue. I hope to get new ones next year, on my regular 4-year replacement cycle.

One major area where there are major problems between what the catalog lists and what I have is in the stamps of South Africa. Specifically, I have difficulty with the 1998-2000 Flora/fauna issue, and the 2000 fish, flowers, butterflies and birds stamps.

Scott lists three issues of the undenominated 1.10R stamps featuring antelope of the 1998/2000 set: Scott numbers 1032-36, 1036B-F, and 1048-52. The only problem is, I have FIVE sets of the same stamps.

Set #1 (1032-36) is the standard perf 14x14.5 issue, with "South Africa" in dark green, with two-millimeter spacing between "South Africa and "Standard Postage". Set #2 (1036B-F) is the same set with syncopated perforations on two sides, and a straight edge at either top or bottom. Set #3 (not listed) is the same set with NO syncopated perforations, and a straight edge on either the left or right side.

Set #4 (1048-52) is self-adhesive, die cut perforation 13x12.75, with "South Africa in gray-green, and three millimeter separation between "South Africa" and "Standard Postage". Set #5 is the same, self-adhesive die cut perforation 11x11.25.

I have all of sets #1, 4, and 5, one of set #2, and 3 of set #3.

There's a similar problem with the 2000 issue. Scott lists a set of five stamps featuring flowers, #1184-88, perforated 14.5x14.75, featuring Botterblom, Blue Marguerite, Karoo violet, Tree Pelargonium, and Black-eyed Susie. The problem I run across is having TEN stamps, two each of the above designs, but with the country name different on the first and second set of the same design, and with different perforations. In fact, that same arrangement is repeated on six separate sets.

"South Africa" appears on all the stamps in dark violet, in small sans-serif upper and lower case. The top row also have the following African names, in order: Afrika Borwa (Botterblom), Afrika Tshipembe, Suid-Afrika, Afrika Borwa (black-eyed susie), and Ningizimu Afrika. The bottom row have the following African names, in order: Afrika Dzonga, Ningizimu Afrika, Afrika Borwa, Mzintsi Afrika, and Afrika Sewula.

The six sets I have are as follows:

Set #1 is perforated 13.5 on four sides, and denominated R1.30, with the names as I've listed them above.

Set #2 is perforated 13x12.5 on two or three sides, but otherwise identical to set #1 (probably issued in a booklet with panes of 10 stamps, one each of the ten different African names/flower combinations).

Set #3 is perforated 13.5x12.75 on four sides, with "R1.30" replaced by "Standard Postage" in two lines, using very thin sans-serif type.

Set #4 is the same issue, but "Standard Postage" is in thicker, bolder type.

Set #5 is identical to set #3, but perforated 13x12.5 on two or three sides.

Set #6 is identical to set #4, but perforated 13x12.5 on two or three sides.

There is a seventh set using the same five basic designs, but in lareger format, all inscribed "South Africa" in large white letters and denominated R1.40.

If anyone can help me understand how these stamps that I possess can be reconciled with the Scott listings, I'd welcome hearing from you!

Hopefully I'll be able to discuss the other two issues in the opening paragraphs in a following post.