Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Badly Needed Catching Up

I can't believe I haven't posted anything to this blog in almost nine months! I would have to admit, however, that it's been an EVENTFUL nine months, both personally and for my stamp collection.

My wife and I are both in our sixties. We became temporary guardians of a 2-year-old a year ago March - eighteen months ago. In July, we became Timmy's PERMANENT guardians. That's kept us on our toes, and has shoved a lot of other things into the background. Now that we're Timmy's permanent guardians, life is actually easier for us. We no longer have to worry whether our actions will be acceptable to Timmy's natural parent. He's in Head Start Preschool four days a week, from 8 until 12 each day. That has freed up a lot of time for me to do other things than take care of him.

Timmy's not the only reason I haven't been taking care of this site. I had a local friend and trading partner who moved away this summer, and I spent some time getting what I could from him before he left. I'm permanently disabled due to degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and neurological damage. That has been more noticeable and more persistent this past year, and I haven't been able to adjust to it yet.

Another reason I haven't been working on this as often is that it's been a TREMENDOUSLY busy year for me stamp-wise. I've gotten several dozen pounds of stamps over the last nine months, and I've only sorted out and done something with less than a third of it. My collection has grown tremendously, and I'm way behind in updating my inventory program. I've also added thousands of stamps to my trade stock. I've tried to keep my want/offer lists up to date at home, even though I can no longer update them on the Web.

Several of my recent purchases have had some very strange side effects. I recently purchased three boxes online from Jeff Goulette, a local dealer and personal friend. Those boxes were probably all created from a single source, and contained several hundred copies of the 1-anna brown Queen Victoria stamp from the 1865-67 issue, perf 14, watermarked elephant's head, overprinted "Service". As I was going through these, I noticed that there were some very distinctive postmarks. There are three that I found in several dozen different varieties each. Two are circles enclosing a diamond formed of horizontal and vertical bars, with either large numbers or small numbers in a central square. The other sigificant postmark is an octagon formed of four or five lines, with a central number. These are probably post office identifiers, but I have no idea how to look up and see which numbers are associated with which post office. I'm going to create a collection of all the different examples I have, and offer the rest for trade.

The other group I found consisted of about 400 Australia and Australian states with the perforated initials "O S", indicating "Official Service". There aren't all that many different varieties, but there are examples from New South Wales (these contain the perforated initials "NSW" as well as the "OS"), Victoria, Western Australia, and Ausralia itself, as well as perforated "SA" for official stamps of South Australia. I haven't found any of the "T" perfins from Tasmania, but I haven't finished sorting down the stamps yet. One of the items that's very difficult to identify are the Victoria green half-pence issues. The OS perfin covers 90% of the stamp. I have about 15 copies, but there's only one stamp where I can actually determine the watermark.

A personal bleg (web post begging): I have about 200,000 stamps I need to sort down and catalogue, the result of purchasing more than 25 one-pound or two-pound boxes from Jeff Goulette (a one-pound box contains about 6000 stamps off paper, a two-pound box contains about twice that), plus numerous other purchases. My supply of P-102 cards (the little white, yellow, green, or blue vinyl pocket cards some dealers use to display their stamps) is no longer available. I'll offer three cents in trade against any stamp I offer for trade for each one of these anyone can send me. I do need them to be functional (I.E., the vinyl pocket is still attached), but I can still use them if they've been written upon. I can also use the slightly bigger P-104 cards, but not any others. I use P-104 cards for Mexican stamps. I recently purchased a 1-inch box from Jeff that was ONLY Mexico off paper. I've only been able to sort down about a third of it for lack of the means to organize them.

I'm going to try to go back to posting on this site at least twice a month, but don't be surprised if I don't make it.


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