Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A Little Bit of Fun

Laugh at yourself, or someone else!

We've all been called geeks, nerds and trainspotters, and we have a reputation for being dusty old men and women sitting in dark boxes staring through magnifiers.

Why not proudly declare your nerd-ism with this? Only US$15 plus postage 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Australia 1½d KGV SG59a Cracked Electro?

A potential new find

I recently purchased a large holding of Australia King George V used heads (and they look wonderful in a stock book!). 

The varieties on the KGV heads can be a life-long obsession for collectors, and it becomes second nature to put every stamp under the glass for a closer look.

Whilst sorting, I came across this stamp. It's SG59a 1½d chocolate, large single watermark, perf 14. 

Obviously, the top left corner caught my eye. This looks for all the world like a cracked, if not broken, electro. A closer scan reveals that the top left corner of the stamp is slanted downwards. 

The stamp is intact, with no hidden or repaired tears.

I can find no reference to anything this dramatic in the Australian Commonwealth Specialists Catalogue (ACSC - King George V 2007).

If anyone has a significant number of this stamp, please check them. I would appreciate any information about the status of this flaw

Monday, 2 September 2013

A 1938 Cover With A Story to Tell

What do New Zealand, Hollywood, an actor and model aircraft have in common?

Some fascinating things come across my desk.

This 1938 cover, from New Zealand to the USA, doesn't seem like much. However, I recognised the recipient's name. Reginald Denny was a successful Hollywood actor.

It was sent from Model Aircraft Supplies in Christchurch, which begs the question why they would be writing to an actor at an address other than "c/- MGM" etc.

The reason is that Denny was a mad aircraft hobbyist, who opened a hobby store on Hollywood Boulevard in 1935. It makes perfect sense for the shop in Christchurch to write to him. Denny also established "Radioplane", a maker of military target drones.

The cover is franked with SG91 and SG92, both have which are scarce with inverted and reversed watermarks. I'm going to play around and see if I can extract a watermark.

The two red marks across the airmail label makes this a jusqu'a cover. Jusqu'a means "up to", or in philatelic terms "as far as". The cover is marked "via Air Mail to England". The jusqu'a markings were applied when the cover arrived in England, and the cover would then have continued it's journey to the US by sea. Unfortunately, there are no other markings on the cover.

A fascinating little piece of postal history.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A Very Common Stamp From Hungary With a Great Story

...but it's even better from the back!

In 1943, Hungary issued a series of stamps featuring historical heroes. The 4f value features Janos Hunyadi, a general and Governor of Hungary in the 15th Century.

After the end of World War II in 1945, the stamps were overprinted with new values. The 4f (forint) value was overprinted three times, with this stamp being the third overprint, 10f on 4f in carmine, SG800 Scott 657. Numerous overprint errors exist on this provisional issue, and it's a minimum value stamp in all catalogues.

In 1946, the Hungarian currency, the Pengo, collapsed, and Hungary went through a period of hyper-inflation. 

Reminiscent of Germany in the early 1920's, stamps with a face value of 500,000 billion pengos were issued during 1946, before the currency reform later in the year. Prior to the issue of the high face-value stamps, remaining stocks of low face value definitives were overprinted with a code, with the stamp being sold at the relevant rate for that code on a given day. The modern equivalent would be the "Forever" stamps.

In this case, our stamp was overprinted with "TI. 2.", which was an abbreviation for "Tavolsagi level", or "Inland letter", thus becoming SG890, Scott 811. I'm assuming that the "2" represented a different rate, but would appreciate feedback on this.

So there we have a stamp overprinted twice, telling the story of the collapse of an economy after a long and bitter war. The story should end there. That is, until you turn the stamp over.